Suggested answer to exercise: Education for atopic dermatitis, 1

The main outcome measure was severity of eczema as a score on an atopic dermatitis scale. The abstract contained the following:

‘Significant improvements in severity of eczema and subjective severity were seen in all intervention groups compared with control groups (total score for severity: age 3 months to 7 years –17.5, 95% confidence intervals –19.6 to –15.3 v –12.2, –14.3 to –10.1 . . .)’ These numbers are the mean change in severity score, before minus after, over 12 months.

Question 1: What can we conclude about the changes in score over 12 months since recruitment?

Suggested answer:

The mean change is a reduction in score, whichever group the subjects were assigned to. The confidence intervals do not include zero and are in fact a long way from it.

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Last updated: 31 July, 2006.

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