Selection bias in using data from one population to another: Common pitfalls in the interpretation of medical literature

The prevalence, course and prognosis of diseases in patients referred to tertiary medical centers frequently differ from those treated in primary care settings. Extrapolation of findings from one population to another may therefore be unwarranted. Other factors that contribute to misinterpretation of medical literature include failure to distinguish statistical from clinical significance and advocacy of medical interventions prior to adequate clinical trials.
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