The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group

Reflecting on the Cochrane Colloquium 2013 – Canada

Three representatives of the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group went out, and three returned, albeit at different times (we like to mix it up a bit).ScZ Group

It was a hard five days.  Getting over jet lag, managing the steep climb to The Québec City Convention Centre every morning after coffee and croissants and a quick 30min meeting, followed by waves of information throughout the day.  What was our return on the time and money spent getting to Quebec, Canada for the Colloquium?  There were differing opinions in our team of three but overall we felt that

  • we gained little nuggets of information that have since led us to make changes to our practice, mainly around title registration
  • it allowed us time to work together on aspects of our processes and procedures, essentially the creation of ‘standards’, to improve the efficiency of our systematic review writing and management process, as well and the recruitment of new Editors to our Group
  • it gave us a chance to put faces to names; meeting with existing, new and potential Editors and AuthorsView of Quebec city from the convention centre
  • it helped us to recognise the importance of our Group within the Cochrane Collaboration.  During the Poster sessions our Group was mentioned as an example of good practice (Cochrane Journal Club: meeting the expectations of our growing membership), while other posters illustrated research that missed out our contributions (The Study of Reporting Quality of Randomized Controlled Trials in Systematic Reviews of Acupuncture) or demonstrated openness to new ways of working, most of which we have already adopted in our Group e.g. the implementation of a Social Media strategy and the conducting of a study into the impact of tweeting mental health reviews.

Overall though, we agreed that most of the gain was from meeting up with each other to thrash out new ideas and evaluate how we are currently working.  We didn’t quite need to go all the way to Quebec to do this as we have since reflected.  A conference such as this can be useful to stimulate conversations and new ideas, but in this case perhaps our time and money could have been better spent getting together in the UK and dialing into aspects of the conference that were of relevance and interest…if such a facility was made available.  So what’s the plan now?  Two-day meetings at six monthly intervals to give us the time we need to discuss and move forward with ideas.  Sometimes to make things happen you need time to talk about it, to crash heads together, in effect, to work collaboratively effectively.

We will be going to the 22nd Cochrane Colloquium in Hyderabad, India to support our Editor, Prathap Tharyan (follow the activities leading up to the colloquium via Twitter and Facebook).  

Hyderabad colloquium

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Diagnostic Test Accuracy (DTA) Author training

Dates:

English: Aston Webb Hall, Birmingham University

English: Aston Webb Hall, Birmingham University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. September 26th 2013 – Module 1: Preparation for title registration
  2. October 24th 2013 – Module 2: Protocol production and searching
  3. November 14th 2013 – Module 3: Progressing your review

 Venue:  Birmingham University

Cost:  FREE to all authors affiliated to a UK-based Cochrane Review Group and to authors resident in the UK and affiliated to a non-UK based Cochrane Review Group Read the rest of this entry »

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Trust the machine? A keen eye is what you need

By Drew Davey, Research Assistant for the CSzG

I recently encountered Cyndy Green’s blog Thinking Visually and realised that her Jan 6 2013 posting “Battling the modern mindset and its deeply rooted trust of technology” had massive reference to my own work.

English: Magnifying glass with focus on paper....

English: Magnifying glass with focus on paper. Text in the background is from the public domain work Die Baukunst, issue 11, page 8, written by . Rendered with a development version of Cycles in Blender. Deutsch: Lupe mit Fokus auf dem Papier. Der im Hintergrund verwendete Text stammt aus gemeinfreien Werk Die Baukunst, Heft 11, Seite 8, das von Max Hasak geschrieben wurde. Gerendert mit einer Entwickerversion von Cycles in Blender. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My name is Drew Davey and I have been working with the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group since 1998, fetching published articles of treatment trials, and assessing their designs. The Cochrane Register of Studies is ostensibly composed of random controlled trials (RCTs) which Archie Cochrane recognized as the gold standard of medical evidence. Since ’98, I have learned to use numerous database programs and am aware that my work would now be impossible without computerized search and storage. The painful need to revisit and read each library’s catalogue every time a new search list appeared on my desk could never work now. The proliferation of journals alone would overwhelm manual searching. No problem, you say, Read the rest of this entry »

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Cochrane through the eyes of Google Trends

The Lancet Logo BW

The Lancet Logo BW (Photo credit: ColaLife)

By Lewis Timimi, Work Experience at CSzG

Google is used so frequently and widely across the world that it has, in recent years, become a great tool for monitoring public interest. Jumping on the back of this, Google launched its own free service, which publishes a range statistics on popular Google searches, called Google Trends. Using Google Trends, it’s possible to see how interest in a specific subject has changed, worldwide, over almost 10 years (data starts from 2004). But can Google Trends tell us anything about online interest in Cochrane?

Well, we searched for a range of different Cochrane related phrases through Google Trends. The results were pretty consistent. They showed a steady decline in the number of searches for Cochrane, both across the UK and worldwide. In fact, searches for “Cochrane library” had decreased by around 75% since the start of 2004. It doesn’t sound too good. Read the rest of this entry »

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China; a research superpower, but we could be left in dark

By Rebecca Syed, Research Fellow at King’s College London and an Editor for the CSzG

Over the past 25 years we have seen an explosion in top-level clinical trials in China. But only a tiny proportion of that research is available on the main databases used by doctors and researchers in the UK, Australia and the US. It means we could be missing out on evidence for potential medical breakthroughs.

There have been some high-profile cases in China of dodgy research, such as one poorly conducted trial (that didn’t even have ethical approval), but the Chinese have taken steps to improve research integrity. And we have to recognise research misconduct as a global issue.

I conducted a survey of low to middle-income countries randomised control trials in mental health. These studies are modelled very carefully and considered the gold standard of evidence for medical treatments. The survey involved laboriously hand searching databases in each region and in each language. Pretty dry stuff but as it turns out, very important. In China they increased by more than seven times between 1991 and 2000. Read the rest of this entry »

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