American Institutes for Research

KT Update

An e-newsletter from the Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research

Vol. 5, No. 2 - January 2017


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The contents of this newsletter were developed under grant number 90DP0027 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Copyright © 2017 by American Institutes for Research

Webcast Archives Now Available

The 3-Part Webcast Series: Essential Practices to Facilitate Implementation of WIOA archive is now available. Presenters in this series focus on the essential practices for VR professionals to facilitate the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). We have requested pre-approval for CRC-CEUs and all who complete the evaluation and request CRC-CEUs will be notified when we receive that approval.

Finding and Using International Research Resources originally aired on December 13, 2016. In this webcast, Jessica Chaiken of NARIC described how the NARIC REHABDATA Database grew when it became custodian of the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange’s (CIRRIE) international disability and rehabilitation research holdings. No CRC-CEUs are available as this archive is only 45 minutes.

KT Workshop: Communicating Science

NIDILRR grantees and other interested parties are invited to participate in Communicating Science: Tools for Disability and Rehabilitation Researchers,
Please register by March 16, 2017.
NOTE: No charge to register; NIDILRR grantees receive priority.

This is a half-day in-person workshop to be held on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 (12:30 PM - 5 PM) at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town, VA.
Presenters from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will lead an interactive session focusing on researcher involvement in public communication of science and how to connect with specific audiences. The workshop will close with a special one-hour session focusing on strategic social media and online science communication.

Questions? Please contact Tracy Bauman:

Co-sponsored by: Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR); NARRTC and NARRTC Research Committee; American Institutes for Research (AIR)

Welcome New NIDILRR Grantees

The Center on KTDRR would like to congratulate all the newly-funded NIDILRR grantees. Many new projects are operated by familiar colleagues, and we especially want to welcome those grantees with their first NIDILRR funding. We are here to enhance grantees' understanding of KT strategies, and support them in conducting their own research, development, and dissemination activities. Please visit our website at to learn about our trainings, products, resources, and to request Technical Assistance (TA). The National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) has a link identifying 82 "Newly funded projects for this Fiscal Year" in the NIDILRR Program Database.

2016 KT Conference Archive Available
Earn Up to 10 CRC-CEUs!

The 2016 KT Conference archive is now available! Access to the video presentations and all the materials are on our website free of charge. You can receive up to 10 CRC-CEUs for viewing these presentations. You must fill out an evaluation to receive your verification of completion form to submit to the CRCC.

Save the Date — 2017 KT Online Conference

Mark your calendars! The 2017 online KT Conference will be held on October 30, November 1, and 3, 2017. This year’s conference will be focused on effective measurement solutions for your KT strategies.

Listing of Recent Systematic Reviews in Disability and Rehabilitation

Agh, T., Domotor, P., Bartfai, Z., Inotai, A., Fujsz, E., & Meszaros, A. (2015). Relationship Between Medication Adherence and Health-Related Quality of Life in Subjects With COPD: A Systematic Review. Respiratory Care, 60 (2), 297-303. doi: 10.4187/respcare.03123
Reviews seven studies the had data on the relationship between health-related quality of life (QOL) and medication adherence, of which three found no correlation, three a positive and two a negative. Suggests that non-adherence may lead to good quality of life, but good quality of life may lead patients with COPD to cut back on their medications. Concludes that a longitudinal view is necessary.
PMID: 25185152

Artz, N., Elvers, K. T., Lowe, C. M., Sackley, C., Jepson, P., & Beswick, A. D. (2015). Effectiveness of physiotherapy exercise following total knee replacement: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 16 , 15-015-0469-6. doi: 10.1186/s12891-015-0469-6
Updates a 2007 review, including 18 studies this time. Finds that compared to patients receiving minimal PT, patients receiving PT exercise have improved physical function at 3-4 months, possibly at 6 months. No difference was noted in function or pain between outpatient PT exercise and home PT exercise, but the latter showed a short-term advantage in terms of range of motion (flexion). No long-term benefits of PT exercise were identified.
PMID: 25886975
PMCID: PMC4333167

