American Institutes for Research

KT Update

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

Vol. 5, No. 6 - August 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

Register for the 2017
Online KT Conference

Register today for KTDRR's 2017 Online Knowledge Translation Conference. This year's conference theme focuses on effective measurement solutions for your KT outcomes, and includes sessions providing an overcoming barriers to outreach; tools for tracking implementation; and strategies for measuring impact. Follow us for Conference Updates at #KTDRR17.

Dates: October 30, November 1, and November 3, 2017 (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)
Time: 1 pm – 5 pm Eastern (each day)
More Information:
Register now:

Highlighted presentation: Dr. Allen Heinemann and Dr. Linda Ehrlich-Jones will present on The Rehabilitation Measures Database: A Knowledge Translation Tool for Promoting Adoption of Standardized Outcome Measures. Translation of research evidence to clinical applications is a challenge for rehabilitation physicians, nurses and therapists. The Rehabilitation Measures Database (RMD) is a free, web-based searchable database of over 375 standardized instruments that was designed to support translation of rehabilitation research evidence into practice. This presentation will describe the development of the RMD, the role of collaborators, and how academic programs and professional groups can contribute to RMD content. Journals that collaborate with the RMD and publish abbreviated instrument summaries will be highlighted. A demonstration of the RMD and future directions for the RMD program will be discussed.

Call for Virtual Posters for the
2017 Online KT Conference
Deadline September 15

Are your knowledge translation activities taking off? Share your knowledge translation success with fellow NIDILRR grantees in a virtual poster session as part of this Fall’s 2017 Online KT Conference. In line with this year’s conference theme, posters should highlight activities that demonstrate best practices and innovation in measuring knowledge translation activities.

Selected posters will be featured on the Virtual Poster Hall tab of the conference website for all conference attendees and NIDILRR grantees to see. This is a great opportunity to workshop posters and solicit feedback from colleagues ahead of submitting posters or abstracts to other conferences in the field. Submissions will also be considered for inclusion in the upcoming KT Casebook, offering further opportunities for visibility.

Poster submissions are due by September 15, 2017. For more information (including a template and parameters), please email Donna Mitrani at

Serve as a KT Conference Reactor

The KTDRR Center would like to invite you to be a reactor for our 2017 Knowledge Translation Conference! As a reactor, you would be an active participant in the conference as well as provide valuable insight for conference participants.

Please register for the KT Conference and indicate your interest (Question 7 and 8 of the registration form) to serve as a reactor.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Listing of Recent Systematic Reviews in
Disability and Rehabilitation

Amante, D. J., Hogan, T. P., Pagoto, S. L., & English, T. M. (2014). A systematic review of electronic portal usage among patients with diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 16(11), 784-793. doi:10.1089/dia.2014.0078
Reviews 9 quantitative, 3 qualitative and 4 mixed-method studies of barriers and facilitators of electronic portal use by patients with diabetes. Finds that encouragement by healthcare providers plays a major role, along with patient characteristics.
PMID: 24999599

Amorim, J. S., Salla, S., & Trelha, C. S. (2014). Factors associated with work ability in the elderly: systematic review. Revista Brasileira De Epidemiologia ( Brazilian Journal of Epidemiology), 17(4), 830-841.
 Reviews qualitative and quantitative research, and concludes that age, smoking status, years of experience and job physical demands have a negative association with work ability, while life satisfaction, income adequacy, volunteering and  mental workload have a positive one.
PMID: 25388484

Beckenkamp, P. R., Lin, C. W., Chagpar, S., Herbert, R. D., van der Ploeg, H. P., & Moseley, A. M. (2014). Prognosis of physical function following ankle fracture: a systematic review with meta-analysis. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 44(11), 841-51, B2. doi:10.2519/jospt.2014.5199
On the basis of analysis of 37 articles determines that ankle fracture leads to significant short-term activity limitation, followed by marked but incomplete short to medium term recovery, which in turn is followed by little further improvement in the long term.
PMID: 25269609

Castellini, G., Gianola, S., Banzi, R., Corbetta, D., Gatti, R., Sirtori, V., et al. (2014). Constraint-induced movement therapy: trial sequential analysis applied to Cochrane collaboration systematic review results. Trials, 15, 512-6215-15-512. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-512
Synthesizes outcomes on Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and Action Research Arm Test (ARAT) reported by 14 trials comparing Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) with other rehabilitation techniques used with stroke patients. Concludes that while conventional meta-analysis indicates superiority of CIMT, “the overall results remain inconclusive and might be spurious.”
PMID: 25542215
PMCID: PMC4307139

Clijsen, R., Fuchs, J., & Taeymans, J. (2014). Effectiveness of exercise therapy in treatment of patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. Physical Therapy, 94(12), 1697-1708. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20130310
Analyses the results of 15 studies reporting activity limitations and participation restrictions for patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome receiving exercise therapy. Finds that short-term (≤12 weeks) effects of the therapy are found for pain and activity/participation, but that long-term (≥26 weeks) effects do not extend to pain.
PMID: 25082920

Cotter, J., Drake, R. J., Bucci, S., Firth, J., Edge, D., & Yung, A. R. (2014). What drives poor functioning in the at-risk mental state? A systematic review. Schizophrenia Research, 159(2-3), 267-277. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2014.09.012
Reviews the literature on patients with at-risk mental state (ARMS) to determine whether there are specific factors associated with functional impairment. Finds that negative symptoms and neurocognitive impairment is associated with poor functioning in cross-sectional studies, while negative and disorganized symptoms and neurocognitive deficits and baseline poor functioning are associated with poor functioning in longitudinal studies. Positive symptoms do not show a relationship to functioning in either study type. Functional disability is found to be persistent and treatment resistant.
PMID: 25261041

Crawford, S. K., Stafford, K. N., Phillips, S. M., Scott, K. J., & Tucker, P. (2014). Strategies for inclusion in play among children with physical disabilities in childcare centers: an integrative review. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 34(4), 404-423. doi:10.3109/01942638.2014.904470
Reviews 9 studies which find two main strategies for including children with a disability in play, each with substrategies: role of the adult facilitator and environmental factors. Concludes that research of better quality is needed to convincingly demonstrate the effectiveness of these strategies.
PMID: 24712842

Dammeyer, J. (2014). Deafblindness: a review of the literature. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 42(7), 554-562. doi:10.1177/1403494814544399
Reviews the literature on deafblindness, and (unsurprisingly) finds that it often leads to barriers to communication, information access and social interaction, which in turn may lead to high risk of depression and other psychological distress, cognitive decline, and (in children) developmental disorder.
PMID: 25114064

Galdas, P., Darwin, Z., Kidd, L., Blickem, C., McPherson, K., Hunt, K., . . . Richardson, G. (2014). The accessibility and acceptability of self-management support interventions for men with long term conditions: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. BMC Public Health, 14. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1230
Analyzes 38 qualitative studies on acceptance and access of current self-management support interventions to men, who seem to avail themselves of this support at a low level despite their higher risk of developing many of the most significant long-term conditions. Finds, using meta-ethnography, that men are less comfortable participating if support is viewed as at odds with valued aspects of their identity, such as control, independence and stoicism. Self-management support may be more acceptable to men if it is seen as action-oriented, offering personally meaningful information and practical strategies, and having a clear purpose.
PMID: 25428230
PMCID: PMC4295235

Haywood, K. L., Collin, S. M., & Crawley, E. (2014). Assessing severity of illness and outcomes of treatment in children with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME): a systematic review of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). Child: Care, Health and Development, 40(6), 806-824. doi:10.1111/cch.12135
Using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) checklist as a guide reviews psychometric information on 13 PROMs presented in 16 studies on CFS/ME children. Finds significant methodological and other quality problems that need to be addressed in future research.
PMID: 24661148

