Getting control of the control group

Lifestyles and emotions play important roles in many medical illnesses, and when scientists study potential treatments to help people stop smoking, get more exercise, overcome depression or improve their diet, they often compare patients who get a certain treatment to others who don’t. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, led by Ken Freedland, MD, say to accurately measure a new therapy’s the effectiveness, it is critical to carefully define comparison — or control — groups in those studies.