192
A third of chemicals break EU safety laws
Companies are breaking EU law by marketing hundreds of potentially dangerous chemicals that are widely used in consumer and other products, according to a three year investigation into the chemical industry by national authorities.
RiskAssessment 
4 days ago
Research on research
For some, studying how the sausage is made is a fascinating intellectual pursuit in itself. But other metaresearchers are driven by a desire to clean up science's act. Their work has spawned many initiatives to make research more robust and efficient, from preregistering studies and establishing reporting standards to the recent push to make study data freely available for others to explore. Metaresearchers sometimes need a thick skin; not all scientists are grateful when their long-standing practices are questioned. And whether the reforms actually work has become a study object in itself.
BetterScience 
25 days ago
Lack of transparency in reporting narrative synthesis of quantitative data: a methodological assessment of systematic reviews
Most reviews used NS (56%, n=251/446), meta-analysis was the primary method of synthesis for 44%. In the detailed assessment of NS: 95% (n=71/75) did not describe NS methods; 43% (n=32) did not provide transparent links between the synthesis data and the synthesis reported in the text; of 14 reviews that identified heterogeneity in direction of effect, only one investigated the heterogeneity; and 36% (n=27) did not reflect on limitations of the synthesis.
SynthesisMethods  MetaAnalysis 
5 weeks ago
Mercury Exposure, Blood Pressure, and Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Dose–response Meta-analysis
A significant positive association between mercury and hypertension and between mercury and BP was identified. The exposure dose is an important factor in determining the toxic effects of mercury on hypertension.
SRCaseStudy 
9 weeks ago
Machine learning of toxicological big data enables read-across structure activity relationships (RASAR) outperforming animal test reproducibility | Toxicological Sciences | Oxford Academic
The novel models called RASARs (read-across structure activity relationship) use binary fingerprints and Jaccard distance to define chemical similarity. A large chemical similarity adjacency matrix is constructed from this similarity metric and is used to derive feature vectors for supervised learning. We show results on nine health hazards from two kinds of RASARs – ‘Simple’ and ‘Data Fusion’. The ‘Simple’ RASAR seeks to duplicate the traditional read-across method, predicting hazard from chemical analogues with known hazard data. The ‘Data Fusion’ RASAR extends this concept by creating large feature vectors from all available property data rather than only the modeled hazard.
AI 
july 2018
WHO/ILO work-related burden of disease and injury: Protocol for systematic reviews of occupational exposure to dusts and/or fibres and of the effect of occupational exposure to dusts and/or fibres on pneumoconiosis - ScienceDirect
We aim to systematically review studies on occupational exposure to dusts and/or fibres (Systematic Review 1) and systematically review and meta-analyse estimates of the effect of occupational exposure to dusts and/or fibres on pneumoconiosis (Systematic Review 2), applying the Navigation Guide systematic review methodology as an organizing framework.
SRCaseStudy  Protocol 
july 2018
WHO/ILO work-related burden of disease and injury: Protocol for systematic reviews of exposure to long working hours and of the effect of exposure to long working hours on stroke - ScienceDirect
We aim to systematically review studies on occupational exposure to long working hours (called Systematic Review 1 in the protocol) and systematically review and meta-analyse estimates of the effect of long working hours on stroke (called Systematic Review 2), applying the Navigation Guide systematic review methodology as an organizing framework, conducting both systematic reviews in tandem and in a harmonized way.
SRCaseStudy  Protocol 
july 2018
DISEASES: Text mining and data integration of disease–gene associations
We present a system for extracting disease–gene associations from biomedical abstracts. The system consists of a highly efficient dictionary-based tagger for named entity recognition of human genes and diseases, which we combine with a scoring scheme that takes into account co-occurrences both within and between sentences. We show that this approach is able to extract half of all manually curated associations with a false positive rate of only 0.16%. Nonetheless, text mining should not stand alone, but be combined with other types of evidence. For this reason, we have developed the DISEASES resource.
AI  TextMining 
july 2018
Unsupervised biomedical named entity recognition: Experiments with clinical and biological texts
We describe a stepwise solution to tackle the challenges of entity boundary detection and entity type classification without relying on any handcrafted rules, heuristics, or annotated data. A noun phrase chunker followed by a filter based on inverse document frequency extracts candidate entities from free text. Classification of candidate entities into categories of interest is carried out by leveraging principles from distributional semantics.