Heyvaert, M., Saenen, L., Maes, B., & Onghena, P. (2014). Systematic review of restraint interventions for challenging behaviour among persons with intellectual disabilities: focus on effectiveness in single-case experiments. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities: JARID, 27(6), 493-510. doi:10.1111/jar.12094
Using a mixed-methods research synthesis finds that in 59 single case design studies, restraint interventions are highly effective in diminishing challenging behaviors in persons with intellectual disabilities. However, these effects are shown to vary strongly across participants, and the data and outcomes are claimed to be ‘rather unrepresentative’ of the everyday use of these restraints in this population.
PMID: 24574179

Hunt, T., Madigan, S., Williams, M. T., & Olds, T. S. (2014). Use of time in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease--a systematic review. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 9, 1377-1388. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S74298
Synthesizes the findings of 26 studies reporting on 37 daily activities, which the reviewers sort into nine activity domains: self-care, work/study, chores, sports/exercise, transport, sociocultural, screen time, quiet time and sleep. Notes that people with COPD spend little time in physical activity and much in sedentary behaviors. Makes comparisons with age-matched population data and makes recommendations for better research in this area.
PMID: 25548519
PMCID: PMC4271726

Kruijsen-Terpstra, A. J., Ketelaar, M., Boeije, H., Jongmans, M. J., Gorter, J. W., Verheijden, J., Lindeman, E., Verschuren, O. (2014). Parents' experiences with physical and occupational therapy for their young child with cerebral palsy: a mixed studies review. Child: Care, Health and Development, 40(6), 787-796. doi:10.1111/cch.12097
Using the ‘framework synthesis method’ describes the factors that 8 qualitative and 5 quantitative studies show to be related to parents' experiences with the interventions given to their child with cerebral palsy. Finds that needs change over time, and that building a collaborative relationship with the therapists requires time. The broader context of the child in family and community is emphasized.
PMID: 23937711

Kutlubaev, M. A., & Hackett, M. L. (2014). Part II: predictors of depression after stroke and impact of depression on stroke outcome: an updated systematic review of observational studies. International Journal of Stroke: Official Journal of the International Stroke Society, 9(8), 1026-1036. doi: 10.1111/ijs.12356
Updates a 2005 review on the impact of depression on stroke outcomes. On the basis of 23 observational studies finds that depression is associated with prestrike depression, severity of neurological deficits, physical disability and other functional outcomes.
PMID: 25156411

Liddy, C., Blazkho, V., & Mill, K. (2014). Challenges of self-management when living with multiple chronic conditions: systematic review of the qualitative literature. Canadian Family Physician Medecin De Famille Canadien, 60(12), 1123-1133.
 Reports on a synthesis of qualitative research on the perspectives of people living with multiple chronic conditions with respect to self-management. Based on 23 papers concludes that conflicting knowledge, access to care, and communication with health care providers are problematic, while the use of cognitive strategies such as reframing, prioritizing, and changing beliefs, improves one’s ability to self-manage multiple chronic conditions.
PMID: 25642490
PMCID: PMC4264810

Livingston, G., Kelly, L., Lewis-Holmes, E., Baio, G., Morris, S., Patel, N., et al. (2014). Non-pharmacological interventions for agitation in dementia: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 205(6), 436-442. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.141119
Finds on the basis of 33 studies that communication skills training, adapted dementia care mapping and person-centered care diminish symptomatic and severe agitation in nursing homes immediately and for up to six months. Activities and music therapy decrease overall agitation, and sensory intervention decreases clinically significant agitation immediately. However, aromatherapy and light therapy are not effective.
PMID: 25452601

Loveman, E., Copley, V. R., Colquitt, J. L., Scott, D. A., Clegg, A. J., Jones, J., O'Reilly, K. M., Singh, S., Bausewein, C., Wells, A. (2014). The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: systematic review, network meta-analysis and health economic evaluation. BMC Pharmacology & Toxicology, 15.
Reviews and meta-analyzes 14 studies of 6 medications, pulmonary rehabilitation, and a disease management program. Shows increased survival for 5 medication treatments compared to best supportive care, but at increased costs.
PMID: 25410822

Martin-Valero, R., Zamora-Pascual, N., & Armenta-Peinado, J. A. (2014). Training of respiratory muscles in patients with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. Respiratory Care, 59(11), 1764-1772. doi:10.4187/respcare.02881
Reviews 12 primary studies and 3 systematic reviews, and finds that training results in clinical pulmonary function changes. Subjects who score low on the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale experience changes in maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressures.
PMID: 24825913

McCaskey, M. A., Schuster-Amft, C., Wirth, B., Suica, Z., & de Bruin, E. D. (2014). Effects of proprioceptive exercises on pain and function in chronic neck- and low back pain rehabilitation: a systematic literature review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 15. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-382.
Reviews 18 studies (neck, 12 low back pain and function) offering three varieties of proprioceptive training (PrT): discriminatory perceptive exercises with somatosensory stimuli to the back (pPrT, n=2), multimodal exercises on labile surfaces (mPrT, n=13), or joint repositioning exercise with head-eye coordination (rPrT, n=3). Low quality evidence suggests (1) PrT may be more effective than not intervening at all; (2) PrT is no more effective than conventional physiotherapy; and (3) PrT is inferior to educational and behavioral approaches.
PMID: 25409985
PMCID: PMC4247630

Mikton, C., Maguire, H., & Shakespeare, T. (2014). A systematic review of the effectiveness of interventions to prevent and respond to violence against persons with disabilities. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29(17), 3207-3226. doi:10.1177/0886260514534530
Reviews 10 studies, 6 involving people with intellectual disabilities and 2 people with developmental disabilities, and finds that given the assessed risk of bias of these studies, there is no evidence that any interventions to prevent violence against people with disabilities are effective.
PMID: 24870959

Mishra, S. I., Scherer, R. W., Snyder, C., Geigle, P., & Gotay, C. (2014). Are exercise programs effective for improving health-related quality of life among cancer survivors? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Oncology Nursing Forum, 41(6). doi:10.1188/14.ONF.E326-E342
Based on a review of 40 trials concludes that exercise results in increases in health-related quality of life, emotional well-being and social functioning, and decreases in anxiety and fatigue. Offers suggestions for future research.
PMID: 25355029
PMCID: PMC4332787

Molina, K. I., Ricci, N. A., de Moraes, S. A., & Perracini, M. R. (2014). Virtual reality using games for improving physical functioning in older adults: a systematic review. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 11, 156-0003-11-156. doi:10.1186/1743-0003-11-156
Reviews 13 studies of virtual reality games, finding them in majority to be of poor methodological quality, resulting in a claim that ‘the benefits for physical function in older people remain inconclusive’. Remarks on the consensus between the studies that these games have positive motivational characteristics.
PMID: 25399408
PMCID: PMC4247561

Mollayeva, T., Kendzerska, T., Mollayeva, S., Shapiro, C. M., Colantonio, A., & Cassidy, J. D. (2014). A systematic review of fatigue in patients with traumatic brain injury: the course, predictors and consequences. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 47, 684-716. doi: S0149-7634(14)00277-2
Based on a review of 22 longitudinal studies concludes that fatigue frequency and severity change over time, whatever the setting or the initial traumatic brain injury (TBI) severity. Early fatigue predicts persistent post-concussive symptoms and Glasgow Outcome Scale scores at follow-up. Argues for a need for researchers to agree on a core group of fatigue definitions, outcome criteria and predictors.
PMID: 25451201

Neil-Sztramko, S. E., Kirkham, A. A., Hung, S. H., Niksirat, N., Nishikawa, K., & Campbell, K. L. (2014). Aerobic capacity and upper limb strength are reduced in women diagnosed with breast cancer: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 60(4), 189-200.
doi: 10.1016/j.jphys.2014.09.005
Summarizes 85 studies, which find that aerobic fitness, arm and leg strength in women with breast cancer receiving treatment are less than those of population norms. Finds wide ranges in values based on the women’s age, disease severity and treatment type, as well as time since treatment start.
PMID: 25443649

