EBM library: Systematic reviews in policymaking – part 2

The EBM library signposts some essential reading for the practice of Evidence-Based Medicine. In this part of the library, we highlight papers that reflect the role of systematic reviews in policymaking. In part 1 of this series two papers highlighted why systematic reviews are important in policymaking, and some challenges this may bring. In this second part, we … More EBM library: Systematic reviews in policymaking – part 2

EBM Library – Systematic reviews in policymaking: part 1

The EBM library signposts some essential reading for the practice of Evidence-Based Medicine. In this part of the library, we highlight papers that reflect the role of systematic reviews in policymaking. One of the purposes of conducting systematic reviews is to provide accessible evidence to inform clinical decisions. In healthcare, they may target patients, clinicians, … More EBM Library – Systematic reviews in policymaking: part 1

A CRASH course on the importance of systematic reviews in healthcare

“The notion of systematic review – looking at the totality of evidence – is quietly one of the most important innovations in medicine over the past 30 years.” – Ben Goldacre, 2011 What would make someone speak so highly of this type of research? Let us answer that by considering a case study, which itself … More A CRASH course on the importance of systematic reviews in healthcare

Acupuncture for baby colic? – here’s my gripe

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.[1] … More Acupuncture for baby colic? – here’s my gripe

‘Spin’ in reports of clinical research

Based on a previous blog and now published in the BMJ Evidence Based Medicine Journal . Abstract Clinical research is frequently hampered by flaws in its design or conduct. Such biases have been well documented. However, reports of clinical research may also be biased and present results in a more favourable way than they deserve … More ‘Spin’ in reports of clinical research

Beware evidence “spin” : an important source of bias in the reporting of clinical research

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

NIHR Adding Value in Research: ensuring that all new primary research is set in the context of a review of existing knowledge

As part of the “NIHR at 10” celebrations, I’ve been working with with some of the team from the NIHR Research on Research programme on updating the Adding Value in Research initiatives. Specifically: “Pillar 2: Appropriate Research Design, Conduct And Analysis”. The second way to add value in research is to ensure that new research is … More NIHR Adding Value in Research: ensuring that all new primary research is set in the context of a review of existing knowledge

All health researchers should begin their training by preparing at least one systematic review

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.[1] Systematic reviews have made significant contributions to the … More All health researchers should begin their training by preparing at least one systematic review

Can randomised controlled trials be more efficient?

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?

How often are outcomes switched in clinical trials? And why does it matter?

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?