Identifying approaches for assessing methodological and reporting quality of systematic reviews: a descriptive study
The methods used to assess quality of SRs are diverse, and none has become universally accepted. The most commonly used quality assessment tools are AMSTAR, OQAQ, and PRISMA. As new tools and guidelines are developed to improve both the MQ and RQ of SRs, authors of methodological studies are encouraged to put thoughtful consideration into the use of appropriate tools to assess quality and reporting.
Science  SRStandards 
2 days ago
New approach to weight-of-evidence assessment of ecotoxicological effects in regulatory decision-making
Ecological risk assessments and risk management decisions are only as sound as the underlying information and processes to integrate them. It is important to develop transparent and reproducible procedures a priori to integrate often-heterogeneous evidence. Current weight-of-evidence (WoE) approaches for effects or hazard assessment tend to conflate aspects of the assessment of the quality of the data with the strength of the body of evidence as a whole. We take forward recent developments in the critical appraisal of the reliability and relevance of individual ecotoxicological studies as part of the effect or hazard assessment of prospective risk assessments and propose a streamlined WoE approach.
Science  WeightOfEvidence 
11 days ago
The GRADE Working Group clarifies the construct of certainty of evidence
Certainty of evidence is best considered as the certainty that a true effect lies on one side of a specified threshold, or within a chosen range. We define possible approaches for choosing threshold or range. For guidelines, what we call a fully contextualized approach requires simultaneously considering all critical outcomes and their relative value. Less contextualized approaches, more appropriate for systematic reviews and health technology assessments, include using specified ranges of magnitude of effect, e.g. ranges of what we might consider no effect, trivial, small, moderate, or large effects.
Science  GradingEvidence 
17 days ago
The Complex and Multi-Faceted Aspects of Conflicts of Interest
COI, a conflict between a professional responsibility and a personal interest, is at one end of this threat spectrum. COI creates a risk of bias. Bias, a prejudice for or against something, is in the middle of this spectrum. If a COI results in bias, the bias may affect a professional judgment. Dishonesty is deceit or fraud. Dishonesty is at the opposite end of this spectrum from COI. Each of these threats exists on a continuum. COI may be present or perceived. Bias may be conscious or unconscious. Dishonesty may be intentional or unintentional. This issue of JAMA contains a series of Viewpoints on the many facets of COIs.
Science  RiskOfBias 
18 days ago
Evidence-based policymaking is not like evidence-based medicine, so how far should you go to bridge the divide between evidence and policy?
We identify two important dilemmas, for scientists and researchers, that arise from our initial advice. First, effective actors combine evidence with manipulative emotional appeals to influence the policy agenda – should scientists do the same, or would the reputational costs outweigh the policy benefits? Second, when adapting to multi-level policymaking, should scientists prioritise ‘evidence-based’ policymaking above other factors? The latter includes governance principles such the ‘co-production’ of policy between local public bodies, interest groups and service users. This process may be based primarily on values and involve actors with no commitment to a hierarchy of evidence.
Science  ScienceAdvice 
25 days ago
Framework for assessing causality of air pollution-related health effects for reviews of the national ambient air quality standards
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) develops the Integrated Science Assessment (ISA), which contains evaluations of the policy-relevant science on the effects of criteria air pollutants and conveys critical science judgments to inform decisions on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This article discusses the approach and causal framework used in the ISAs to evaluate and integrate various lines of scientific evidence and draw conclusions about the causal nature of air pollution-induced health effects.
Science  RiskAssessment 
4 weeks ago
A new risk of bias checklist applicable to randomized trials, observational studies and systematic reviews was developed and validated to be used for systematic reviews focusing on drug adverse events
The developed checklist examines eight domains: study design and objectives, selection bias, attrition, adverse events information bias, other information bias, statistical methods to control confounding, other statistical methods, and conflicts of interest. The total number of questions varied from ten to 32 depending on the study design. Inter- and intra-rater agreement were fair with Kendall's W of 0.70 and 0.74, respectively. Median time to complete the checklist was 8.5 minutes.
Science  RiskOfBias 
4 weeks ago
Evaluation of a Rule-based Method for Epidemiological Document Classification Towards the Automation of Systematic Reviews
The generated performance of our text-mining approach demonstrated encouraging results for the identification of targeted information from observational epidemiological study abstracts related to environmental exposures. We have demonstrated that rules based on generic syntactic patterns in one corpus can be applied to other observational study design by simple interchanging the dictionaries aiming to identify certain characteristics (i.e., outcomes, exposures). At the document level, the recognized information can assist in the selection and categorization of studies included in a systematic review.
