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Interpreting the Medical Literature: A Clinician's Guide

Mark J. Young, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(4):839. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350040229041.
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Studies of continuing medical education show that medical journals are major contributors to physician self-education. Until recently there have been few resources that provide a systematic format for reviewing the medical literature.

Dr Gehlbach has written a superb introduction to the critical reviewing of research articles. Chapters 1 through 5 include an introduction and rationale for reading scientific journals, followed by descriptions of the most commonly used research designs. Graphic explanations of the structure of case-control, cohort, and randomized clinical studies are especially helpful. The author provides the necessary detail to understand and critique different types of studies without overwhelming the reader with excess information. He successfully avoids "extensive forays into epidemiology's semantic jungle" but clearly identifies the different animals that inhabit it. Chapters 6 through 8 deal with statistical concepts of measurement, the definition of normality, and significance testing in a straightforward, nonmathematical approach. Chapter 9 discusses the interpreting


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Accreditation Information
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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