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1.  A systematic review on the effect of sweeteners on glycemic response and clinically relevant outcomes 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:123.
The major metabolic complications of obesity and type 2 diabetes may be prevented and managed with dietary modification. The use of sweeteners that provide little or no calories may help to achieve this objective.
We did a systematic review and network meta-analysis of the comparative effectiveness of sweetener additives using Bayesian techniques. MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL and CAB Global were searched to January 2011. Randomized trials comparing sweeteners in obese, diabetic, and healthy populations were selected. Outcomes of interest included weight change, energy intake, lipids, glycated hemoglobin, markers of insulin resistance and glycemic response. Evidence-based items potentially indicating risk of bias were assessed.
Of 3,666 citations, we identified 53 eligible randomized controlled trials with 1,126 participants. In diabetic participants, fructose reduced 2-hour blood glucose concentrations by 4.81 mmol/L (95% CI 3.29, 6.34) compared to glucose. Two-hour blood glucose concentration data comparing hypocaloric sweeteners to sucrose or high fructose corn syrup were inconclusive. Based on two ≤10-week trials, we found that non-caloric sweeteners reduced energy intake compared to the sucrose groups by approximately 250-500 kcal/day (95% CI 153, 806). One trial found that participants in the non-caloric sweetener group had a decrease in body mass index compared to an increase in body mass index in the sucrose group (-0.40 vs 0.50 kg/m2, and -1.00 vs 1.60 kg/m2, respectively). No randomized controlled trials showed that high fructose corn syrup or fructose increased levels of cholesterol relative to other sweeteners.
Considering the public health importance of obesity and its consequences; the clearly relevant role of diet in the pathogenesis and maintenance of obesity; and the billions of dollars spent on non-caloric sweeteners, little high-quality clinical research has been done. Studies are needed to determine the role of hypocaloric sweeteners in a wider population health strategy to prevent, reduce and manage obesity and its consequences.
PMCID: PMC3286380  PMID: 22093544
2.  Trace elements in hemodialysis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Medicine  2009;7:25.
Hemodialysis patients are at risk for deficiency of essential trace elements and excess of toxic trace elements, both of which can affect health. We conducted a systematic review to summarize existing literature on trace element status in hemodialysis patients.
All studies which reported relevant data for chronic hemodialysis patients and a healthy control population were eligible, regardless of language or publication status. We included studies which measured at least one of the following elements in whole blood, serum, or plasma: antimony, arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, tellurium, thallium, vanadium, and zinc. We calculated differences between hemodialysis patients and controls using the differences in mean trace element level, divided by the pooled standard deviation.
We identified 128 eligible studies. Available data suggested that levels of cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, and vanadium were higher and that levels of selenium, zinc and manganese were lower in hemodialysis patients, compared with controls. Pooled standard mean differences exceeded 0.8 standard deviation units (a large difference) higher than controls for cadmium, chromium, vanadium, and lower than controls for selenium, zinc, and manganese. No studies reported data on antimony, iodine, tellurium, and thallium concentrations.
Average blood levels of biologically important trace elements were substantially different in hemodialysis patients, compared with healthy controls. Since both deficiency and excess of trace elements are potentially harmful yet amenable to therapy, the hypothesis that trace element status influences the risk of adverse clinical outcomes is worthy of investigation.
PMCID: PMC2698829  PMID: 19454005
3.  Oral rehydration versus intravenous therapy for treating dehydration due to gastroenteritis in children: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
BMC Medicine  2004;2:11.
Despite treatment recommendations from various organizations, oral rehydration therapy (ORT) continues to be underused, particularly by physicians in high-income countries. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to compare ORT and intravenous therapy (IVT) for the treatment of dehydration secondary to acute gastroenteritis in children.
RCTs were identified through MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, authors and references of included trials, pharmaceutical companies, and relevant organizations. Screening and inclusion were performed independently by two reviewers in order to identify randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing ORT and IVT in children with acute diarrhea and dehydration. Two reviewers independently assessed study quality using the Jadad scale and allocation concealment. Data were extracted by one reviewer and checked by a second. The primary outcome measure was failure of rehydration. We analyzed data using standard meta-analytic techniques.
The quality of the 14 included trials ranged from 0 to 3 (Jadad score); allocation concealment was unclear in all but one study. Using a random effects model, there was no significant difference in treatment failures (risk difference [RD] 3%; 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0, 6). The Mantel-Haenzsel fixed effects model gave a significant difference between treatment groups (RD 4%; 95% CI: 2, 5) favoring IVT. Based on the four studies that reported deaths, there were six in the IVT groups and two in ORT. There were no significant differences in total fluid intake at six and 24 hours, weight gain, duration of diarrhea, or hypo/hypernatremia. Length of stay was significantly shorter for the ORT group (weighted mean difference [WMD] -1.2 days; 95% CI: -2.4,-0.02). Phlebitis occurred significantly more often with IVT (number needed to treat [NNT] 33; 95% CI: 25,100); paralytic ileus occurred more often with ORT (NNT 33; 95% CI: 20,100). These results may not be generalizable to children with persistent vomiting.
There were no clinically important differences between ORT and IVT in terms of efficacy and safety. For every 25 children (95% CI: 20, 50) treated with ORT, one would fail and require IVT. The results support existing practice guidelines recommending ORT as the first course of treatment in appropriate children with dehydration secondary to gastroenteritis.
PMCID: PMC419333  PMID: 15086953

Results 1-3 (3)