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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Technology; making the review writing process more efficient and accurate


This is a follow up to the post 
Ferreting in CRS and RevMan…it’s technical

Health Info Mgmt students from Ulm

The plan:

Six months.

Two Information Management and Healthcare students from the University of Applied Sciences in Ulm, Germany.

Two great projects that enhance the systematic review writing process within the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group.

The result:

A program called ‘Ferret’ was created.  Its purpose: To find both hardcopy and electronic sources of studies relating to a particular subject e.g. Cannabis for schizophrenia (due to be updated if anyone’s interested, loud hint), 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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Day 4: Solving the review puzzle and pulling it all together for your fans

Everyone’s a little sleepy after the course meal and chatting deep into the night over a glass of wine.  Yesterday’s topics were heavy, the heaviest of the four days in fact.  Today is all about the write up, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to create a manageable picture for the public as well as clinicians (or whoever your consumers are); the pieces being everything from the previous three days – setting the topic, searching and statistics.

GradePro

Part of the ‘pulling together’ involves summaries, lots of summaries in table, text and stats form to make your discoveries legible for members of the public.  This is one of the most important things to keep in mind.  How else do we get the people we are aiming to raise the awareness and knowledge of to read our reviews? Read the rest of this entry »

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