As in all single subject designs, the research question of interest should guide the single subject design used.RECENT EXAMPLES FROM LITERATUREFisher, although most often associated with multiple subject designs, first introduced a single subject experimental paradigm in 1945.1 Since the introduction, the single subject design has been commonly used within the social and educational sciences.6 This design has recently been used as a means of investigation in medicine involving such areas as drug therapy,9 gastroenterology,13 15 internal medicine,15 paediatrics,16 family medicine,17 cardiology,18 nutrition,19 and others.9,16,20 22 During the 1980s, McMaster University established a service to direct and collaborate with physicians in planning and conducting n of 1 trials.20 It is reported20 that of the 57 completed trials, 50 of those trials provided a definite clinical answer and in 15 cases the study results of the trial resulted in the physician changing the treatment of the patient.A recent literature example by Langer et al16 reports on a single subject randomised trial to assess the effect of cisapride on symptoms arising from gastro oesophageal reflux in paediatric patients. A placebo and cisapride phase were studied, with three study periods (A B A B A B). The outcome variables of interest were number of episodes per five days for vomiting pandora rings, gagging, and stools.
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