In the last issue, we discussed how the reader can examine the ‘methods’ section of a clinical trial report. If there are serious faults in design, it is seldom worth reading further as it may be difficult to avoid the appeal of positive but invalid findings. Minor faults may not invalidate the trial, but may require re-interpretation of the results, and may allow limited but useful conclusions to be drawn. A well designed trial can still be invalidated by incorrect analysis.
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