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At the risk of being accused of raising a trivial issue, I would simply like to ask authors to quote accurately from references within their articles. I am concerned in particular about the study of the respiratory outcome of children of very low birthweight reported recently by Anand and colleagues.1 They quote the results of a similar study of younger children, which we reported some years ago in this journal.2 Interestingly, the results were similar, suggesting that the functional outcome for low birth weight children was independent of respiratory support in the neonatal period, and independent of IUGR (“small for dates” in our rather old fashioned terminology). We found a highly significant linear relationship between the FEV 0.75 at the age of 7, and birthweight.
Anand and colleagues quote our study as showing “significant differences between those who received ventilatory support and those who did not”. This contradicts even a selected reading of the final line of our abstract, which stated that “the absence of an association between neonatal oxygen score or mechanical ventilation and childhood lung function suggests that the long term effect of neonatal respiratory treatment is small compared with that of low birth weight…”. It is gratifying that the two studies come to similar conclusions, but disappointing to be utterly misquoted.