AI  NamedEntity 
july 2018
Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review protocol according to the OHAT approach for hazard identification
This is the first time that the OHAT systematic review protocol will be applied to investigate a possible causal association between exposure to paraquat and PD. Results from this study could serve as basis for regulatory agencies to define paraquat levels of concern, supporting its risk assessment process.
Protocol  SRCaseStudy 
may 2018
Quality of epidemiological studies: Procedural rules for uncertain science for policy, a case study on bisphenol-A
We found substantial heterogeneity of scientists’ judgments about the quality of epidemiological studies, even if the same criteria were used for the assessment. This heterogeneity is not present anymore in reports produced by expert groups, where results are presented under the collective signature of all the scientists involved. We argue that flattening heterogeneity can be an important problem when it is not the result of true scientific agreement but only a secondary effect of consensus-based working procedures of agencies that experts have to follow.
ExpertElicitation 
april 2018
The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete. Here's What's Next
The grand scientific challenges of our day are as often as not computational puzzles: How to integrate billions of base pairs of genomic data, and 10 times that amount of proteomic data, and historical patient data, and the results of pharmacological screens into a coherent account of how somebody got sick and what to do to make them better? How to make actionable an endless stream of new temperature and precipitation data, and oceanographic and volcanic and seismic data? How to build, and make sense of, a neuron-by-neuron map of a thinking brain? Equipping scientists with computational notebooks, or some evolved form of them, might bring their minds to a level with problems now out of reach.
Media 
april 2018
Something for everyone? 2nd REACH Review has received a mixed response
Many would agree that data gaps in registration dossiers are probably the biggest issue and that, as the Commission said, "work is still needed to rectify the important data gaps or the inappropriate adaptations in the registration dossiers". The most recent evidence suggests that about two thirds of dossiers have data gaps.
Media  SystematicMap 
april 2018
PRISMA and AMSTAR Show Systematic Reviews of Health Literacy and Cancer Screening are Good Quality
The quality of SRs in health literacy and cancer screening was generally good. Systematic reviewers should register or publish their protocols, include PRISMA and AMSTAR checklists when submitting SRs to journals, and self-evaluate their SRs before submission.
SRStandards 
april 2018
Coca cola war with public health science over obesity
The Global Energy Balance Network would address this problem by recruiting hundreds of scientists into a group that could act as a "credible honest broker in this battle" and "a reliable and trusted source for a balanced, science based view" – all while being covertly controlled by Coca-Cola.
Media 
april 2018
Software support for environmental evidence synthesis
Evidence-based environmental management is being hindered by difficulties in locating, interpreting and synthesizing relevant information among vast scientific outputs. But software developments that allow enhanced collation and sharing of data will help.
Automation 
march 2018
Meta-analysis and the science of research synthesis
Meta-analysis is the quantitative, scientific synthesis of research results. Since the term and modern approaches to research synthesis were first introduced in the 1970s, meta-analysis has had a revolutionary effect in many scientific fields, helping to establish evidence-based practice and to resolve seemingly contradictory research outcomes. At the same time, its implementation has engendered criticism and controversy, in some cases general and others specific to particular disciplines. Here we take the opportunity provided by the recent fortieth anniversary of meta-analysis to reflect on the accomplishments, limitations, recent advances and directions for future developments in the field of research synthesis.
SRStandards 
march 2018
Tools for assessing risk of reporting biases in studies and syntheses of studies: a systematic review | BMJ Open
We identified 18 tools that include an assessment of the risk of reporting bias. There are several limitations of existing tools for assessing risk of reporting biases, in terms of their scope, guidance for reaching risk of bias judgements and measurement properties. Development and evaluation of a new, comprehensive tool could help overcome present limitations.
RiskOfBias 
march 2018
Measurement error is often neglected in medical literature: a systematic review
Reporting of measurement error and methods to investigate or correct for it were quantified and characterized. 247 (44%) of the 565 original research publications reported on the presence of measurement error. 83% of these 247 did so with respect to the exposure and/or confounder variables. Only 18 publications (7% of 247) used methods to investigate or correct for measurement error. Consequently, it is difficult for readers to judge the robustness of presented results to the existence of measurement error in the majority of publications in high impact journals.
