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Editorial elaborations
  1. I B Pless, Editor

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    In an effort to make the scientific findings more accessible to those involved in the delivery of prevention programs, in an earlier editorial I promised to try to tease out some of the main messages in papers appearing in each issue.

    Beginning with what is perhaps the most arcane, the paper by Jarvis and his colleagues (p 46), is not an elaborate argument against viewing children as goldfish. This metaphor was chosen to remind the reader that techniques that may be valuable in one context do not necessarily work as well in another. The case at hand deals with a method often employed by epidemiologists when, as is so often the case, they have incomplete data yet wish to make reasonably precise estimates about the occurrence of an event. The mark/recapture technique has been advocated as one solution to this problem. It is based on a number of premises, and, in a nutshell, what Jarvis et al conclude is that when applied to injuries in general, and motor vehicle injuries in particular, it must be used with great caution, if at all. The reader should be advised that this might not be the last word on this topic because another paper dealing with the same issue is now under review. The message, however, is clear: when estimates are based on this procedure, be careful about accepting the results at face value.

    On a quite different note, Scheidt et al (p 51) address a common issue that arises when grants are being reviewed by ethics committees (often referred to in North America as institutional review boards). Not surprisingly, and not infrequently I imagine, the objection is raised that interviews with parents about a child's injury may be offensive or even psychologically harmful. Thus, in the extreme, it is argued that such …

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