McMaster University
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Recent publications
Advancements in Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have enabled the manufacture of affordable and efficient wearable devices. In sensor-based gait analysis, motion and biofeedback sensor devices are easily attached to different parts of the body. Instrumentation of gait using different sensor technologies enables researchers and clinicians to capture high-resolution quantitative motion data within and beyond the lab. Integration of advanced sensor technologies provides objective and rater-independent multimodal outcomes that complement established clinical examination. Multi-modal data capture in ecologically valid, patient-relevant habitual settings opens new possibilities to monitor fluctuating and rare incidents by informing different aspects of impaired gait. Interconnected device communication and the Internet of Things (IoT) provide the infrastructural platform to enable remote gait assessment. However, an extended period of motion data recorded by different sensor technologies results in a vast amount of unlabelled data. Computational methods and artificial intelligence techniques (e.g., data mining) provide opportunities to manage data collected in unsupervised environments. Although technological advancement and algorithms promote remote gait assessment, more work needs to be done in terms of analytical and clinical validation to achieve robust and reliable gait analysis tools that contribute to better rehabilitation and treatment.
Background Some studies suggest that patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) may be at higher risk of complications and death after noncardiac surgery. However, the magnitude of these associations is unclear. Objectives To determine the associations between PH and adverse outcomes after noncardiac surgery. Methods We searched PUBMED and EMBASE for studies published from January 1970 to April 2022. We included studies that reported the association between PH and one or more outcomes of interest occurring after noncardiac surgery. Data were pooled using random-effects models and reported as summary odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results Eighteen studies met eligibility criteria (n=18,214,760). PH was independently associated with mortality (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.09; 95% CI, 1.51-2.90; I²=98%; 8 studies). PH was associated with a higher unadjusted risk of deep venous thrombosis (OR 4.02; 95% CI, 2.14-7.54; I²=85%; 3 studies), pulmonary embolism (OR 4.16; 95% CI, 3.23-5.36; I²=69%; 7 studies), myocardial infarction (OR 1.49; 95% CI, 1.44-1.54; I²=0%; 5 studies), congestive heart failure or cardiogenic shock (OR 3.37; 95% CI, 1.73–6.60; I²=34%; 5 studies), length of hospital stay (mean difference 1.97 days; 95% CI, 0.81–3.12; I²=99%; 5 studies), and delayed extubation (OR 5.98; 95% CI, 1.70–21.02; I²=3%; 3 studies). PH was associated with lower unadjusted risk of postoperative stroke (OR 0.93; 95% CI, 0.88–0.98; I²=0%; 3 studies). Conclusion PH is a predictor of morbidity and mortality after noncardiac surgery. High quality studies are needed to determine effective strategies for reducing postoperative complications in this population.
The potential of MRI to predict cartilage mechanical properties across an entire cartilage surface in an ex vivo model would enable novel perspectives in modeling cartilage tolerance and predicting disease progression. The purpose of this study was to integrate MR imaging with full-surface indentation mapping to determine the relationship between femoral cartilage thickness and T2 relaxation change following loading, and cartilage mechanical properties in an ex vivo porcine stifle model. Matched-pairs of stifle joints from the same pig were randomized into either 1) an imaging protocol where stifles were imaged at baseline and after 35 min of static axial loading; and 2) full surface mapping of the instantaneous modulus (IM) and an electromechanical property named quantitative parameter (QP). The femur and femoral cartilage were segmented from baseline and post-intervention scans, then meshes were generated. Coordinate locations of the indentation mapping points were rigidly registered to the femur. Multiple linear regressions were performed at each voxel testing the relationship between cartilage outcomes (thickness change, T2 change) and mechanical properties (IM, QP) after accounting for covariates. Statistical Parametric Mapping was used to determine significance of clusters. No significant clusters were identified; however, this integrative method shows promise for future work in ex vivo modeling by identifying spatial relationships among variables.
