As I write this, British multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is conducting a study in my backyard.
No, there are no lab-coat-clad scientists bagging petunias in my garden. I don’t have a garden, much less a backyard. (And, for what it’s worth, I think “Bagging Petunias” would be an awesome band name)
By backyard, I mean the Province of Quebec, an admittedly large yard by anyone’s standards: 1.5 million km2 (almost 600,000 mi2) in total area. But this is where GlaxoSmithKline is conducting its retrospective cohort study, with preliminary results to be revealed in “early 2014”1. What are they studying? Whether or not their H1N1 flu vaccine Arepanrix, which was administered to Quebecers during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic, was associated with a higher incidence of narcolepsy.
A retrospective cohort study is when a research group looks at the medical files of groups of individuals who are…
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