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• Decline in vigilance: water, water, everywhere...

Poisson d'avrilWater, water everywhere!  And not a drop of critical judgement. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since certain French researchers dove in at the deep end over just what water can and can't do. And now we have "highly rigorous researchers" and their findings on the properties of aqua naturalis. A reminder to always test the waters before you get your feet wet.

april fool's!Highly rigorous researchers who publish their results, supported by charts, graphs and statistics galore, Prescrire is all for it. But as for the statistics regarding the peculiar properties of high dilutions of aqua naturalis and the effects on absorbent paper, as reported on page 307 of La revue Prescrire's April 2019 issue, let's just say it's all wet. Surely not the first, nor the last, announcement in this area that, upon careful scrutiny, just doesn't hold water. 

Poisson d'avril !And yes, our "News Flash" hyping the highly noteworthy results of "highly rigorous researchers" pertaining to the study of "high dilutions" was, you guessed it, an April fool's prank. 

37 years of "fishy business" in April
The traditional April prank by Prescrire's editors serves as an annual "booster shot" to remind us all that in the serious business of medical information, it pays to exercise critical judgement at all times.

In April 1983 Prescrire's "special correspondent" revealed to enthralled readers the enormous interest of protryptophane in the treatment of acute senility... And ever since, the experiment has been repeated yearly in La revue Prescrire's April issue.

And on a few occasions, Prescrire's "April fish" (as the seasonal pranks are known in France) have even made it into the English edition, Prescrire International. One of these is included below, in this sampling of Prescrire's yearly "Poissons d'avril".

Greatest hits from Prescrire's annual "Poisson d'avril" prank

©Prescrire 1 April 2019

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[Dés]illusions ?
Rev Prescrire 2019;
39 (426): 307.
Pdf in French, free

L'affaire de la mémoire
de l'eau : une controverse
scientifique et médiatique
Rev Prescrire 2019 :
39 (426) : 308.
Pdf, subscription to
French edition required

L'évaluation de l'homéopathie 
en 30 ans de revue Prescrire
(October 2018)
Free (in French)