Paper of the Year 2004

December 16, 2004

THE LANCET Paper of the Year 2004 has been won by Craig Whittington and colleagues' for their systematic review of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors in childhood depression published in the April 2004 issue.

Lancet Editor Richard Horton comments: "This study commanded strong support among the journal's editors. It was not only the paper of the year. It was part of the story of the year as well-a story of hidden data, misleading guidance to physicians, severe reputational threat to one pharmaceutical company (GlaxoSmithKline), a New York lawsuit settled out of court for US$2.5 million, and mounting pressure for an international publicly accessible register of randomised clinical trials. As our nominator wrote: "This study, and related evidence, has huge implications for (a) the inappropriate use of such anti-depressives in children and (b) the way the pharmaceutical industry (and indeed other researchers) inappropriately present the medical readership with potentially distortedly exaggerated claims of efficacy and safety of drugs"

Dr Horton continues: "There were two other notable papers that deserve mention. The first was Richard Doll's description of 50 years' follow-up of male British doctors and the changes in their mortality in relation to smoking. Doll's sustained contribution to medical research is outstanding, second to none in recent generations. The second is Salim Yusuf's INTERHEART study-an incredible feat of epidemiological investigation, drawing together collaborators from 52 countries."

Nominations were made by The Lancet's International advisory Board. 7 of the 18 nominations received this year were for Lancet papers. Last year's winner was a paper published in Science.

*Also published in this week's issue is the annual Lancet Wakley Prize Essay (p 2223)--'Maria' by Negesh Tejani.


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