Systematic survey of the design, statistical analysis, and reporting of studies published in the 2008 volume of the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

Vesterinen, Hanna V and Egan, Kieren and Deister, Amelie and Schlattmann, Peter and MacLeod, Malcolm R and Dirnagl, Ulrich (2011) Systematic survey of the design, statistical analysis, and reporting of studies published in the 2008 volume of the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 31 (4). pp. 1064-1072. ISSN 0271-678X

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    Abstract

    Translating experimental findings into clinically effective therapies is one of the major bottlenecks of modern medicine. As this has been particularly true for cerebrovascular research, attention has turned to the quality and validity of experimental cerebrovascular studies. We set out to assess the study design, statistical analyses, and reporting of cerebrovascular research. We assessed all original articles published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism during the year 2008 against a checklist designed to capture the key attributes relating to study design, statistical analyses, and reporting. A total of 156 original publications were included (animal, in vitro, human). Few studies reported a primary research hypothesis, statement of purpose, or measures to safeguard internal validity (such as randomization, blinding, exclusion or inclusion criteria). Many studies lacked sufficient information regarding methods and results to form a reasonable judgment about their validity. In nearly 20% of studies, statistical tests were either not appropriate or information to allow assessment of appropriateness was lacking. This study identifies a number of factors that should be addressed if the quality of research in basic and translational biomedicine is to be improved. We support the widespread implementation of the ARRIVE (Animal Research Reporting In Vivo Experiments) statement for the reporting of experimental studies in biomedicine, for improving training in proper study design and analysis, and that reviewers and editors adopt a more constructively critical approach in the assessment of manuscripts for publication.