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      Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials.

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          Abstract

          A new type of research, termed meta-analysis, attempts to analyze and combine the results of previous reports. We found 86 meta-analyses of reports of randomized controlled trials in the English-language literature. We evaluated the quality of these meta-analyses, using a scoring method that considered 23 items in six major areas--study design, combinability, control of bias, statistical analysis, sensitivity analysis, and application of results. Only 24 meta-analyses (28 percent) addressed all six areas, 31 (36 percent) addressed five, 25 (29 percent) addressed four, 5 (6 percent) addressed three, and 1 (1 percent) addressed two. Of the 23 individual items, between 1 and 14 were addressed satisfactorily (mean +/- SD, 7.7 +/- 2.7). We conclude that an urgent need exists for improved methods in literature searching, quality evaluation of trials, and synthesizing of the results.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          N Engl J Med
          The New England journal of medicine
          Massachusetts Medical Society
          0028-4793
          0028-4793
          Feb 19 1987
          : 316
          : 8
          Article
          10.1056/NEJM198702193160806
          3807986
          b0cb6be0-e700-44fd-ab5f-9ee69ffae4c3

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