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Lin and colleagues have published an interesting paper on asthma hospitalisation in children.1 They concluded that the study showed positive relations between gaseous pollutants and asthma hospitalisation in children and that the effects of certain specific gaseous pollutants were found to vary in boys and girls. There are several issues that should be discussed before these conclusions can be confidently accepted.
The authors performed separate regression analyses for boys and girls, and compared the sexes by examining the odds ratios. Examination of their figure 1 suggests the possibility that differences between the sexes might be chance fluctuations. It has been recommended that statistical tests for interaction, which directly examine the strength of evidence for the treatment difference varying between subgroups, are the most useful approach for evaluating subgroup analyses.2 The most …