Palm, U., Ayache, S. S., Padberg, F., & Lefaucheur, J. P. (2014). Non-invasive brain stimulation therapy in multiple sclerosis: a review of tDCS, rTMS and ECT results. Brain Stimulation, 7(6), 849-854. doi:10.1016/j.brs.2014.09.014
Assesses the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS, iTBS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in MS patients. Multiple case studies indicate ECT be effective in treating severe psychiatric disorders. Several studies evaluate the effects of tDCS and TMS on depressive symptoms, fatigue, tactile sensory deficit, pain, motor performance, and spasticity and show mixed results.
PMID: 25359259

Peltopuro, M., Ahonen, T., Kaartinen, J., Seppala, H., & Narhi, V. (2014). Borderline intellectual functioning: a systematic literature review. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 52(6), 419-443. doi: 10.1352/1934-9556-52.6.419
Synthesizes 49 studies on people whose intellectual functioning is ‘borderline’. Finds that they experience neurocognitive, social and mental health problems in life, and compared to the population at large hold lower-skilled jobs that pay less money. Concludes that people with ‘borderline intellectual functioning’ are almost invisible in research.
PMID: 25409130

Plow, M. A., Moore, S., Husni, M. E., & Kirwan, J. P. (2014). A systematic review of behavioural techniques used in nutrition and weight loss interventions among adults with mobility-impairing neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. Obesity Reviews: An Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 15(12), 945-956. doi: 10.1111/obr.12223
Summarizes nutrition and weight-loss clinical trials conducted with people with mobility-impairing conditions, both neurological and musculoskeletal. In light of the large variation in descriptions and implementation of the behavior change interventions as well as the outcome measures used concludes that this area of research is still in its infancy, and more high-quality trials are needed.
PMID: 25266576
PMCID: PMC4321818

Richardson, J., Loyola-Sanchez, A., Sinclair, S., Harris, J., Letts, L., MacIntyre, N. J., Wilkins, S., Burgos-Martinez, G., Wishart, L., McBay, C., Martin Ginis, K. (2014). Self-management interventions for chronic disease: a systematic scoping review. Clinical Rehabilitation, 28(11), 1067-1077. doi:10.1177/0269215514532478
Reviews 57 articles on adults who receive a chronic disease self-management intervention from either an occupational therapist (N=10) or a physical therapist (N=47). Finds that these interventions focus mostly on physical activity, use social cognitive theory or self-efficacy theory as their theoretical framework, and target disease-specific knowledge as well as fatigue, posture, pain, joint protection, and stress. Concludes that PTs and OTs make ‘moderate contributions’ to self-management interventions.
PMID: 24784031

Robertson, B., & Harding, K. E. (2014). Outcomes with individual versus group physical therapy for treating urinary incontinence and low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95(11), 2187-2198. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2014.07.005
In spite of its title, evaluates studies comparing individual vs. group therapy more broadly, also including investigations targeting learning disability (N=2), hearing loss (N=1), joint replacement (N=1), and aphasia (N=1). Finds that studies of PT targeting back pain (N=6) and urinary incontinence (N=5) show there to be no difference in outcome of individual vs. group treatment, but concludes that for the other clinical issues there is insufficient evidence to draw the same conclusion.
PMID: 25064775

Sharp, K., & Hewitt, J. (2014). Dance as an intervention for people with Parkinson's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 47, 445-456. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.09.009
Finds that compared to no intervention, a dance intervention evaluated using a randomized clinical trial significantly improves Unified Parkinson's Disease rating scale (UPDRS) motor scores, Berg balance scores, and gait speed. Compared to other exercise interventions, it significantly improves Berg balance scores and quality of life. Concludes that the long-term effects of a dance intervention need study.
PMID: 25268548

Smith, B.E., Littlewood, C., & Mays, S. (2014). An update of stabilization exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 15, 416-2474-15-416. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-416
Meta-analyses 29 studies reporting on pain and/or disability outcomes of ‘core stability’ exercises for people with non-specific low back pain. Finds no significant benefit for both outcomes long-term when stabilization is compared to alternative active exercises.
PMID: 25488399
PMCID: PMC4295260

Spreij, L. A., Visser-Meily, J. M., van Heugten, C. M., & Nijboer, T. C. (2014). Novel insights into the rehabilitation of memory post acquired brain injury: a systematic review. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 993. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00993
Analyzes the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) (3 studies), computer-based cognitive retraining (CBCR) (7 studies) and non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) (5 studies) for rehabilitating memory deficits after acquired brain injury. Finds “preliminary” support for VR and support for CBCR in all studies, but support for NBS in one study only.
PMID: 25566021
PMCID: PMC4267268

Staiano, A. E., & Flynn, R. (2014). Therapeutic Uses of Active Videogames: A Systematic Review. Games for Health Journal, 3(6), 351-365. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2013.0100
As previous reviews of videogaming’s effects have done, concludes that these games are acceptable and enjoyable for subjects, but that enough studies with active comparators exist to definitely demonstrate their effects on the aimed-for health outcomes in the many patient populations that have been studied.
PMID: 26192642

Sumlin, L. L., Garcia, T. J., Brown, S. A., Winter, M. A., Garcia, A. A., Brown, A., & Cuevas, H. E. (2014). Depression and adherence to lifestyle changes in type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. The Diabetes Educator, 40(6), 731-744. doi:10.1177/0145721714538925
Reviews 27 studies, and finds that among persons with type 2 diabetes, depression is associated with adherence to dietary and physical activity recommendations, as evidenced primarily by 21 descriptive studies; the evidence from 6 intervention studies is mixed.
PMID: 24939883

Taylor, S. J. C., Pinnock, H., Epiphaniou, E., Pearce, G., Parke, H. L., Schwappach, A., et al. (2014). A rapid synthesis of the evidence on interventions supporting self-management for people with long-term conditions: PRISMS – Practical systematic RevIew of Self-Management Support for long-term conditions. Health Services and Delivery Research, 2(53). doi: 103310/hsdr-2530

Aims to analyze evidence for self-management support in chronic health conditions and inform providers about “what works for whom and in what contexts”, using existing systematic reviews of quantitative and qualitative studies, as well as a new systematic review of implementation studies of self-management support. Concludes that self-management support has many components, but that it is inseparable from high-quality health care for chronic conditions, and that a culture change is needed in health care organizations to make self-care fully realize its potential.

PMID: 254642548

Timmer, A. J., Unsworth, C. A., & Taylor, N. F. (2014). Rehabilitation interventions with deconditioned older adults following an acute hospital admission: a systematic review. Clinical Rehabilitation, 28(11), 1078-1086. doi:10.1177/0269215514530998
Does not identify any randomized clinical trials that used single or multi-factorial interventions to improve functioning of elderly (55 or over) acute-care patients. Does identify 4 studies of multi-disciplinary rehabilitation programs aiming to reduce functional decline in the elderly in general, which find improvement in ADLs, and a higher probability of discharge to home.
PMID: 24844238

Trenaman, L. M., Miller, W. C., Escorpizo, R., & SCIRE Research Team. (2014). Interventions for improving employment outcomes among individuals with spinal cord injury: a systematic review. Spinal Cord, 52(11), 788-794. doi:10.1038/sc.2014.149
Reviews evidence supporting interventions to improve functional outcomes, and finds predominantly observational (vs. interventional) studies (12 of N=14) of the effects of vocational rehabilitation, which may be confounded by self-selection into the program. Finds support for supported employment and the use of service dogs.
PMID: 25179659

Vernon, J. A., Grudnikoff, E., Seidman, A. J., Frazier, T. W., Vemulapalli, M. S., Pareek, P., Goldberg, T. E., Kane, J. M., Correll, C. U. (2014). Antidepressants for cognitive impairment in schizophrenia--a systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophrenia Research, 159(2-3), 385-394. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2014.08.015
Based on the review of evidence for 7 antidepressants used in 14 studies concludes that these, compared to placebo, offer a statistically significant but clinically unimportant improvement in executive functioning and cognition. Depression improves with serotonergic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but not when all antidepressants are pooled. Sedation is more common with pooled antidepressants.
PMID: 25240772
PMCID: PMC4252251

