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"Is Cybermedicine Killing You?" - A Response From the Authors of the Cochrane Review: Author's Reply (2)

Gunther Eysenbach, MD, MPH

Corresponding Author:

Gunther Eysenbach, MD, MPH

Centre for Global eHealth Innovation
University of Toronto and University Health Network
190 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2C4
Phone: +1 416 340 4800 ext 6427
Fax: +1 416 340 3595

Related Articles:

Comment on: Rada R. A Case Study of a Retracted Systematic Review on Interactive Health Communication Applications: Impact on Media, Scientists, and Patients. J Med Internet Res. 2005;7(2) p. e18

Comment on: Murray E, Burns Jo, Tai SS, Nazareth I. "Is Cybermedicine Killing You?" - A Response From the Authors of the Cochrane Review. J Med Internet Res. 2005;7(2) p. e40

(J Med Internet Res 2005;7(4):e42)

Author's Response

We thank Murray and colleagues for adding their view to the "series of unfortunate events" outlined in the editorial [1] and in Rada's paper [2]. The editorial accurately describes the swift response of the authors in retracting the review within 13 days — unfortunately, at this time the cat was already out of the bag, and the media coverage had been substantial. We still think that, in order to reach Murray's aim of "ensuring that all relevant stakeholders were informed as quickly as possible" [3], it may not have been enough to "contact journalists who we knew to be writing articles about the original publication, but which had not yet been published," but also to contact those journalists who had already published stories, asking them to print corrections. We realize that this is — psychologically and practically — a difficult thing to do; however, it would have been the only way to ensure that the press coverage of the retraction matched the original coverage, which Murray and colleagues agree would have been better. The inaccuracies regarding the press release in the Rada paper are this author's responsibility and did not occur in the editorial. In fact, the complete University College London press release was published as a Multimedia Appendix to the editorial, including the retraction notice. While it is true that the press release mentions an interactive health communication application definition (which the editorial does not dispute), it is also a fact that this appears toward the end of the press release and was picked up by few journalists because the "Internet" is emphasized in the first paragraphs of the press release. This may have contributed to the confusion about the scope of the review.


  1. Eysenbach G, Kummervold PE. "Is cybermedicine killing you?" - the story of a Cochrane disaster. J Med Internet Res 2005 Jun 30;7(2):e21 [FREE Full text] [Medline] [CrossRef]
  2. Rada R. A case study of a retracted systematic review on interactive health communication applications: impact on media, scientists, and patients. J Med Internet Res 2005 Jun 30;7(2):e18 [FREE Full text] [Medline] [CrossRef]
  3. Murray E, Burns Jo, Tai SS, Nazareth I. "Is cybermedicine killing you?" - a response from the authors of the Cochrane review. J Med Internet Res 2005 Jul 22;7(2):e40. [CrossRef]

Edited by G. Eysenbach; This is a non-peer-reviewed article. submitted 10.07.05; accepted 10.07.05; published 28.07.05

Please cite as:
Eysenbach G
"Is Cybermedicine Killing You?" - A Response From the Authors of the Cochrane Review: Author's Reply (2)
J Med Internet Res 2005;7(4):e42
doi: 10.2196/jmir.7.4.e42
PMID: 16236694

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© Gunther Eysenbach. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 28.7.2005. Except where otherwise noted, articles published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, including full bibliographic details and the URL (see "please cite as" above), and this statement is included.