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1.  Rating the Quality of Trials in Systematic Reviews of Physical Therapy Interventions 
Physical therapists seeking to use evidence to guide their practice may have limited time to read research reports. One way to reduce the time required to identify and read about the research that is relevant to a particular clinical question is to read a systematic review that summarizes multiple studies. This paper explains the process that is used to conduct systematic reviews, which includes the establishment of a protocol, comprehensive searching, appraisal of the quality of the included studies, data extraction and metaanalysis, and consideration of the clinical and research implications of the findings. We also consider how the reader of a systematic review can determine whether the review is likely to provide an unbiased (believable) estimate of the treatment effect. A systematic review of randomized trials of a cardiopulmonary physical therapy intervention is used as an example. The issue of appraisal of quality is then discussed further, with a demonstration of how one validated tool for quality appraisal–the PEDro scale–can be used to evaluate a randomized trial in cardiopulmonary physical therapy.
PMCID: PMC2941354  PMID: 20957075
systematic review; physical therapy
2.  Towards evidence based medicine for paediatricians 
In order to give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence‐based” answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format which has been successfully developed by Kevin Macaway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, though they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers are practical, best evidence‐based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching2 and gaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been performed in a hierarchical way, to search for the best‐quality evidence to answer the question. (http://www.cebm.net). A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal, and the measures of effect (such as number needed to treat), books by Sackett et al4 and Moyer et al5 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided. But to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Electronic‐only topics that have been published on the BestBets site (www.bestbets.org) and may be of interest to paediatricians include:
When is a second course of indomethacin effective for PDA in neonates?
Does delayed cord clamping prevent sepsis?
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at www.bestbets.org. If your question still hasn't been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the Instructions for Authors at www.archdischild.com. Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal:
In children aged <3 years does procalcitonin help exclude serious bacterial infection in fever without focus?
Does avoidance of breast feeding reduce mother‐to‐infant transmission of hepatitis C virus infection?
Should children under treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis receive flu vaccination?
CAN gambling with other people's children
When we use tests to “rule out” a condition, we generally accept that we are left with a small risk of being wrong. (I think we have all discharged a child with an “upper respiratory tract infection” on a Friday to be greeted with them on antibiotics for pneumonia the following Monday.) How much faith we place in a test result is a product of two things: our initial assumption about the likelihood of the diagnosis (pretest probability) and our opinion as to how effective the test is (accuracy), but our actions do not just reflect these factors.
For instance, a well, afebrile child with a scattering of petechiae over its wrist 8 hours before, is unlikely to have meningococcal disease. If you perform a couple of tests, you can find that it has a low C‐reactive protein and a normal full blood count. What we do with this varies widely; some people would treat this with 48 h of antibiotics, others would discharge the patient home.
It is interesting to reflect on two things: first, what chance of meningococcal disease would you put on this clinical picture (before the test), and what about with the test results? What about your colleagues? You may be surprised by how widely this varies. Second, even those who have the same estimates of risk of disease may have different preferred actions (depending on their attitude to risk).
In looking at the diagnostic test for the ruling out of a disease, we can make our arguments more useful by having some data on the assumptions we make, and then transparently discussing our attitudes to risk. It is only after doing this that we can really decide if a test is good enough for us, regardless of how accurate it might be.
References
1Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
5Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health. Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
PMCID: PMC2083694  PMID: 17376947
3.  EBM 
The purpose of this paper is to explore new perspectives about difficulties academicians may have communicating with clinicians, obtaining subjects, and gaining compliance for their research. Sackett et al1 defined evidence-based medicine (EBM) as an integration of best research evidence, clinical expertise, and patient values. However, Guyatt et al2 places clinical observation and experience last in the evidence hierarchy with the randomized controlled trial held as the standard for clinical intervention. The hierarchical discourse of medical knowledge produces opposition rather than collaboration between researcher, clinician, and patient. Foucault gave new perspectives describing how power circulates through individuals within organizational discourse.3 Drawing on literature and experience, this paper describes how the hierarchical model of power in the research community obstructs new areas of knowledge, and how clinicians create resistance. Alleviating perceptions of dominance and creating connections produces cohesion within medical communities.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2753.2008.01043.x
PMCID: PMC2614924  PMID: 19018888
evidence-based medicine; epistemology; clinician; power; Foucault
4.  Towards evidence based medicine for paediatricians 
In order to give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence based” answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format which has been successfully developed by Kevin Macaway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, through they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers are practical, best evidence based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching,2 and gaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been performed in a hierarchical way, to search for the best quality evidence to answer the question.4 A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal, and the measures of effect (such as number needed to treat, NNT) books by Sackett5 and Moyer6 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided. But to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at www.bestbets.org. If your question still hasn't been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the Instructions for Authors at www.archdischild.com. Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal:
Does neonatal BCG vaccination protect against tuberculous meningitis?