Converging evidence has suggested that disturbances in monetary reward processing may subserve the shared biosignature between major depressive disorder (MDD) and obesity. However, there remains a paucity of studies that have evaluated the deficits in specific subcomponents of reward functioning in populations with MDD and obesity comorbidity. We evaluated the association between effort-expenditure for monetary reward and neural activation in regions associated with reward-based decision making (i.e., the caudate nucleus, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and hippocampus) in people with MDD and obesity comorbidity. We acquired structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 12 participants and performed a spherical region-of-interest analysis (ROI) using previously defined peak MNI coordinates. A one-sample t-test was employed to compare ROI-specific blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal change during the task choice selection window (i.e., high-effort vs. low-effort task) of the effort-expenditure for reward task (EEfRT). We observed no change in activation of the caudate nucleus, ACC or hippocampus in participants with increased BMI when contrasting the high effort > low effort reward magnitude condition for the EEfRT. The findings from our exploratory study evaluated the disturbances in fundamental reward processes, including cost-benefit decision making, in people MDD and obesity. Future studies should further investigate this relationship with a larger sample size.
Background Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, which is attributed to limited treatment options. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies have been proposed to provide benefits in treating pancreatic cancer. Despite its importance in treatment, clinicians are not generally well equipped to counsel their patients about CAM therapies. This review identified the quantity and assessed the quality of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) providing CAM recommendations for the treatment and/or management of pancreatic cancer. Methods A systematic review was conducted to identify pancreatic cancer CPGs. MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL were searched from 2011 to 2022. The Guidelines International Network (GIN) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) websites were also searched. Eligible CPGs published by non-profit agencies on treatment and/or management of pancreatic cancer for adults were assessed using the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) instrument. Results From 31 eligible search results, 7 CPGs mentioned CAM and 3 CPGs made CAM recommendations. The mean scaled domain percentages of the CPGs in this study (overall, CAM-specific) were as follows: scope and purpose (81.3%, 77.8%), stakeholder involvement (63.9%, 42.6%), rigor-of-development (51.0%, 40.3%), clarity-of-presentation (83.3%, 54.6%), applicability (42.3%, 30.5%), and editorial independence (58.3%, 58.3%). Conclusions Evaluation of the CPGs demonstrated that quality varied both within and between CPGs. CPGs that scored well could be used by patients and clinicians as the basis for discussion for the use of CAM therapies. Future research should identify other appropriate CAM therapies for further development of CPGs for pancreatic cancer. Registration The protocol was registered on PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42022334025).
Background: Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) - positron emission tomography (PET) guides metastasis-directed radiotherapy (MDRT) in prostate cancer (PrCa). However, its value as a treatment response assessment tool after MDRT remains unclear. Importantly, there is limited understanding of the potential of radiotherapy (RT) to alter PSMA gene (folate hydrolase 1; FOLH1) expression. Methodology: We reviewed a series of 11 men with oligo-metastatic PrCa (25 metastasis sites) treated with MDRT before re-staging with 18F-DCFPyL (PSMA) PET upon secondary recurrence. Acute effects of RT on PSMA protein and mRNA levels were examined with qPCR and immunoblotting in human wild-type androgen-sensitive (LNCap), castrate-resistant (22RV1) and castrate-resistant neuroendocrine (PC3 and DU145) PrCa cell lines. Xenograft tumors were analyzed with immunohistochemistry. Further, we examined PSMA expression in untreated and irradiated radio-resistant (RR) 22RV1 (22RV1-RR) and DU145 (DU145-RR) cells and xenografts selected for survival after high-dose RT. Results: The majority of MDRT-treated lesions showed lack of PSMA-PET/CT avidity, suggesting treatment response even after low biological effective dose (BED) MDRT. We observed similar high degree of heterogeneity of PSMA expression in both human specimens and in xenograft tumors. PSMA was highly expressed in LNCap and 22RV1 cells and tumors but not in the neuroendocrine PC3 and DU145 models. Single fraction RT caused detectable reduction in PSMA protein but not in mRNA levels in LNCap cells and did not significantly alter PSMA protein or mRNA levels in tissue culture or xenografts of the other cell lines. However, radio-resistant 22RV1-RR cells and tumors demonstrated marked decrease of PSMA transcript and protein expression over their parental counterparts. Conclusions: PSMA-PET may be a promising tool to assess RT response in oligo-metastatic PrCa. However, future systematic investigation of this concept should recognize the high degree of heterogeneity of PSMA expression within prostate tumors and the risk for loss of PSMA expression in tumor surviving curative courses of RT.
