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Isr J Med Sci. 1981 Feb-Mar;17(2-3):215-21.

Multiphasic screening in middle age: results and implications of a controlled trial in British general practice.


The Southeast London Screening Study was designed as a long-term controlled trial of multiphasic screening directed at middle-aged individuals registered with their family doctors. In 1967, 7,229 subjects, aged 40 to 64 years, were randomly allocated into either a screening or control group. The screening group was invited to attend two screening sessions held about two years apart while the control group continued to receive conventional medical care. Both groups were then invited to participate in a health survey in 1972 to 1973. Screening-control comparisons revealed no significant differences in either mortality or morbidity over the first nine years of the study with one exception: the screened males were significantly less "anxious" (as measured by the Middlesex Hospital Questionnaire) than the controls (P less than 0.01). In the context of other negative psychiatric findings, however, the importance of this result is considered doubtful. Despite methodological limitations, it is concluded that multiphasic screening of the middle-aged in general practice is probably not worthwhile.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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