Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Really great medical writing

And this time I mean it:
Use of control groups is a powerful scientific tool— and an old one. The first documentation of a comparison group appears in The Holy Bible in the Book of Daniel.1 Daniel and his three colleagues, captured by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, carried out a 10-day trial of healthy food versus the royal diet of the court. At the end, Daniel and his buddies appeared healthier than did the Babylonian youth who enjoyed the usual fare. This trial has been criticised over the years for both an inadequate duration of exposure and probable divine cointervention. Perhaps as a result, control groups disappeared from published work for millennia.
From a review in the Lancet (subscribers only) on picking appropriate control groups in case-control studies.

Funny, yet pertinent


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