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Caveat Lector ... Let The Reader Beware

Fri, 11/13/2009 - 12:22pm

By: Michael Smith
Published:

Almost every story I write from a medical meeting carries a warning that says, in essence, don't take this for gospel.

We at MedPage Today take some care about that. Not that we're especially prone to error (although we can all nod off from time to time) but we want to make sure readers recognize the tentative nature of presentations at medical meetings.

Take a look at the final Action Point of our meeting reports ... there are probably one or two just up the page a way. "These data and conclusions should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal," it reads. It's what we call boilerplate -- something that goes in automatically every time.

That final point is pretty plain. And also, I would have thought, completely un-needed. Surely anyone with the sense to breathe in and out alternately would know that.

And yet. And yet.

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