Does dexamethasone reduce the risk of extubation failure in ventilated children?
Should metformin be prescribed to overweight adolescents in whom dietary/behavioural modifications have not helped?
REFERENCES
1. Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2. Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3. Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4. http://cebm.jr2.ox.ac.uk/docs/levels.htm (accessed July 2002).
5. Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
6. Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
How to read your journals
Most people have their journals land, monthly, weekly, or quarterly, on their desk, courtesy of their professional associations. Then they sit, gathering dust and guilt, for a period of time. When the layer of either is too great for comfort (or the desk space is needed for some proper work), the wrapper is removed and the journal scanned. But does how people read reflect their information needs or their entertainment requirements?
It is not uncommon to find people straying from the editorial introduction to the value added sections (like obituaries, Lucina‐like summary pages, and end‐of‐article fillers) rather than face the impenetrable science that sits between them. I think that this is probably unhelpful, and would urge readers to do one more thing before placing the journal in the recycling. Scan the table of contents; if it mentions a systematic review or a randomised trial, then read at least the title and the abstract's conclusions. If you agree, pat yourself warmly on the back for being evidence based and up‐to‐date. If you disagree, ask if it will make any impact on your clinical (or personal) life. If it might, run through the methods and quickly appraise them. Does it supply higher quality evidence than that you already possess? If it does, it's worth reading. If it doesn't, don't bother too much.
There are new innovations which might aid the tedious task of consuming research effort. The on‐line Précis section of the Archives provides a highly readable version of the contents page to whet one's appetite. Finally, it's worth mentioning that evidence based summary materials (like Archimedes, or Journal Watch) are always worth reading—and if you didn't think that you wouldn't be here, would you?
PMCID: PMC2082933
Archimedes; evidence based medicine
5.  A 6-week, multicentre, randomized controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of placeboxetine hydrochloride in the treatment of major depressive disorder in an Indian setting 
Indian Journal of Psychiatry  2011;53(1):69-72.
Introduction:
This paper describes a fictitious study of a fictitious drug. A companion paper in this issue of the Indian J Psychiatry critically examines this paper and provides author, reader, reviewer, and researcher perspectives on problems related to the design and conduct of a clinical trial; on issues related to the analysis of data; on how to write a research paper; and on how to critically read or review a journal article. Readers are invited to appraise this paper and then compare their assessment with that presented in the companion paper.
Background:
This study sought to compare the safety and efficacy of placeboxetine (PB) hydrochloride extended release capsules with sertraline hydrochloride in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder in 15 general hospitals in south India.
Materials and Methods:
In a prospective, open-label, 15-center, randomized controlled clinical trial, consecutive outpatients diagnosed with major depressive disorder of at least moderate severity were randomized 1:1 to receive flexible doses of either PB or sertraline once each morning. Patients were evaluated every two weeks, until the study endpoint, using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and the Montgomery-Asberg Rating Scale (MADRS). Safety was determined through assessments of vital signs, adverse events, study discontinuation rates, hematological parameters, metabolic parameters, electrocardiography, and other measures.
Results:
Ten patients dropped out of the study from each treatment arm. There was a significant, marked improvement in HAM-D and MADRS scores in each group by the treatment endpoint. There was no significant difference between PB and sertraline groups on either HAM-D or MADRS at any visit. The response rate was 90% with PB and 92% with sertraline. The remission rate was 70% with PB and 75% with sertraline. All laboratory parameters were within normal limits in all patients. There were no serious adverse events.
Conclusions:
Placeboxetine is as safe and effective as sertraline in Indian patients with major depressive disorder.
doi:10.4103/0019-5545.75555
PMCID: PMC3056193  PMID: 21431013
India; major depressive disorder; placeboxetine; randomized controlled trial; sertraline
6.  Understanding Health Care Organization Needs and Context: Beyond Performance Gaps 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2006;21(Suppl 2):S25-S29.
