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  1. Editors' Reply to eLetter from JC Platt

    Dear Mr Platt

    Many thanks for your eLetter regarding an abstract appearing in both EBM[1] and EBN[2] with different commentaries. In answer to your queries:
    First, when we have the same abstract appearing in both journals we do sometimes use the same commentary as well, however, if we think it doesn't fit our target audience we can require a fresh commentary. The risk is that, like all opinion, differences in interpretation will occur, hiding such differences would not be our preference. The reason why we provide the details that we do in the abstract is so the reader can judge for themselves - this is not only a matter of methods of the study, but also local context. Part of the context here is professional perspective. We did have considerable discussion over this particular article because some details such as the precise interventions were not well described in the paper, though Dr Robertson was helpful in supplying these.

    Having said this, there isn't much difference in the commentaries, if you look at both of them in toto. They don't in fact disagree. John Robbins isn't saying that nurses can't play an important role in a home-based program for preventing falls, and Nancy Edwards isn't saying that this study is definitive for showing that nurses can only do it, or that the effect will be sustained if they do do it. That the two commentators are taking a somewhat different slant on their interpretations of the application of the results is valid, based on their perspectives.

    Second, regarding your suggestion on joint commentaries; having multidisciplinary perspectives presented for each articles would be interesting and potentially informative. But, unfortunately we have to take into consideration obstacles such as the increase in editorial time it would take to prepare a multidisciplinary commentary and the amount of space such text would require. We would need more space for such discourse and would then have less space for other research. The research reports are the "stars" of the publication, so this could be a poor trade-off.

    Finally thank you for suggesting this discourse be mounted on the eLetters page, we are keen to get more discussion going on both the websites but we do rely somewhat on our readers prompting appropriate topics.

    I hope this answers all your queries.

    Yours Sincerely

    The Editors

    References

    (1) Robbins JA, Robertson MC, Campbell AJ (commentator). A home-based, nurse-delivered exercise programme reduced falls and serious injuries in people ³ 80 years of age. Evid Based Med 2001;6:182.

    (2) Edwards N. A home based, nurse delivered exercise programme reduced falls and serious injuries in people 80 years of age. Evid Based Nurs 2002;5:22.

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  2. Response to: A home-based, nurse-delivered exercise programme

    Dear Editors

    The study:
    A home-based, nurse-delivered exercise programme reduced falls and serious injuries in people ³ 80 years of age. Robertson et al. Effectiveness and economic evaluation of a nurse delivered home exercise programme to prevent falls. 1: randomised controlled trial. [1]
    appeared in both Evidence-Based Medicine [2] and in Evidence-Based Nursing.[3]

    The commentators differ in their perceptions of this paper. Edwards states that "Study results are promising and suggest that nurses have an important role to play in the promotion of appropriate exercise that targets fall prevention among seniors."
    Whereas Robbins believes "We can be less sure from this study what the actual "treatment" needs to be and who should provide it."

    For me several issues are raised:
    ·Is it necessary to replicate summaries of studies in both journals, it seems wasteful of resources
    ·What about the possibility of joint (multidisciplinary) commentaries
    ·The eLetters section where issues such as those I have raised could be aired still contains no letters

    John Platt

    References

    (1) A home-based, nurse-delivered exercise programme reduced falls and serious injuries in people ³ 80 years of age Robertson MC, Devlin N, Gardner MM, et al. Effectiveness and economic evaluation of a nurse delivered home exercise programme to prevent falls. 1: randomised controlled trial.BMJ 2001 Mar 24;322:697-701.

    (2) Robbins JA, Robertson MC, Campbell AJ (commentator). A home-based, nurse-delivered exercise programme reduced falls and serious injuries in people ³ 80 years of age. Evid Based Med 2001;6:182.

    (3) Edwards N. A home based, nurse delivered exercise programme reduced falls and serious injuries in people 80 years of age. Evid Based Nurs 2002;5:22.

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