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Plus ça change

Plus ça change

One of the main stimuli for evidence-based medicine all those years ago was an understanding that much of what was published in the medical literature was wrong. In 1991 Richard Smith, then editor of the BMJ, quoted from an article by David Eddy "...only 1% of the articles in medical journals are scientifically sound" [1].

Since then much has been done to try and rectify matters, especially the tremendous work done by the international panels that have worked on CONSORT, QUOROM, and other statements about how randomised trials, systematic reviews, diagnostic test and observational studies should be reported. There is guidance for health economic papers too. Yet anyone who reviews for journals or reads extensively could be forgiven for thinking that there had been no change. Barely two years ago Ioaniddes could write a paper entitled "Most published research findings are false" ([2]; Bandolier 139).

Over a decade ago someone suggested that Bandolier should cease because we all knew about evidence, and that from then on evidence would be used properly to make healthcare decisions. Actually, we ran out of steam and resources, losing our puff after ranting about evidence for a decade and a half. So this month, for a bit of fun, we show how to construct an argument based on limited evidence, and by breaking the rules.

Bandolier Internet

To reiterate what was said in Bandolier 159, the Internet version will continue. It is likely to change somewhat over the coming year as we formulate new ideas.


  1. R. Smith quoting Prof. D. Eddy. BMJ 1991 303: 798-99.
  2. J Ioannides. PLoS Medicine 2005 2: e124.

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