Significant efforts have been invested in improving our understanding of how to accelerate and magnify the impact of research on clinical practice. While approaches to fostering translation of research into practice are numerous, none appears to be superior and the evidence for their effectiveness is mixed. Lessons learned from formative evaluation have given us a greater appreciation of the contribution of context to successful implementation of quality improvement interventions. While formative evaluation is a powerful tool for addressing context effects during implementation, lessons learned from the social sciences (including management and operations research, sociology, and public health) show us that there are also powerful preimplementation tools available to us. This paper discusses how we might integrate these tools into implementation research. We provide a theoretical framework for our need to understand organizational contexts and how organizational characteristics can alert us to situations where preimplementation tools will prove most valuable.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00359.x
PMCID: PMC2557132  PMID: 16637957
needs assessment; quality improvement; methods; systems analysis
7.  Tacit knowledge as the unifying factor in evidence based medicine and clinical judgement 
The paper outlines the role that tacit knowledge plays in what might seem to be an area of knowledge that can be made fully explicit or codified and which forms a central element of Evidence Based Medicine. Appeal to the role the role of tacit knowledge in science provides a way to unify the tripartite definition of Evidence Based Medicine given by Sackett et al: the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values. Each of these three elements, crucially including research evidence, rests on an ineliminable and irreducible notion of uncodified good judgement.
The paper focuses on research evidence, drawing first on the work of Kuhn to suggest that tacit knowledge contributes, as a matter of fact, to puzzle solving within what he calls normal science. A stronger argument that it must play a role in research is first motivated by looking to Collins' first hand account of replication in applied physics and then broader considerations of replication in justifying knowledge claims in scientific research. Finally, consideration of an argument from Wittgenstein shows that whatever explicit guidelines can be drawn up to guide judgement the specification of what counts as correctly following them has to remain implicit.
Overall, the paper sets out arguments for the claim that even though explicit guidelines and codifications can play a practical role in informing clinical practice, they rest on a body of tacit or implicit skill that is in principle ineliminable. It forms the bedrock of good judgement and unites the integration of research, expertise and values.
doi:10.1186/1747-5341-1-2
PMCID: PMC1475611  PMID: 16759426
8.  Enabling the implementation of evidence based practice: a conceptual framework 
Quality in Health Care : QHC  1998;7(3):149-158.
The argument put forward in this paper is that successful implementation of research into practice is a function of the interplay of three core elements--the level and nature of the evidence, the context or environment into which the research is to be placed, and the method or way in which the process is facilitated. It also proposes that because current research is inconclusive as to which of these elements is most important in successful implementation they all should have equal standing. This is contrary to the often implicit assumptions currently being generated within the clinical effectiveness agenda where the level and rigour of the evidence seems to be the most important factor for consideration. The paper offers a conceptual framework that considers this imbalance, showing how it might work in clarifying some of the theoretical positions and as a checklist for staff to assess what they need to do to successfully implement research into practice.
PMCID: PMC2483604  PMID: 10185141
9.  Reporting the level of evidence in the Canadian Journal of Plastic Surgery: Why is it important? 
The emergence of evidence-based medicine (EBM) has been regarded as among the most significant advances in medicine over the past century. However, many plastic surgeons do not incorporate EBM into their daily practice, effectively denying patients of the most appropriate treatment and, at the same time, possibly squandering already scarce health resources. Levels of evidence (LOE) were described more than 30 years ago and have been increasingly used by surgical journals not only to emphasize the importance of proper study design, but to assist readers in appraising the literature and to encourage researchers to produce high quality evidence. Given the reportedly high amount of health care dollars wasted each year in Canada and around the world, it is incumbent on clinicians and researchers to publish work with high LOE. This review briefly discusses the history of EBM and the benefits and limitations of the LOE, and provides recommendations to improve the quality of the articles published in the Canadian Journal of Plastic Surgery.
The levels of evidence (LOE) table has been increasingly used by many surgical journals and societies to emphasize the importance of proper study design. Since their origin, LOE have evolved to consider multiple study designs and also the rigour of not only the study type but multiple aspects of its design. The use of LOE aids readers in appraising the literature while encouraging clinical researchers to produce high-quality evidence. The current article discusses the benefits and limitations of the LOE, as well as the LOE of articles published in the Canadian Journal of Plastic Surgery (CJPS). Along with an assessment of the LOE in the CJPS, the authors have provided recommendations to improve the quality and readability of articles published in the CJPS.
