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1.  Methodological issues in epidemiological studies of periodontitis - how can it be improved? 
BMC Oral Health  2010;10:8.
This position paper was commissioned by the European Association of Dental Public Health, which has established six working groups to investigate the current status of six topics related to oral public health. One of these areas is epidemiology of periodontal diseases.
Two theses "A systematic review of definitions of periodontitis and the methods that have been used to identify periodontitis" [1] and "Factors affecting community oral health care needs and provision" [2] formed the starting point for this position paper. Additional relevant and more recent publications were retrieved through a MEDLINE search.
The literature reveals a distinct lack of consensus and uniformity in the definition of periodontitis within epidemiological studies. There are also numerous differences in the methods used. The consequence is that data from studies using differing case definitions and differing survey methods are not easily interpretable or comparable. The limitations of the widely used Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Need (CPITN) and its more recent derivatives are widely recognized. Against this background, this position paper reviews the current evidence base, outlines existing problems and suggests how epidemiology of periodontal diseases may be improved.
The remit of this working group was to review and discuss the existing evidence base of epidemiology of periodontal diseases and to identify future areas of work to further enhance it.
PMCID: PMC2874507  PMID: 20409298
2.  Research gaps identified during systematic reviews of clinical trials: glass-ionomer cements 
BMC Oral Health  2012;12:18.
To report the results of an audit concerning research gaps in clinical trials that were accepted for appraisal in authored and published systematic reviews regarding the application of glass-ionomer cements (GIC) in dental practice
Information concerning research gaps in trial precision was extracted, following a framework that included classification of the research gap reasons: ‘imprecision of information (results)’, ‘biased information’, ‘inconsistency or unknown consistency’ and ‘not the right information’, as well as research gap characterization using PICOS elements: population (P), intervention (I), comparison (C), outcomes (O) and setting (S). Internal trial validity assessment was based on the understanding that successful control for systematic error cannot be assured on the basis of inclusion of adequate methods alone, but also requires empirical evidence about whether such attempt was successful.
A comprehensive and interconnected coverage of GIC-related clinical topics was established. The most common reasons found for gaps in trial precision were lack of sufficient trials and lack of sufficient large sample size. Only a few research gaps were ascribed to ‘Lack of information’ caused by focus on mainly surrogate trial outcomes. According to the chosen assessment criteria, a lack of adequate randomisation, allocation concealment and blinding/masking in trials covering all reviewed GIC topics was noted (selection- and detection/performance bias risk). Trial results appear to be less affected by loss-to-follow-up (attrition bias risk).
This audit represents an adjunct of the systematic review articles it has covered. Its results do not change the systematic review’s conclusions but highlight existing research gaps concerning the precision and internal validity of reviewed trials in detail. These gaps should be addressed in future GIC-related clinical research.
PMCID: PMC3461440  PMID: 22747674

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