Barton, E. E., Reichow, B., Schnitz, A., Smith, I. C., & Sherlock, D. (2015). A systematic review of sensory-based treatments for children with disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 37 , 64-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.11.006
Reviews 30 studies, which showed large heterogeneity in terms of implementation, measurement, and study rigor. Concludes that, although many advocate sensory-based interventions, there is not enough evidence to recommend their use.
PMID: 25460221

Berdal, G., Smedslund, G., Dagfinrud, H., Hagen, K. B., & Kjeken, I. (2015). Design and effects of supportive followup interventions in clinical care of patients with rheumatic diseases: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Arthritis Care & Research, 67 (2), 240-254. doi: 10.1002/acr.22407
Investigates the short-term (0-2 months) and long-term (5-6 months) effect of supportive interventions offered along or after rehabilitation or other nonsurgical treatment, using 11 trials with 3,231 subjects. Finds moderate good quality evidence for small effects on physical function, short-term and long-term. Moderate quality evidence showed there to be no significant effects on depression short-term. Low or very low quality evidence showed no effects short-term on pain, and long-term on pain or depression.
PMID: 25047599

Buck, H. G., Harkness, K., Wion, R., Carroll, S. L., Cosman, T., Kaasalainen, S., et al. (2015). Caregivers' contributions to heart failure self-care: a systematic review. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: Journal of the Working Group on Cardiovascular Nursing of the European Society of Cardiology, 14 (1), 79-89. doi: 10.1177/1474515113518434
Reviews 40 papers, mostly qualitative, on the role of care givers (CGs) in self-care after heart failure. Finds that CGs contribute concrete as well as interpersonal supports. Concludes that longitudinal research is needed to investigate the effect of CG efforts on patient outcomes.
PMID: 24399843

Burton, E., Cavalheri, V., Adams, R., Browne, C. O., Bovery-Spencer, P., Fenton, A. M., et al. (2015). Effectiveness of exercise programs to reduce falls in older people with dementia living in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 10 , 421-434. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S71691.
Synthesizes four papers and finds that the men number of falls is lower in the exercise than the control group, but that there are no differences in terms of number of steps or physiological profile.
PMID: 25709416
PMCID: PMC4330004

Canavan, M., Smyth, A., Bosch, J., Jensen, M., McGrath, E. R., Mulkerrin, E. C., et al. (2015). Does lowering blood pressure with antihypertensive therapy preserve independence in activities of daily living? A systematic review. American Journal of Hypertension, 28 (2), 273-279.
doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpu131
Reviews 93 trials, of which one had ADLs as the primary outcome, and nine as the secondary. Finds that ADL difficulty is reduced with blood-pressure lowering drugs.
PMID: 25156624

Case-Smith, J., Weaver, L. L., & Fristad, M. A. (2015). A systematic review of sensory processing interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 19 (2), 133-148. doi: 10.1177/1362361313517762
Reviews the evidence for two types of sensory processing interventions, represented in 5 studies of sensory integration therapy (SIT) and 14 studies of sensory-based intervention (SBI), for children with sensory processing problems. Finds support for SIT in two studies evaluating child performance, while other studies found effects in reducing behaviors linked to sensory problems. Few benefits of SBI were found. Concludes that rigorous studies using manualized protocols are needed to study SIT and SBI.
PMID: 24477447

Chan, V., Thurairajah, P., & Colantonio, A. (2015). Defining pediatric traumatic brain injury using International Classification of Diseases Version 10 Codes: a systematic review. BMC Neurology, 15 , 7-015-0259-7. doi: 10.1186/s12883-015-0259-7
Finds a variety of ICD-10 codes being used in studies of pediatric TBI, ranging from use of the concussion code (S06.0) only, to use of all the head injury codes (S00 to S09). Claims that awareness of these differences is basic to reaching a definition of pediatric TBI and operationalizing it in terms of various purposes.
PMID: 25648197
PMCID: PMC4335539