PMCID: PMC3307675  PMID: 23598760
Evidence; Levels of evidence, quality; Literature review; Plastic surgery; Research methodology
10.  Bridging the gap between basic science and clinical practice: The role of organizations in addressing clinician barriers 
Background
New National Institutes of Health policies call for expansion of practice-based research to improve the clinical research enterprise and facilitate dissemination of evidence-based medicine.
Objective
This paper describes organizational strategies that influence clinicians' decisions to participate in clinical research.
Design
We reviewed the literature and interviewed over 200 clinicians and stakeholders.
Results
The most common barriers to community clinician participation in clinical research relate to beliefs that clinical research is too burdensome and has little benefit for the participating clinician or patient. We identified a number of approaches healthcare organizations can use to encourage clinicians to participate in research, including an outreach campaign to promote the benefits of clinical research; selection of study topics of interest to clinicians; establishment and enforcement of a set of research principles valuing the clinician and patient; development of a transparent schedule of reimbursement for research tasks; provision of technological and technical assistance to practices as needed; and promotion of a sense of community among clinicians involved in practice-based research.
Conclusions
Many types of existing healthcare organizations could provide the technical and intellectual assistance community clinicians need to participate in clinical research. Multiple approaches are possible.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-35
PMCID: PMC3086857  PMID: 21463517
11.  A basic introduction to research: how not to do research 
In this didactic paper, I review some prevalent “myths” about clinical research: anyone can do research; you can learn how to do research from a book or journal articles; all you need to do statistics is the right software (although Excel will also do); you can do good quality research at your kitchen sink; what is important is that you did your best. These myths appear particularly prevalent in the complementary and alternative medicine communities. They are based on a clear double standard: most clinicians would express shock and horror at the very thought that someone without appropriate clinical training and qualifications might treat a patient; meanwhile many clinicians do research with no research qualifications whatsoever. But clinical research can guide clinical decisions that affect the health and well-being of millions of people: it is therefore arguable that poorly conducted research is potentially far more harmful than poor medical practice. As such, it is doubly important that clinical research is conducted by those with appropriate training, statistical help and institutional support.
PMCID: PMC2590769  PMID: 18544288
research design; complementary medicine
12.  Evaluating Single-Subject Treatment Research: Lessons Learned from the Aphasia Literature 
Neuropsychology review  2006;16(4):161-169.
The mandate for evidence-based practice has prompted careful consideration of the weight of the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic value of various clinical treatments. In the field of aphasia, a large number of single-subject research studies have been conducted, providing clinical outcome data that are potentially useful for clinicians and researchers; however, it has been difficult to discern the relative potency of these treatments in a standardized manner. In this paper we describe an approach to quantify treatment outcomes for single-subject research studies using effect sizes. These values provide a means to compare treatment outcomes within and between individuals, as well as to compare the relative strength of various treatments. Effect sizes also can be aggregated in order to conduct meta-analyses of specific treatment approaches. Consideration is given to optimizing research designs and providing adequate data so that the value of treatment research is maximized.
doi:10.1007/s11065-006-9013-7
PMCID: PMC2366174  PMID: 17151940
Effect size; Treatment; Rehabilitation; Outcomes; Evidence based practice; Stroke; Meta-analysis
13.  Tracking the impact of research on policy and practice: investigating the feasibility of using citations in clinical guidelines for research evaluation 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000897.
Objectives
To investigate the feasibility of using research papers cited in clinical guidelines as a way to track the impact of particular funding streams or sources.
Setting
In recent years, medical research funders have made efforts to enhance the understanding of the impact of their funded research and to provide evidence of the ‘value’ of investments in particular areas of research. One of the most challenging areas of research evaluation is around impact on policy and practice. In the UK, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provide clinical guidelines, which bring together current high-quality evidence on the diagnosis and treatment of clinical problems. Research referenced in these guidelines is an indication of its potential to have real impact on health policy and practice.
Design
This study is based on analysis of the authorship and funding attribution of research cited in two NICE clinical guidelines: dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Results
Analysis identified that around a third of papers cited in the two NICE guidelines had at least one author based in the UK. In both cases, about half of these UK attributed papers contained acknowledgements which allowed the source of funding for the research to be identified. The research cited in these guidelines was found to have been supported by a diverse set of funders from different sectors. The study also investigated the contribution of research groups based in universities, industry and the public sector.
