Letters

Relative risks are inflated in published literature

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7112.880 (Published 04 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:880
  1. T H Lam, Professora
  1. a Department of Community Medicine and Unit for Behavioural Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

    Editor—Relative risks are often reported incorrectly in medical journals. In a paper in the BMJ, Jian-Min Yuan and colleagues describe a relative risk of 3.72 for the relation between cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract and heavy drinking as a “3.7-fold increased risk”; this description is incorrect.1 They also describe a relative risk of 1.30 for total mortality and heavy drinking as “a 30% excess risk”; this description is correct. …

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