Odds ratios should be avoided when events are common

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7168.1318 (Published 7 November 1998)
Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1318.1

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  1. Douglas G Altman, Director,
  2. Jonathon J Deeks, Statistician,
  3. David L Sackett, Professor
  1. ICRF/NHS Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Institute of Health Sciences, Oxford OX3 7LF
  2. NHS R&D Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU

    EDITOR—A news item stated that “a review article written by authors with affiliations to the tobacco industry is 88 times more likely to conclude that passive smoking is not harmful than if the review was written by authors with no connection to the tobacco industry.”1 We are concerned that readers may have interpreted this huge effect at face value. The proportions …

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