When to act on evidence?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 02 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:h

Assembling good evidence is hard. Knowing how and when to act on the evidence is even harder.

A group from Glasgow find that routine use of an infant mattress previously used by another child is associated with a threefold increase in risk of sudden infant death (p 1007). The same authors found such an association in 1997 and set out to test it again. That they have found the association again makes it more likely to be “real.” Another study from England found a similar but weaker association, but it disappeared after adjustment for known risk factors. So should parents throw out old …

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