Sense-About-Systematic-Reviews(1).pdf

Sense-About-Systematic-Reviews(1).pdf - One of the biggest...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
One of the biggest challenges within scientific research is to interpret the results of individual studies in the context of other research that has been done. This is especially important for decisions about whether a medical treatment works and for decisions about what further studies should be done. For example, if a recent small study appears to show that a treatment works or a substance causes harm, but previous good-quality studies had concluded the opposite, these results need to be looked at together. If we don’t do that, the dangers are: We can flip flop between opposing conclusions, as with press stories about chocolate or red wine being good for you or whether statins do or do not cause strokes. People can take notice only of studies that fit with their views, as with claims that homeopathy works, or that mobile phones cause cancer. We can fail to recognise hard-to-spot risks or benefits, which in fact show up clearly and quickly by combining studies. People can end up funding and conducting research that has already been done, which is wasteful and unethical particularly if it involves medical trials using human subjects or animal research. The evidence from a number of studies can be gathered together in one report which pools and analyses all available data to assess the strength of the evidence. These reports are called systematic reviews. Systematic reviews can: End confusion A systematic review pooling data from 24 conflicting studies on statins found no evidence that these drugs increase stroke risk and in fact strong evidence that they prevent strokes. Highlight where there is not enough evidence A systematic review on tonsillectomy as a treatment for throat infections showed no proper clinical trials had been done on adults so there was no good evidence arguing for or against this potentially dangerous surgery. Yield new insights by combining findings from different studies Combining findings from studies on cot death and baby sleeping positions from different countries would have changed much earlier the standard dangerous advice to place babies on their front.
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern