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Comment and Controversy

Should an expert comment on his study?

June 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 6

I was shocked to see that the expert commentary on the study of herpes type 2 serologic testing (“Examining the Evidence,” April 2005) was written by one of the original article’s authors, Zane A. Brown, MD! How can one possibly consider the commentary serious evaluation?

Deborah Cohan, MD, MPH
Assistant Clinical Professor
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Barbieri responds:

We are glad Dr. Cohan read “Examining the Evidence” and took the time to point out her concerns. Dr. Brown was invited to comment because he is among the foremost researchers and clinicians in the field of human herpes infections, and we thought he would provide valuable insight into the study’s findings. In many cases, a study’s authors are the best people to ask about its strengths, weaknesses, and potential clinical implications.

Just as medical schools and hospitals are happy to have chief investigators give Grand Rounds or continuing education lectures about their experience when important findings are published, a printed form of the same sort of commentary, we thought, would be similarly informative.

That said, we did neglect to include the disclosure that was published with the original study, stating that GlaxoSmithKline provided support for the study, and we apologize for that omission.

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