Best EBM articles in 2005

Steve Simon


One of the regular contributors to the Evidence Based Health email discussion group asked what we felt were the Best EBM methods papers in 2005. I’ll report on the articles that people suggest. Here are a few that I like:

  1. Medical journals are an extension of the marketing arm of pharmaceutical companies. R. Smith. PLoS Med 2005: 2(5); e138. [Medline] [Full text] [PDF] (Evidence, Corroboration, Conflict)
  2. Contradicted and initially stronger effects in highly cited clinical research. J. P. Ioannidis. Jama 2005: 294(2); 218-28. [Medline] (Evidence, General)
  3. Randomized controlled trials of aprotinin in cardiac surgery: could clinical equipoise have stopped the bleeding? D. Fergusson, K. C. Glass, B. Hutton, S. Shapiro. Clin Trials 2005: 2(3); 218-29; discussion 229-32. [Medline] [Abstract] [PDF] (Evidence, Metaanalysis, History)
  4. “Is Cybermedicine Killing You?"--The story of a Cochrane disaster. G. Eysenbach, P. E. Kummervold. J Med Internet Res 2005: 7(2); e21. [Medline] [Full text] (Evidence, Corroboration, Fraud, Retractions)
  5. Comparison of descriptions of allocation concealment in trial protocols and the published reports: cohort study. J. Pildal, A. W. Chan, A. Hrobjartsson, E. Forfang, D. G. Altman, P. C. Gotzsche. Bmj 2005; [Medline] [Abstract] [Full text] [PDF] (Evidence, Apples, Allocation concealment)
  6. Adequacy and reporting of allocation concealment: review of recent trials published in four general medical journals. C. Hewitt, S. Hahn, D. J. Torgerson, J. Watson, J. M. Bland. Bmj 2005; [Medline] [Full text] [PDF] (Evidence, Apples, Allocation concealment)
  7. Relative citation impact of various study designs in the health sciences. N. A. Patsopoulos, A. A. Analatos, J. P. Ioannidis. Jama 2005: 293(19); 2362-6. [Medline] (Evidence, General)
  8. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: placebo washouts inflate antidepressant effects in general practice. H. W. van Marwijk, H. J. Ader. Bmj 2005: 330(7488); 420. [Medline] [Full text] [PDF] (Evidence, Leftout, Exclusions, Placebo responders)
  9. Assessment of methodological quality of primary studies by systematic reviews: results of the metaquality cross sectional study. L. P. Moja, E. Telaro, R. D’Amico, I. Moschetti, L. Coe, A. Liberati. Bmj 2005; [Medline] [Abstract] [PDF] (Evidence, Metaanalysis, Quality scores)
  10. Identifying outcome reporting bias in randomised trials on PubMed: review of publications and survey of authors. A. W. Chan, D. G. Altman. Bmj 2005: 330(7494); 753. [Medline] [Abstract] [Full text] [PDF] (Evidence, Mountain, Post hoc changes)

The first article in the list, by Richard Smith, is one among a large series of articles that identify how commercial interests have made the entire research endeavor open to question. The second article, by<U+FFFD> John Ioannidis also calls the entire research endeavor into question and points out the many factors that cause incorrect conclusions to be drawn in most published research findings. The third article by Dean Fergusson and others, argues that we do too much duplicative research that just confirms what is already well established. The authors cite a particular example involving placebo controlled trials which raises serious ethical concerns, because 64 trials were run, but clear and convincing evidence emerged by the time the 12th study was published. I’ll add brief comments about the remaining seven papers when I have time.

Here’s a list of the papers that other people cited:

  1. Alper BS, White DS, Ge B. Physicians answer more clinical questions and change clinical decisions more often with synthesized evidence: a randomized trial in primary care. Ann Fam Med. 2005 Nov-Dec;3(6):507-13.
  2. Peter Bogaty; James Brophy. Numbers needed to treat (needlessly?) The Lancet; Apr 9-Apr 15, 2005; 365, 9467.
  3. Chan AW, Altman DG Identifying outcome reporting bias in randomised trials on PubMed: review of publications and survey of authors. BMJ. 2005 Apr 2;330(7494):753.
  4. On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect. Ap Dijksterhuis,* Maarten W. Bos, Loran F. Nordgren, Rick B. van Baaren. Science 17 February 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5763, pp. 1005 - 1007.
  5. Greenhalgh T, Peacock R. Effectiveness and efficiency of search methods in systematic reviews of complex evidence: audit of primary sources BMJ, Nov 2005; 331: 1064 - 1065.
  6. Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Wilczynski NL, Walter SD, Werre SR; Hedges Team. Optimal search strategies for retrieving scientifically strong studies of treatment from Medline: analytical survey. BMJ. 2005 May 21;330(7501):1179. Epub 2005 May 13.
  7. Straus SE, Ball C, Balcombe N, Sheldon J, McAlister FA. Teaching evidence-based medicine skills can change practice in a community hospital. J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Apr;20(4):340-3.

I will dig out the details of these papers when I get some time.