Science  SearchMethods 
4 weeks ago
Addressing Bias and Conflict of Interest Among Biomedical Researchers
Attempting to identify and eliminate the interests that make scientists who they are serves as a distraction to prevent the research community, professionals, and policy makers from dealing with bias related to financial conflicts of interest. The diversity of viewpoints, motivations, and methodological approaches of researchers will advance science, while the narrowing of interests to financial ones will limit it to questions, methods, and reporting that favor the financial interest.
Science  RiskOfBias 
5 weeks ago
Forcing consensus is bad for science and society
Science is a “show me”, not a “trust me”, field. Purporting to speak on behalf of all science, as the Nobel laureates sought to do with golden rice, conflated science, the scientific method and truth.
News  ScienceAdvice 
5 weeks ago
A primer on systematic reviews in toxicology
To provide the toxicology community with a starting point for conducting or understanding systematic reviews, we herein summarized available guidance documents from various fields of application. We have elaborated on the systematic review process by breaking it down into ten steps, starting with planning the project, framing the question, and writing and publishing the protocol, and concluding with interpretation and reporting. In addition, we have identified the specific methodological challenges of toxicological questions and have summarized how these can be addressed.
Science  SRStandards 
5 weeks ago
Importance of the distinction between quality of methodology and quality of reporting
REMARK addresses only how well authors reported key aspects of their methods and the findings of their research. Good reporting helps readers to judge whether the study design and analysis and interpretation were sound. But good reporting is not a measure of methodological quality, so a “REMARK score” cannot validly be used in that way. A similar error has been seen with the reporting of observational studies.
Science  SRStandards 
6 weeks ago
Systematic review finds that study data not published in full text articles have unclear impact on meta-analyses results in medical research
Although we may anticipate that systematic reviews and meta-analyses not including unpublished or grey literature study results are likely to overestimate the treatment effects, current empirical research shows that this is only the case in a minority of reviews. Therefore, currently, a meta-analyst should particularly consider time, effort and costs when adding such data to their analysis. Future research is needed to identify which reviews may benefit most from including unpublished or grey data.
Science  PublicationBias 
6 weeks ago
Milk and dairy consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality: dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
A cheesy meta-analysis finds "neutral associations between dairy products and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality".
SRCaseStudy  Science 
6 weeks ago
An academic researcher's guide to increased impact on regulatory assessment of chemicals
However, in practice, standard tests conducted under GLP and sponsored and provided by industry are predominantly used. Peer-reviewed studies from independent sources are often disregarded or disputed since they often do not comply with regulatory data requirements and quality criteria. To help bridge such a gap, the aim of this paper is to give an overview of the general workings of legislation of chemicals and propose a set of actions to increase the usability of research data.
Science  BetterScience  ScienceAdvice 
7 weeks ago
Methodology of the ‘craft’ of scientific advice for policy and practice
Scientific advice for policy should be seen as a craft that needs professional development as such. A crucial requirement is that, as science itself, science-informed advice for policy and practice can and should only be convincing when it is based on solid methodology. Essential steps include problem formulation, synthesising evidence, and building the bridge to implementation - but not crossing it.
Science  ScienceAdvice 
7 weeks ago
Grey literature in systematic reviews: a cross-sectional study of the contribution of non-English reports, unpublished studies and dissertations to the results of meta-analyses in child-relevant reviews
The majority of SRs searched for non-English and unpublished studies; however, these represented a small proportion of included studies and rarely impacted the results and conclusions of the review. Inclusion of these study types may have an impact in situations where there are few relevant studies, or where there are questionable vested interests in the published literature. We found substantial variation in whether SRs searched for dissertations; in most reviews that included dissertations, these had little impact on results.
Science  PublicationBias 
7 weeks ago
On the Need for Quantitative Bias Analysis in the Peer-Review Process
Reviewers who insist that quantitative bias analysis be incorporated into the design, conduct, presentation, and interpretation of epidemiologic research could substantially strengthen the process. In the present commentary, we demonstrate how quantitative bias analysis can be used by investigators and authors, reviewers, funding agencies, and editors. By utilizing quantitative bias analysis in the peer-review process, editors can potentially avoid unnecessary rejections, identify key areas for improvement, and improve discussion sections by shifting from speculation on the impact of sources of error to quantification of the impact those sources of bias may have had.
Science  RiskOfBias  SRStandards 
7 weeks ago
The albatross plot: A novel graphical tool for presenting results of diversely reported studies in a systematic review.
Meta-analytical methods can only be used if comparable effect sizes can be computed from each study, and this may not be the case due to variation in how the studies were done or limitations in how their results were reported. Other methods, such as vote counting, are then used to summarize the results of these studies, but most of these methods are limited in that they do not provide any indication of the magnitude of effect. We propose a novel plot, the albatross plot, which requires only a 1-sided P value and a total sample size from each study (or equivalently a 2-sided P value, direction of effect and total sample size).