Chan, W. C., Yeung, J. W., Wong, C. S., Lam, L. C., Chung, K. F., Luk, J. K., et al. (2015). Efficacy of physical exercise in preventing falls in older adults with cognitive impairment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 16 (2), 149-154. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2014.08.007
Reviews seven RCTs, and uses meta-analysis to show that physical exercise has a significant effect in preventing falls. States that further studies are needed to determine the frequency of exercise that is optimal, as well and the best modalities.
PMID: 25304179

Collins, J., & Porter, J. (2015). The effect of interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition in patients admitted for rehabilitation: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics: The Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association, 28 (1), 1-15. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12230
Synthesizes 10 trials, and finds that, compared to meals alone, oral nutritional supplements improve protein intake and energy. Finds little evidence that specialty supplements are better than standard ones. Studies that investigated effects of changes in clinical care processes are found to report contradictory results.
PMID: 24811842

Faruqi, N., Spooner, C., Joshi, C., Lloyd, J., Dennis, S., Stocks, N., et al. (2015). Primary health care-level interventions targeting health literacy and their effect on weight loss: a systematic review. BMC Obesity, 2 , 6-015-0035-7. doi: 10.1186/s40608-015-0035-7
Aims to determine the effectiveness of “lifestyle interventions aimed at improving adults' knowledge and skills for weight loss in primary health care” in studies with at least six months follow-up. Based on 13 (mostly moderate quality) trials targeting diet, physical activity or behavior change to improve weight loss knowledge and/or skills concludes that there is a significant reduction in weight in act least one follow-up visit. Does not find any relationship of weight loss with mode of intervention delivery, intervention intensity or type/number of providers.
PMID: 26217521
PMCID: PMC4511068

FitzGerald, T. L., Southby, A. K., Haines, T. P., Hough, J. P., & Skinner, E. H. (2015). Is physiotherapy effective in the management of child and adolescent conversion disorder? A systematic review. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 51 (2), 159-167. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12630
Reviews 12 observational studies, none of which used functional outcome measures. Concludes that there is limited and poor quality evidence that PT management of child/adolescent conversion disorders is effective, and calls for more rigorous studies with high quality functional outcome measures.
PMID: 24923418

Fong, E., Li, C., Aslakson, R., & Agrawal, Y. (2015). Systematic review of patient-reported outcome measures in clinical vestibular research. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96 (2), 357-365.
In 104 papers, identifies four patient-reported outcomes (PROs) that are used most commonly: Vertigo Symptom Scale-short form, Dizziness Handicap Inventory, Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale, and a visual analog scale (VAS). Notes that neither of these were validated for use in the population of community-living older adults with vestibular loss. Allocates the items in these measures to the three ICF domains of body structure and function, activity, and participation, as a first step toward developing a new PRO instrument.
PMID: 25305629
PMCID: PMC4306632

Fyhr, C., Gustavsson, L., Wassinger, C., & Sole, G. (2015). The effects of shoulder injury on kinaesthesia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Manual Therapy, 20 (1), 28-37. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2014.08.006
Presents 17 studies with a variety of methodological quality that allow for analysis of the effects of shoulder injury on active and passive joint reposition sense (AJPS and PJPS, respectively) and movement sense. Finds moderate evidence for decreased movement sense in samples with post-traumatic glenohumeral instability, and moderate to limited evidence of decreased AJPS and PJPS.
PMID: 25241661

Garcia Salazar, L. F., dos Santos, G. L., Pavao, S. L., Rocha, N. A., & de Russo, T. L. (2015). Intrinsic properties and functional changes in spastic muscle after application of BTX-A in children with cerebral palsy: systematic review. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 18 (1), 1-14. doi: 10.3109/17518423.2014.948640
Reviews 17 studies, and concludes that BTX-A does not change the passive stiffness of spastic muscle, and that there are controversial findings with respect to impact on function.
PMID: 25180438

