Funding source and author affiliation in TASER research are strongly associated with a conclusion of device safety.
ABSTRACT Controversy exists regarding the safety of electrical stun guns (TASERs). Much of the research on TASERs is funded by the maker of the device and, therefore, could be biased. We sought to determine if funding source or author affiliation is associated with TASER research conclusions.
MEDLINE was searched for TASER or electrical stun gun to identify relevant studies. All human and animal studies published up to September 01, 2010, were included. Reviews, editorials, letters, and case reports were excluded from the analysis. Two independent reviewers blinded to this study hypothesis evaluated each article with regard to conclusions of TASER safety.
Fifty studies were reviewed: 32 (64%) were human studies and 18 (36%) were animal studies. Twenty-three (46%) studies were funded by TASER International or written by an author affiliated with the company. Of these, 22 (96%) concluded that TASERs are unlikely harmful (26%) or not harmful (70%). In contrast, of the 22 studies not affiliated with TASER, 15 (55%) concluded that TASERs are unlikely harmful (29%) or not harmful (26%). A study with any affiliation with TASER International had nearly 18 times higher odds to conclude that the TASER is likely safe as compared with studies without such affiliation (odds ratio 17.6, 95% CI 2.1-150.1, P = .001).
Studies funded by TASER and/or written by an author affiliated with the company are substantially more likely to conclude that TASERs are safe. Research supported by TASER International may thus be significantly biased in favor of TASER safety.
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ABSTRACT: TASER(®) conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) have become an important law-enforcement tool. Controversial questions are often raised during discussion of some incidents in which the devices have been used. The main purpose of this paper is to point out some misconceptions about CEWs that have been published in the scientific/medical and other literature. This is a narrative review, using a multidisciplinary approach of analyzing reports from scientific/medical and other literature sources. In previous reports, durations of incapacitating effects and possible associations of CEWs with deaths-in-custody have often been overstated or exaggerated. Comparisons of CEW effects with "electrocution" are misleading. Clarification of these misconceptions may be important during policymaker decisions, practitioner operations, expert witness testimonies, and court proceedings. Despite misconceptions in the literature, CEWs can still be a valuable tool for law enforcement activities. Scientists, medical professionals, legal advisors, and investigators of police tactics should be aware of these misconceptions.Forensic Science Medicine and Pathology 12/2014; 11(1). · 1.96 Impact Factor
- Journal of Emergency Nursing 09/2014; 40(5):415. · 1.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The proliferation of Tasers among police forces internationally has been accompanied by concerns about injuries and health effects, and about the use of Tasers on vulnerable populations such as people with mental illness. Tasers have generated a flood of research studies, although there remain unanswered questions about some of the key issues. This paper outlines the introduction of Tasers to policing and their subsequent widespread adoption. The paper considers the role of police in mental health emergencies with a particular focus on use of Tasers. Some factors contribute to the special vulnerability of people with mental illness to the effects of Tasers. The paper also reviews research into use of Tasers and raises issues about conflict of interest in Taser research. We conclude that Tasers look set to play a significant role in policing in the future. We make suggestions for a future research programme, and suggest guidelines for publication of papers in which there may be a conflict of interest.International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 07/2014; · 1.19 Impact Factor