Science  MetaAnalysis 
7 weeks ago
Systematic review of the potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents, and children
The results of this systematic review support a shift in caffeine research to focus on characterizing effects in sensitive populations and establishing better quantitative characterization of interindividual variability (e.g., epigenetic trends), subpopulations (e.g., unhealthy populations, individuals with preexisting conditions), conditions (e.g., coexposures), and outcomes (e.g., exacerbation of risk-taking behavior) that could render individuals to be at greater risk relative to healthy adults and healthy pregnant women. This review, being one of the first to apply systematic review methodologies to toxicological assessments, also highlights the need for refined guidance and frameworks unique to the conduct of systematic review in this field.
Science  SRCaseStudy 
7 weeks ago
Bias Analysis for Uncontrolled Confounding in the Health Sciences
We review methods that can be applied during or after data analysis to adjust for uncontrolled confounding for different outcomes, confounders, and study settings. We discuss relevant bias formulas and how to obtain the required information for applying them. Finally, we develop a new intuitive generalized bias analysis framework for simulating and adjusting for the amount of uncontrolled confounding due to not measuring and adjusting for one or more confounders.
Science  RiskOfBias 
8 weeks ago
The science of stakeholder engagement in research: classification, implementation, and evaluation
We propose a classification system with definitions to determine where projects lie on the stakeholder engagement continuum. We discuss the key elements of implementation and evaluation of stakeholder engagement in research posing key questions to consider when doing this work. We commend and critique the work of Hamilton et al. in their multilevel stakeholder engagement in a VA implementation trial of evidence-based quality improvement in women's health primary care.
ProblemFormulation  Science 
9 weeks ago
Can systematic reviews contribute to regulatory decisions?
Systematic reviews may simultaneously produce new findings and summarize existing knowledge, with the potential of informing regulatory decisions more pragmatically and more rapidly than other research designs. We suggest that national and international calls on independent research on drugs should not put primary clinical research against systematic reviews, as it implies a focus on the methods instead of on the questions being asked.
BetterScience  Science 
10 weeks ago
Can abstract screening workload be reduced using text mining? User experiences of the tool Rayyan
After screening half of the search result with Rayyan, 86% to 99% of the references deemed relevant to the study were identified. Of those studies included in the final reports, 96% to 100% were already identified in the first half of the screening process. Users rated Rayyan 4.5 out of 5.
SearchMethods  Science 
10 weeks ago
Statistics Myth Busters: Dispelling Common Misperceptions Held by Readers of the Biomedical Literature
The myths discussed involve 3 common areas of consideration when evaluating any clinical study: assessing the risk of bias from confounding (propensity score analysis and multivariable modeling), interpretation of the main study findings (P values and hypothesis testing), and secondary evaluations (subgroup analyses). Literature examples are used to illustrate each of the topics.
MetaAnalysis  Science 
10 weeks ago
Rating the certainty in evidence in the absence of a single estimate of effect
Regardless of whether a single pooled effect estimate is generated or whether data are summarised narratively, decision makers need to know the certainty in the evidence in order to make informed decisions. In this guide, we illustrate how to apply the constructs of the GRADE (Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) approach to assess the certainty in evidence when a meta-analysis has not been performed and data were summarised narratively.
GradingEvidence  Science 
10 weeks ago
Using Ontology-based Semantic Similarity to Facilitate the Article Screening Process for Systematic Reviews
We demonstrated using ontology-based semantics to facilitate the identification of relevant articles for SRs. Effective concepts and concept relations derived from UMLS ontologies can be utilized to establish article semantic relationships. Our approach provided a promising performance and can easily apply to any SR topics in the biomedical domain with generalizability.
SearchMethods  Science 
11 weeks ago
Systematic reviews of economic evaluations: how extensive are their searchers?
Economic evaluation (EE) is an accepted element of decision making and priority setting in healthcare. As the number of published EEs grows, so does the number of systematic reviews (SRs) of EEs. Although search methodology makes an important contribution to SR quality, search methods in reviews of EEs have not been evaluated in detail. We investigated the resources used to identify studies in recent, published SRs of EEs, and assessed whether the resources reflected recommendations.
SRStandards  SocioEconomics  Science 
11 weeks ago
Scientists Struggle to Determine Risky Levels of PFCs in Drinking Water
Scientists are having a difficult time determining what levels may be dangerous because potential health effects vary among species in animal studies and are hard to isolate in human studies. No “unsafe” limits have been declared, leaving residents and municipalities uncertain whether to take corrective actions.
News  RiskAssessment 
11 weeks ago
A rapid method to increase transparency and efficiency in web-based searches
Here, we describe novel methods for downloading results from searches of websites and web-based search engines into comprehensive databases as citations using free-to-use software. Citations from web-based search engines can then be integrated into review procedures along with those from traditional online bibliographic databases.
