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Why the curious incident of the dog in the night was ‘contributory’
  1. Roger Graham Whittaker
  1. Correspondence to Dr Roger Graham Whittaker, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4LP, UK; roger.whittaker{at}

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Recent contributions to Practical Neurology have identified terms to be avoided.1 ,2 Can I suggest that the term ‘non-contributory’, when applied to a diagnostic test, is put in the dustbin too?

Working in a diagnostic speciality, I am weary of seeing ‘nerve conduction studies were non-contributory’, or similar, in clinic letters. This translates as ‘the tests were not abnormal’. However, as Sherlock Holmes fans will recall, the absence of an abnormal …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.