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One of my friends, who corrected my manuscript, said this sentence wasn't immediately obvious to her.

The sample was screened for birth defects and major disabilities.

It's supposed to mean that the final sample/result of screening process didn't contain any people with birth defects and major disabilities, because we checked for it and rejected anybody who had such disabilities (to preclude alternative explanations for our findings).
Now I find that the word is less clear than I thought based on what I read in scientific papers (can mean both selecting AND rejecting).

I'm not sure if "screened for" is already clear enough (from the article context it should be obvious that we weren't interested in birth defects) or if I can use another preposition to be able to keep this simple sentence and still let everybody know that the final sample didn't contain any people with birth defects etc.

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Too localized. "Screened" could be a DSL term in the context. On the other hand, if the reviewer did not recognize the term, it's probably not defined in the domain and should be avoided. –  Kris Feb 16 '12 at 11:35
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could say:

The points pertaining to birth defects and major disabilities were screened out of the sample.

This should mean what you intend to convey. Check these:

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/screen-out

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/screen-out

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Or ...was screened to eliminate... –  FumbleFingers Feb 16 '12 at 19:03
    
For some reason I was happier with "the sample" as my subject, but yeah, this works and is clearer. Thank you. –  Ruben Feb 19 '12 at 9:42
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It could imply giving specific attention to, but not necessarily implying the nature of attention.

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