SearchMethods  Science 
12 weeks ago
What leads to bias in the scientific literature? New study tries to answer
In a paper released today, researchers led by Daniele Fanelli and John Ioannidis — both at Stanford University — suggest that the so-called “pressure-to-publish” does not appear to bias studies toward larger so-called “effect sizes.” Instead, the researchers argue that other factors were a bigger source of bias than the pressure-to-publish, namely the use of small sample sizes (which could contain a skewed sample that shows stronger effects), and relegating studies with smaller effects to the “gray literature,” such as conference proceedings, PhD theses, and other less publicized formats.
News  PublicationBias 
march 2017
Meta-assessment of bias in science
Science is said to be suffering a reproducibility crisis caused by many biases. How common are these problems, across the wide diversity of research fields? We probed for multiple bias-related patterns in a large random sample of meta-analyses taken from all disciplines. The magnitude of these biases varied widely across fields and was on average relatively small. However, we consistently observed that small, early, highly cited studies published in peer-reviewed journals were likely to overestimate effects. We found little evidence that these biases were related to scientific productivity, and we found no difference between biases in male and female researchers. However, a scientist’s early-career status, isolation, and lack of scientific integrity might be significant risk factors for producing unreliable results.
PublicationBias  Science 
march 2017
Real-life effectiveness of 'improved' stoves and clean fuels in reducing PM2.5 and CO: Systematic review and meta-analysis
Although effective at reducing indoor air pollution, neither 'improved' solid fuel stoves nor clean fuels (probably due to neighbourhood contamination) achieve PM2.5 concentrations close to 24-hour air quality guidance values set by the WHO. Household energy policy should therefore prioritise community-wide use of clean fuels.
SRCaseStudy  Science 
march 2017
Rapid evidence assessment: increasing the transparency of an emerging methodology
This article discusses the lack of transparency and limited critical appraisal that can occur in REA, and goes on to propose general principles for conducting a REA. The approach that we describe is consistent with the principles underlying systematic review methodology, but also makes allowances for the rapid delivery of information as required while utilizing explicit and reproducible methods at each stage.
RapidReviews  Science 
march 2017
Protocol registration of systematic reviews published in high-impact factor journals: A meta-epidemiological study
Among the 284 included reviews, 60 (21%) protocols were registered. The proportion of registration increased from 5.6% in 2009 to 27% in 2015 (p for trend < 0.001). Protocol registration was not associated with outcome reporting bias (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.39-1.86). The association between Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) adherence and protocol registration was not statistically significant (OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.59-2.01). Six years after the launch of the PRISMA statement, the proportion of protocol registration in high-impact journals has increased some but remains low.
SRStandards  Protocol  Science 
march 2017
Analysis of the time and workers needed to conduct systematic reviews of medical interventions using data from the PROSPERO registry
The mean estimated time to complete the project and publish the review was 67.3 weeks (IQR=42). The number of studies found in the literature searches ranged from 27 to 92 020; the mean yield rate of included studies was 2.94% (IQR=2.5); and the mean number of authors per review was 5, SD=3. Funded reviews took significantly longer to complete and publish (mean=42 vs 26 weeks) and involved more authors and team members (mean=6.8 vs 4.8 people) than those that did not report funding (both p<0.001).
ResourceReqs  Science 
march 2017
A critical appraisal of the methodology and quality of evidence of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of traditional Chinese medical nursing interventions
There is room for improvement in the methodological quality of systematic reviews/meta-analyses of TCMN interventions published in Chinese journals. Greater efforts should be devoted to ensuring a more comprehensive search strategy, clearer specification of the interventions of interest in the eligibility criteria and identification of meaningful outcomes for clinicians and patients (consumers). The overall quality of evidence among reviews remains suboptimal, which raise concerns about their roles in influencing clinical practice.
SRStandards  Science 
march 2017
Systematic Reviews in Burns Care: Poor Quality and Getting Worse
The overall quality of the 44 included burns care systematic reviews was low, with an average methodological quality of 55% and an average compliance with reporting guidelines of 70%. Correlation analysis showed that adherence to reporting guidelines has been relatively stable, but methodological quality has deteriorated (r = -.32, P < .05). Cochrane reviews had lower citation rates than reviews published in other journals, whereas reviews that included meta-analyses had more citations. Quality did not have a significant effect on citation rate. Health professionals working in burns should be able to expect that systematic reviews published in their field are of a high standard. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
SRStandards  Science 
march 2017
Effect of standardized training on the reliability of the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool: a prospective study
A very small trial finds significant improvement in between-rater agreement in application of the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool, when novice users are given standardised training.
