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Limiting eligibility for medical studies can omit women and African-Americans

"A researcher may say, 'I don't want anyone who is depressed in my alcohol study,' and not stop to consider that the majority of depressed people are women."

Based on the paper's findings, Humphreys said he would encourage researchers to carefully examine the rationale of a study's eligibility criteria. "Researchers need to say to themselves, 'I'm only going to make the decision to exclude certain patients if there is a good reason for it,'" he said.

Humphreys and his colleagues are also urging designers of alcohol treatment studies to stop excluding patients with drug problems. "Eighty percent of patients with alcohol problems use some sort of drug, so there is a strong case for including these patients in studies," he said.


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Contact: Michelle Brandt
mbrandt@stanford.edu
650-723-0272
Stanford University Medical Center
24-May-2007


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