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      Mapping the available evidence on the impact of ingested live microbes on health: a scoping review protocol


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          It has been hypothesised that the regular consumption of safe, live microbes confers health-promoting attributes, including the prevention of disease. To address this hypothesis, we propose a scoping review approach that will systematically assess the large corpus of relevant literature that is now available on this research topic. This article outlines a protocol for a scoping review of published studies on interventions with live microbes in non-patient populations across eight health categories. The scoping review aims to catalogue types of interventions, measured outcomes, dosages, effectiveness, as well as current research gaps.

          Methods and analysis

          The scoping review will follow the six-staged protocol as proposed by Arksey and O’Malley and will include the following stages: defining the research questions (stage 1); defining the eligibility criteria and finalising search strategy (stage 2); selection of studies based on the eligibility criteria (stage 3); development of a data extraction framework and charting of data (stage 4); aggregation of results and summarisation of findings (stage 5); and the optional consultation with stakeholders (stage 6), which will not be performed.

          Ethics and dissemination

          Since the scoping review synthesises information from existing literature, no separate ethical approval is required. The findings of the scoping review will be communicated for publication to an open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal, presented at relevant conferences, and disseminated at future workshops with all relevant data and documents being available online through the Open Science Framework ( https://osf.io/kvhe7).

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          Most cited references30

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          PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and Explanation

          Scoping reviews, a type of knowledge synthesis, follow a systematic approach to map evidence on a topic and identify main concepts, theories, sources, and knowledge gaps. Although more scoping reviews are being done, their methodological and reporting quality need improvement. This document presents the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) checklist and explanation. The checklist was developed by a 24-member expert panel and 2 research leads following published guidance from the EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network. The final checklist contains 20 essential reporting items and 2 optional items. The authors provide a rationale and an example of good reporting for each item. The intent of the PRISMA-ScR is to help readers (including researchers, publishers, commissioners, policymakers, health care providers, guideline developers, and patients or consumers) develop a greater understanding of relevant terminology, core concepts, and key items to report for scoping reviews.
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            Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework

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              Scoping studies: advancing the methodology

              Background Scoping studies are an increasingly popular approach to reviewing health research evidence. In 2005, Arksey and O'Malley published the first methodological framework for conducting scoping studies. While this framework provides an excellent foundation for scoping study methodology, further clarifying and enhancing this framework will help support the consistency with which authors undertake and report scoping studies and may encourage researchers and clinicians to engage in this process. Discussion We build upon our experiences conducting three scoping studies using the Arksey and O'Malley methodology to propose recommendations that clarify and enhance each stage of the framework. Recommendations include: clarifying and linking the purpose and research question (stage one); balancing feasibility with breadth and comprehensiveness of the scoping process (stage two); using an iterative team approach to selecting studies (stage three) and extracting data (stage four); incorporating a numerical summary and qualitative thematic analysis, reporting results, and considering the implications of study findings to policy, practice, or research (stage five); and incorporating consultation with stakeholders as a required knowledge translation component of scoping study methodology (stage six). Lastly, we propose additional considerations for scoping study methodology in order to support the advancement, application and relevance of scoping studies in health research. Summary Specific recommendations to clarify and enhance this methodology are outlined for each stage of the Arksey and O'Malley framework. Continued debate and development about scoping study methodology will help to maximize the usefulness and rigor of scoping study findings within healthcare research and practice.

                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                17 May 2023
                : 13
                : 5
                [1 ]departmentDepartment of Food Biosciences , Teagasc Food Research Centre , Moorepark, Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland
                [2 ]departmentAPC Microbiome Ireland , University College Cork , Cork, County Cork, Ireland
                [3 ]departmentDepartment of Biological Sciences , Ringgold_8808University of Limerick , Limerick, Ireland
                [4 ]Vistamilk , Cork, Ireland
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Prof Paul D Cotter; paul.cotter@ 123456teagasc.ie
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                : 25 August 2022
                : 30 March 2023
                Funded by: Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences;
                Award ID: N/A
                Nutrition and Metabolism
                Custom metadata

                gastrointestinal infections,microbiology,immunology
                gastrointestinal infections, microbiology, immunology


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