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Users' Guides to the Medical Literature VI. How to Use an Overview

Andrew D. Oxman, MD, MSc; Deborah J. Cook, MD, MSc; Gordon H. Guyatt, MD, MSc; Eric Bass, MD, MPH; Patrick Brill-Edwards, MD; George Browman, MD, MSc; Allan Detsky, MD, PhD; Michael Farkouh, MD; Hertzei Gerstein, MD, MSc; Ted Haines, MD, MSc; Brian Haynes, MD, MSc; Robert Hayward, MD, MPH; Anne Holbrook, MD, PharmD, MSc; Roman Jaeschke, MD, MSc; Elizabeth Juniper, MCSP, MSc; Andreas Laupacis, MD, MSc; Hui Lee, MD, MSc; Mitchell Levine, MD, MSc; Virginia Moyer, MD, MPH; David Naylor, MD, DPhil; Jim Nishikawa, MD; Ameen Patel, MD; John Philbrick, MD; Scott Richardson, MD; Stephane Sauve, MD, MSc; David Sacked, MD, MSc; Jack Sinclair, MD; Brian Strom, MD, MPH; K. S. Trout, FRCE; Sean Tunis, MD, MSc; Stephen Walter, PhD; John Williams Jr, MD, MHS; Mark Wilson, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1994;272(17):1367-1371. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520170077040.
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CLINICAL SCENARIO  A 55-year-old man had his serum cholesterol level measured at a shopping mall 2 months ago. His cholesterol level was elevated and he comes to you, his primary care physician, for advice. He does not smoke, is not obese, and does not have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or any first-order relatives with premature coronary heart disease (CHD). You repeat his cholesterol test and schedule a follow-up appointment. The test confirms an elevated cholesterol level (7.9 mmol/L [305 mg/dL]), but before deciding on a treatment recommendation, you elect to find out just how big a reduction in the risk of CHD this patient could expect from a cholesterollowering diet or drug therapy.

THE SEARCH  There are a number of cholesterol-lowering trials, and instead of trying to find and review all of the original studies yourself, you use Grateful Med to find a recent overview. On the first subject line you


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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