The global spend on biomedical research and development is estimated to be about $250 billion (£203 bn; €233 bn) each year—a not insignificant figure. In fact, it roughly equates to the amount that the UK government spends each year on its combined education, defence, and welfare budget. But suppose you heard that the UK government’s … More Using systematic reviews to reduce research waste—who really cares?
Many parents will know that managing the common problem of colic, in an otherwise healthy baby, can be very distressing. Symptoms usually present as excessive, and frequent, bouts of crying, often from about 6 weeks of age. Although the exact cause of colic is not known, it is generally found to be a self-limiting condition. … More Acupuncture for baby colic? – here’s my gripe
Patients must live with uncertainty until we have independent scrutiny of key trial data Warfarin reduces the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation but has limitations: a narrow therapeutic window, the need for regular monitoring, and risks of bleeding and drug-drug interactions. Partly because of these limitations, novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs or … More Have clinical trials of NOACs been fair tests of treatments for atrial fibrillation patients?
Spin [WITH OBJECT] Draw out and twist (the fibres of wool, cotton, or other material) to convert them into yarn, either by hand or with machinery: “they spin wool into the yarn for weaving” Does the name Malcolm Tucker ring a bell? The Malcolm Tucker I am referring to is the fictional character from the … More Beware evidence “spin” : an important source of bias in the reporting of clinical research
You don’t have to look too far to see the benefits of systematic reviews and their summary results. The well known Cochrane logo depicts a real example, highlighting the value of systematically pooling data for meta-analysis and in this case demonstrating the clear benefit of corticosteroids in accelerating lung maturation in preterm babies. Systematic reviews … More Utilising systematic reviews: is another trial necessary or ethical?
Selective reporting of outcomes is just one type of reporting bias and there are a number of ways in which it can arise. In the previous linked blog we gave an example of the effect of selective reporting bias through under-reporting of data. So what could have been done to avoid the “SwitchBP” scenario? Perhaps … More Selective reporting bias: types, impact and ways to reduce it
A large part of being a scientist is venturing into the unknown. You come up with hypotheses and test them through experiments. The problem is that more often than not, the experiments don’t work. By that I mean that they don’t give you the BIG interesting outcome you were hoping for, the one that will … More Selective reporting bias: do you really need to report every outcome?
Definition of bias ‘Any process at any stage of inference which tends to produce results or conclusions that differ systematically from the truth’. (Adapted from Murphy. The Logic of Medicine. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. 1976.) One of the key steps in evidence based medicine, and sadly one that is often forgotten, is to … More Bias – alive and kicking