Conclusions
The study found that there is great potential for guidelines to be used as sources of information on the quality of the research used in their development and that it is possible to track the source of the funding of the research. The challenge is in harnessing the relevant information to track this in an efficient way.
Article summary
Article focus
Explore the feasibility of extracting the funding source of research papers cited in clinical guidelines.
Identify who funded the research which supports the guideline development.
Investigate the shared characteristics of the publications cited in the two guidelines chosen for the study (dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Key messages
Looking at citation in clinical guidelines could potentially be used as one of the tools in the impact evaluators toolkit.
For this methodology to be fully exploited, the accessibility of data and acknowledgement of funders in articles need to be improved.
This study helps to investigate the connection between funding inputs with changes in medical practice and the pathways for these to arise.
Strengths and limitations of this study
An assumption is made that the fact that a research article is cited in a clinical guideline is a proxy for potential impact; however, this impact is not proven in this study.
The methodology relies on the correct and full attribution of funders in research articles; however, evidence shows that this information can be incomplete.
NICE guidelines are very closely linked with the National Health Service in the UK, as such this limits actual results of the study, but the methodology could be applied to other similar documents.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000897
PMCID: PMC3317168  PMID: 22466037
14.  Quantifying the Impact and Relevance of Scientific Research 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27537.
Qualitative and quantitative methods are being developed to measure the impacts of research on society, but they suffer from serious drawbacks associated with linking a piece of research to its subsequent impacts. We have developed a method to derive impact scores for individual research publications according to their contribution to answering questions of quantified importance to end users of research. To demonstrate the approach, here we evaluate the impacts of research into means of conserving wild bee populations in the UK. For published papers, there is a weak positive correlation between our impact score and the impact factor of the journal. The process identifies publications that provide high quality evidence relating to issues of strong concern. It can also be used to set future research agendas.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027537
PMCID: PMC3217965  PMID: 22110667
15.  Leadership and the quality of care 
Quality in Health Care : QHC  2001;10(Suppl 2):ii3-ii7.
The importance of good leadership is becoming increasingly apparent within health care. This paper reviews evidence which shows that it has effects, not only on financial management, but on the quality of care provided. Some theories of leadership are discussed, primarily in terms of how different types of leaders might affect quality in different ways, including the effects that they might have on the stress or wellbeing of their staff which, in turn, is related to the quality of care produced. Finally, the conflicts shown in terms of leadership within the context of health care are discussed, leading to the conclusion that development programmes must be specially tailored to address the complexities of this arena.
Key Words: leadership; quality of care; stress; personality
doi:10.1136/qhc.0100003..
PMCID: PMC1765760  PMID: 11700372
16.  What is the role of clinical ethics support in the era of e-medicine? 
Journal of Medical Ethics  2001;27(Suppl 1):i33-i35.
The internet is becoming increasingly important in health care practice. The number of health-related web sites is rising exponentially as people seek health-related information and services to supplement traditional sources, such as their local doctor, friends, or family. The development of e-medicine poses important ethical challenges, both for health professionals and for those who provide clinical ethics support for them. This paper describes some of these challenges and explores some of the ways in which those who provide clinical ethics support might respond creatively to them. By offering ways of responding to such challenges, both electronically and face-to-face, the providers of clinical ethics support can show themselves to be an indispensable part of good quality health care provision
Key Words: e-medicine • clinical ethics • internet • quality of information • bioethics
doi:10.1136/jme.27.suppl_1.i33
PMCID: PMC1765528  PMID: 11314610
17.  Graduate attributes in the disciplines of Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine: a survey of expert opinions 
Background
This study was completed as part of a project for the Quality Assurance Agency on the enhancement theme of 'Research teaching linkages: enhancing graduate attributes' in the disciplines of Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine. The aims of this investigation were to elucidate a list of desirable research related graduate attributes for the disciplines of Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine and provide evidence as to how they could be covered within such curricula.
Methods
Semi structured interviews, symposium breakout sessions and conference workshops were used to define and rank attributes suggested by curricula design experts from the three disciplines. Students graduating from a BSc Medical Science degree program were surveyed to determine how well they felt the curriculum and associated final year project equipped them with the identified attributes.
Results
A list of seven high level attributes which were desirable in graduates wishing to pursue either a professional or research career were identified. 105 students reported that a final year project was particularly effective at developing an understanding of the need to have an inquiring mind and critical appraisal skills whilst other components of their degree course covered team working skills, core knowledge and an understanding of ethics and governance.
