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Bentsen H, Osnes K, Refsum H, Solberg DK, Bøhmer T. A randomized placebo-controlled trial of an omega-3 fatty acid and vitamins E+C in schizophrenia. Transl Psychiatry . 2013 ; 3():e335. PubMed Abstract

Comments on Paper and Primary News
Comment by:  John McGrath, SRF Advisor
Submitted 20 December 2013 Posted 23 December 2013
  I recommend this paper

This is a carefully designed 2x2 factorial RCT of nutritional interventions (essential fatty acids, combined vitamins E and C) as augmentation therapy in schizophrenia. Unexpectedly, in those with low baseline levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), those in the fatty acid group did worse, and those in the vitamin E and C group did worse (compared to placebo group).

The results are thought provoking. Trialists dread unexpected findings where putative therapeutic interventions are associated with worse outcomes compared to placebo, but this is the nature of science. This study is also a reminder about the importance of RCTs. Not all findings obediently replicate. See this blog for a sober discussion about replication and non-replication, and how science progresses.


Horvath J. The Replication Myth: Shedding Light on One of Science’s Dirty Little Secrets. December 4, 2013.

View all comments by John McGrath

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