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Editorial |

Reviewing the Medical Literature Statistics Alone Are Not Enough

Ernst Epstein, MD
Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(6):829-830. doi:10.1001/archderm.138.6.829.
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THE STUDY titled "Oral Treatment for Toenail Onychomycosis" by Crawford et al1 in this issue of the ARCHIVES has the objective "to identify and synthesize the evidence for the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of oral treatments for fungal infections of the toenails." Their ambitious goal is to examine "all available data from evaluations of these therapies" and include "a statistical summary of their clinical and cost-effectiveness." This very thorough search included 11 databases, a hand search of 3 podiatry journals, searching the bibliographies of all review articles, and contacting all podiatry schools in the United Kingdom as well as pharmaceutical firms to identify unpublished or unlisted trials. Rigorous selection criteria were applied by 4 workers working independently in pairs. All reviewers independently summarized the trials using 12 quality criteria.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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