Editorial |

Of Horse Races, Trials, Meta-analyses, and Carotid Artery Stenosis

Louis R. Caplan, MD; Thomas G. Brott, MD
Arch Neurol. 2011;68(2):157-159. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.268.
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In therapeutic trials, one treatment is pitted against one or more opponent treatments and/or a placebo and a winner is sought. In some ways, the competition in a trial resembles a horse race. The difference is that in a horse race the outcome is clear-cut; the horse that first crosses the finish line wins. There rarely are dead heats. In trials, different outcomes may be studied and analyzed. The horses' owners and those who have a stake in the horses are allowed to bet on their horse. A meta-analysis is something like a racing form paper that summarizes the past race records and includes prior races where the same horses have opposed each other. Of course, those races might have been run at different race tracks, at different seasons and times, with potentially different jockeys, and on different tracks (muddy, slow or fast).

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