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.
- SourceAvailable from: Robert J. Kaminski[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In a recent paper, researchers reported increases in the risk of citizen injury associated with police use of conducted energy devices (CEWs), a finding that is contrary to that reported in most previous studies. These authors speculate that the differences in findings when compared to other similar studies may be due, in part, to the exclusion of routine CEW dart punctures as injuries by other researchers, and they called on the research community to collectively agree on how CEW injuries should be operationalized. In this paper, we empirically demonstrate the differences in findings when routine CEW puncture wounds are included as citizen injuries and when they are not. Ultimately, we reject the authors’ measurement approach as inconsistent with how injuries associated with other types of force are routinely coded and measured.Justice Quarterly 07/2015; 32(4). DOI:10.1080/07418825.2013.788729 · 1.63 Impact Factor
- International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 03/2014; 37(4). DOI:10.1016/j.ijlp.2014.02.001 · 1.19 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
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; 37(4). DOI:10.1016/j.ijlp.2014.02.014 · 1.19 Impact Factor