The study served no purpose

V Raman Kutty

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2007.029


It is perhaps unfair to subject a study done in the early 1970s to the ethical standards of a later period, and thereby judge it harshly. As has been pointed out, ethics is an evolving concept and in the early 1970s, our understanding of what is ethical and just was deficient. It could even be argued that by designing a perfect “experiment” in the field, with a classical randomised blocks design, the study was well-equipped to clear all doubt on the question of the value of nutritional supplements for children. And, as the protagonists said, they had ensured that any child who was seriously sick was immediately helped. After all, the study did deliver the result that nutritional supplementation is almost as good as nutrition plus health intervention.

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