About: BMJ is an academic journal. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Population & Health care. It has an ISSN identifier of 0959-8138. Over the lifetime, 168863 publication(s) have been published receiving 4061298 citation(s).
04 Sep 2003-BMJ
Abstract: Cochrane Reviews have recently started including the quantity I 2 to help readers assess the consistency of the results of studies in meta-analyses. What does this new quantity mean, and why is assessment of heterogeneity so important to clinical practice? Systematic reviews and meta-analyses can provide convincing and reliable evidence relevant to many aspects of medicine and health care.1 Their value is especially clear when the results of the studies they include show clinically important effects of similar magnitude. However, the conclusions are less clear when the included studies have differing results. In an attempt to establish whether studies are consistent, reports of meta-analyses commonly present a statistical test of heterogeneity. The test seeks to determine whether there are genuine differences underlying the results of the studies (heterogeneity), or whether the variation in findings is compatible with chance alone (homogeneity). However, the test is susceptible to the number of trials included in the meta-analysis. We have developed a new quantity, I 2, which we believe gives a better measure of the consistency between trials in a meta-analysis. Assessment of the consistency of effects across studies is an essential part of meta-analysis. Unless we know how consistent the results of studies are, we cannot determine the generalisability of the findings of the meta-analysis. Indeed, several hierarchical systems for grading evidence state that the results of studies must be consistent or homogeneous to obtain the highest grading.2–4 Tests for heterogeneity are commonly used to decide on methods for combining studies and for concluding consistency or inconsistency of findings.5 6 But what does the test achieve in practice, and how should the resulting P values be interpreted? A test for heterogeneity examines the null hypothesis that all studies are evaluating the same effect. The usual test statistic …
13 Sep 1997-BMJ
Abstract: Objective: Funnel plots (plots of effect estimates against sample size) may be useful to detect bias in meta-analyses that were later contradicted by large trials. We examined whether a simple test of asymmetry of funnel plots predicts discordance of results when meta-analyses are compared to large trials, and we assessed the prevalence of bias in published meta-analyses. Design: Medline search to identify pairs consisting of a meta-analysis and a single large trial (concordance of results was assumed if effects were in the same direction and the meta-analytic estimate was within 30% of the trial); analysis of funnel plots from 37 meta-analyses identified from a hand search of four leading general medicine journals 1993-6 and 38 meta-analyses from the second 1996 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews . Main outcome measure: Degree of funnel plot asymmetry as measured by the intercept from regression of standard normal deviates against precision. Results: In the eight pairs of meta-analysis and large trial that were identified (five from cardiovascular medicine, one from diabetic medicine, one from geriatric medicine, one from perinatal medicine) there were four concordant and four discordant pairs. In all cases discordance was due to meta-analyses showing larger effects. Funnel plot asymmetry was present in three out of four discordant pairs but in none of concordant pairs. In 14 (38%) journal meta-analyses and 5 (13%) Cochrane reviews, funnel plot asymmetry indicated that there was bias. Conclusions: A simple analysis of funnel plots provides a useful test for the likely presence of bias in meta-analyses, but as the capacity to detect bias will be limited when meta-analyses are based on a limited number of small trials the results from such analyses should be treated with considerable caution. Key messages Systematic reviews of randomised trials are the best strategy for appraising evidence; however, the findings of some meta-analyses were later contradicted by large trials Funnel plots, plots of the trials9 effect estimates against sample size, are skewed and asymmetrical in the presence of publication bias and other biases Funnel plot asymmetry, measured by regression analysis, predicts discordance of results when meta-analyses are compared with single large trials Funnel plot asymmetry was found in 38% of meta-analyses published in leading general medicine journals and in 13% of reviews from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Critical examination of systematic reviews for publication and related biases should be considered a routine procedure
08 Dec 2001-BMJ
Abstract: There is, I think, something ethereal about i —the square root of minus one. I remember first hearing about it at school. It seemed an odd beast at that time—an intruder hovering on the edge of reality. Usually familiarity dulls this sense of the bizarre, but in the case of i it was the reverse: over the years the sense of its surreal nature intensified. It seemed that it was impossible to write mathematics that described the real world in …
18 Oct 2011-BMJ
Abstract: Flaws in the design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of randomised trials can cause the effect of an intervention to be underestimated or overestimated. The Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias aims to make the process clearer and more accurate
17 Nov 2001-BMJ
Abstract: Crossing the Quality Chasm identifies and recommends improvements in six dimensions of health care in the U.S.: patient safety, care effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, care efficiency, and equity. Safety looks at reducing the likelihood that patients are harmed by medical errors. Effectiveness describes avoiding over and underuse of resources and services. Patient-centeredness relates both to customer service and to considering and accommodating individual patient needs when making care decisions. Timeliness emphasizes reducing wait times. Efficiency focuses on reducing waste and, as a result, total cost of care. Equity looks at closing racial and income gaps in health care.