Conclusion
This study identified desirable attributes from graduates from medical, dental and veterinary degree programs and provides evidence to support the case for student projects helping to achieve both clinical and research related graduate attributes in medical undergraduates. The project also provides a focus for debate amongst those involved in curriculum design as to whether the attributes identified are those desirable in their graduates and to examine their current curriculum to determine coverage.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-28
PMCID: PMC2701429  PMID: 19500358
18.  Towards evidence‐based medicine for paediatricians 
To give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest‐quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence‐based” answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format that has been successfully developed by Kevin Macaway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, although they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers are practical, best evidence‐based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching2 and gaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been carried out in a hierarchical way, to search for the best‐quality evidence to answer the question (http://www.cebm.net/levels_of_evidence.asp). A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal and the measures of effect (such as number needed to treat), books by Sackett et al4 and Moyer et al5 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided. But to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Electronic‐only topics that have been published on the BestBets site (www.bestbets.org) and may be of interest to paediatricians include:
Are meningeal irritation signs reliable in diagnosing meningitis in children?
Is immobilisation effective in Osgood‐Schlatter's disease?
Do all children presenting to the emergency department with a needlestick injury require PEP for HIV to reduce HIV transmission?
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at www.bestbets.org. If your question still has not been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the Instructions for Authors at www.archdischild.com. Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal.
Is lumbar puncture necessary for evaluation of early neonatal sepsis?
Does the use of calamine or antihistamine provide symptomatic relief from pruritus in children with varicella zoster infection?
Is supplementary iron useful when preterm infants are treated with erythropoietin?
Is more research needed?
“More research is needed” is a phrase you might have read before. But is more research really needed? Two situations are offered to us in Archimedes this month where clinical questions are, as yet, unanswered. Is iron supplementation really necessary for premature infants treated with erythropoietin, and do antihistamines and calamine lotion help in children with chicken pox? How can we decide if these questions really do “need” research? It may be worth thinking of how likely benefits and harms may be, what the importance of these outcomes are and finally, how much would you consider reasonable to pay for the answer? For example, what chance is there that antihistamines work in chickenpox? What is the chance that side effects will occur? What is the relative severity of side effects versus the delight of being itch free? If we pay for research and spend hours and hours of time pressing through the increasing regulatory frameworks for clinical trials to define the answer to this question, what will be the opportunity cost? What would we fail to do by looking at this? The same questions can be asked of iron supplementation in premature infants, the salvage treatment of relapsing systemic histocytosis or the promotion of car‐seat use in low‐income families. Such value judgements are important; they will have different answers from different perspectives; they will be subject to political influences from pressure groups; being aware of them might stop us from frequently expounding “more research is needed”.
References
1Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
5Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
doi:10.1136/adc.2006.105379
PMCID: PMC2083019
19.  Current and Emerging Technology Approaches in Genomics 
Purpose
To introduce current and emerging approaches that are being utilized in the field of genomics so the reader can conceptually evaluate the literature and appreciate how these approaches are advancing our understanding of health-related issues.
Organizing Construct
Each approach is described and includes information related to how it is advancing research, its potential clinical utility, exemplars of current uses, challenges related to technologies used for these approaches, and when appropriate information related to understanding the evidence base for clinical utilization of each approach is provided. Web-based resources are included for the reader who would like more in-depth information and to provide opportunity to stay up to date with these approaches and their utility.
Conclusions
The chosen approaches– genome sequencing, genome-wide association studies, epigenomics, and gene expression– are extremely valuable approaches for collecting research data to help us better understand the pathophysiology of a variety of health-related conditions, but they are also gaining in utility for clinical assessment and testing purposes.
Clinical Relevance
Our increased understanding of the molecular underpinnings of disease will assist with better development of screening tests, diagnostic tests, tests that allow us to prognosticate, tests that allow for individualized treatments, and tests to facilitate post-treatment surveillance.
doi:10.1111/jnu.12001
PMCID: PMC3773704  PMID: 23294727
Genetics; genomics; next generation sequencing; genome-wide association studies; epigenomics; gene expression; nursing
20.  How Can Research Keep Up With eHealth? Ten Strategies for Increasing the Timeliness and Usefulness of eHealth Research 
Background
eHealth interventions appear and change so quickly that they challenge the way we conduct research. By the time a randomized trial of a new intervention is published, technological improvements and clinical discoveries may make the intervention dated and unappealing. This and the spate of health-related apps and websites may lead consumers, patients, and caregivers to use interventions that lack evidence of efficacy.
