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Media coverage of scientific presentations

Constantine N Aroney
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (7): 374-375.
Published online: 7 October 2002

To the Editor: The front-page article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 7 June this year1 highlights the problem of premature media coverage of a scientific presentation,2 potentially causing distress and confusion. Without being subjected to full peer-review and unavailable for analysis in its full published form, such data should not be presented to the public as scientific fact, and should not be sensationalised so as to encourage patients and doctors to change management. A small single-centre observational study is regarded as Level 4 evidence and cannot be used to recommend a change in management. At most, such data might be considered hypothesis-generating and used as the basis for a properly conducted clinical trial.

  • Constantine N Aroney

  • Department of Cardiology, Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside, QLD.

Correspondence: conar@bigpond.net.au

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