An author submitted a speculative article offering a new explanation for the aetiology of premenstrual syndrome, and a new suggestion for its treatment. The paper was wholly based on a priori reasoning, rather than evidence. It was rejected. The authors appealed, citing as evidence in favour of publishing their paper that they had had successful results treating two patients with the proposed medication—corticosteriods. The dose used was not stated. The editor wrote back to the authors confirming that the journal still did not wish to publish the paper, but requesting reassurance that the two patients treated had given their full, informed consent. Should the matter be taken any further?
_ Where does practice end and research start? _ This was a hypothesis only, and part of practice, so obviating the need for ethics committee approval, but the investigator should be taken to task. _ No consent had been gained from the patients and a proper trial should have been undertaken. _ The editor should write to the author stating that this was not good practice. _ Do not involve the GMC.
The author never responded, and the case was closed.