Background: Although emotion socialization parenting interventions are supported by a growing body of literature, their effects have yet to be systematically examined. The present systematic review and meta-analysis assesses the evidence for emotion socialization parenting interventions for parents of young children. Methods: Six electronic databases were systematically searched from inception to October 5th, 2022. We conducted random effects meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of emotion socialization interventions delivered to parents of children aged 18 months to 6 years 11 months. Results: Twenty-six studies which reported data from 15 individual trials met the inclusion criteria. Interventions had a positive effect on positive and negative emotion socialization parenting practices (g's = 0.50) and child emotional competence (g = 0.44). Interventions also had a positive effect on positive (g = 0.74) and negative parenting behaviors (g = 0.25), parent psychological well-being (g = 0.28), and child behavioral adjustment (g = 0.34). Findings remained significant after considering potential publication bias and conducting sensitivity analyses. Two significant moderating factors emerged. Conclusions: Emotion socialization parenting interventions are effective for improving emotion socialization parenting practices and child emotional competence. Additional methodologically rigorous trials are needed to buttress the current evidence and provide evidence for additional moderating factors.
Background: SLC13A5 related developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) is an autosomal recessive condition characterized by neonatal seizures, fever sensitivity, status epilepticus, developmental delay and tooth anomalies. The neuroimaging spectrum of SLC13A5 related DEE is not fully known. We present a case of SLC13A5 related DEE with distinct neuroimaging findings and review the neuroimaging findings of all published cases of SLC13A5 related DEE. Methods: A retrospective case review and focused review of the literature was completed. Results: A 16-month-old male with a clinical phenotype consistent with SLC13A5 related DEE and a previously reported pathogenic variant in SLC13A5, c.655G>A, p.Gly219Arg and a novel likely pathogenic variant in SLC13A5, c.202C>T, p.Pro68Ser was identified. MRI at day 5 of life revealed wide spread punctate white matter lesions (PWMLs) affecting the subcortical white matter, periventricular white matter, splenium of the corpus callosum, posterior limb of the internal capsule, corticospinal tracts, midbrain, pons and medulla, mimicking a metabolic/infectious etiology. MRI at one month showed atrophy and evolution of white matter necrosis. One hundred and five cases of SLC13A5 related DEE were identified. Initial MRI was completed in 62 cases (59%). MRI was normal in 41 cases (66%) and abnormal in 21 (34%). White matter abnormalities were most common (n=15, 71%); PWMLs occurred in 8 cases (38%). Conclusion: Neuroimaging abnormalities may exist in a third of SLC13A5 related DEE cases. White matter abnormalities such as PWMLs appear most common. It remains unknown why some are susceptible to these lesions and how they affect long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in SLC13A5 related DEE.
Discrepancies in phase two and three studies can result in significant patient and financial burden, as well as the nonapproval of potentially efficacious drugs. We aimed to determine whether this discrepancy exists for clinical trials in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Electronic databases (MEDLINE and Embase) and clinical trial repositories were searched from 1 January 1946 to 12 March 2021, for paired phase two and three studies of advanced therapies for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The primary outcome was to compare clinical remission rates between paired phase two and three studies for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Multivariable mixed-model meta-analysis was performed to calculate odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). The Cochrane risk-of-bias tool was used to grade the risk of bias. Of 2642 studies, 29 were included. Fifteen were phase three, 11 were phase two, one was phase one/two, and two were phase two/three. There were no differences in clinical remission rates between phase two and three studies for Crohn’s disease (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.86–1.34; P = 0.54) and ulcerative colitis (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.48–1.36; P = 0.43). Furthermore, there was a lack of any appreciable differences in study characteristics, inclusion criteria and patient demographics among paired phase two and three studies. Most studies were considered low risk of bias. Overall, paired phase two and three studies demonstrate similar clinical remission rates for advanced therapies in IBD. Whether this applies to newer outcomes, such as endoscopic and mucosal healing remains to be determined.
