Letters

Association cannot be assumed to be causal

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7053.365b (Published 10 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:365
  1. Luke Whitaker,
  2. Helen Ward
  1. Research statistician Senior lecturer Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's, London W2 1PG

    EDITOR,—The Royal College of Physicians has estimated that alcohol is responsible for 25 000 premature deaths every year.1 Medical professionals need to be cautious about making pronouncements that might encourage people to drink more. Two recent papers in the BMJ that seem to provide evidence of a protective effect of alcohol in relation to ischaemic heart disease2 3 were widely reported in the national media; it may be assumed that the net effect will be to shift upwards the distribution of alcohol …

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