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Limiting Eligibility for Medical Studies Can Omit Women,,African-Americans, Stanford Study Finds

er that the majority of depressed people are women."

Based on the paper's findings, Humphreys said he would encourage researchers to carefully examine the rationale of a study's eligibility criteria. "Researchers need to say to themselves, 'I'm only going to make the decision to exclude certain patients if there is a good reason for it,'" he said.

Humphreys and his colleagues are also urging designers of alcohol treatment studies to stop excluding patients with drug problems. "Eighty percent of patients with alcohol problems use some sort of drug, so there is a strong case for including these patients in studies," he said.

This study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Service. Humphreys' co-authors include the VA's Kenneth Weingardt, PhD, and Alex Harris, PhD.

Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions -- Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center's Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

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