Grampurohit, N., Pradhan, S., & Kartin, D. (2015). Efficacy of adhesive taping as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation to influence outcomes post-stroke: a systematic review. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 22 (1), 72-82. doi: 10.1179/1074935714Z.0000000031
Finds 15 studies investigating the effects of taping, two using elastic tape and 13 using rigid tape, with evidence quality (for shoulder, wrist, hip, knee, ankle) varying from good to poor. Concludes that rigid tape may increase the number of pain-free days at the shoulder, but that evidence is inconclusive for taping effects on pain, ROM, muscle tone, strength or function.
PMID: 25776123

Hakkarainen, T. W., Ayoung-Chee, P., Alfonso, R., Arbabi, S., & Flum, D. R. (2015). Structure, process, and outcomes in skilled nursing facilities: understanding what happens to surgical patients when they cannot go home. A systematic review. The Journal of Surgical Research, 193 (2), 772-780. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2014.06.002
Synthesizes findings from 29 articles. States that the impact of care setting and of care delivery patterns on outcomes has not been well studied, and that therefore no strong conclusions can be drawn.
PMID: 25439223
PMCID: PMC4270469

Kamper, S. J., Apeldoorn, A. T., Chiarotto, A., Smeets, R. J., Ostelo, R. W., Guzman, J., et al. (2015). Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for chronic low back pain: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 350 , h444. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h444
Reviews 41 studies investigating the effects of multidisciplinary (two or more disciplines) rehabilitation that “involved a physical component and one or both of a psychological component or a social or work targeted component”. Finds 16 trials providing moderate quality evidence that multidisciplinary rehabilitation decreases pain and disability compared to usual care; 19 trials offering low quality evidence that multidisciplinary rehabilitation decreases pain and disability compared to physical treatments. Also, notes that eight trials offer moderate quality evidence that multidisciplinary rehabilitation makes return to work by one year after intervention more than physical treatments, and that seven trials offer the same level of evidence that rehabilitation is not better in return to work than usual care.
PMID: 25694111
PMCID: PMC4353283

Keeratitanont, K., Jensen, M. P., Chatchawan, U., & Auvichayapat, P. (2015). The efficacy of traditional Thai massage for the treatment of chronic pain: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 21 (1), 26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.01.006
Reviews six studies that all found that Thai massage decreased pain from pre-test to post-test, and also improves muscle tension, flexibility, disability, and anxiety, for up to 15 weeks.
PMID: 25682523

Kruse, C. S., Argueta, D. A., Lopez, L., & Nair, A. (2015). Patient and provider attitudes toward the use of patient portals for the management of chronic disease: a systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17 (2), e40. doi: 10.2196/jmir.3703
Based on 27 studies concludes that portals bring on improved quality of care by providers and significant improvements in patient self-management of chronic disease, mostly through improved patient-provider communication. Negative concerns reported were security issues and user-friendliness of the portals. For providers, high costs of setting up a portal are a concern.
PMID: 25707035
PMCID: PMC4376181

Leysen, M., Nijs, J., Meeus, M., van Wilgen, P. C., Struyf, F., Vermandel, A., et al. (2015). Clinimetric properties of illness perception questionnaire revised (IPQ-R) and brief illness perception questionnaire (Brief IPQ) in patients with musculoskeletal disorders: A systematic review. Manual Therapy, 20 (1), 10-17. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2014.05.001
Systematically reviews literature on the metric qualities of the Illness Perception Questionnaire Revised (IPQ-R) and the IPR brief version (IPQ-B), using the COSMIN checklist as a guide. Finds that in general IPQ-R is a reliable measure, with good construct validity, but unstable factor structure. The IPQ-B has moderate test-retest reliability, and the authors did not find any validity studies for this measure.
PMID: 25435470