RiskOfBias  Science 
march 2017
A parsimonious weight function for modeling publication bias
Quantitative research literature is often biased because studies that fail to find a significant effect (or that demonstrate effects in an undesired or unexpected direction) are less likely to be published. This phenomenon, termed publication bias, can cause problems when researchers attempt to synthesize results using meta-analytic methods. Various techniques exist that attempt to estimate and correct meta-analyses for publication bias. However, there is no single method that can (a) account for continuous moderators by including them within the model, (b) allow for substantial data heterogeneity, (c) produce an adjusted mean effect size, (d) include a formal test for publication bias, and (e) allow for correction when only a small number of effects is included in the analysis. This article describes a method that we believe helps fill that gap.
PublicationBias  Science 
march 2017
Meta-analytical methods to identify who benefits most from treatments: daft, deluded, or deft approach?
Identifying which individuals benefit most from particular treatments or other interventions underpins so-called personalised or stratified medicine. However, single trials are typically underpowered for exploring whether participant characteristics, such as age or disease severity, determine an individual’s response to treatment. A meta-analysis of multiple trials, particularly one where individual participant data (IPD) are available, provides greater power to investigate interactions between participant characteristics (covariates) and treatment effects. We use a published IPD meta-analysis to illustrate three broad approaches used for testing such interactions.
MetaAnalysis  Science 
march 2017
Cardiovascular risk from water arsenic exposure in Vietnam: Application of systematic review and meta-regression analysis in chemical health risk assessment
A systematic review (SR) and meta-analysis cannot provide the endpoint answer for a chemical risk assessment (CRA). The objective of this study was to apply SR and meta-regression (MR) analysis to address this limitation using a case study in cardiovascular risk from arsenic exposure in Vietnam.
MetaAnalysis  RiskAssessment  Science 
march 2017
ECHA flags widespread chemical toxicity data gaps
A report published on 27 February reveals that the agency had to demand more information from the manufacturers of 168 of the 184 potentially hazardous chemicals (91%) that it screened in 2016.1 Only 16 dossiers (9%) were judged acceptable.
News  RiskAssessment 
march 2017
Response: “Application of the Navigation Guide systematic review methodology to the evidence for developmental and reproductive toxicity of triclosan”
Response to correspondence critiquing the Navigation Guide framework, providing additional guidance in a number of areas which may not be obvious to all readers.
SRCaseStudy  Science 
february 2017
More clarity needed in the Navigation Guide systematic review framework
Correspondence piece critiquing some aspects of the Navigation Guide framework for conducting systematic reviews.
SRCaseStudy  Science 
february 2017
Synthesizing Evidence in Public Policy Contexts: The Challenge of Synthesis When There Are Only a Few Studies
Using examples from the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse as case studies, we conclude with a discussion of Bayesian meta-analysis as a potential solution to the challenges encountered when attempting to draw inferences about the effectiveness of interventions from a small number of studies.
MetaAnalysis  Science 
february 2017
Industry sponsorship and research outcome
Sponsorship of drug and device studies by the manufacturing company leads to more favorable efficacy results and conclusions than sponsorship by other sources. Our analyses suggest the existence of an industry bias that cannot be explained by standard 'Risk of bias' assessments.
RiskOfBias  Science 
february 2017
Progress in evidence-based medicine: a quarter century on
EBM's enduring contributions to clinical medicine include placing the practice of medicine on a solid scientific basis, the development of more sophisticated hierarchies of evidence, the recognition of the crucial role of patient values and preferences in clinical decision making, and the development of the methodology for generating trustworthy recommendations.
BetterScience  Science 
february 2017
Rules of evidence (Are evidence standards used by chemical regulators excluding solid science?)
A common plastic additive called bisphenol A (BPA) has become the focus of major controversy. It can weakly mimic the human hormone estrogen, and leach out of products—including plastic drinking bottles and medical supplies—in small quantities. As a result, some companies and governments have moved to remove BPA from certain products, even though there is still fierce debate among regulators over BPA's safety. Some researchers say that debate is being ill-served by rules developed in the 1960s and '70s, in response to a chemical testing scandal, that are designed to make sure regulators consider only the strongest evidence. But the critics argue the rules now prevent regulators from considering high-quality, cutting-edge academic studies that don't follow the rules. A U.S. government–funded initiative is now trying to bridge the divide.
News  SRStandards  Controversy 
february 2017
Knowledge Syntheses in Medical Education: Demystifying Scoping Reviews
In this Perspective, the authors examine the nature, purpose, value, and appropriate use of one particular method: scoping reviews. Scoping reviews are iterative and flexible and can serve multiple main purposes: to examine the extent, range, and nature of research activity in a given field; to determine the value and appropriateness of undertaking a full systematic review; to summarize and disseminate research findings; and to identify research gaps in the existing literature. Despite the advantages of this methodology, there are concerns that it is a less rigorous and defensible means to synthesize HPE literature.
