About: BMJ is an academic journal published by BMJ. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Population & Medicine. It has an ISSN identifier of 0959-8138. Over the lifetime, 173961 publications have been published receiving 4413515 citations.
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: A new quantity is developed, I 2, which the authors believe gives a better measure of the consistency between trials in a meta-analysis, which is susceptible to the number of trials included in the meta- analysis.
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 …
TL;DR: Funnel plots, plots of the trials' 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.
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
TL;DR: There is, I think, something ethereal about i —the square root of minus one, which seems an odd beast at that time—an intruder hovering on the edge of reality.
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 …
TL;DR: The Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias aims to make the process clearer and more accurate.
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
Monash University1, University of Amsterdam2, University of Paris3, Bond University4, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio5, University of Ottawa6, American University of Beirut7, Oregon Health & Science University8, University of York9, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute10, University of Southern Denmark11, Johns Hopkins University12, Brigham and Women's Hospital13, Indiana University14, University of Bristol15, University College London16, University of Toronto17
TL;DR: The preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement as discussed by the authors was designed to help systematic reviewers transparently report why the review was done, what the authors did, and what they found.
Abstract: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement, published in 2009, was designed to help systematic reviewers transparently report why the review was done, what the authors did, and what they found. Over the past decade, advances in systematic review methodology and terminology have necessitated an update to the guideline. The PRISMA 2020 statement replaces the 2009 statement and includes new reporting guidance that reflects advances in methods to identify, select, appraise, and synthesise studies. The structure and presentation of the items have been modified to facilitate implementation. In this article, we present the PRISMA 2020 27-item checklist, an expanded checklist that details reporting recommendations for each item, the PRISMA 2020 abstract checklist, and the revised flow diagrams for original and updated reviews.