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Editorial [Apr 1996; 26-1]

Some editions of Bandolier are a harder read than others. This may be one of them, particularly because we lead this month with a Mindstretcher on diagnostic tests. It is always useful to have some quality standard against which to measure the performance of the tests we are using, just as randomisation and blinding have become quality standards for trials of clinical efficacy.

The evidence is that the reporting of diagnostic tests is not good. This is a real cause of concern, and for users of diagnostic tests it is worth the few minutes it takes to read this Mindstretcher article.

Warts and worms

Bandolier welcomes suggestions from its readers, particularly those in primary care, for topics which need to be addressed in its pages. Some are just too big for us to handle; one topical example is BSE, where we found some 600 articles - beyond our resources to summarise.

Fungal nail disease, featured in this edition, with the specific question of treatment comparisons of terbinafine and griseofulvin, was well within our resources, so is featured. Warts and worms are being looked at. So while we can give no promises to provide answers to any question that comes our way, we will try.


The BSE debate, raging as Bandolier goes to press, is but one recent example of an enormous national upheaval over subjects where risks are very small, though not unimportant. Bandolier finds a lack of perception of risk at all levels of society. Should we produce a ladder of risk - starting, say, with the (about) 1 in 14,000 risk of being killed in a road accident every year? Readers with special knowledge, or information, please respond.

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