Acoustic sensing has attracted significant attention recently, thanks to the pervasive availability of device support. However, adopting consumer-grade devices (e.g., smartphones) to deploy acoustic sensing applications faces the challenge of device/OS heterogeneity. Researchers have to pay tremendous efforts in tackling platform-dependent details even in simply accessing raw audio samples, thus losing focus on innovating sensing algorithms. To this end, this paper presents the first Acoustic Software Defined Platform (ASDP): a versatile sensing and general benchmarking platform. ASDP encompasses several customized acoustic modules running on a ubiquitous computing board, backed by a dedicated software framework. It is superior to commodity devices in controlling and reconfiguring physical layer settings, thus offering much better usability. The tailored software framework abstracts platform details and provides user-friendly interface for fast prototyping, while maintaining adequate programmability. To demonstrate the usefulness of ASDP, we showcase several relevant applications based on it. The promising outcomes make us believe that the release of our ASDP could greatly advance acoustic sensing research.
Globally, the COVID-19 vaccine uptake is increasing, but slowly among older adults residing in lower and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. Following this, we explored the perceived views of older adults on the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria. We adopted a qualitative descriptive study design and purposively selected and interviewed 16 retirees of older adults. Data were analyzed using conventional content analysis. Findings show that older adults' willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine was dissuaded by their past experiences with the government, religion, and Western media, including affordability and accessibility problems related to vaccination campaigns. Findings also show that the uncertainty about the COVID-19 virus existence and perceptions about COVID-19 vaccine risks influence older adults' decisions regarding vaccine uptake. Finally, older adults' views on getting vaccinated for COVID-19 were positively influenced by the trust they placed in their physicians and other members of their healthcare system. The government should incentivize healthcare workers to serve as a nudge to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake among older adults in Nigeria.
Introduction: Stellate ganglion block (SGB) is performed to relieve head, face, neck, or upper limb pain, several non-pain indications for performing this block have emerged over the years. To date, there was no attempt to synthesize evidence on SGB for treating non-pain indications. This scoping review presents a summary of the efficacy and adverse effects of SGB when performed for six non-pain indications. Methods: This scoping review was accomplished using Arksey and O'Malley framework. Literature search was conducted for relevant articles in medical databases to identify publications on SGB and specified study types. Two reviewers independently assessed the risk of bias for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomized comparative studies, and case series. Results were summarized and recommendations were made based on the strength of available evidence using the US Preventative Services Task Force grading system. Results: Twenty-four studies (19 RCTs and 5 non-randomized studies) were included in this review. Based on the evidence, SGB is recommended for obtunding cardiovascular sympathetic stimulation, improving perfusion in limbs, and alleviating menopausal symptoms with a Grade B or C recommendation and a moderate-to-low level of certainty. There was insufficient evidence to recommend SGB for the other indications. Conclusions: SGB can be considered for obtunding cardiovascular sympathetic stimulation and stress response, reducing vascular tone to improve vascular insufficiency in the limbs and perioperative hemodynamic stability, and alleviating hot flashes in menopause, in conditions refractory to conventional medical management.
Background Surgical video recording provides the opportunity to acquire intraoperative data that can subsequently be used for a variety of quality improvement, research, and educational applications. Various recording devices are available for standard operating room camera systems. Some allow for collateral data acquisition including activities of the OR staff, kinematic measurements (motion of surgical instruments), and recording of the endoscopic video streams. Additional analysis through computer vision (CV), which allows software to understand and perform predictive tasks on images, can allow for automatic phase segmentation, instrument tracking, and derivative performance-geared metrics. With this survey, we summarize available surgical video acquisition technologies and associated performance analysis platforms. Methods In an effort promoted by the SAGES Artificial Intelligence Task Force, we surveyed the available video recording technology companies. Of thirteen companies approached, nine were interviewed, each over an hour-long video conference. A standard set of 17 questions was administered. Questions spanned from data acquisition capacity, quality, and synchronization of video with other data, availability of analytic tools, privacy, and access. Results Most platforms (89%) store video in full-HD (1080p) resolution at a frame rate of 30 fps. Most (67%) of available platforms store data in a Cloud-based databank as opposed to institutional hard drives. CV powered analysis is featured in some platforms: phase segmentation in 44% platforms, out of body blurring or tool tracking in 33%, and suture time in 11%. Kinematic data are provided by 22% and perfusion imaging in one device. Conclusion Video acquisition platforms on the market allow for in depth performance analysis through manual and automated review. Most of these devices will be integrated in upcoming robotic surgical platforms. Platform analytic supplementation, including CV, may allow for more refined performance analysis to surgeons and trainees. Most current AI features are related to phase segmentation, instrument tracking, and video blurring.
