In the May issue of the BCMJ (2004;46:164) you have defended your decision to publish the article on acupuncture (“Treatment of fibromyalgia with acupuncture and counseling,” 2004;46:21-23) in response to a letter to the editor from Dr Oppel (2004;46:169,171).
As part of your defence, you point out that some medical conditions defy pathological categorization while still achieving recognition as disease processes with widely accepted diagnostic criteria. You further say that it is virtually impossible to study this disease without relying on subjectivity. What you have pointed out about fibromyalgia is true of many disorders that are studied using valid scientific methodology and is not unique to fibromyalgia. This is, for example, true of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, pain, insomnia, eating disorders, and many more disorders in all areas of medicine. Not only is it possible to conduct randomized controlled trials on fibromyalgia, but there are in fact randomized controlled trials on various medications for fibromyalgia going on right now. It is quite possible to conduct scientific research on disorders without defined pathology.
You may still argue that your decision to publish an article has many components, as you have done, but please don’t defend it on the basis that randomized controlled trials are impossible.
—Paul R. Latimer, MD
Okanagan Clinical Trials
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org