Medical Definition of Control (research)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

Control (research): In research, control subjects or control procedures permit comparison with experimental results. The first controlled clinical research was probably done in 1875 by the British naval surgeon James Lind who, on board the HMS Salisbury, gave sailors with scurvy either oranges or lemons or cider or vinegar or nutmeg (or another treatment) and after just six days discovered that the citrus-consuming sailors had recovered from scurvy, until then the scourge of extended sea voyages, while the sailors who had been given the other treatments remained uncured.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018