The summer holidays are well and truly upon us; an opportunity to spend time with the family and take a break. According to recent trends, one in five of us will opt for an all-inclusive type of holiday. But, according to some commentators, all that included food and drink comes with the added risk of … More How much do we really eat?
This is the pre publication script (version 2) of an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (version 3) One of the founding principles of evidence based medicine is to use the best available evidence to inform decisions made by patients and clinicians. Systematic reviews have made significant contributions to the … More All health researchers should begin their training by preparing at least one systematic review
In a previous blog, we discussed the value of reducing waste by conducting appropriate and timely systematic reviews. But how might we increase research efficiency? Well-conducted randomised controlled trials remain the most reliable way to demonstrate the true efficacy and cost-effectiveness for the majority of medical treatments. However, they are not without limitations. The average … More Can randomised controlled trials be more efficient?
Kamal R. Mahtani and Ben Goldacre, part of the COMPare project, write about the prevalence of outcome switching and why it matters. We have been monitoring outcome switching in five top journals, and writing letters to correct the record wherever we have found misreporting. You can read more about our project here, here and here. One peculiar response has been: “you’ve … More How often are outcomes switched in clinical trials? And why does it matter?
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
Neat pic posted on twitter by Prof Ieuan Ellis. Useful picture for teaching. Sadly an all too common misunderstanding.