Meneses-Echavez, J. F., Gonzalez-Jimenez, E., & Ramirez-Velez, R. (2015). Effects of supervised exercise on cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cancer, 15 , 77-015-1069-4. doi: 10.1186/s12885-015-1069-4
Reviews nine high-quality studies that show that (supervised) aerobic exercise and resistance training are more effective than conventional care in reducing cancer-related fatigue (CRF). Notes that meta-regression indicates that exercise volume is a determinant of the effect on CRF. Concludes that high-volume exercise is safe, and effective in improving CRF and quality of life.
PMID: 25885168
PMCID: PMC4364505

Mills, P. B., Fung, C. K., Travlos, A., & Krassioukov, A. (2015). Nonpharmacologic management of orthostatic hypotension: a systematic review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96 (2), 366-375. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.09.028
Reviews 23 studies which offer eight interventions, either physical modalities (exercise, FES, compression, physical countermeasures, compression with physical countermeasures, sleeping with head up) or dietary measures (changed water intake, change in meals). Finds strong evidence that four of these are effective, in specific populations: FES in SCI, compression of the legs and/or abdomen, physical countermeasures in various patient populations, and eating smaller and more frequent meals in chronic autonomic failure.
PMID: 25449193

Moyer, R. F., Birmingham, T. B., Bryant, D. M., Giffin, J. R., Marriott, K. A., & Leitch, K. M. (2015). Biomechanical effects of valgus knee bracing: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage / OARS, Osteoarthritis Research Society, 23 (2), 178-188. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.11.018
Reviews 30 studies with 478 subjects that investigated the effect of valgus braces with (mostly) biomechanical methods. Finds that they can decrease, with moderate to high effect sizes, various biomechanical outcomes: medial knee compressive force, mediolateral distribution of load across the knee, quadriceps/ hamstring and quadriceps/ gastrocnemius co-contraction ratios, and can increase medial joint space during gait. Longer durations of brace use are associated with smaller treatment effects. Various minor complications of valgus brace use are noted.
PMID: 25447975

Murgatroyd, D. F., Casey, P. P., Cameron, I. D., & Harris, I. A. (2015). The effect of financial compensation on health outcomes following musculoskeletal injury: systematic review. PloS One, 10 (2), e0117597. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117597
Analyzes 29 prospective observational studies with at least six-month follow-up of the link between compensation status and health outcomes. Finds strong evidence of a link between compensation and poor psychological function, moderate evidence of a link with physical function, and limited evidence for an effect on pain. Yet the authors claim that “No studies reported an association between compensation related factors and improved health outcomes”.
PMID: 25680118
PMCID: PMC4334545

Parmenter, B. J., Dieberg, G., & Smart, N. A. (2015). Exercise training for management of peripheral arterial disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 45 (2), 231-244. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0261-z
Analyzes the effects of exercise on peripheral arterial disease (PAD), using 41 studies that compared between exercise training and usual care. Finds that exercise improves peak VO2, 6-minute walk initial claudication, total walking distance, graded treadmill initial claudication, absolute claudication distance, but not ankle-brachial index or flow mediated dilatation. An important finding is that no-to-mild pain may be superior to moderate-to-maximum training pain.
PMID: 25230780

Phelan, E. A., Debnam, K. J., Anderson, L. A., & Owens, S. B. (2015). A systematic review of intervention studies to prevent hospitalizations of community-dwelling older adults with dementia. Medical Care, 53 (2), 207-213. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000294
Reviews ten studies which in majority used face-to-face assessments of the person with dementia or their caregiver, and the development and implementation of a care plan. Finds that none reports a significant reduction in hospital admissions, which, however, was not the primary outcome in most.
PMID: 25588136
PMCID: PMC4310672

Roets-Merken, L. M., Draskovic, I., Zuidema, S. U., van Erp, W. S., Graff, M. J., Kempen, G. I., et al. (2015). Effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions in improving emotional and functional status in hearing or visually impaired older adults: a systematic review with meta-analyses. Clinical Rehabilitation, 29 (2), 107-119. doi: 10.1177/0269215514542639
Reviews 14 studies that had a primary outcome of emotional or functional status, self-efficacy or social participation of non-equipment based rehabilitative interventions for people with hearing impairments (six studies) or visual impairments (eight studies). All studies are classified as modest in methodological quality. No significant rehabilitation effects are found, although subgroup analysis shows problem-solving training as a possible intervention for improving emotional status.
PMID: 25027446

