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Blinding may be unnecessary, but please divest

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m255 (Published 23 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m255
  1. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief
  1. The BMJ
  1. fgodlee{at}bmj.com
    Follow Fiona on Twitter @fgodlee

In the hierarchy of evidence, randomised trials are near the top, trumped only by meta-analysis of such trials, with blinding of patients and clinicians firmly established as being key to their validity. But new research published in The BMJ this week casts doubt on the benefits of blinding. Helene Moustgaard and colleagues have meta-analysed 142 Cochrane meta-analyses, incorporating 1153 randomised trials. They conclude that there’s no evidence that a lack of blinding leads to exaggerated estimates of treatment effects (doi:10.1136/bmj.l6802).

This apparent lack of benefit should be seen in the …

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