Objective
This paper aims to offer strategies for increasing the speed and usefulness of eHealth research.
Methods
The paper describes two types of strategies based on the authors’ own research and the research literature: those that improve the efficiency of eHealth research, and those that improve its quality.
Results
Efficiency strategies include: (1) think small: conduct small studies that can target discrete but significant questions and thereby speed knowledge acquisition; (2) use efficient designs: use such methods as fractional-factorial and quasi-experimental designs and surrogate endpoints, and experimentally modify and evaluate interventions and delivery systems already in use; (3) study universals: focus on timeless behavioral, psychological, and cognitive principles and systems; (4) anticipate the next big thing: listen to voices outside normal practice and connect different perspectives for new insights; (5) improve information delivery systems: researchers should apply their communications expertise to enhance inter-researcher communication, which could synergistically accelerate progress and capitalize upon the availability of “big data”; and (6) develop models, including mediators and moderators: valid models are remarkably generative, and tests of moderation and mediation should elucidate boundary conditions of effects and treatment mechanisms. Quality strategies include: (1) continuous quality improvement: researchers need to borrow engineering practices such as the continuous enhancement of interventions to incorporate clinical and technological progress; (2) help consumers identify quality: consumers, clinicians, and others all need to easily identify quality, suggesting the need to efficiently and publicly index intervention quality; (3) reduce the costs of care: concern with health care costs can drive intervention adoption and use and lead to novel intervention effects (eg, reduced falls in the elderly); and (4) deeply understand users: a rigorous evaluation of the consumer’s needs is a key starting point for intervention development.
Conclusions
The challenges of distinguishing and distributing scientifically validated interventions are formidable. The strategies described are meant to spur discussion and further thinking, which are important, given the potential of eHealth interventions to help patients and families.
doi:10.2196/jmir.2925
PMCID: PMC3961695  PMID: 24554442
social media; Internet; randomized clinical trials; experimental designs; research techniques; patient education; patient engagement; health communication; telemedicine
21.  Depression, possibilities, and competence: A phenomenological perspective 
Competent decision-making is required for informed consent. In this paper, I aim, from a phenomenological perspective, to identify the specific facets of competent decision-making that may form a challenge to depressed patients. On a phenomenological account, mood and emotions are crucial to the way in which human beings encounter the world. More precisely, mood is intimately related to the options and future possibilities we perceive in the world around us. I examine how possibilities should be understood in this context, and how, in depression, decision-making might be compromised. I suggest that, based on this analysis, a specific emphasis and alertness in assessments of competence in depressed patients is called for. In fact, close attention should be paid to the range of future possibilities depressed patients are able to perceive. In addition, providing environmental cues to these patients might be one way of enhancing their decision-making capacity. The practical suggestions arrived at are open to empirical research.
doi:10.1007/s11017-010-9171-8
PMCID: PMC3090579  PMID: 21207153
Depression; Mood; Competence; Decision-making; Possibilities; Phenomenology
22.  Reflections on changeability versus stability of health-related quality of life: distinguishing between its environmental and genetic components 
The field of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) could benefit from a broadening of perspectives to include recent advancements in research on adaptation, positive psychology, and genetics. These advances shed new light on the extent to which HRQOL is changeable or fixed. The objective of this paper is to integrate these insights and to discuss their implications for HRQOL research. We describe the Hedonic Treadmill theory, which asserts that positive events only temporarily affect happiness since people quickly return to hedonic neutrality. New empirical evidence suggests important revisions of this theory, providing a more optimistic picture of the possibility for change. Advances in positive psychology show that relatively simple interventions have the power to induce a sustainable increase in levels of happiness. Finally, a small but growing number of studies have found independent genetic influences in well-being, life satisfaction, perceived health, and even HRQOL. Given the increasing empirical evidence that HRQOL can be sustainably enhanced and is in part genetically determined, it may be useful to consider HRQOL as a concept that has state (environmental) and trait (genetic) components. This distinction will allow us to explore new pathways of improving theory, methods, and clinical practice. The overarching novel questions concern the extent to which HRQOL components are environmentally or genetically determined, and which factors lead to lasting improvement. This distinction begs for new research approaches, such as time-sampling techniques and interdisciplinary research investigating the genetic variants of HRQOL. Distinguishing between those aspects that are amenable to change from those that are relatively fixed and stable will help better target specific support interventions.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-6-89
PMCID: PMC2607267  PMID: 18976504
23.  Gender perspective in medicine: a vital part of medical scientific rationality. A useful model for comprehending structures and hierarchies within medical science 
BMC Medicine  2006;4:20.
