BMJ: How to read a paper

Education and debate

Papers that go beyond numbers (qualitative research)

Trisha Greenhalgh, Rod Taylor Papers that summarise other papers (systematic reviews and meta-analyses)

Trisha Greenhalgh

Papers that tell you what things cost (economic analyses)

Trisha Greenhalgh

Papers that report diagnostic or screening tests

Trisha Greenhalgh

Papers that report drug trials

Trisha Greenhalgh

Statistics for the non-statistician. II: “Significant” relations and their pitfalls

Trisha Greenhalgh

Statistics for the non-statistician

Trisha Greenhalgh

Assessing the methodological quality of published papers

Trisha Greenhalgh

Getting your bearings (deciding what the paper is about)

Trisha Greenhalgh

The Medline database

Trisha Greenhalgh

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English: Histogram of sepal widths for Iris ve...
English: Histogram of sepal widths for Iris versicolor from Fisher’s Iris flower data set. SVG redraw of original image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Australian Prescriber: Glycated haemoglobin for the diagnosis of diabetes

English: The blue circle is the global symbol ...
English: The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes, introduced by the International Diabetes Federation with the aim of giving diabetes a common identity, supporting existing efforts to raise awareness of diabetes and placing the diabetes epidemic firmly in the public spotlight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael d’Emden
Chairman HbA1c Committee
Australian Diabetes Society

Clinical associate professor
Department of Medicine
The University of Queensland

Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital


The development of specific diabetes complications correlates with glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), the most accepted measure of chronic glycaemia.

An HbA1c of 48 mmol/mol (6.5%) or greater has now been recommended in Australia for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The HbA1c test should greatly simplify the diagnostic pathway, negating the need for oral glucose tolerance tests in the majority of patients. However, improved performance and precision of the assay with its standardisation across Australia is required.

Many clinical situations can impact on the HbA1c assay and the clinician needs to be aware of these if it is to be used appropriately for diagnosis.

Key words: blood glucose, diabetic retinopathy, HbA1c, hyperglycaemia

Aust Prescr 2014;37:98-100