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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Can a typo be blamed?

I just finished reading a great piece on theheart.org regarding the " Mounting debate over aspirin use in primary prevention."

In this piece, there is an interview with ATT investigator Dr Colin Baigent (Oxford University, UK) who was a coauthor on both manuscripts regarding the use of aspirin for primary prevention.

Here's the most amazing part of that interview:

"Can a typo be blamed?

Baigent offers one possible explanation for why aspirin for primary prevention was so heartily embraced when the 2002 BMJ paper came out: a critical typo in the original paper. While the online HTML and PDF versions are now correct, in the original print edition of the BMJ paper, the final sentence reads: "For most healthy individuals, however, for whom the risk of a vascular event is likely to be substantially less than 1% a year, daily aspirin may well be appropriate." A correction swiftly issued by the BMJ noted that final word should, in fact, be inappropriate.

Baigent says he received "a profuse apology from the BMJ editor at the time." Still, it's possible the misprint helped disseminate a flawed message about aspirin in primary prevention. It was never the ATT investigators intention to emphasize that daily aspirin in low-risk patients was a good idea, he says."

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