SRStandards  MeasurementError 
march 2018
Systematic reviews do not adequately report, or address missing outcome data in their analyses: a methodological survey
The most reported category in the methods and results sections was 'unexplained loss to follow-up' (n=34 in methods section and n=6 in the results section). Only 19 reported a method to handle missing data in their primary analyses, which was most often complete case analysis. Few reviews (n=9) reported in the methods section conducting sensitivity analysis to judge risk of bias associated with missing outcome data at the level of the meta-analysis; and only five of them presented the results of these analyses in the results section.
MissingOutcomeData  RiskOfBias 
march 2018
Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A and hyperactivity in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis
We used the OHAT systematic review framework to examine if early exposure to BPA has an effect on hyperactivity. We found that, in both rodents and humans, early exposure to BPA is linked to increased hyperactivity. Integration of animal and human evidence finds that BPA is a presumed hazard to human health. We suggest the development of clinical recommendations for avoiding BPA exposure, especially for pregnant women and children.
SRCaseStudy 
march 2018
Association between Exposure to p,p'-DDT and Its Metabolite p,p'-DDE with Obesity: Integrated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
We identified seven epidemiological studies reporting prospective associations between exposure to p,p'-DDE and adiposity assessed by body mass index (BMI) z-score. The results from the meta-analysis revealed positive associations between exposure to p,p'-DDE and BMI z-score (β=0.13 BMI z-score (95% CI: 0.01, 0.25) per log increase of p,p'-DDE). Two studies constituted the primary in vivo evidence. Both studies reported positive associations between exposure to p,p'-DDT and increased adiposity in rodents. We identified 19 in vivo studies and 7 in vitro studies that supported the biological plausibility of the obesogenic effects of p,p'-DDT and p,p'-DDE.
SRCaseStudy 
march 2018
DDT and Obesity in Humans: Exploring the Evidence in a New Way
The current review evaluated the body of research on DDT as an obesogen using what is known as the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. The authors applied this approach with guidance from two sources: the Handbook for Conducting a Literature-Based Health Assessment published by the National Toxicology Program Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT),10 and the Navigation Guide developed by a work group of nearly two dozen environmental health experts.11
Media  SRCaseStudy 
march 2018
How citation distortions create unfounded authority: analysis of a citation network
Paper showing how weak or false claims can become perceived as authoritative in the scientific literature, via mechanisms of citation bias, citation distortion, amplification and invention, with the concepts explained. SR methods in evidence synthesis would remedy much of this.
RiskOfBias 
february 2018
Stop this waste of people, animals and money
Predatory journals have shoddy reporting and include papers from wealthy nations, find David Moher, Larissa Shamseer, Kelly Cobey and colleagues.
SRStandards 
february 2018
Online tools supporting the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and systematic maps: a case study on CADIMA and review of existing tools
We show that CADIMA is the only available open access tool that is designed to: (1) assist throughout the systematic review/map process; (2) be suited to reviews broader than medical sciences; (3) allow for offline data extraction; and, (4) support working as a review team.
Tools 
february 2018
Evaluating Data Abstraction Assistant, a novel software application for data abstraction during systematic reviews: protocol for a randomized controlled trial
Data abstraction, a critical systematic review step, is time-consuming and prone to errors. Current standards for approaches to data abstraction rest on a weak evidence base. We developed the Data Abstraction Assistant (DAA), a novel software application designed to facilitate the abstraction process by allowing users to (1) view study article PDFs juxtaposed to electronic data abstraction forms linked to a data abstraction system, (2) highlight (or “pin”) the location of the text in the PDF, and (3) copy relevant text from the PDF into the form. We describe the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compares the relative effectiveness of (A) DAA-facilitated single abstraction plus verification by a second person, (B) traditional (non-DAA-facilitated) single abstraction plus verification by a second person, and (C) traditional independent dual abstraction plus adjudication to ascertain the accuracy and efficiency of abstraction.
DataExtraction 
january 2018
Robust research needs many lines of evidence
Triangulate, because replication alone will get us only so far. In some cases, routine replication might actually make matters worse. Consistent findings could take on the status of confirmed truths, when they actually reflect failings in study design, methods or analytical tools.
