The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group

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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Data, Outcomes, Uncertainty and Graphs: Advances and Limitations in Trials, Meta-Analysis, and Novelties

Cochrane Collaboration

Cochrane Collaboration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Date: Tuesday, 24th September 2013

Time:  09:00 – 16:00

Venue:  The Amphitheatre,  Université Laval, Québec

Cost:  £40 GBP/64 CAD (open to those not attending the Colloquium) 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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