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Misleading meta-analysis

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 17 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1603

Public policy is based on results of epidemiological meta-analyses that contradict common sense

  1. James Le Fanu
  1. General practitioner Mawbey Brough Health Centre, London SW8 2UD

    EDITOR,—Matthias Egger and George Davey Smith's scepticism about the validity of meta-analyses whose conclusions are contradicted by those of single megatrials1 can be extended to meta-analyses of epidemiological studies whose findings contradict biological common sense. The alleged causative contribution of passive smoking to lung cancer is based, among other things, on a meta-analysis of 10 case-control studies and three prospective studies that showed a highly significant 35% increased risk among non-smokers living with smokers …

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