Background
During the past few decades, research has reported gender bias in various areas of clinical and academic medicine. To prevent such bias, a gender perspective in medicine has been requested, but difficulties and resistance have been reported from implementation attempts. Our study aimed at analysing this resistance in relation to what is considered good medical research.
Method
We used a theoretical model, based on scientific competition, to understand the structures of scientific medicine and how they might influence the resistance to a gender perspective in medicine. The model was originally introduced to discuss how pluralism improves rationality in the social sciences.
Results
The model provided a way to conceptualise different fields of research in medicine: basic research, applied research, medical philosophy, and 'empowering' research. It clarified how various research approaches within medicine relate to each other, and how they differ and compete. It also indicated why there might be conflicts between them: basic and applied research performed within the biomedical framework have higher status than gender research and other research approaches that are performed within divergent research paradigms.
Conclusion
This hierarchy within medical research contributes to the resistance to a gender perspective, causing gender bias and making medical scientific rationality suboptimal. We recommend that the theoretical model can be applied in a wider medical context when different and hierarchically arranged research traditions are in conflict. In this way, the model might contribute to shape a medical community where scientific pluralism is acknowledged to enlarge, not to disturb, the scientific rationality of medicine.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-4-20
PMCID: PMC1560154  PMID: 16928283
24.  Effects of Exercise Training and Inspiratory Muscle Training in Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review 
Objective:
To provide a systematic review of the studies assessing exercise training and inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in individuals for the improved respiratory function of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).
Methods:
Thirteen studies (5 exercise training, 8 IMT) were identified. Articles were scored for their methodological quality using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scores and Downs and Black tools for randomized and nonrandomized studies, respectively. Conclusions were based on the most rigorously executed studies using Sackett's levels of evidence.
Results:
Study comparison was compromised by diverse research designs; small sample sizes; and heterogeneity of studied populations, protocols, and outcome measures. Based on current literature, there is level 2 evidence supporting exercise training as an intervention to improve respiratory strength and endurance and level 4 evidence to support exercise training as an intervention that might improve resting and exercising respiratory function in people with SCI. There is level 4 evidence to support IMT as an intervention that might decrease dyspnea and improve respiratory function in people with SCI.
Conclusions:
There are insufficient data to strongly support the use of exercise training or IMT for improved respiratory function in people with SCI. There is some evidence of efficacy of both regimens; however, the evidence is not of the best possible quality.
PMCID: PMC2607122  PMID: 19086707
Spinal cord injuries; Exercise training; Inspiratory muscle training, Rehabilitation; Respiratory dysfunction; Systematic review
25.  Medical students’ reactions to an experience-based learning model of clinical education 
An experience-based learning (ExBL) model proposes: Medical students learn in workplaces by ‘supported participation’; affects are an important dimension of support; many learning outcomes are affective; supported participation influences students’ professional identity development. The purpose of the study was to check how the model, which is the product of a series of earlier research studies, aligned with students’ experiences, akin to the ‘member checking’ stage of a qualitative research project. In three group discussions, a researcher explained ExBL to 19 junior clinical students, who discussed how it corresponded with their experiences of clinical learning and were given a written précis of it to take away. One to 3 weeks later, they wrote 500-word reflective pieces relating to their subsequent experiences with ExBL. Four researchers conducted a qualitative analysis. Having found many instances of responses ‘resonating’ to the model, the authors systematically identified and coded respondents’ ‘resonances’ to define how they aligned with their experiences. 120 resonances were identified. Seventy (58 %) were positive experiences and 50 (42 %) negative ones. Salient experiences were triggered by the learning environment in 115 instances (96 %) and by learners themselves in 5 instances (4 %), consistent with a strong effect of environment on learning processes. Affective support was apparent in 129 of 203 statements (64 %) of resonances and 118 learning outcomes (58 %) were also affective. ExBL aligns with medical students’ experiences of clinical learning. Subject to further research, these findings suggest ExBL could be used to support the preparation of faculty and students for workplace learning.
doi:10.1007/s40037-013-0061-4
PMCID: PMC3656171  PMID: 23670698
Clerkship education; Experience based learning; Qualitative analysis

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