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A group of neurologists and respiratory physicians from Sheffield, Tyneside and Newcastle1 report the results of a postal, questionnaire-based survey on the use of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in Britain, suggesting that it represents ‘an update of current UK practice’ (see page 371). Although this is the intent of the survey, responses were elicited from only 63% of UK neurologists, raising the spectre of sampling error.
There are several additional methodological problems in this survey. There was no check of the validity of the data submitted by those neurologists who replied; that is, none of the data was verified, or ‘cleaned’ to use clinical trial phraseology. We do not know how closely local or national guidelines for NIV were …