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?
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
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
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?
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?
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