Warms, C. A., Backus, D., Rajan, S., Bombardier, C. H., Schomer, K. G., & Burns, S. P. (2014). Adverse events in cardiovascular-related training programs in people with spinal cord injury: a systematic review. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 37(6), 672-692. doi:10.1179/2045772313Y.0000000115
Reviews 38 studies of exercise cardiovascular health effects in adults with SCI, evaluating training protocols of at least 4 weeks duration, consisting of volitional exercise modalities and functional electrical stimulation (FES)-enhanced exercise modalities, and that include an explicit statement about adverse events (AEs). Finds that no serious AEs are reported, and no common AEs, except for musculoskeletal AEs related to FES walking. Volitional exercise studies report few AEs.
PMID: 24090603
PMCID: PMC4231956

Wayne, P. M., Berkowitz, D. L., Litrownik, D. E., Buring, J. E., & Yeh, G. Y. (2014). What do we really know about the safety of tai chi? A systematic review of adverse event reports in randomized trials. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95(12), 2470-2483. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.05.005
Finds that of 153 randomized controlled trials reporting on the outcomes of tai chi, only 33% even mentioned adverse events, and only 12% mentioned an adverse event monitoring protocol. The adverse events reported were typically minor musculoskeletal problems, and no serious adverse events were reported.
PMID: 24878398
PMCID: PMC4499469

Wu, W., Liu, X., Wang, L., Wang, Z., Hu, J., & Yan, J. (2014). Effects of Tai Chi on exercise capacity and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 9, 1253-1263. doi:10.2147/COPD.S70862
Reviews 11 randomized clinical trials evaluating the effects in COPD of a Tai Chi program of at least 12 weeks duration. Finds that compared to non-exercising patients, Tai Chi results in a better six-minute walking distance (6 MWD), St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), and Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire (CRQ) scores. Compared to physical exercise, only the SGRQ scores saw greater change.
PMID: 25404855
PMCID: PMC4230171

Zhai, Y. K., Zhu, W. J., Cai, Y. L., Sun, D. X., & Zhao, J. (2014). Clinical- and cost-effectiveness of telemedicine in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 93(28), e312. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000312
Meta-analyzes 47 reports on 35 randomized trials reporting on telemedicine success in controlling A1c (Hb1c) in type 2 diabetes. Telemedicine using telephoning, texting videoconferencing, internet-based programs or informative website produces a small but statistically significant Hb1c decrease compared to conventional treatment. Notes that the literature needs to be interpreted with caution, because of indications of significant reporting bias.
PMID: 25526482
PMCID: PMC4603080

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

Abou-Setta, A. M., Jeyaraman, M. M., Attia, A., Al-Inany, H. G., Ferri, M., Ansari, M. T., . . . Norris, S. L. (2016). Methods for Developing Evidence Reviews in Short Periods of Time: A Scoping Review. PloS One, 11(12), e0165903. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165903
Seeks to summarize rapid review (RR) methods, and identify differences and highlight potential biases between RRs and more traditional systematic review (SR) approaches. A systematic search resulted in information on the RR methods of 29 organizations, which did not agree on which aspects of the SR process to abbreviate. Nine studies comparing the conclusions of RRs and SRs found them to be generally similar; any major differences were attributed to the inclusion of evidence from different sources (e.g. searching different databases or including different study designs). Potential biases introduced into the review process were well-identified although not necessarily supported by empirical evidence, and focused mainly on selective outcome reporting and publication biases. Concludes that further research and decision aids are needed to help decision makers and reviewers balance the benefits of providing timely evidence with the potential for biased findings.
PMID: 27930662
PMCID: PMC5145149

Bennett, K., Gorman, D. A., Duda, S., Brouwers, M., & Szatmari, P. (2016). Practitioner review: On the trustworthiness of clinical practice guidelines-A systematic review of the quality of methods used to develop guidelines in child and youth mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(6), 662-673. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12547
Assesses practice guidelines (PGs) relevant to child and youth mental health, applying the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II) criteria and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) standards to 70 PGs that had been developed using 5 development methods. Of these, 3 adhered to all (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network) or most (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) AGREE II domains and IOM standards.
PMID: 26945803

Bennetts, M., Whalen, E., Ahadieh, S., & Cappelleri, J. C. (2017). An appraisal of meta-analysis guidelines: How do they relate to safety outcomes? Research Synthesis Methods, 8(1), 64-78. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1219
Attempts to: (i) summarize the current guidelines for assessing individual studies, systematic reviews, and network meta-analyses; (ii) describe several publications on safety meta-analytic approaches; and (iii) present some of the questions and issues that arise with safety data. A number of gaps in the current quality guidelines are identified along with issues to consider when performing a safety meta-analysis.
PMID: 27612447

Bigna, J. J., Um, L. N., & Nansseu, J. R. (2016). A comparison of quality of abstracts of systematic reviews including meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in high-impact general medicine journals before and after the publication of PRISMA extension for abstracts: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 174. doi: 10.1186/s13643-016-0356-8
Reviews 204 abstracts published before and after the publication of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for abstracts (PRISMA-A) in 2012-2015. Finds that the quality of reporting did not improve in 2014 and suboptimally improved in 2015. Concludes that there is still room for improvement to meet the standards of PRISMA-A guidelines. Urges stricter adherence to these guidelines by authors, reviewers, and journal editors.
PMID: 27737710
PMCID: PMC5064935

Bowden, J., & Jackson, C. (2016). Weighing Evidence "Steampunk" Style via the Meta-Analyser. The American Statistician, 70(4), 385-394. doi: 10.1080/00031305.2016.1165735
Presents an extension of the funnel plot that is stated to facilitate an intuitive interpretation of the mathematics underlying a meta-analysis at a more fundamental level, by equating it to determining the center of mass of a physical system. Introduces an interactive web-application (Meta-Analyser) that is claimed to be a useful tool for researchers when interpreting their data by (1) facilitating a simple understanding of fixed and random effects modeling approaches; (2) assessing the importance of outliers; and (3) showing the impact of adjusting for small study bias.
PMID: 28003684
PMCID: PMC5125286

Butler, A., Hall, H., & Copnell, B. (2016). A guide to writing a qualitative systematic review protocol to enhance evidence-based practice in nursing and health care. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 13(3), 241-249. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12134
Aims to guide researchers through the process of developing a qualitative systematic review protocol, using an example review question. Discusses the key elements required in a systematic review protocol, with a focus on application to qualitative reviews: development of a research question; formulation of key search terms and strategies; designing a multistage review process; critical appraisal of qualitative literature; development of data extraction techniques; and data synthesis.
PMID: 26790142

Chacon-Moscoso, S., Sanduvete-Chaves, S., & Sanchez-Martin, M. (2016). The development of a checklist to enhance methodological quality in intervention programs. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Art 1811-12. doi:
Summarizes the literature about methodological quality in primary studies, proposes a specific, parsimonious, 12-items checklist to empirically define their methodological quality in terms of representativeness, utility, and feasibility, and presents the results of an interrater reliability study which found ‘substantial’ agreement at the item level.
PMID: 27917143
PMCID: PMC5114299

Chalmers, I., & Glasziou, P. (2016). Systematic reviews and research waste. The Lancet, 387(10014), 122-123. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01353-7
 Comments on an article by Roberts & Ker [Roberts, I., & Ker K. (2015). How systematic reviews cause research waste. The Lancet, 386(10003):1536. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00489-4  PMID: 26530621], disagreeing with Roberts and Ker's suggested solution for research waste: outlawing small trials done in single centers. Argue that this recommendation addresses only one of at least four ways in which systematic reviews can inform decisions about whether and which primary research should be done. Also states that Roberts and Ker’s suggestion is scientifically flawed, and unrealistic: Funders and regulators cannot be expected to support and endorse large studies without some reassurance from the results of smaller existing studies that the substantial investment needed is justified.
PMID: 26841991

