Category Archives: Recommended

Recommended: A Systematic Examination of the Citation of Prior Research

This was a nice study, and shows a very easy model to adapt to other research problems. The authors were concerned that many reports of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) seemed to miss out on citing previous RCTs on the same topic. So they dug out a bunch of meta-analysis and looked at the bibliographies of the individual RCTs in those trials. The meta-analysis gives you a reasonably comprehensive history of the RCTs done on a particular topic, and you would think that any RCTs in the meta-analysis should have cited any other RCT in that same meta-analysis that preceded it by at least one year. But that happened very rarely. Continue reading

Recommended: Bending the rules of clinical trials

Many clinical trials have restrictive entry criteria to insure homogeneity of the subject pool which increases power and allows the study to proceed with a not too outrageous sample size. But what if you (or one of your patients) would really benefit from being part of the trial, but does not meet the entry criteria? This study discusses the ethical problems that ensue when a doctor is faced with such a choice. Continue reading