RapidReviews  Science 
february 2017
An Evidence-Based Approach to Conducting Systematic Reviews on CKD
This review article will share best practices associated with conducting systematic reviews on the topic of CKD using an 8-step process and an evidence-based approach to retrieving and abstracting data.
SRStandards  Science 
february 2017
Methodological expectations of Campbell Collaboration intervention reviews: Reporting standards - The Campbell Collaboration
The Campbell Collaboration has published the latest update to its reporting standards for systematic reviews in social sciences research.
SRStandards  Science 
february 2017
Raising the bar for systematic reviews with Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR)
Inspired by findings of low and stagnant standards for conduct of SRs, the BJUI is launching a new initiative to raise awareness for the issue of methodological quality of systematic reviews among its readership and raise the bars for its contributors. Future systematic review authors will be asked to submit an AMSTAR-based checklist to provide enhanced transparency about its methods that will be reviewed as part of the editorial review process.
News  SRStandards 
february 2017
Effects of Neonicotinoid Pesticide Exposure on Human Health: A Systematic Review
Eight studies investigating the human health effects of exposure to neonics were identified. Four examined acute exposure: Three neonic poisoning studies reported two fatalities (n = 1,280 cases) and an occupational exposure study of 19 forestry workers reported no adverse effects. Four general population studies reported associations between chronic neonic exposure and adverse developmental or neurological outcomes, including tetralogy of Fallot (AOR 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1, 5.4), anencephaly (AOR 2.9, 95% CI: 1.0, 8.2), autism spectrum disorder [AOR 1.3, 95% credible interval (CrI): 0.78, 2.2], and a symptom cluster including memory loss and finger tremor (OR 14, 95% CI: 3.5, 57).
SRCaseStudy  Science 
february 2017
Fit for what? CHEM Trust’s views on the current evaluation of the EU’s main chemicals law REACH
Currently REACH is neither effective nor efficient in ensuring that sufficient information of the requisite quality is compiled in the REACH registration phase.
News  RiskAssessment 
february 2017
Does knowledge brokering improve the quality of rapid review proposals? A before and after study
This study found that knowledge brokering increased the perceived clarity of information provided in Evidence Check rapid review proposals and the confidence of reviewers that they could meet policy makers' needs. Further research is needed to identify how the knowledge brokering process achieves these improvements and to test the applicability of the findings in other rapid review programs.
RapidReviews  Science 
january 2017
Hypothesis-driven weight-of-evidence analysis of endocrine disruption potential: a case study with triclosan
Using data from multiple animal species and in vitro systems, this systematic and transparent WoE assessment indicated that triclosan is not acting as an agonist or antagonist within the estrogen, androgen, thyroid, or steroidogenic pathways and is not impacting endocrine pathways as a lead or primary mode of toxicity.
WeightOfEvidence  Science 
january 2017
Pre-market chemical risk assessments based on only a small proportion of available research
For two randomly-chosen high production chemicals, despite new European Union mandates to evaluate all data, just 13% of the herbicide bentazon and 15% of the flame-retardant hexabromocyclododecane’s published toxicity studies were found in their pre-market RA, and a systematic review on bentazon concludes it has greater hazards than indicated in its RA.
News  RiskAssessment 
january 2017
'Alternative facts' are now threatening our roast potatoes. Enough!
Today, British watchdogs have warned people that roast potatoes can cause cancer. The rationale seems to be that roast/burnt foods contain acrylamide, which is believed to be a carcinogen. Makes sense. But the actual science hasn’t found any link between typical levels of acrylamide in the diet and cancer. And it’s not for want of looking.
News  Controversy 
january 2017
A Critical Review of Search Strategies Used in Recent Systematic Reviews Published in Selected Prosthodontic and Implant-Related Journals: Are Systematic Reviews Actually Systematic?
More than 95% of recent prosthodontic and implant review articles published in the selected journals failed to use search strategies that were systematic, and this undermines the conclusions. Many resources are available to help investigators design search strategies for systematic reviews that minimize the risk of omitting important data, including the simple criteria presented in this paper.
SearchMethods  SRStandards  Science 
january 2017
PubMed search filters for the study of putative outdoor air pollution determinants of disease
Several PubMed search filters have been developed in contexts other than environmental. We aimed at identifying efficient PubMed search filters for the study of environmental determinants of diseases related to outdoor air pollution.
SearchMethods  Science 
january 2017
Barriers, facilitators, strategies and outcomes to engaging policymakers, healthcare managers and policy analysts in knowledge synthesis: a scoping review protocol
Engaging policymakers, healthcare managers and policy analysts in the conduct of knowledge synthesis can help increase its impact. This is particularly important for knowledge synthesis studies commissioned by decision-makers with limited timelines, as well as reviews of health policy and systems research. A scoping review will be conducted to assess barriers, facilitators, strategies and outcomes of engaging these individuals in the knowledge synthesis process.