Media 
january 2018
Role of Risk of Bias in Systematic Review for Chemical Risk Assessment: A Case Study in Understanding the Relationship Between Congenital Heart Defects and Exposures to Trichloroethylene
The National Academy of Science has recommended that a risk of bias (RoB; credibility of the link between exposure and outcome) assessment be conducted on studies that are used as primary data sources for hazard identification and dose–response assessment. Few applications of such have been conducted. Using trichloroethylene and congenital heart defects (CHDs) as a case study, we explore the role of RoB in chemical risk assessment using the National Toxicology Program’s Office of Health Assessment and Translation RoB tool.
RiskOfBias 
january 2018
Facilitating healthcare decisions by assessing the certainty in the evidence from preclinical animal studies
Here we present how the GRADE approach could be used to rate the certainty in the evidence of preclinical animal studies in the context of therapeutic interventions. We also discuss the methodological challenges that we identified, and for which further work is needed. Examples are defining the importance of consistency within and across animal species and using GRADE’s indirectness domain as a tool to predict translation from animal models to humans.
GradingEvidence  ExternalValidity 
january 2018
Gray literature: An important resource in systematic reviews
This narrative review provides guidance about the benefits of including gray literature in a systematic review, and sources for searching through gray literature. An illustrative example of a search for evidence within gray literature sources is presented to highlight the potential contributions of such a search to a systematic review. Benefits and challenges of gray literature search methods are discussed, and recommendations made.
GrayLiterature  SearchMethods 
january 2018
Systematic review and evaluation of aspartame carcinogenicity bioassays using quality criteria
Purported SR of quality of primary studies, using Klimisch criteria and a suspiciously ad-hoc approach to critique. Funded by a low-calorie drinks trade group.
SRCaseStudy  PrimaryStudies  RiskOfBias 
january 2018
We need better animal research, better reported
BMJ editorial summarising key lessons from a selection of recently-published articles about the poor quality of preclinical research.
PrimaryStudies  Media 
january 2018
Unit of analysis issues in laboratory-based research
Many studies in the biomedical research literature report analyses that fail to recognise important data dependencies from multilevel or complex experimental designs. Statistical inferences resulting from such analyses are unlikely to be valid and are often potentially highly misleading. Failure to recognise this as a problem is often referred to in the statistical literature as a unit of analysis (UoA) issue. Here, by analysing two example datasets in a simulation study, we demonstrate the impact of UoA issues on study efficiency and estimation bias, and highlight where errors in analysis can occur.
StatsMethods 
january 2018
Inclusive development and prioritization of review questions in a highly controversial field of regulatory science
Paper describing how the EU GRACE framework was tested and implemented in the course of 14 systematic reviews or maps conducted on selected review questions spanning potential health, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts of GMOs, placing a particular emphasis on the stakeholder engagement strategy.
ProblemFormulation 
january 2018
What kind of systematic review should I conduct? A proposed typology and guidance for systematic reviewers in the medical and health sciences
In this paper a typology is proposed of various systematic review methodologies. The review types are defined and situated with regard to establishing corresponding questions and inclusion criteria. The ultimate objective is to provide clarified guidance for both novice and experienced reviewers and a unified typology with respect to review types.
ProblemFormulation  SRStandards 
january 2018
A call for action: Improve reporting of research studies to increase the scientific basis for regulatory decision-making
This is a call for action to scientific journals to introduce reporting requirements for toxicity and ecotoxicity studies. Such reporting requirements will support the use of peer-reviewed research studies in regulatory decision-making. Moreover, this could improve the reliability and reproducibility of published studies in general and make better use of the resources spent in research.
RiskAssessment  Reporting 
january 2018
Refining tools to bridge the gap between academia and chemical regulation: perspectives for WikiREACH
Experiences with WikiPharma show that there is interest in using peer-reviewed studies in regulatory decision-making. However, tools like WikiPharma require constant updates. Hence, as for “WikiREACH”, effective incentives are needed to motivate researchers to feed in relevant data for regulatory assessments. Besides, support by automated processes can aid in the labour-intensive activity of gathering data.
Automation 
january 2018
Declarations and conflicts of interest in WHO guidelines
The majority of WHO guidelines reported their funding sources, and the DOI and COI of external contributors in their guideline documents. However, there is a need for improvement, in particular for reporting of funders and their role, declaration processes, and management of COI.
