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Revisiting the value of Archie Cochrane’s contributions
  1. Xavier Bonfill1,2,3
  1. 1 Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health, Biomedical Research Institut Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2 CIBERESP, Madrid, Spain
  3. 3 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Xavier Bonfill, Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health, Biomedical Research Institut Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain; XBonfill{at}

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The thoughts of Cochrane (1909–1988), more known as Archie Cochrane, deserve to be treasured also by the next generations. His name has become famous worldwide thanks to the Cochrane Collaboration and before it, thanks to the publication of his book Effectiveness and efficiency. Random reflections on health services 1—of which we remember its 50th anniversary this year and was properly commemorated 25 years ago.2

Archie Cochrane’s thoughts cannot be fully understood apart from his life, so marked by the Spanish Civil War and the World War II,3–5 which shaped his antiauthoritarian spirit that he translated in not accepting uncritically any postulates. His proposals can be classified into five major themes: epidemiological research, critical thinking and controlled clinical trials, health services assessment, systematic reviews and humanist care.

His sound work in the Welsh mining valleys is a reference in field epidemiology, especially considering the limited means available in the 1950s and 1960s.2 4 He studied the association between the prevalent tuberculosis and pneumoconiosis, …

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  • Contributors XB wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.