Ruff, J., Wang, T. L., Quatman-Yates, C. C., Phieffer, L. S., & Quatman, C. E. (2015). Commercially available gaming systems as clinical assessment tools to improve value in the orthopaedic setting: a systematic review. Injury, 46 (2), 178-183. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2014.08.047
Assesses the use of the Wii Balance Board (WBB) or the Xbox Kinect as diagnostic or functional assessment tools in orthopedics. Finds 11 studies of varying quality, reporting a wide range of sensitivities, specificities and validities, in the use of these devices for measurement of center of pressure (COP), medial-lateral or anterior-posterior symmetry, and assessment of anatomic landmark positioning and of fall risk. Concludes that only for COP determination, while the Wii Fit game may be promising for fall risk assessment.
PMID: 25441576

Salbach, N. M., O'Brien, K. K., Brooks, D., Irvin, E., Martino, R., Takhar, P., et al. (2015). Reference values for standardized tests of walking speed and distance: a systematic review. Gait & Posture, 41 (2), 341-360. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2014.10.002
Summarizes the findings of 25 studies that provided reference values for the 6 minute walk test or one of 15 distance-limited walk tests. Concludes that the reference values reported provide a basis for various purposes: classifying walking capacity as within normal limits, determining the magnitude of deficit, educating clients, setting rehabilitation goals, and planning studies.
PMID: 25542397

Song, H. J., Seo, H. J., Lee, H., Son, H., Choi, S. M., & Lee, S. (2015). Effect of self-acupressure for symptom management: a systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 23 (1), 68-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.11.002
Aims to review the efficacy and safety of self-administered acupressure to alleviate symptoms of various health problems. Notes that ten moderate quality studies show positive effects and safety, in clinically diverse samples.
PMID: 25637155

ter Hoeve, N., Huisstede, B. M., Stam, H. J., van Domburg, R. T., Sunamura, M., & van den Berg-Emons, R. J. (2015). Does cardiac rehabilitation after an acute cardiac syndrome lead to changes in physical activity habits? Systematic review. Physical Therapy, 95 (2), 167-179. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20130509
Reviews 26 RCTs comparing center-based and home-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) for patients with acute coronary syndrome. Concludes that center-based CR is not sufficient to improve and maintain physical activity habits. Home-based programs might be more successful, but the literature on these programs is limited.
PMID: 25278337

Listing of Recent Papers on Methodology of
Systematic Reviewing and Meta-Analysis

Cameron, C., Fireman, B., Hutton, B., Clifford, T., Coyle, D., Wells, G., et al. (2015). Network meta-analysis incorporating randomized controlled trials and non-randomized comparative cohort studies for assessing the safety and effectiveness of medical treatments: challenges and opportunities. Systematic Reviews, 4, 147-015-0133-0. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0133-0
Claims that including well-analyzed (e.g. using propensity scoring) observational studies in network meta-analysis can make up for the disadvantages linked to using RCTs only. Discusses the advantages and challenges in including observational studies into this type of meta-analysis, and argues that it may result in more timely, comprehensive and generalizable evidence.
PMID: 26537988
PMCID: PMC4634799

Crawford, C., Boyd, C., Jain, S., Khorsan, R., & Jonas, W. (2015). Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature (REAL©): streamlining the systematic review process and creating utility for evidence-based health care. BMC Research Notes, 8, 631. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-1604-z
Discusses the methods the Samueli Institute uses to rapidly complete systematic reviews, in an efficient and reliable manner. Notes the uses of “structured tools and rulebooks” as well as input from trained subject matter experts.
PMID: 26525982
PMCID: PMC4630849