This review examines the effectiveness of positive parenting interventions aimed at improving sensitivity, responsiveness, and/or non-harsh discipline on children’s early cognitive skills, in four meta-analyses addressing general mental abilities, language, executive functioning, and pre-academics. The objectives are to assess the magnitude of intervention effectiveness and identify moderators of effectiveness. We include randomized controlled trials of interventions targeting positive parenting to improve cognition in children < 6 years. Studies that include children with neurodevelopmental and/or hearing disorders were excluded. MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ERIC, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (October 2021) and citation chaining identified relevant records. Five reviewers completed screening/assessments, extraction, and risk of bias. Pooled analysis in Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (Version 3) used random effects modeling, with moderation via Q-statistics and meta-regression. Positive parenting interventions led to significant improvements in mental abilities (g = 0.46, N = 5746; k = 33) and language (g = 0.25, N = 6428; k = 30). Effect sizes were smaller and nonsignificant for executive functioning (g = 0.07, N = 3628; k = 14) and pre-academics (g = 0.16, N = 2365; k = 7). Robust moderators emerged for language and cognition. For cognition, studies with higher risk of bias scores yielded larger intervention effects. For language, studies with younger children had larger effect sizes. Studies mitigated selection and detection bias, though greater transparency of reporting is needed. Interventions that promote parental sensitivity, responsiveness, and non-harsh discipline improve early mental abilities and language. Studies examining executive functioning and pre-academics are needed to examine moderators of intervention effectiveness. Trial registration Systematic review PROSPERO registration. CRD42020222143
Background Despite the increased use of social media to share health-related information and the substantial impact that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can have on individuals’ health and wellbeing, currently, to our knowledge, there is no review that compiles research on how social media is used in the context of CAM. The objective of this study was to summarize what are the ways in which social media is used in the context of CAM. Methods A scoping review was conducted, following Arksey and O’Malley’s five-stage methodological framework. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, AMED, and CINAHL databases were systematically searched from inception until October 3, 2020, in addition to the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH) website. Eligible studies had to have investigated how at least one social media platform is used in the context of a single or multiple types of CAM treatments. Results Searches retrieved 1714 items following deduplication, of which 1687 titles and abstracts were eliminated, leaving 94 full-text articles to be considered. Of those, 65 were not eligible, leaving a total of 29 articles eligible for review. Three themes emerged from our analysis: 1) social media is used to share user/practitioner beliefs, attitudes, and experiences about CAM, 2) social media acts as a vehicle for the spread of misinformation about CAM, and 3) there are unique challenges with social media research in the context of CAM. Conclusions In addition to social media being a useful tool to share user/practitioner beliefs, attitudes, and experiences about CAM, it has shown to be accessible, effective, and a viable option in delivering CAM therapies and information. Social media has also been shown to spread a large amount of misleading and false information in the context of CAM. Additionally, this review highlights the challenges with conducting social media research in the context of CAM, particularly in collecting a representative sample.
Sialidases are found in viruses, bacteria, fungi, avians, and mammals. Mammalian sialidases differ in their specificity, optimum pH, subcellular localization, and tissue expression. To date, four genes encoding mammalian sialidases (NEU1-4) have been cloned. This review examines the functional impact of NEU4 sialidase on complex physiological and cellular processes. The intracellular localization and trafficking of NEU4 and its potential target molecules are discussed along with its impact on cancer, lysosomal storage disease, and cellular differentiation. Modulation of NEU4 expression may be essential not only for the breakdown of sialylated glycoconjugates, but also in the activation or inactivation of functionally important cellular events.
Cognitive decline and mood disorders increase in frequency with age. Many efforts are focused on the identification of molecules and pathways to treat these conditions. Here, we demonstrate that systemic administration of growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) in aged mice improves memory and alleviates senescence and depression-like symptoms in a neurogenesis-independent manner. Mechanistically, GDF11 acts directly on hippocampal neurons to enhance neuronal activity via stimulation of autophagy. Transcriptomic and biochemical analyses of these neurons reveal that GDF11 reduces the activity of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a master regulator of autophagy. Using a murine model of corticosterone-induced depression-like phenotype, we also show that GDF11 attenuates the depressive-like behavior of young mice. Analysis of sera from young adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) reveals reduced GDF11 levels. These findings identify mechanistic pathways related to GDF11 action in the brain and uncover an unknown role for GDF11 as an antidepressant candidate and biomarker.