Clinton-McHarg, T., Yoong, S. L., Tzelepis, F., Regan, T., Fielding, A., Skelton, E., . . . Wolfenden, L. (2016). Psychometric properties of implementation measures for public health and community settings and mapping of constructs against the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research: a systematic review. Implementation Science, 11(1), 148. doi: 10.1186/s13012-016-0512-5
Identifies 51 quantitative measures developed to assess innovations in public health and community settings, examines their psychometric properties, and describes how the domains of each measure align with the five domains and 37 constructs of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). The psychometric properties of each measure are assessed against recommended criteria for validity, reliability, responsiveness, acceptability, feasibility, and revalidation and cross-cultural adaptation. Relevant domains are mapped against implementation constructs defined by the CFIR. Finds that most measures do not adequately assess or report psychometric properties, and that 5 CFIR constructs are not addressed by any measure.
PMID: 27821146
PMCID: PMC5100177

Corbett, M. S., MoeByrne, T., Oddie, S., & McGuire, W. (2016). Randomization methods in emergency setting trials: A descriptive review. Research Synthesis Methods, 7(1), 46-54.
doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1163
Investigates whether quasi-randomization, which may expedite recruitment into trials in emergency care settings compared to true randomization, introduces selection bias. Comparing 16 trials using true randomization and 11 using quasi-randomization does not find strong or consistent evidence that quasi-randomization is more often associated with selection bias.
PMID: 26333419
PMCID: PMC5014172

Cortese, S. (2016). Guidance on conducting systematic reviews/meta-analyses of pharmacoepidemiological studies of safety outcomes: The gap is now filled. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 25(5), 425-427. doi: 10.1017/s2045796016000299
Describes the European Network of Centres for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharamacovigilance (ENCePP)’s 'Guidance on conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of completed comparative pharmacoepidemiological studies of safety outcomes'. Highlights the ENCePP recommendations in terms of study identification, data extraction, study quality appraisal and analytical plan.
PMID: 27118442

Dahabreh, I. J., Trikalinos, T. A., Balk, E. M., & Wong, J. B. (2016). Guidance for the conduct and reporting of modeling and simulation studies in the context of health technology assessment. Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. doi: NBK396066
Updates and expands existing systematic reviews of recommendations for the conduct and reporting of modeling and simulation, and identifies gaps, limitations, and areas for elaboration. Offers principles and good-practice recommendations for modeling and simulation studies conducted to enhance and contextualize the findings of systematic reviews. The guidance applies to structural mathematical models, including declarative, functional, and spatial models. The recommendations address the identification, estimation, verification, and validation of such models, as well as the use of sensitivity, stability, and uncertainty analyses in model development and assessment.
PMID: 27854408

DeJean, D., Giacomini, M., Simeonov, D., & Smith, A. (2016). Finding qualitative research evidence for health technology assessment. Qualitative Health Research, 26(10), 1307-1317. doi: 10.1177/1049732316644429
Compares the performance of published search filters to identify qualitative research (‘hedges’) with the authors’ hybrid filter, in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and precision. Finds that the performance of the published search filters varies greatly across topics and databases, and that the hybrid filter demonstrates a consistently high sensitivity across databases and topics, and minimizes the resource-intensive process of sifting through false positives.
PMID: 27117960

Garritty, C., Stevens, A., Gartlehner, G., King, V., Kamel, C., & Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group. (2016). Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group to play a leading role in guiding the production of informed high-quality, timely research evidence syntheses. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 184. doi: 10.1186/s13643-016-0360-z
Introduces the newly established Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group developed to play a leading role in guiding the production of rapid reviews; discusses the Group’s structure and responsibility.
PMID: 27793186
PMCID: PMC5084365

Gerber, L. H., Nava, A., Garfinkel, S., Goel, D., Weinstein, A. A., & Cai, C. (2016). A need for an augmented review when reviewing rehabilitation research. Disability and Health Journal, 9(4), 559-566. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2016.07.001
Argues that RCTs usually measure impairments for the primary research outcome rather than improved function, participation or societal integration, which forces a choice between "validity" and "utility/relevance." Proposes that use of existing evaluation tools that measure knowledge, dissemination and utility of findings, may help improve the translation of findings into practice and health policy.
PMID: 27522302

Gray, R., & Baker, C. (2016). Salami slicing. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 23(9-10), 541-542. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12290
Argues that there are several potential threats to the validity of the conclusions of systematic reviews, which puts the quality and safety of clinical decision-making at risk. Consumers and clinicians need to be aware and mindful of these. One of these is the practice of salami slicing – reporting a single study in two or more papers each containing ‘minimal publishable units’ of information.
PMID: 27620457

Haby, M. M., Chapman, E., Clark, R., Barreto, J., Reveiz, L., & Lavis, J. N. (2016). Designing a rapid response program to support evidence-informed decision-making in the Americas region: using the best available evidence and case studies. Implementation Science, 11(1), 117-016-0472-9. doi:10.1186/s13012-016-0472-9
Performs two rapid reviews of methodological approaches for rapid reviews of research evidence and strategies to facilitate evidence-informed decision-making, and reviews further literature in relation to the "shortcuts" that researchers can consider to reduce time needed to complete rapid reviews.
PMID: 27538384
PMCID: PMC4990866

Haby, M. M., Chapman, E., Clark, R., Barreto, J., Reveiz, L., & Lavis, J. N. (2016). What are the best methodologies for rapid reviews of the research evidence for evidence-informed decision making in health policy and practice: a rapid review. Health Research Policy and Systems, 14(1), 83. doi: 10.1186/s12961-016-0155-7
Seeks to answer the question: What are the best methodologies to enable a rapid review of research evidence for evidence-informed decision making in health policy and practice? Located five systematic reviews and one RCT that investigated methodologies for rapid reviews. None of the systematic reviews were of sufficient quality to allow firm conclusions to be made. While a wide range of 'shortcuts' are used to make rapid reviews faster than a full systematic review, the included studies found little empirical evidence of their impact on the conclusions of either rapid or systematic reviews. Claims that rapid reviews may improve clarity and accessibility of research evidence for decision makers.
PMID: 27884208
PMCID: PMC5123411

Hakoum, M. B., Anouti, S., Al-Gibbawi, M., Abou-Jaoude, E. A., Hasbani, D. J., Lopes, L. C., . . . Akl, E. A. (2016). Reporting of financial and non-financial conflicts of interest by authors of systematic reviews: a methodological survey. BMJ Open, 6(8), e011997-2016-011997.
Reviews 200 systematic reviews for reporting on conflicts of interest (COI), both individual (financial, professional and intellectual) and institutional (financial and advocacy). Finds that Cochrane reviews do a better job than non-Cochrane reviews, and that individual COI tends to be reported more often than institutional COI.
PMID: 27515760
PMCID: PMC4985847

Harris, J., Croot, L., Thompson, J., & Springett, J. (2016). How stakeholder participation can contribute to systematic reviews of complex Interventions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70(2), 207-214. doi: 10.1136/jech-2015-205701
Describes how methods used in participatory health research were used to involve patients, clients, providers and community health workers across all stages of a realist review. Offers a discussion on when sustained involvement should be used, and the challenges of incorporating it into the traditional researcher-led approach to systematic reviews.
PMID: 26475921
PMCID: PMC4752615

Harrison, J. K., Reid, J., Quinn, T. J., & Shenkin, S. D. (2017). Using quality assessment tools to critically appraise ageing research: a guide for clinicians. Age and Ageing, 46, 359–365.
doi: afw223
Presents and critiques tools which are available to standardize quality assessment for five study designs: RCTs, non-randomized studies, observational studies, systematic reviews and diagnostic test accuracy studies.
PMID: 27932357
PMCID: PMC5405751

Hartling, L., Featherstone, R., Nuspl, M., Shave, K., Dryden, D. M., & Vandermeer, B. (2016). The contribution of databases to the results of systematic reviews: a cross-sectional study. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 16(1), 127. doi:10.1186/s12874-016-0232-1
Analyzes the potential impact of selective database searching on results of meta-analyses, using over 100 reviews from three Cochrane groups. Finds that the majority of relevant studies can be found within a limited number of databases. Omitting primary studies that only are found in less-productive databases did not change the results of meta-analyses. There were very few cases of changes in statistical significance, and effect estimates changed in a minority, but in most the change was small.
PMID: 27670136
PMCID: PMC5037618

Ioannidis, J. P. (2016). The mass production of redundant, misleading, and conflicted systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The Milbank Quarterly, 94(3), 485-514. doi:10.1111/1468-0009.12210
Estimates that currently more systematic reviews of trials than new randomized trials are published annually, and judges most of these to be unnecessary, misleading, and conflicted, and sometimes even harmful given the impact these studies have acquired. Argues for removing biases and vested interests and integrating systematic reviews and meta-analyses better with the primary production of evidence.