Interests 
january 2018
Evidence & Gap Maps: A tool for promoting evidence informed policy and strategic research agendas
To provide an accessible resource for researchers, commissioners, and decision makers, EGMs provide thematic collections of evidence structured around a framework which schematically represents the types of interventions and outcomes of relevance to a particular sector. By mapping the existing evidence using this framework, EGMs provide a visual overview of what we know and do not know about the effects of different programs.
SystematicMap 
january 2018
Cochrane systematic reviews of interventions for risk factors correlate weakly with global risk factor burden: A cross-sectional study
Looking at the wrong things: Our study investigated whether Cochrane risk factor SRs align with global risk factor burden, demonstrating a weak positive correlation. Interventions modifying air pollution and dietary risks were sparsely studied, given disease burden.
january 2018
Technology-assisted risk of bias assessment in systematic reviews: A prospective cross-sectional evaluation of the RobotReviewer machine learning tool
Reliability (95% CI) was moderate for random sequence generation (0.48 (0.43, 0.53)), allocation concealment (0.45 (0.40, 0.51)), and blinding of participants and personnel (0.42 (0.36, 0.47)); fair for overall risk of bias (0.34 (0.25, 0.44)); and slight for blinding of outcome assessors (0.10 (0.06, 0.14)), incomplete outcome data (0.14 (0.08, 0.19)), and selective reporting (0.02 (-0.02, 0.05)). Reliability for blinding of participants and personnel (p<0.001), blinding of outcome assessors (p=0.005), selective reporting (p<0.001), and overall risk of bias (p<0.001) differed by topic. Sensitivity and specificity (95% CI) ranged from 0.20 (0.18, 0.23) to 0.76 (0.72, 0.80) and from 0.61 (0.56, 0.65) to 0.95 (0.93, 0.96), respectively.
Automation 
january 2018
A systematic decision-making process on the need for updating clinical practice guidelines proved to be feasible in a pilot study
The pilot study comprised 1) limited searches in Pubmed to identify new potentially relevant evidence, 2) an online survey among the members of the CPG group to assess the need for update and 3) a consensus conference for determination and prioritization of guideline sections with a high need for update. Subsequently, we conducted a second online survey to evaluate the procedure.
ProblemFormulation 
january 2018
Recommendations for Assessing the Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews of Health Care Interventions
We developed recommendations for assessing the risk of bias of studies of health care interventions specific to framing the focus and scope of risk-of-bias assessment; selecting risk of bias categories; choosing assessment instruments; and conducting, analyzing, and presenting results of risk-of-bias assessments. Key recommendations include transparency and reproducibility of judgments, separating risk of bias from other constructs such as applicability and precision, and evaluating risk of bias per outcome. We recommend against certain past practices, such as focusing on reporting quality, relying solely on study design or numerical quality scores, and automatically downgrading for industry sponsorship.
RiskOfBias 
december 2017
Systematic reviews with published protocols compared to those without: more effort, older search
Time from search to submission was longer for SRs with published protocols, while at the same time SRs with published protocols were better elaborated and reported. As quality, transparency and currency are cornerstones of SRs, we suggest critically discussing the current practice of publishing SR protocols.
Protocol  SRStandards 
december 2017
Fostering responsible research practices is a shared responsibility of multiple stakeholders
Commentary on drivers and solutions to the "reproducibility crisis" in biomedicine. "The big picture seems to be that scientists experience dilemmas and conflicts of interest in daily practice that arise from the fact that what is good for the validity and reliability of science is not always good for their personal career."
SRStandards 
december 2017
No difference in knowledge obtained from infographic or plain language summary of a Cochrane systematic review: three randomized controlled trials
Although the infographic format was perceived as more enjoyable for reading, it was not better than a traditional, text-based plain language summary in the translation of knowledge about findings from a Cochrane systematic review.
SRStandards 
december 2017
Evaluations of the uptake and impact of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Statement and extensions: a scoping review
Many studies have evaluated how well SRs adhere to the PRISMA Statement, and the pooled result of these suggest that reporting of many items is suboptimal. An update of the PRISMA Statement, along with a toolkit of strategies to help journals endorse and implement the updated guideline, may improve the transparency of SRs.
SRStandards 
december 2017
A retrospective comparison of systematic reviews with same-topic rapid reviews
It seems this review determined that most systematic reviews are methodologically no better than rapid reviews. So while RRs might give the same results as SRs, it's not saying much if the comparator SRs are giving bad results.
