This Week In The Bmj

Sources of diagnostic criteria don't withstand scrutiny

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 16 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:0-d

Disagreement over diagnostic criteria can lead to patients not receiving treatment, especially in multi-specialty disorders. One such is polymyositis, and on p 1464 Hengstman and van Engelen detail a dispute over the criteria used by rheumatologists and neurologists. A structured literature search showed that the polymyositis patients in the original source may actually have inclusion body myositis. Further, two thirds of the references were from only two research groups, and one of these groups didn't provide original data, merely referring to their own work in review articles.

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