Jahan, N., Naveed, S., Zeshan, M., & Tahir, M. A. (2016). How to Conduct a Systematic Review: A Narrative Literature Review. Cureus, 8(11), e864. doi: 10.7759/cureus.864
Offers a narrative review of the literature about systematic reviews and outlines the essential elements of a systematic review along with the limitations of such a review.
PMID: 27924252
PMCID: PMC5137994

Jonas, W. B., Crawford, C., Hilton, L., & Elfenbaum, P. (2017). Scientific Evaluation and Review of Claims in Health Care (SEaRCH): A Streamlined, Systematic, Phased Approach for Determining "What Works" in Healthcare. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(1), 18-25. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0291
Presents the Samueli Institute’s streamlined, systematic, phased approach to the process of determining what works in healthcare. The Scientific Evaluation and Review of Claims in Health Care (SEaRCH) process provides an approach for rigorously, efficiently, and transparently making evidence-based decisions about healthcare claims in research and practice with minimal bias. SEaRCH combines three methods: (1) Claims Assessment Profile, which seeks to clarify the healthcare claim and question, and its ability to be evaluated in the context of its delivery; (2) Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature, a streamlined, systematic review process conducted to determine the quantity, quality, and strength of evidence and risk/benefit for the treatment; (3) structured use of expert panels.
PMID: 28026968
PMCID: PMC5248545

Joss, N., Cooklin, A., & Oldenburg, B. (2016). A scoping review of end user involvement in disability research. Disability and Health Journal, 9(2), 189-196. doi:10.1016/j.dhjo.2015.10.001
Presents a scoping review of end user involvement in disability research, service and policy development. Concludes that two clear themes emerge from a review of 27 papers: (1) end users can benefit research as 'experts of experience' through their role as a co-researcher; (2) end users add value at different stages of the research process in this role, although the authors admit that less is understood about end user involvement in the later stages of the research process.
PMID: 26596694

Koffel, J. B., & Rethlefsen, M. L. (2016). Reproducibility of search strategies is poor in systematic reviews published in high-impact pediatrics, cardiology and surgery journals: A cross-sectional study. PloS One, 11(9), e0163309. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163309
Examines the reporting of search strategies in systematic reviews published in 25 high-impact pediatrics, surgery and cardiology journals. Finds that in 272 articles the reporting of search elements ranged widely: 91% name search terms, 33% provide a full search strategy, 22% indicate the date of the search, 22% provide at least one reproducible search strategy and 13% provide a reproducible strategy for all databases searched.
PMID: 27669416
PMCID: PMC5036875

Leucht, S., Chaimani, A., Cipriani, A. S., Davis, J. M., Furukawa, T. A., & Salanti, G. (2016). Network meta-analyses should be the highest level of evidence in treatment guidelines. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 266(6), 477-480. doi:10.1007/s00406-016-0715-4
Argues that network meta-analysis, which uses "indirect evidence," is the highest level of evidence in treatment guidelines, because of the several strengths and added values of this approach: (1) the indirect evidence can fill in the gaps in the evidence matrix, which allows to come up with hierarchies of which drug is probably the best, second best, third best and so on; (2) network meta-analysis can use all kinds of comparisons simultaneously, which separate types of comparisons could heretofore only be summarized in separate meta-analyses. This issue is examined in several ways, including statistical tests that compare the direct and indirect evidence for all comparisons where both are available.
PMID: 27435721

Ludvigsen, M. S., Hall, E. O. C., Meyer, G., Fegran, L., Aagaard, H., & Uhrenfeldt, L. (2016). Using Sandelowski and Barroso's meta-synthesis method in advancing qualitative evidence. Qualitative Health Research, 26(3), 320-329. doi: 10.1177/1049732315576493
Applied Sandelowski and Barroso's guidelines for synthesizing qualitative research and discusses their methodological steps. Conclude that following Sandelowski and Barroso's guidelines contributed to valid syntheses of studies.
PMID: 25794523

Lund, H., Juhl, C., & Christensen, R. (2016). Systematic reviews and research waste: Comment. The Lancet, 387(10014), 123-124. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01354-9
Comments on an article by Roberts & Ker (Roberts, I., & Ker K. (2015). How systematic reviews cause research waste. The Lancet, 386(10003):1536. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00489-4. PMID: 26530621), who argue that systematic reviews increase waste in research by promoting underpowered trials. Disagrees with them and argues that a systematic review is not wasteful if it includes small studies; underpowered trials might be acceptable if investigators use methodological rigor to eliminate bias, thoroughly report results to avoid misinterpretation, and always publish results to avoid publication bias.
PMID: 26841992

Mani, N. S., & Ginier, E. (2016). An Evidence-Based Approach to Conducting Systematic Reviews on CKD. Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease, 23(6), 355-362. doi: S1548-5595(16)30137-9
Offers best practices associated with conducting systematic reviews using an 8-step process and an evidence-based approach to retrieving and abstracting data. Optimal methods for conducting systematic review searching are described, including development of appropriate search strategies and utilization of varied resources including databases, grey literature, primary journals, and handsearching. Discusses processes and tools to improve research teams' coordination and efficiency, including integration of systematic review protocols and sophisticated software to streamline data management.
PMID: 28115078

Melendez-Torres, G. J., O'Mara-Eves, A., Thomas, J., Brunton, G., Caird, J., & Petticrew, M. (2016). Interpretive analysis of 85 systematic reviews suggests that narrative syntheses and meta-analyses are incommensurate in argumentation. Research Synthesis Methods, 8(1), 109-118.   doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1231
Uses framework synthesis, grounded theory and cross-case analysis methods to analyze 85 systematic reviews addressing intervention effectiveness in workplace health promotion, to explore differences in the modes of reasoning embedded in reports of narrative synthesis as compared with reports of meta-analysis. Claims that two core categories, or 'modes of reasoning', emerged to frame the contrast between narrative synthesis and meta-analysis: practical-configurational reasoning in narrative synthesis ('What is going on here? What picture emerges?') and inferential-predictive reasoning in meta-analysis ('Does it work, and how well? Will it work again?'). Concludes that meta-analyses and narrative syntheses represent different modes of reasoning, and that it is important to consider narrative synthesis in its own right as a method and to develop specific quality criteria and understandings of how it is carried out, not merely as a complement to, or second-best option for, meta-analysis.
PMID: 27860329
PMCID: PMC5347877