Background: Value assessment frameworks (VAFs) are promising tools for measuring the value of health technologies and informing coverage policymaking; however, most published VAFs were developed for high-income countries. This study aimed to identify value attributes as part of the development of a VAF in China. Methods: We used the qualitative description approach. Specifically, we conducted open-ended semi-structured interviews with Chinese stakeholders, as well as a review and analysis of publicly available government documents related to health technology assessment (HTA) and coverage policies in China. Conventional content analysis and the constant comparison technique were used to generate value attributes. Multiple criteria were used to determine the inclusion of a value attribute, with response levels of included attributes finalized via consensus meetings among the research team. Results: Thirty-four stakeholders living or working in China completed the semi-structured interview. These stakeholders included policymakers (n = 4), healthcare providers (n = 8), HTA researchers (n = 6), patients and members of the general public (n = 9), and industry representatives (n = 7). In addition, 16 government documents were included for analysis. Twelve value attributes grouped in eight categories are included in the VAF: (1) severity of disease; (2) health benefit, including survival, clinical outcomes, and patient-reported outcomes; (3) safety; (4) economic impact, including budget impact to payer and patients, and cost effectiveness; (5) innovation; (6) organizational impact; (7) health equity; and (8) quality of evidence. Conclusion: These 12 value attributes were identified for the development of a VAF to support health technologies' value assessment and coverage policymaking in China.
Unhelpful beliefs about sleep have been shown to exacerbate distress associated with sleep-related difficulties. University students are particularly vulnerable to experiencing sleep-related problems. The Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep-16 (DBAS-16) scale is a widely used instrument that assesses for sleep-disruptive cognitions. Although psychometric support for the DBAS-16 is available, Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis is needed to examine its properties at the item level. Psychometric investigation in non-clinical samples can help identify people who may be at risk for developing sleep problems. We examined the DBAS-16 using IRT on a sample of 759 university students. Our results identified items and subscales that adequately/inadequately differentiated between students who held unhelpful beliefs about sleep and those who did not. The DBAS-16 is a valuable instrument to assess unhelpful beliefs about sleep. We outline recommendations to improve the discriminatory ability of the instrument. Future investigations should establish cross-validation with a clinical sample.
Objectives To empirically evaluate five commonly used meta-analysis methods and their impact on imprecision judgements about effect estimates. The two fixed-effect model methods were the inverse variance method based on normal distribution and the Mantel-Haenszel method. The three random-effects model methods were the DerSimonian and Laird, the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman and the profile likelihood approaches. Design Meta-epidemiological study. Setting Meta-analyses published between 2007 and 2019 in the 10 general medical journals with the highest impact factors that evaluated a medication or device for chronic medical conditions and included at least 5 randomised trials. Main outcome measures Discordance in the judgements of imprecision of effect estimates based on two definitions: when either boundary of 95% CI of the OR changed by more than 15% or changed in relation to the null. Results We analysed 88 meta-analyses including 1114 trials with an average of 12.60 trials per meta-analysis and average I ² of 26% (range: 0%–96%). The profile likelihood failed to converge in three meta-analyses (3%). Discordance in imprecision judgements based on the two definitions, respectively, occurred between the fixed normal distribution and fixed Mantel-Haenszel method (8% and 2%), between the DerSimonian and Laird and Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman methods (19% and 10%), between the DerSimonian and Laird and profile likelihood methods (9% and 5%), and between the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman and profile likelihood methods (5% and 13%). Discordance was greater when fewer studies and greater heterogeneity was present. Conclusion Empirical evaluation of studies of chronic medical conditions showed that conclusions about the precision of the estimates of the efficacy of a drug or device frequently changed when different pooling methods were used, particularly when the number of studies within a meta-analysis was small and statistical heterogeneity was substantial. Sensitivity analyses using more than one method may need to be considered in these two scenarios.
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18,101 members
Behnam Sadeghirad
  • Departments of Anethesia and Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Omar M. Bdair
  • Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Matiar Howlader
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carlos Alberto Cuello-Garcia
  • Health Research Methods Evidence and Impact
Loubna Akhabir
  • Department of Medicine
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