Reviewers' bias against the null hypothesis: the reproductive hazard of binge drinking.
ABSTRACT We examined whether scientific reviewers exhibit bias in scoring a simulated "positive" study (i.e. showing adverse fetal effects) as compared to a simulated "negative" study on the fetal effects of binge drinking. The reviewers of the "negative" study tended to reject it more commonly, to give it lower scores, and there was significantly more variability from the median in their scores. Scientific journals should make an effort to eliminate this source of bias against negative results.
SourceAvailable from: Ana Marusic
Article: Science behind reviewing.Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association 05/2013; 63(5):656-8. · 0.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is ongoing debate about the risks to the fetus associated with maternal binge drinking. This makes it difficult to counsel patients about the potential risks associated with their use of alcohol during pregnancy. This article reviews the literature on animal and human studies regarding binge drinking (four to five drinks at one time in humans, or the equivalent in laboratory animals). Animal studies provide evidence that high doses of alcohol over a short period of time can be more damaging than lower doses over a long period of time. Human data are more inconsistent, especially in terms of the association with malformations. Although neurobehavioral effects are the most commonly reported adverse outcome, some studies do not find such an association. Conclusions are confounded by the design of many studies, which fail to document pattern and total amount of alcohol consumption at one time. In addition, it has been suggested there is a bias against the null effect in publications. Although the evidence in humans is not conclusive, the incidence of binge exposures in pregnancy is high, and it appears prudent to counsel patients to avoid this exposure whenever possible. Women inadvertently exposed to a single binge episode of alcohol early in the first trimester before pregnancy recognition can be reassured that the risks for adverse effects in their baby are likely low if they are able to discontinue use for the duration of the pregnancy. Unfortunately, there may be some residual fetal risk.Birth Defects Research Part A Clinical and Molecular Teratology 08/2012; 94(8):570-5. DOI:10.1002/bdra.23034 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Since the thalidomide disaster, medicine is practised as if every drug is teratogenic, when in fact very few medications are. Pregnant women are often ready to refuse treatment even for life-threatening conditions owing to misinformation and misperceptions about fetal risks. How can I reassure my patients and prevent misinformation from affecting their treatment? Physicians must provide evidence-based counseling to their patients. For example, antihistamines for morning sickness have been proven safe in numerous studies, but are commonly the subject of media reports overstating the risks to the fetus. Family physicians and obstetricians must take an active role in preventing pregnant patients from being misinformed.Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien 05/2014; 60(5):441-2. · 1.40 Impact Factor