RapidReviews 
december 2017
Some Cochrane risk of bias items are not important in osteoarthritis trials: A meta-epidemiological study based on Cochrane reviews
Twenty reviews including 126 OA trials with a high degree of heterogeneity was included (τˆ2=0.1247). Among RoB domains only patient blinding had an impact on the results (reducing heterogeneity according to τˆ2 <7%). Inadequate blinding of patients yielded larger effects (SMDDifference = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.11 to 0.29, P=0.035). The most important study characteristic was trial size (heterogeneity reduced by 25%), with small trials reporting larger effects (SMDDifference = 0.29; 95% CI: 0.16 to 0.42, P<0.001).
RiskOfBias 
december 2017
Flaws in the application and interpretation of statistical analyses in systematic reviews of therapeutic interventions were common: a cross-sectional analysis
When considering the index (primary or first reported) meta-analysis of each SR, just over half (62/110 [56%]) used the random-effects model, but few (5/62 [8%]) interpreted the meta-analytic effect correctly (as the average of the intervention effects across all studies). A statistical test for funnel plot asymmetry was reported in 17/110 (15%) SRs, however, in only 4/17 (24%) did the test include the recommended number of at least 10 studies of varying size. Subgroup analyses accompanied 42/110 (38%) index meta-analyses, but findings were not interpreted with respect to a test for interaction in 29/42 (69%) cases, and the issue of potential confounding in the subgroup analyses was not raised in any SR.
StatsMethods 
december 2017
Between-trial heterogeneity in meta-analyses may be partially explained by reported design characteristics
Our interpretation of the results is limited by imprecise estimates. There is some indication that between-trial heterogeneity could be partially explained by reported design characteristics, and hence adjustment for bias could potentially improve accuracy of meta-analysis results.
RiskOfBias 
december 2017
Differences between protocols for randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews
How to game a protocol? Although we fully acknowledge the potential benefits of protocols for SRs, it is important to point out that there is a clear difference between protocols for SRs when compared to protocols for RCTs.
SRStandards  Protocol 
december 2017
Potential Developmental and Reproductive Impacts of Triclocarban: A Scoping Review
Scoping reviews are showing signs of improving in value through use of systematic methods to identify and characterise evidence so as to reliably identify health endpoints for future systematic review and to make evidence-based recommendations for future research. This scoping review found 32 relevant studies in humans, rodents, fish, invertebrates, and in vitro. Based on the robustness of the literature, the review identifies estrogenic activity, androgenic activity, and offspring growth as outcomes for potential systematic review.
SystematicMap 
december 2017
Association between Exposure to p,p′-DDT and Its Metabolite p,p′-DDE with Obesity: Integrated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
We classified p,p′-DDT and p,p′-DDE as “presumed” to be obesogenic for humans, based on a moderate level of primary human evidence, a moderate level of primary in vivo evidence, and a moderate level of supporting evidence from in vivo and in vitro studies.
SRCaseStudy 
december 2017
Make reviews public, says peer review expert Irene Hames
This is a nice read, about how peer-review might be improved without having to completely overhaul the system. Good comments and responses from Irene Hames below the line.
PeerReview  Media 
november 2017
Evaluation of a new method for librarian-mediated literature searches for systematic reviews
Single-line search strategies were prepared in a text document. Term completeness was ensured with a novel optimization technique. Macros in MS Word converted the syntaxes between databases and interfaces almost automatically. The ESM searches differed by using two times more databases, retrieving 44% more references, including 20% more studies in the final systematic review, but the time needed for the search was 8% of that of the control group.
SearchMethods 
november 2017
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Early-Life Exposure to Bisphenol A and Obesity-Related Outcomes in Rodents
Overall summary estimates indicated significant positive associations between BPA and fat weight [SMD=0.67 (95% CI: 0.53, 0.81)], triglycerides [SMD=0.97 (95% CI: 0.53, 1.40)], and FFA [SMD=0.86 (95% CI: 0.50, 1.22)], and a nonsignificant positive association with leptin levels [MD=0.37 (95% CI: -0.14, 0.87)] and a significant negative association with body weight were estimated [MD=-0.22 (95% CI: -0.37, -0.06)]. Subgroup analyses revealed stronger positive associations for most outcome measures in males and at doses below the current U.S. reference dose of 50μg/kg/d compared with doses above the reference dose. It should be noted that there was substantial heterogeneity across studies for all outcomes assessed and that there was insufficient information to assess risk of bias for most studies.