Fenton, L., Lauckner, H., & Gilbert, R. (2015). The QATSDD critical appraisal tool: comments and critiques. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, doi: 10.1111/jep.12487
Discusses the QATSDD critical appraisal tool, developed for use by health services researchers in psychology, sociology and nursing in integrative reviews. Makes suggestions for improvements in the tool and its uses.
PMID: 26639174

Furlan, A. D., Malmivaara, A., Chou, R., Maher, C. G., Deyo, R. A., Schoene, M., et al. (2015). 2015 Updated Method Guideline for Systematic Reviews in the Cochrane Back and Neck Group. Spine, 40(21), 1660-1673. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001061
Presents the 2015 version of the method guideline of the Cochrane Back and Neck group, with changes in seven areas: objectives, literature search, selection criteria, risk of bias assessment, data extraction, data analysis, and reporting of results and conclusions. Notes which elements in each category are mandatory and which optional.
PMID: 26208232

Godin, K., Stapleton, J., Kirkpatrick, S. I., Hanning, R. M., & Leatherdale, S. T. (2015). Applying systematic review search methods to the grey literature: a case study examining guidelines for school-based breakfast programs in Canada. Systematic Reviews, 4, 138-015-0125-0. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0125-0
Discusses the search methods that were used in a case study systematic review of grey literature, which used four strategies: grey literature databases; customized Google search engines; targeted websites; and consultation with experts. Concludes that this created a feasible and apparently robust to identify web-based resources in the grey literature.
PMID: 26494010
PMCID: PMC4619264

Gough, D. (2015). Qualitative and mixed methods in systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews, 4(1), 181-015-0151-y. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0151-y.
This introductory paper to a special issue of Systematic Reviews dedicated to synthesis of qualitative primary research and mixed-methods research discusses the reasons that such synthesis only now are taken seriously by the EBP/EBM world, and highlights the importance of all the papers included.
PMID: 26670769
PMCID: PMC4681176

Harris, J., Croot, L., Thompson, J., & Springett, J. (2015). How stakeholder participation can contribute to systematic reviews of complex interventions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 8(4): 272 - 283. doi: 10.1136/jech-2015-205701
Describes how techniques used in participatory health research were used to involve patients/clients, community health workers and other stakeholders across all stages of a realist review. Claims that doing so enabled better identification of the components of the complex intervention of community-based peer support.
PMID: 26475921
PMCID: PMC4752615

Hartling, L., Guise, J. M., Kato, E., Anderson, J., Belinson, S., Berliner, E., et al. (2015). A taxonomy of rapid reviews links report types and methods to specific decision-making contexts. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 68(12), 1451-1462.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.05.036
Explores the varieties of what is called a rapid review (RR), which have production times from five minutes to eight months. Notes that even the longest-duration ones are characterized by restrictions on database searching, inclusion criteria, data extracted, and independent dual review. Stresses that RR products of any type depend on the close relationship of the reviewers and the end user to meet time-sensitive decision-making needs.
PMID: 26278023

Herbison, P., Robertson, M. C., & McKenzie, J. E. (2015). Do alternative methods for analysing count data produce similar estimates? Implications for meta-analyses. Systematic Reviews, 4(1), 163-015-0144-x. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0144-x
Reports on a simulation study that aimed to determine whether different ways of analyzing count data (as counts, as a continuous variable or as a dichotomy) result in differences in findings between primary studies that should concern meta-analysts. Finds that all methods produce similar effect sizes when there was no difference between treatments, but two issues when the event counted becomes more common.
PMID: 26577545
PMCID: PMC4650317

Hopp, L. (2015). Risk of bias reporting in Cochrane systematic reviews. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(5), 683-686. doi: 10.1111/ijn.12252
Discusses Cochrane’s approach to the following potential sources of bias: selection, performance, detection, attrition and reporting, each of which are rated as high, low or unclear in its threat to internal validity.
PMID: 24621329

