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Community-based intervention trials

  • Betty R. Kirkwood (a1) and Richard H. Morrow (a2)

The randomized controlled trial has become the standard basis for the evaluation of new therapeutic agents and procedures (and for measuring the protective efficacy of new vaccines or for assessing the value of screening procedures). Patients, who have met the criteria for eligibility and have agreed to participate in the trial, are allocated on a random basis to the alternative therapies under consideration. In order to avoid possible bias in the handling or assessment of these groups, a double blind procedure is preferred; the therapy given is not known to those who administer it, to those who assess the course of the disease thereafter, nor to the patients themselves. There is an extensive literature on clinical trials covering their logic and history, modern developments and the many complex, often controversial, issues that such trials have provoked. Not all issues have been fully resolved but by and large the principle, the practice and the ethical concerns of clinical trials are worked out and firmly established.

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Briscoe J., Feachem R. G. & Rahaman M. M. (1986) Evaluating Health Impact: Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Education. International Development Research Center, Ottawa.
Clemens J. D. & Stanton B. F. (1987) An educational intervention for altering water-sanitation behaviours to reduce childhood diarrhoea in urban Bangladesh. I. Application of the casecontrol method for development of an intervention. Am. J. Epidemiol. 125, 284.
Gambia Hepatitis Study Group (1987) The Gambia Hepatitis Intervention Study. Cancer Res. 47, 5782.
Smith P. G. (1987) Evaluating interventions against tropical diseases. Int. J. Epidemiol. 16, 159.
Stanton B. F. & Clemens J. D. (1987) An educational intervention for altering water-sanitation behaviours to reduce childhood diarrhoea in urban Bangladesh. II. A randomised trial to assess the impact of the intervention on hygienic behaviours and rates of diarrhea. Am. J. Epidemiol. 125, 292.
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Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
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