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Asprin article not giving clear picture

About the author: 

The article "No evidence for aspirin treatment", published in the January 1995 issue of WDDTY (vol 5 no 11) provides biased information by stating that the "widespread use of aspirin to prevent strokes is not supported by any scientific evidence and should be stopped

Dear WDDTY

The article "No evidence for aspirin treatment", published in the January 1995 issue of WDDTY (vol 5 no 11) provides biased information by stating that the "widespread use of aspirin to prevent strokes is not supported by any scientific evidence and should be stopped. . ."

This article reviews a paper by Cohen et al (BMJ,1994; 309: 1213-7), which criticizes an overview of randomized trials of antiplatelet therapy (BMJ, 1994; 308: 235-46). The person who reviewed the paper by Cohen et al has ignored the reply to that paper by Collins et al for the Anti-platelet Trialists' Collaboration.

You are left with the impression that the person writing for WDDTY is more interested in discrediting the work of the Antiplatelet Trial researchers than in providing complete infomation to the readers of WDDTY.

I have been reading with interest WDDTY since its early days. I hope you will correct this mistake and obtain more impartial reporting. Dr L T Cavalli-Sforza, World Health Organization, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

WDDTY replies:

We are not interested in biased reporting, but simply tempering the enthusiasm of doctors for new breakthrough therapies when questions remain about the scientific evidence supporting them. The Collins "reply" appears to mainly concentrate on their statistical model for combining disparate studies. It doesn't completely address the main issue raised by Cohen and co: namely, the poor quality of the individual studies and the number of arithmetic mistakes. Collins ends his article by tempering the APTC's conclusions: that their study indicates that aspirin therapy should be "considered" for patients at high risk of stroke, and there is a need for large randomized trials to prove their conclusions. This is a very different from what has been championed at large: that all patients at risk of stroke take aspirin.


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