Keil, L. G., Platts-Mills, T. F., & Jones, C. W. (2015). Systematic Reviews Published in Emergency Medicine Journals Do Not Routinely Search Clinical Trials Registries: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 66(4), 424-427.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.10.001
Analyzes 41 systematic reviews published in 2013 in six prominent emergency medicine journals. Finds that only 20% searched a clinical trials registry. One half of these eight reviews, however, identified at least one relevant unpublished study through the registry.
PMID: 25447560
PMCID: PMC4408207

Kite, J., Indig, D., Mihrshahi, S., Milat, A., & Bauman, A. (2015). Assessing the usefulness of systematic reviews for policymakers in public health: A case study of overweight and obesity prevention interventions. Preventive Medicine, 81, 99-107. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.08.012
Investigates whether systematic reviews (in this case in the area of obesity) are framed and reported in such a way that usefulness to policy makers is maximized. Analyzes 153 systematic reviews in this area, and finds that 69% addresses generalizability of the findings, but just 24% issues of cost and cost effectiveness, and only 29% the policy implications of the review findings.
PMID: 26303371

Mayhew, A. D., Kabir, M., & Ansari, M. T. (2015). Considerations from the risk of bias perspective for updating Cochrane reviews. Systematic Reviews, 4, 136-015-0122-3. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0122-3
Discusses what to do when one is updating an existing systematic review, and since the previous publication the standards for assessing primary studies have been modified. Recommends that, in spite of the greater effort, old primary studies are re-rated using contemporary standards, rather than continuing the use of the evidence rating standards that were used in the earlier edition.
PMID: 26445323
PMCID: PMC4596509

McKenzie, J. E., Herbison, G. P., & Deeks, J. J. (2015). Impact of analysing continuous outcomes using final values, change scores and analysis of covariance on the performance of meta-analytic methods: a simulation study. Research Synthesis Methods, 2015 Dec 29. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1196
Reports the results of a simulation study that aimed to determine the effect of various ways of estimating the effect of an intervention: final (i.e. post-treatment) values, change scores, ANCOVA or a random mix of the three. Finds that the effect of analysis method on meta-analysis findings is important only when there is little or no heterogeneity.
PMID: 26715122

Mo, Y., Kontonatsios, G., & Ananiadou, S. (2015). Supporting systematic reviews using LDA-based document representations. Systematic Reviews, 4, 172-015-0117-0. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0117-0
Explores the performance of two methods of text mining/machine learning in abstract screening, the bag-of-words (BOG) approach and the support vector machine (SVM) one. Shows that SVM is superior to BOG.
PMID: 26612232
PMCID: PMC4662004

Simmonds, M., Stewart, G., & Stewart, L. (2015). A decade of individual participant data meta-analyses: A review of current practice. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 45(Pt A), 76-83. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2015.06.012
Analyzes current methods of analyzing and reporting of individual patient/participant data (IPD) systematic reviews, based on a sample of 100 recent publications. Concludes that there is room for improvement both in the IPD systematic review analysis and the reporting.
PMID: 26091948

Tierney, J. F., Pignon, J. P., Gueffyier, F., Clarke, M., Askie, L., Vale, C. L., et al. (2015). How individual participant data meta-analyses have influenced trial design, conduct, and analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 68(11), 1325-1335. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.05.024
Describes how in 28 trials prior individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis impacted the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of the trial.
PMID: 26186982
PMCID: PMC4635379

Tsertsvadze, A., Chen, Y. F., Moher, D., Sutcliffe, P., & McCarthy, N. (2015). How to conduct systematic reviews more expeditiously? Systematic Reviews, 4(1), 160-015-0147-7. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0147-7
Discusses how one might conduct systematic reviews faster and/or with fewer resources, creating rapid reviews (RRs) through process parallelization, innovative technologies (e.g. text mining), and modification of systematic review processes. Notes that all approaches to the latter (truncating or bypassing one or more systematic review steps) risks introducing bias. Remarks that there stiff is insufficient research on the impact of methodological changes, or on the differences between RRs and traditional systematic reviews.
PMID: 26563648
PMCID: PMC4643500

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