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John “Mickey” Nardo

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 03 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1146
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. Washington, DC
  1. BobRoehr{at}

Pioneer in trial reanalysis

Credit: Abby Nardo

The name Mickey Nardo is not widely known, but it should be. Nardo played a yeoman’s role in the first-of-its-kind 2015 reanalysis of Study 329,1 which used industry data to show that the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat) had no beneficial effect and caused substantial harm when used to treat major depression in adolescents.

Nardo always thought he wanted to do research, but his path ended up being long and circuitous, with many rewarding chapters along the way.

Early career

He focused on mathematics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and continued at the university school of medicine in Memphis, obtaining his MD in 1967. Residencies in internal medicine, and immunology and rheumatology followed, with the aim of going into research. An offer from Stanford University to work on tissue typing for organ transplant was pending, when a letter from the Pentagon arrived.

As the war in Vietnam raged, Nardo was offered the choice of serving two years at a hospital in Abilene, Texas, or three years in England. “We didn’t have to think one nanosecond about that,” recalls his wife, Sharon. The young family, which by now included baby Abby, moved to RAF Lakenheath Hospital in Suffolk in 1971, where the paterfamilias served as chief of internal medicine.

The big revelation for Nardo …

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