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Journal: Systematic reviews


There is wide agreement that there is a lack of attention to health in municipal environmental policy-making, such as urban planning and regeneration. Explanations for this include differing professional norms between health and urban environment professionals, system complexity and limited evidence for causality between attributes of the built environment and health outcomes. Data from urban health indicator (UHI) tools are potentially a valuable form of evidence for local government policy and decision-makers. Although many UHI tools have been specifically developed to inform policy, there is poor understanding of how they are used. This study aims to identify the nature and characteristics of UHI tools and their use by municipal built environment policy and decision-makers.

Concepts: Natural environment, City, Policy, Government, Urban decay, Urban planning, Town, Urban design


Abnormal placental cord insertion (PCI) includes marginal cord insertion (MCI) and velamentous cord insertion (VCI). VCI has been shown to be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to determine the association of abnormal PCI and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, The Association, Meta-analysis, Velamentous cord insertion


A rigorous systematic review and meta-analysis focused on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of non-individualised homeopathic treatment has not previously been reported. We tested the null hypothesis that the main outcome of treatment using a non-individualised (standardised) homeopathic medicine is indistinguishable from that of placebo. An additional aim was to quantify any condition-specific effects of non-individualised homeopathic treatment.

Concepts: Experimental design, Systematic review, Randomized controlled trial, Placebo, Hypothesis, Alternative medicine, Null hypothesis, Homeopathy


The PRISMA Statement is a reporting guideline designed to improve transparency of systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses. Seven extensions to the PRISMA Statement have been published to address the reporting of different types or aspects of SRs, and another eight are in development. We performed a scoping review to map the research that has been conducted to evaluate the uptake and impact of the PRISMA Statement and extensions. We also synthesised studies evaluating how well SRs published after the PRISMA Statement was disseminated adhere to its recommendations.

Concepts: Evaluation, Systematic review, Review, Meta-analysis, Block, The UpTake, Perl, Review websites


Qualitative systematic reviews or qualitative evidence syntheses (QES) are increasingly recognised as a way to enhance the value of systematic reviews (SRs) of clinical trials. They can explain the mechanisms by which interventions, evaluated within trials, might achieve their effect. They can investigate differences in effects between different population groups. They can identify which outcomes are most important to patients, carers, health professionals and other stakeholders. QES can explore the impact of acceptance, feasibility, meaningfulness and implementation-related factors within a real world setting and thus contribute to the design and further refinement of future interventions. To produce valid, reliable and meaningful QES requires systematic identification of relevant qualitative evidence. Although the methodologies of QES, including methods for information retrieval, are well-documented, little empirical evidence exists to inform their conduct and reporting.

Concepts: Scientific method, Clinical trial, Effectiveness, Avicenna, Evaluation methods, Educational psychology, Qualitative research, Meta-analysis


Assessment of the quality of included studies is an essential component of any systematic review. A formal quality assessment is facilitated by using a structured tool. There are currently no guidelines available for researchers wanting to develop a new quality assessment tool.

Concepts: Evaluation, Quality, Quality control, Quality assurance, Object-oriented programming, Tool


Previously, we reported on the low recall of Google Scholar (GS) for systematic review (SR) searching. Here, we test our conclusions further in a prospective study by comparing the coverage, recall, and precision of SR search strategies previously performed in Embase, MEDLINE, and GS.

Concepts: Medical research, Review, Search engine optimization, Bibliographic databases, Searching, The Search


Overviews of systematic reviews attempt to systematically retrieve and summarise the results of multiple systematic reviews. Methods for conducting, interpreting and reporting overviews are in their infancy. To date, there has been no evidence map of the methods used in overviews, thus making it difficult to determine the gaps and priorities for methods research. Our objectives were to develop and populate a comprehensive framework of methods for conducting, interpreting and reporting overviews (stage I) and to create an evidence map by mapping studies that have evaluated overview methods to the framework (stage II).

Concepts: Systematic review


Unabridged access to drug industry and regulatory trial registers and data reduces reporting bias in systematic reviews and may provide a complete index of a drug’s clinical study programme. Currently, there is no public index of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine industry study programmes or a public index of non-industry funded studies.

Concepts: Immune system, Pharmacology, Medicine, Clinical trial, Human papillomavirus, HPV vaccine, Pharmaceutical industry, Cultural studies


The usefulness of Google Scholar (GS) as a bibliographic database for biomedical systematic review (SR) searching is a subject of current interest and debate in research circles. Recent research has suggested GS might even be used alone in SR searching. This assertion is challenged here by testing whether GS can locate all studies included in 21 previously published SRs. Second, it examines the recall of GS, taking into account the maximum number of items that can be viewed, and tests whether more complete searches created by an information specialist will improve recall compared to the searches used in the 21 published SRs.

Concepts: Academic publishing, Medical research, Review, Bibliographic databases, Bibliographic database, Bibliography, Searching, Reference management software