Mueller, K. F., Meerpohl, J. J., Briel, M., Antes, G., von Elm, E., Lang, B., . . . Bassler, D. (2016). Methods for detecting, quantifying, and adjusting for dissemination bias in meta-analysis are described. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 80, 25-33. doi: S0895-4356(16)30301-8
Describes methods of detecting and/or quantifying and/or adjusting for dissemination bias in meta-analyses. In 150 articles, a great variety of methods to detect, quantify, or adjust for dissemination bias was found to be used, including graphical methods mainly based on funnel plot approaches, statistical methods, such as regression tests, selection models, sensitivity analyses, and many more recent statistical approaches. Concludes that it is difficult to advise which method should be used as they are all limited and their validity has rarely been assessed. Therefore, a thorough literature search remains crucial in systematic reviews, and further steps to increase the availability of all research results need to be taken.
PMID: 27502970

Nelson, R. L. (2016). Systematic reviews and research waste: Comment. The Lancet, 387(10014), 124. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01355-0
Comments on an article by Roberts & Ker (Roberts, I., & Ker K. (2015). How systematic reviews cause research waste. The Lancet, 386(10003):1536. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00489-4. PMID: 26530621), who made three assumptions: that small clinical trials are all of poor quality; that all large, multicenter, well-funded trials are of exemplary quality; and that meta-analysis cannot ameliorate the low power of small trials. Claims that none of these assumptions are well-founded.
PMID: 26841994

Nolan, S. J., Hambleton, I., & Dwan, K. (2016). The Use and Reporting of the Cross-Over Study Design in Clinical Trials and Systematic Reviews: A Systematic Assessment. PloS One, 11(7), e0159014. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159014
Assesses systematic review methodology for synthesizing cross-over trials in 142 Cochrane reviews, of which 53 synthesized evidence from 218 cross-over trials. Only 33 reviews described a clear and appropriate method for the inclusion of cross-over data; 145 cross-over trials were described narratively. Concludes that despite development of accessible, technical guidance and training for Cochrane systematic reviewers, statistical analysis and reporting of cross-over data is inadequate at both the systematic review and the trial level.
PMID: 27409076
PMCID: PMC4943623

Noyes, J., Hendry, M., Booth, A., Chandler, J., Lewin, S., Glenton, C., & Garside, R. (2016). Current use was established and Cochrane guidance on selection of social theories for systematic reviews of complex interventions was developed. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 75, 78-92.
Aims to describe how social theories (low-level, mid-range, grand) are used in systematic reviews of complex interventions. Identifies >100 theories, especially in the last 5 years. Finds that new low-level theories (tools, taxonomies, etc.) have been developed for classifying and reporting complex interventions, and that numerous mid-range theories are used, but no grand theory. Created a searchable Wiki, Mendeley Inventory, and Cochrane guidance.
PMID: 26772607                 

O'Brien, N., Heaven, B., Teal, G., Evans, E. H., Cleland, C., Moffatt, S., . . . Moynihan, P. (2016). Integrating Evidence From Systematic Reviews, Qualitative Research, and Expert Knowledge Using Co-Design Techniques to Develop a Web-Based Intervention for People in the Retirement Transition. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(8), e210. doi:10.2196/jmir.5790
Describes and evaluates a systematic, sequential approach to integrate scientific evidence, expert knowledge and experience, and stakeholder involvement in the joint design and development of a complex health intervention. Sets forth the various steps and products used: evidence statements; intervention principles; core intervention concepts and hand-drawn prototypes; design brief and specification; functioning prototype, web-based intervention; ‘derisking to create an optimized functioning prototype; iterative testing and optimization; and lastly formal pilot evaluation.
PMID: 27489143
PMCID: PMC4989122

Petkovic, J., Welch, V., Jacob, M. H., Yoganathan, M., Ayala, A. P., Cunningham, H., & Tugwell, P. (2016). The effectiveness of evidence summaries on health policymakers and health system managers use of evidence from systematic reviews: a systematic review. Implementation Science, 11(1), 162. doi: 10.1186/s13012-016-0530-3
Aims to (1) assess the effectiveness of evidence summaries (policy briefs and similar ‘derivative products’ of systematic reviews on policymakers' use of the evidence; (2) identify the most effective summary components for increasing policymakers' use of the evidence. Primary outcomes of the authors’ systematic review of 6 studies were (1) use of systematic review summaries in decision-making (e.g., self-reported use of the evidence in policymaking and decision-making); and (2) policymakers' understanding, knowledge, and/or beliefs (e.g., changes in knowledge scores about the topic included in the summary). Concludes that evidence summaries are likely easier to understand than complete systematic reviews. However, their ability to increase the use of systematic review evidence in policymaking is unclear.
PMID: 27938409
PMCID: PMC5148903

Petropoulou, M., Nikolakopoulou, A., Veroniki, A. A., Rios, P., Vafaei, A., Zarin, W., . . . Salanti, G. (2017). Bibliographic study showed improving statistical methodology of network meta-analyses published between 1999 and 2015. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 82, 20-28.
doi: S0895-4356(16)30256-6
Assesses the characteristics and core statistical methodology specific to network meta-analyses (NMAs) in clinical research. Based on a review of 125 NMAs concludes that NMAs published in the medical literature have significant limitations in both the conduct and the reporting of the statistical analysis and numerical results. The situation has, however, improved in recent years, particularly in respect to the evaluation of the underlying assumptions, but considerable room for further improvements remains.
PMID: 27864068

Pham, M. T., Waddell, L., Rajic, A., Sargeant, J. M., Papadopoulos, A., & McEwen, S. A. (2016). Implications of applying methodological shortcuts to expedite systematic reviews: Three case studies using systematic reviews from agri-food public health. Research Synthesis Methods, 7(4), 433-446. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1215
Assesses the potential implications of methodological shortcuts for the outcomes of three completed systematic reviews addressing agri-food public health topics. For each review selected, shortcuts were applied individually to assess the impact on the number of relevant studies included and whether omitted studies affected the direction, magnitude or precision of summary estimates from meta-analyses. Finds that in most instances, the shortcuts resulted in at least one relevant study being omitted from the review. The omission of studies affected 39 of 143 possible meta-analyses, of which 14 were no longer possible because of insufficient studies (< 2). When meta-analysis was possible, the omission of studies generally resulted in less precise pooled estimates (i.e. wider confidence intervals) that did not differ in direction from the original estimate.
PMID: 27285733
PMCID: PMC5215373

Rice, D. B., Kloda, L. A., Levis, B., Qi, B., Kingsland, E., & Thombs, B. D. (2016). Are MEDLINE searches sufficient for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the diagnostic accuracy of depression screening tools? A review of meta-analyses. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 87, 7-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2016.06.002
Examines 16 meta-analyses of depression screening tool accuracy with 398 primary studies (257 unique citations and 234 unique patient samples) to evaluate the (1) proportion of included primary studies found in the original meta-analyses in any online database that were indexed in MEDLINE; (2) the proportion of patients from MEDLINE-indexed studies; and (3) the proportion of depression cases from studies indexed in MEDLINE. When applying a peer-reviewed search strategy in MEDLINE, 91% of all samples, 96% of patients and 95% of depression cases were retrieved. Concludes that restricting searches to MEDLINE may capture almost all eligible studies, patients and depression cases, although they need to be complemented by date-limited searches of other databases for recent citations.
PMID: 27411746

Rice, D. B., Shrier, I., Kloda, L. A., Benedetti, A., & Thombs, B. D. (2016). Methodological quality of meta-analyses of the diagnostic accuracy of depression screening tools. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 84, 84-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2016.03.013
Evaluates the quality of 21 meta-analyses of the diagnostic accuracy of depression screening tools. assessing methodological quality using the AMSTAR tool with adaptations made for studies of diagnostic test accuracy. Concludes that the methodological quality of most meta-analyses in this area is suboptimal.
PMID: 27095164

Rücker, G., & Schwarzer, G. (2016). Automated drawing of network plots in network meta-analysis. Research Synthesis Methods, 7(1), 94-107.
Presents an algorithm that fits prespecified ideal distances between the nodes representing the treatments in graphs representing a network meta-analysis. The method was implemented in the function netgraph of the R package netmeta. Claims that the resulting graphs with a small number of crossing lines are often preferable to the traditional circular representations of such networks.
PMID: 26060934

