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Can Protexo air filter improve quality of life for asthma sufferers by 15%?
A recent article in the Daily Mail claimed that Protexo, a machine that filters out allergens in the air, could improve the quality of life of asthma sufferers by 15%. I decided to ‘ask for evidence’. I sought out the peer-reviewed original study, which analysed the effect of the Protexo machine on asthma sufferers, to find out whether this was true or whether the article could be giving asthmatics false hope through misleading statistics.
The study was published in the journal Thorax. It found through a randomised control trial that there was a 15% difference between the group using the machine and the placebo group in the number of people whose quality of life (determined by a questionnaire) was increased by 0.5 points or more. This is the smallest clinically significant value – so I’m not convinced when the Daily Mail article suggests that ‘the quality of life for those that used the machine was 15% better than those given a dummy machine’. It was good that I could find a paper on which the claims were based, but this story highlights the importance of precise phrasing when reporting the results of clinical trials.