Protocol  EvidenceMapping  Science 
january 2017
A systematic scoping review of the evidence for consumer involvement in organisations undertaking systematic reviews: focus on Cochrane
There was evidence of highly variable levels and types of consumer involvement within and beyond Cochrane, but limited evidence for what makes the most effective methods and levels of involving consumers in review production. Where evidence of impact was found at the level of individual reviews and review groups it underlined the need for properly resourced and supported processes in order to derive the greatest benefit from the lived experiences of consumers who are willing to be involved.
ProblemFormulation  Science 
january 2017
Choosing Important Health Outcomes for Comparative Effectiveness Research: An Updated Review and Identification of Gaps
The COMET (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) Initiative promotes the development and application of core outcome sets (COS), including relevant studies in an online database. In order to keep the database current, an annual search of the literature is undertaken. This study aimed to update a previous systematic review, in order to identify any further studies where a COS has been developed. Furthermore, no prioritization for COS development has previously been undertaken, therefore this study also aimed to identify COS relevant to the world's most prevalent health conditions.
ProblemFormulation  Science 
january 2017
Quality of conduct and reporting in rapid reviews: an exploration of compliance with PRISMA and AMSTAR guidelines
Transparency and inadequate reporting are significant limitations of rapid reviews. Scientific editors, authors and producing agencies should ensure that the reporting of conduct and findings is accurate and complete. Further research may be warranted to explore reporting and conduct guidelines specific to rapid reviews and how these guidelines may be applied across the spectrum of rapid review approaches.
RapidReviews  SRStandards  Science 
january 2017
Understanding scoping reviews: Definition, purpose, and process
The definition and process of scoping review are evolving. Although there is controversy regarding the methodology, there is increasing visibility of scoping review methodology in the published literature since the year 2000, with over 500 published reviews currently available.
RapidReviews  Science 
january 2017
Using rapid reviews: an example from a study conducted to inform policy-making
There is no single best way to conduct a rapid review but researchers can ensure they are adhering to best practice by being systematic, having subject and methodological expertise on the review team, reporting the details of the approach they took, highlighting the limitations of the approach, engaging in good evidence synthesis and communicating regularly with end users, other team members and experts.
RapidReviews  Science 
january 2017
An Evidence-Based Approach to Scoping Reviews
The development of the methodology focused on five stages of the protocol and review development. These were identifying the research question by clarifying and linking the purpose and research question, identifying the relevant studies using a three-step literature search in order to balance feasibility with breadth and comprehensiveness, careful selection of the studies to using a team approach, charting the data and collating the results to identify the implications of the study findings for policy, practice, or research.
RapidReviews  Science 
january 2017
Immunotoxicity Associated with Exposure to Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) or Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS)
The NTP conducted a systematic review to evaluate the evidence on exposure to PFOA or PFOS and immune-related health effects to determine whether exposure to either chemical is associated with immunotoxicity for humans. The NTP concludes that both PFOA and PFOS are presumed to be an immune hazard to humans based on a high level of evidence from animal studies that PFOA and PFOS suppressed the antibody response and a moderate level of evidence from studies in humans.
AgencySR  SRCaseStudy  Science 
january 2017
EFSA: Glyphosate ban debate ‘legitimate’ but not about science
The debate on the toxicity of pesticides and the role of big multinationals in agriculture is a legitimate one to have, says Bernhard Url, the head of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). But it goes beyond the realm of science, he told EurActiv in an interview, calling on politicians to assume their responsibilities and make their own decisions.
News  ScienceAdvice 
january 2017
A manifesto for reproducible science
Here we argue for the adoption of measures to optimize key elements of the scientific process: methods, reporting and dissemination, reproducibility, evaluation and incentives. There is some evidence from both simulations and empirical studies supporting the likely effectiveness of these measures, but their broad adoption by researchers, institutions, funders and journals will require iterative evaluation and improvement.
BetterScience  Science 
january 2017
Basics of meta-analysis: I2 is not an absolute measure of heterogeneity
When we speak about heterogeneity in a meta-analysis, our intent is usually to understand the substantive implications of the heterogeneity. If an intervention yields a mean effect size of 50 points, we want to know if the effect size in different populations varies from 40 to 60, or from 10 to 90, because this speaks to the potential utility of the intervention. While there is a common belief that the I2 statistic provides this information, it actually does not. In this example, if we are told that I2 is 50%, we have no way of knowing if the effects range from 40 to 60, or from 10 to 90, or across some other range. Rather, if we want to communicate the predicted range of effects, then we should simply report this range. This gives readers the information they think is being captured by I2 and does so in a way that is concise and unambiguous.
