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More than 25% of global child mortality occurs in India (greater than 2 million deaths in children younger than 5 years) [1]. The spectrum of child underdevelopment runs from underweight to stunting and wasting. Nearly half of Indian children are underweight and 70% are anaemic [2]. Therefore, studies of the causes of mortality and nutritional outcomes in children should include representative data from India. Last week’s JAMA reported a study conducted in India which investigated the role of a mother’s height in determining her child’s mortality and development [3].

The end of beer goggles

Ami Banerjee
Last edited 28th May 2009
When I learned about evidence-based medicine (EBM) as an undergraduate, I remember thinking that there were just too many crucial health questions waiting to be answered. There was not enough time for EBM to solve the more banal problems of daily life. How wrong I was. Last week, the British press reported on a topic close to the hearts of millions of men seeking a mate after an evening of drinking [1, 2]. Does alcohol interfere with perception of beauty? The term, "beer goggles", has been used to describe the phenomenon of "alcohol myopia" since the early 1990s. Do “beer goggles” exist? The study apparently showed that there was no evidence for beer goggles and suggested that “the effect of "beer goggles" should not be used as an excuse for men getting a woman's age wrong”.

Fair trials considered as long ago as the 1930s

Carl Heneghan
Last edited 4th June 2009
I was alerted to this excellent page on the James Lind Library recently by Iain Chalmers. For those of you who don’t know what the James Lind Library is, you should take a look at www.jameslindlibrary.org/. Basically, it is a collection of essays and examples explaining the role of fair tests in treatments in health care. One item worth looking at is the book ‘Testing Treatments’ – published by the British Library in 2006 – which is available for free and is translated into a number of languages such as Arabic, Chinese and Spanish. From a good source, I’m assured this book has been downloaded 80,000 times (as of April 2009) since becoming available under a creative commons license.

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