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The wisdom of Archimedes
  1. B Phillips
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Bob Phillips, Evidence-based On Call, Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, University Dept of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Headington OX3 7JX, UK; bob.phillips{at}

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A valuable concept

Archimedes, the bimonthly evidence based clinical question section of Archives of Diseases in Childhood, was first published in September 2001. Over the three years since it began, it has asked clinical questions as diverse as “Does giving albumin infusion in hypoalbuminaemic children with oncological disease affect colloid osmotic pressure and outcome?” and “Is chiropractic an effective treatment in infantile colic?”. Archimedes has been the subject of debate1 and research,2 and continues to fuel argument from practising clinicians.3,4

What Archimedes is, where it came from, and what it isn’t, are all questions which must be answered to explain the value of Archimedes. How it can be made better—more usable, more readable, and more relevant—are also points which must be explained.


Archimedes is a collection of topic summaries and critical appraisal notes. The topic reports provide ‘evidence based’ answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice.

Archimedes sets out a clear and transparent path from the clinical question asked to the clinical bottom lines concluded. It enables readers to take a readable digest of the relevant evidence and use this to reflect on their own clinical practice. It also provides a model of the steps of evidence based practice for clinicians to attempt to follow when asking questions themselves. In this …

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  • Competing interests: Bob Phillips is the Section Editor of Archimedes and receives an annual honorarium from BMJPG for this work. He also works voluntarily as a web editor for BestBets

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