SRCaseStudy 
november 2017
Acute effects of fine particulate matter constituents on mortality: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis
Our meta-analysis suggests that (a) combustion elements such as EC and K have a stronger association with mortality, (b) single lag studies underestimate effects, and (c) estimates of PM2.5 and constituents differ across regions. Accounting for PM mass in constituent's health models may lead to more stable and comparable effect estimates across different studies.
SRCaseStudy 
november 2017
Weight of evidence approaches for the identification of endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals: Review and recommendations for EU regulatory application
This paper reviews WoE approaches to distil key recommendations specifically for the evaluation of potential ED properties of chemicals. In a manner, which is consistent with existing, published WoE frameworks, the WoE evaluation of ED properties can be divided into four phases: 1) Definition of causal questions and data gathering and selection, 2) Review of individual studies, 3) Data integration and evaluation, and 4) Drawing conclusions based on inferences. Recommendations are made on how to conduct each phase robustly and transparently to help guide the WoE evaluation of potential endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals within a European regulatory context.
WeightOfEvidence 
november 2017
Guidelines for performing systematic reviews in the development of toxicity factors
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) developed guidance on conducting systematic reviews during the development of chemical-specific toxicity factors. Using elements from publicly available frameworks, the TCEQ systematic review process was developed in order to supplement the existing TCEQ Guidelines for developing toxicity factors (TCEQ Regulatory Guidance 442).
SRStandards 
november 2017
Citation analysis is also useful to assess the eligibility of biomedical research works for inclusion in Living systematic reviews. - PubMed - NCBI
In this research letter, I explain how the analysis of the citation network and of the co-citation network of a given topic and the use of the snowballing techniques can be useful to verify the eligibility of a paper for inclusion in the Living Systematic Review (LSR) of that topic.
SearchMethods 
november 2017
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Early-Life Exposure to Bisphenol A and Obesity-Related Outcomes in Rodents
Overall summary estimates indicated significant positive associations between BPA and fat weight [SMD=0.67 (95% CI: 0.53, 0.81)], triglycerides [SMD=0.97 (95% CI: 0.53, 1.40)], and FFA [SMD=0.86 (95% CI: 0.50, 1.22)], and a nonsignificant positive association with leptin levels [MD=0.37 (95% CI: −0.14, 0.87)] and a significant negative association with body weight were estimated [MD=−0.22 (95% CI: −0.37, −0.06)]. Subgroup analyses revealed stronger positive associations for most outcome measures in males and at doses below the current U.S. reference dose of 50 μg/kg/d compared with doses above the reference dose. It should be noted that there was substantial heterogeneity across studies for all outcomes assessed and that there was insufficient information to assess risk of bias for most studies.
SRCaseStudy 
october 2017
Increasing value and reducing waste in data extraction for systematic reviews: tracking data in data extraction forms
Data extraction is one of the most time-consuming tasks in performing a systematic review. Extraction is often onto some sort of form. Sharing completed forms can be used to check quality and accuracy of extraction or for re-cycling data to other researchers for updating. However, validating each piece of extracted data is time-consuming and linking to source problematic.In this methodology paper, we summarize three methods for reporting the location of data in original full-text reports, comparing their advantages and disadvantages
DataExtraction 
october 2017
Gray literature: An important resource in systematic reviews
Gray literature's diverse formats and audiences can present a significant challenge in a systematic search for evidence. However, the benefits of including gray literature may far outweigh the cost in time and resource needed to search for it, and it is important for it to be included in a systematic review or review of evidence.
SearchMethods 
october 2017
Cleaning and asthma: A systematic review and approach for effective safety assessment
This proposed WoE method organizes diverse lines of data (i.e., asthma, sensitization, and irritation information) through a systematic, hierarchical framework that provides qualitatively categorized conclusions using hazard bands to predict a specific product or ingredient's potential for asthma induction. This work provides a method for prioritizing chemicals as a first step for quantitative and scenario-specific safety assessments based on their potential for inducing asthmatic effects. Acetic acid is used as a case study to test this framework.