Heterogeneity  Science 
january 2017
Exposure to the environmental endocrine disruptor TCDD and human reproductive dysfunction: Translating lessons from murine models
In adult female mice with an early life exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), we demonstrated a transgenerational occurrence of several reproductive diseases that have been linked to endometriosis in women. Herein, we review the evidence for TCDD-associated development of adult reproductive disease as well as known epigenetic alterations associated with TCDD and/or endometriosis. We will also introduce new "Organ-on-Chip" models which, combined with our established murine model, are expected to further enhance our ability to examine alterations in gene-environment interactions that lead to heritable disease.
ExternalValidity  Science 
january 2017
Why Having a (Nonfinancial) Interest Is Not a Conflict of Interest
Conflation of "conflicts of interest" with "interests" in general serves to muddy the waters about how to manage conflicts of interest. We call for heightened disclosure of conflicts of interest and policy action beyond disclosure as the sole management strategy. We propose a different strategy to manage interests more broadly to ensure fair representation and accountability.
RiskOfBias  Science 
january 2017
Development of a critical appraisal tool to assess the quality of cross-sectional studies (AXIS)
The aim of this study was to develop a critical appraisal (CA) tool that addressed study design and reporting quality as well as the risk of bias in cross-sectional studies (CSSs). In addition, the aim was to produce a help document to guide the non-expert user through the tool.
CritAppStudies  Science 
january 2017
Adjusting for bias in unblinded randomized controlled trials
"Egger Correction for non-Adherence", is introduced and compared to the performance of the "intention-to-treat," "as-treated," and conventional "instrumental variable" estimators. In all scenarios with unblinded treatment allocation, the Egger Correction for non-Adherence method was the least biased estimator. However, unless the variation in adherence was relatively large, precision was lacking, and power did not surpass 0.50. Due to this lack of precision and power, we suggest to use this method mainly as a sensitivity analysis.
RiskOfBias  Science 
january 2017
Detecting and correcting for publication bias in meta-analysis - A truncated normal distribution approach
Publication bias can significantly limit the validity of meta-analysis when trying to draw conclusion about a research question from independent studies. Most research on detection and correction for publication bias in meta-analysis focus mainly on funnel plot-based methodologies or selection models. In this paper, we formulate publication bias as a truncated distribution problem, and propose new parametric solutions.
PublicationBias  Science 
january 2017
Systematic Review: A Method at Risk for Being Corrupted
The production of systematic reviews is increasing, but their credibility is under threat. Although systematic reviews are an important tool for policymaking, their influence can be weakened by methodological problems and poor policy relevance. Using Cochrane as an example, I address standards for systematic reviews, the influence of special interests on these reviews, and ways to increase their relevance for policymakers.
SRStandards  Science 
january 2017
Interventions and assessment tools addressing key concepts people need to know to appraise claims about treatment effects: a systematic mapping review
We included 415 studies, of which the interventions and assessment tools we identified included only a handful of the key concepts. The most common key concepts in interventions were “Treatments usually have beneficial and harmful effects,” “Treatment comparisons should be fair,” “Compare like with like,” and “Single studies can be misleading.” A variety of assessment tools were identified, but only four assessment tools included 10 or more key concepts. There is great potential for developing learning and assessment tools targeting key concepts that people need to understand to assess claims about treatment effects. There is currently no instrument covering assessment of all these key concepts.
Teaching  Science 
january 2017
Teaching evidence-based Synthesis: An examination of the development and delivery of two innovative methodologies used at the university of portsmouth - Gorczynski
One case involves a pedagogical approach used with exercise science masters students while the other details the work of an on-line postgraduate certificate program that has been developed in collaboration with Cochrane UK. Our aim is to provide teaching academic staff insight into fostering and enhancing learning of knowledge synthesis for the enhancement of EBP, in addition to our experiences of the associated challenges and the benefits of both methodologies.
Teaching  Science 
january 2017
Including non-public data and studies in systematic reviews and systematic maps
Here, we consider what forms these non-public studies may take and the implications of including them in systematic reviews and maps. Reviewers should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of including non-public studies, weighing risks of bias against benefits of increased comprehensiveness. As with all systematic reviews and maps, reviewers must be transparent about methods used to obtain data and avoid risks of bias in their synthesis.
PublicationBias  Science 
january 2017
« earlier      
agencysr betterscience controversy critappstudies evidencemapping externalvalidity gradingevidence heterogeneity metaanalysis news problemformulation protocol publicationbias rapidreviews resourcereqs riskassessment riskofbias science scienceadvice searchmethods socioeconomics srcasestudy srstandards teaching weightofevidence

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: