Recent KSR Evidence critical appraisals

  • 1

    Risk of pre-eclampsia in women taking metformin: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Alqudah, A. ; McKinley, M. C. ; McNally, R. ; Graham, U. ; Watson, C. J. ; Lyons, T. J. ; McClements, L.

    Risk of Bias Assessment: High

    A full search strategy was not reported. No information was provided on the number of reviewers involved in the data extraction process. Significant heterogeneity was found between the studies for several outcomes.

    Bottom line Current evidence suggests that metformin treatment may be associated with a lower risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational weight gain compared with insulin treatment in high-risk pregnant women. However, these results should be interpreted with caution since there was high heterogeneity between the studies, and reviewer error and bias could not be ruled out. Further adequately designed, well-powered trials exploring the incidence of pre-eclampsia in insulin and diet intervention groups are needed.

    Diabet Med 2018;35(2);160-72

  • 2

    Immersion in water during labour and birth

    Cluett, Elizabeth R. ; Burns, Ethel ; Cuthbert, Anna

    Risk of Bias Assessment: Low

    The review was rated low risk of bias on all domains.

    Bottom line Current evidence suggests that water immersion during the first stage of labour has little effect on mode of birth or perineal trauma, but may reduce the use of regional analgesia, such as epidurals. There is limited evidence for the benefits or issues with immersion during the second stage of labour. It should be noted that searches were based on the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s specialised trials register and major bibliographic databases were not searched directly. These conclusions should be interpreted with caution, since the search strategy was not reported, which hampers reproducibility of the searches and may mean that relevant studies have been missed. Further, well-powered studies are required to support these findings, particularly with respect to the second stages of labour.

    Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018, 5, CD000111, 10.1002/14651858.CD000111.pub4

  • 3

    Prophylactic vaccination against human papillomaviruses to prevent cervical cancer and its precursors

    Arbyn, M. ; Xu, L. ; Simoens, C. ; Martin‐Hirsch, P. P. L.

    Risk of Bias Assessment: Low

    All domains were considered at low concern. A range of comments were made about the review which can be found or are cited in the comments section of the review in the Cochrane Library.

    Bottom line HPV vaccines protect against cervical precancer in adolescent girls and women vaccinated between 15 and 26 years of age. The protection is lower when a part of the population is already infected with HPV. Longer-term follow-up is needed to assess the impact on cervical cancer. There are limited data from trials on the effect of vaccines on deaths, stillbirth and babies born with malformations. However, no increased risk of serious adverse effects, miscarriage or pregnancy termination was found. These findings are likely to be reliable.

    Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018, 5, CD009069, 10.1002/14651858.CD009069.pub3

  • 4

    Oropharyngeal colostrum in preventing mortality and morbidity in preterm infants

    Nasuf, A. W. A. ; Ojha, S. ; Dorling, J.

    Risk of Bias Assessment: Low

    All domains were considered at low concern suggesting no limitations regarding the review process. The authors highlighted how the review was limited by the low number of the included studies which impeded analysing the risk of publication bias via a funnel plot, however abstracts and proceedings of relevant conferences were included. Further, to minimise the potential bias resulting from incomplete reporting of the results, the primary study authors were contacted.

    Bottom line Current evidence suggests that placing a very small volume of colostrum directly onto the buccal mucosa of preterm infants has no impact on rates of necrotising enterocolitis, late-onset invasive infection or death compared to controls. A robust methodology supports these findings. The authors recommend that further, large well-designed trials are required to evaluate more precisely and reliably the effects of oropharyngeal colostrum on important outcomes for preterm infants.

    Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018, 9, CD011921, 10.1002/14651858.CD011921.pub2

  • 5

    Routine scale and polish for periodontal health in adults

    Lamont, T. ; Worthington, H. V. ; Clarkson, J. E. ; Beirne, P. V.

    Risk of Bias Assessment: Low

    One or two review authors were involved in data extraction; this was considered inadequate to minimise error and bias. However, all other domains were considered to be at low risk.

    Bottom line Limited evidence suggests that regular scale and polish treatments (at 6-month or 12-month intervals) may reduce the level of calculus on teeth compared to no treatment, and that these reductions may be more substantial with a shorter interval between treatments (6-months instead of 12-months). Participants' self-reported perception of oral cleanliness appears to be higher for regular scale and polish treatment compared to no treatment. There was little to no difference reported in gingivitis/gingival bleeding, plaque, probing depths, oral health-related quality of life or costs from an NHS perspective for regular scale and polish treatment compared to no treatment. However, these conclusions should be interpreted with some caution, as the involvement of only one reviewer in some data extractions means reviewer error and bias cannot be ruled out. Further large, high-quality studies are required to provide additional evidence to support these conclusions, particularly with respect to adverse events.

    Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018, 12, CD004625, 10.1002/14651858.CD004625.pub5

  • 6

    Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses

    Reynolds A, Mann J, Cummings J, Winter N, Mete E, Te Morenga L

    Risk of Bias Assessment: Low

    All domains were considered at low risk of bias suggesting no limitations with the review process.

    Bottom line This well-conducted review found that a higher intake of total dietary fibre or whole grains was associated with a reduction in the risk of mortality and in the incidence of a wide range of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.

    Lancet 2019;393(10170);434-445

  • 7

    Association between intake of non-sugar sweeteners and health outcomes: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials and observational studies

    Toews, Ingrid ; Lohner, Szimonetta ; Küllenberg de Gaudry, Daniela ; Sommer, Harriet ; Meerpohl, Joerg J.

    Risk of Bias Assessment: Unclear

    The authors acknowledged the presence of significant heterogeneity between the studies and also stated that the findings of our review might be biased by the fact that only one reviewer assessed inclusion of studies in the initial title and abstract screening phase. Hence, relevant references could have inadvertently not been included in this review.

    Bottom line The current evidence is limited, and does not allow to draw firm conclusions regarding the association between intake of non-sugar sweeteners and health outcomes. Results should be interpreted cautiously due to significant heterogeneity between the studies. Also, the findings of this review might be biased by the fact that only one reviewer assessed the inclusion of studies in the initial title and abstract screening phase. Hence, relevant references could have inadvertently not been included in this review. Further, well-designed high-quality studies with detailed descriptions of interventions, comparators and outcomes are needed to support these findings.

    BMJ 2019;364();k4718

  • 8

    A systematic review into the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal effects: are guidelines evidence-based?

    Davies, J. ; Read, J.

    Risk of Bias Assessment: High

    Eligibility criteria were not explicitly defined. Only English language studies published in peer-reviewed journals were considered for inclusion in the review. A limited range of databases was searched for study selection process. Search terms were provided but a full search strategy was not reported. No information was provided on the number of reviewers involved in the study selection process and data extraction process. Relevant study results appear to have been extracted. There was no formal assessment of the methodological quality of the included studies. The method of analysis was not explained clearly in the methodology section.

    Bottom line The current evidence suggests that antidepressant withdrawal reactions are widespread and nearly half of them are severe. Hence, the U.K.'s current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the American Psychiatric Association's depression guidelines need to be updated immediately. The review had significant methodological weaknesses, so the findings should be interpreted with caution. Further, well-designed studies focused on the dependency-forming nature of antidepressants are needed.

    Addict Behav 2018;Epub ahead of print();

  • 9

    Effects of vitamin D supplementation on musculoskeletal health: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and trial sequential analysis

    Bolland MJ, Grey A, Avenell A

    Risk of Bias Assessment: High

    The search strategies were not very sensitive, relevant studies may have been missed.

    Bottom line Evidence indicates that vitamin D supplementation may not prevent fractures or falls, or have clinically meaningful effects on bone mineral density. In addition, there were no differences between the effects of higher and lower doses of vitamin D. There is little justification to use vitamin D supplements to maintain or improve musculoskeletal health. Restriction to one index term for vitamin D in the searches means some relevant studies may have been missed. There was some evidence of publication bias.

    Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2018;6(11);847-858

  • 10

    Can screening instruments accurately determine poor outcome risk in adults with recent onset low back pain? A systematic review and meta-analysis

    Karran, E. L. ; McAuley, J. H. ; Traeger, A. C. ; Hillier, S. L. ; Grabherr, L. ; Russek, L. N. ; Moseley, G. L.

    Risk of Bias Assessment: High

    The use or search terms for prognostic/predictive studies, and the inclusion of an English language limit, may have resulted in relevant studies being missed by the searches. Weaknesses in the analysis methods and risk of bias assessments limit the usefulness of the reported results.

    Bottom line The results of this review suggest that low back pain screening instruments may perform better in predicting poor disability and absenteeism outcomes than in predicting poor pain outcomes. However, the evidence presented is not sufficiently robust to support firm conclusions. The use or search terms for prognostic/predictive studies, and the inclusion of an English language limit, may have resulted in relevant studies being missed by the searches. Weaknesses in the analysis methods and risk of bias assessments limit the usefulness of the reported results.

    BMC Med 2017;15(1);

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