SRCaseStudy  RiskAssessment 
october 2017
Review of reviews on exposures to synthetic organic chemicals and children's neurodevelopment: Methodological and interpretation challenges
Seventy-four relevant reviews were identified, and these were evaluated with respect to four methodological characteristics: (1) systematic inclusion/exclusion criteria and reproducible methods for search and retrieval of studies; (2) structured evaluation of underlying data quality; (3) systematic assessment of consistency across specific exposure-outcome associations; and (4) evaluation of reporting/publication bias. None of the 74 reviews fully met the criteria for all four methodological characteristics. Only four reviews met two criteria, and six reviews fulfilled only one criterion. Perhaps more importantly, the higher quality reviews were not able to meet all of the criteria owing to the shortcomings of underlying studies.
october 2017
Sloppy reporting on animal studies proves hard to change
Papers from the “treatment group” improved on only two ARRIVE items: husbandry and housing. For all others, authors had duly filled out the checklist but their papers were not actually more compliant. “Apparently, a checklist alone doesn't help much,” Ritskes-Hoitinga says. Another reason may be that PLOS ONE editors didn't enforce compliance.
Media 
october 2017
Developmental PBDE Exposure and IQ/ADHD in Childhood: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. - PubMed - NCBI
Our meta-analysis of four studies estimated a 10-fold increase (in other words, times 10) in PBDE exposure associated with a decrement of 3.70 IQ points (95% confidence interval: 0.83, 6.56). We concluded there was sufficient evidence supporting an association between developmental PBDE exposure and reduced IQ. Preventing developmental exposure to PBDEs could help prevent loss of human intelligence.
SRCaseStudy 
september 2017
Cumulative effects of prenatal-exposure to exogenous chemicals and psychosocial stress on fetal growth: Systematic-review of the human and animal evidence
We found that despite concern for the combined effects of environmental chemicals and stress, this is still an under-studied topic, though limited available human studies indicate chemical exposures exert stronger effects than stress, and this effect is generally larger in the presence of stress.
SRCaseStudy 
september 2017
Estimating the health benefits of environmental regulations
Assessing health benefits of policies addressing environmental contaminants is important for decision-making and for informing the public about how policy affects their welfare. Benefits analysis, one side of benefit-cost analysis (BCA), can be relatively straightforward when sufficient data are available on dose-response relationships, changes in exposure expected from a proposed policy, and other key inputs. But despite progress, benefits analysis for health effects is needlessly constrained by analytic practices that are scientifically outdated and inconsistent with economic theory.
Media 
september 2017
Most systematic reviews of high methodological quality on psoriasis interventions are classified as high risk of bias using ROBIS tool. - PubMed - NCBI
We classified 139 intervention SRs as displaying high/moderate/low methodological quality, and as high/low risk of bias. A high risk of bias was detected for most SRs classified as displaying high or moderate methodological quality by AMSTAR. When comparing ROBIS result profiles, responses to domain 4 signalling questions showed the greatest differences between bias risk assessments, while domain 2 items showed the least.
RiskOfBias 
september 2017
Favorable and Publicly-Funded Studies are More Likely to be Published: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
The probability of publication was significantly higher for studies whose characteristics were favorable (OR=2.04, 95%CI: 1.62, 2.57) or statistically significant (OR=2.07, 95%CI: 1.52, 2.81), had a multicenter design (OR=1.32, 95%CI: 1.16, 1.45), and were of later regulatory phase (3/4 vs 1/2, OR=1.34, 95%CI: 1.14, 1.49). Industry funding was modestly associated with lower (OR=0.81, 95%CI: 0.67, 0.99) probability of publication. An exploratory analysis of effect modification revealed that the effect of the study characteristic 'favorable results' on likelihood for publication was stronger for industry-funded studies.
SRStandards 
august 2017
Guidelines for reporting meta-epidemiological methodology research
Meta-epidemiological studies adopt a systematic review or meta-analysis approach to examine the impact of certain characteristics of clinical studies on the observed effect and provide empirical evidence for hypothesised associations. The unit of analysis in meta-epidemiological studies is a study, not a patient. The outcomes of meta-epidemiological studies are usually not clinical outcomes. In this guideline, we adapt items from the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) to fit the context of meta-epidemiological studies.
BetterScience 
august 2017
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