Shemilt, I., Khan, N., Park, S., & Thomas, J. (2016). Use of cost-effectiveness analysis to compare the efficiency of study identification methods in systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 140-016-0315-4. doi:10.1186/s13643-016-0315-4
Uses an economic evaluation framework to compare the costs and effects of four variant approaches to identifying in the title-abstract screening phase eligible studies for consideration in systematic reviews: 'safety first', 'double screening', 'single screening' and 'single screening with text mining'. Suggests that 'single screening with text mining' results in workload reductions (base case analysis) of >60 % compared with the other approaches and that, across modeled scenarios, the 'safety first' approach was consistently as effective and less costly than conventional 'double screening'.
PMID: 27535658
PMCID: PMC4989498

Smith, L. (2016). Zero is an important number. Addiction, 111(12), 2129-2130.
doi: 10.1111/add.13529
Comments on an article by B. Zedler et al., noting that outcome reporting bias may have a substantial impact on systematic reviews of safety of interventions. Argues that review authors must differentiate between (1) no incidence of adverse events, and (2) no adverse events are being reported. Suggests that the new Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)-Harms guideline will facilitate transparent reporting of reviews of harms. 
PMID: 28075540

Sylvester, R. J., Canfield, S. E., Lam, T. B., Marconi, L., MacLennan, S., Yuan, Y., MacLennan, G., Norrie, J., Omar, M. I., Bruins, H. M., Hernández, V., Plass, K., Van Poppel, H., N'Dow, J. (2016). Conflict of Evidence: Resolving Discrepancies When Findings from Randomized Controlled Trials and Meta-analyses Disagree. European Urology, 71(5), 811-819.
doi: S0302-2838(16)30856-9
Aims to explore and discuss possible reasons for disagreement in results from systematic reviews (SRs) or meta-analyses (MAs) on the one hand, and RCTs on the other, and to provide guidance to clinicians and guideline developers for making well-informed treatment decisions and recommendations in the face of conflicting data. Concludes that although SRs/MAs can provide a higher level of evidence than RCTs, the quality of the evidence from both RCTs and SRs/MAs should be investigated when their results conflict to determine which source provides the better evidence. States that guideline developers should have a well-defined and robust process to assess the evidence from SRs/MAs and RCTs when such conflicts exist.
PMID: 27914898

Terwee, C. B., Prinsen, C. A. C., Garotti, M. G. R., Suman, A., de Vet, H. C. W., & Mokkink, L. B. (2016). The quality of systematic reviews of health-related outcome measurement instruments. Quality of Life Research, 25(4), 767-779. doi: 10.1007/s11136-015-1122-4
 Aims to assess the quality of systematic reviews of health-related outcome measurement instruments, and to determine whether that quality has improved since the authors’ previous study in 2007. The quality of 102 reviews published in 2013-14 was rated using a study-specific checklist. Concludes that despite a clear improvement in the quality of these systematic reviews in comparison with 2007, there is still room for improvement regarding the search strategy, and especially the quality assessment of the included studies and the included instruments, and the data synthesis.
PMID: 26346986

Thielen, F. W., Van Mastrigt, G., Burgers, L. T., Bramer, W. M., Majoie, H., Evers, S., & Kleijnen, J. (2016). How to prepare a systematic review of economic evaluations for clinical practice guidelines: database selection and search strategy development (part 2/3). Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 16(6), 705-721. doi:10.1080/14737167.2016.1246962
 Focuses on the selection of relevant databases and development of a search strategy for detecting economic evaluations, as well as on how to perform the search and how to extract relevant data from retrieved records.
PMID: 27805466

Trainor, B. P. (2015). Incomplete reporting: Addressing the problem of outcome-reporting bias in educational research. Dissertations. 1656.
Explores the nature of outcome-reporting bias in educational research by identifying potential factors associated with it. Finds that not only outcome-reporting bias is present in educational literature, but that outcomes failing to show statistical significance were 30% more likely to get suppressed than statistically significant outcomes, and outcomes that were not consistent with the author's original hypothesis were 41% more likely to get suppressed than those that were. Also, finds that data collected regarding certain populations (e.g. white vs non-white) are more subject to outcome-reporting bias when it comes to statistical significance.
Loyola University of Chicago eCommons: 1656

Van Eerd, D., Newman, K., DeForge, R., Urquhart, R., Cornelissen, E., & Dainty, K. N. (2016). Knowledge brokering for healthy aging: a scoping review of potential approaches. Implementation Science, 11(1), 140. doi: 10.1186/s13012-016-0504-5
States that knowledge brokering (KB) is a specific knowledge translation approach that includes making connections between people to facilitate the use of evidence. Claims that knowledge gaps exist about KB roles, approaches, and guiding frameworks, and offers a scoping review to identify and describe KB approaches and the underlying conceptual frameworks (models, theories) used to guide the approaches that could support healthy aging. Finds 19 documents that describe 15 accounts of KB and give details about conceptual guidance. Specific KB frameworks were referenced or developed for 9 KB approaches, while the remaining 6 cited more general KT frameworks (or multiple frameworks) as guidance; 8 KB elements were detected in the approaches though not all approaches incorporated all elements.
PMID: 27756358
PMCID: PMC5070130

Van Mastrigt, G. A., Hiligsmann, M., Arts, J. J., Broos, P. H., Kleijnen, J., Evers, S. M., & Majoie, M. H. (2016). How to prepare a systematic review of economic evaluations for informing evidence-based healthcare decisions: a five-step approach (part 1/3). Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 16(6), 689-704.
doi: 10.1080/14737167.2016.1246960
Provides an overview of state-of-the-art methodology for performing a systematic review of economic evidence. This is laid out in a 5-step approach (1) initiating a systematic review; (2) identifying (full) economic evaluations; (3) data extraction, risk of bias and transferability assessment; (4) reporting results; and (5) discussion and interpretation of findings.
PMID: 27805469

Wasiak, J., Tyack, Z., Ware, R., Goodwin, N., & Faggion, C. M., Jr. (2016). Poor methodological quality and reporting standards of systematic reviews in burn care management. International Wound Journal. doi: 10.1111/iwj.12692
Evaluates the methodological quality of systematic reviews in burn care management, using the Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool to assess methodologic quality and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist to assess reporting quality. Multivariable analysis of 60 reviews shows that systematic reviews associated with higher methodological or reporting quality incorporated a meta-analysis, were published in the Cochrane Library and included a randomized control trial. Concludes that the methodological and reporting quality of systematic reviews in burn care requires further improvement with stricter adherence by authors to the PRISMA checklist and AMSTAR tool.
PMID: 27990772

Wijnen, B., Van Mastrigt, G., Redekop, W. K., Majoie, H., De Kinderen, R., & Evers, S. (2016). How to prepare a systematic review of economic evaluations for informing evidence-based healthcare decisions: data extraction, risk of bias, and transferability (part 3/3). Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 16(6), 723-732. doi:10.1080/14737167.2016.1246961
Explains the data extraction process for economic evaluations (EE) for informing evidence-based healthcare decisions, the risk of bias assessment and the transferability of EEs by means of a narrative review and expert opinion. Notes that systematic reviews play a critical role in determining the comparative cost-effectiveness of healthcare interventions.
PMID: 27762640

Yavchitz, A., Ravaud, P., Altman, D. G., Moher, D., Hrobjartsson, A., Lasserson, T., & Boutron, I. (2016). A new classification of spin in systematic reviews and meta-analyses was developed and ranked according to the severity. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 75, 56-65. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2016.01.020
Classifies “spin” in systematic reviews (a description that overstates efficacy and/or understates harm and in so doing distorts the reader’s interpretation of results), ranks spin in their abstracts according to severity. Distinguishes three categories of spin: (1) misleading reporting, (2) misleading interpretation, and (3) inappropriate extrapolation, and 39 subtypes. Concludes that the spin classification can help authors, editors, and reviewers avoid spin in reports of systematic reviews.

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