Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A dose of humour from the BMJ

I recently saw an article with the headline "This exact time is when heart attacks happen more during holidays at the end of the year, study finds."  Of course I clicked on it.  And then read the original source in the BMJ.

Intrigued by the cover image, I browsed the table of contents, and found the disturbingly titled Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial.  Wait, what??  People were jumping out of airplanes with and without parachutes?  How did this study get off the ground, so to speak?

Well, it turns out it was kind of a joke.  According to the article, "The PARACHUTE trial satirically highlights some of the limitations of randomized controlled trials. Nevertheless, we believe that such trials remain the gold standard for the evaluation of most new treatments. The PARACHUTE trial does suggest, however, that their accurate interpretation requires more than a cursory reading of the abstract."

Did you know that every year, the BMJ publishes a light-hearted Christmas issue?  I didn't, but it was a nice break from some of the more horrifying articles I usually have to retrieve.

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