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Medicine And The Media

Measuring the unmeasurable

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 20 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1338
  1. Christopher Martyn

    In September 1990 the Lancet published a study of women with breast cancer who, in addition to their conventional treatment, had been to the Bristol Cancer Help Centre. The relapse rate and the survival of these women were significantly worse than in control groups who had received only conventional treatment. The investigators discussed several possible explanations in their paper, but, in the publicity that followed, only one of these possibilities attracted much attention—the likelihood that some aspect of the Bristol Centre's regimen of stringent vegan diet, counselling, meditation, and healing was responsible. The validity of the findings was soon challenged. The authors of the paper reanalysed their data and modified their conclusions. A month later they acknowledged …

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