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Saturday, August 23, 2008

What Does It Mean to Have "No Evidence"

Drew is on vacation so I get to post on this open access article just published in the BioMed Central Palliative Care Online Journal. The article examines the uses for the Cochrane Reviews, a favorite of Drew and Tom. Since they have long lamented the general lack of clinical usefulness of the Cochrane Systematic Reviews in Palliative Care, I am thinking they should at least get an acknowledgment in the paper.

The authors looked at the 25 palliative care oriented Cochrane Systematic Reviews and found that they all looked at heterogeneous study designs, heterogeneous populations, heterogeneous outcomes, et cetera. Therefore any clinical recommendations were weak or neutral. So what we are left with is the classic tired coda for any research paper or presentation. Say it along with me...

"More Research is Needed."

Overcoming Bias looks at how doctors may interpret what to do based on 'no evidence.' And as I once heard Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet say, "It's not true unless it is published in an article." So now Drew and Tom have some official validation!

ResearchBlogging.orgReference:Wee, B., Hadley, G., Derry, S. (2008). How useful are systematic reviews for informing palliative care practice? Survey of 25 Cochrane systematic reviews. BMC Palliative Care, 7(1), 13. DOI: 10.1186/1472-684X-7-13

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