Everything you always wanted to know about systematic reviews but never wanted to ask
Altman D., Candelise L.
Systematic Reviews should assist neurologists in making informed treatment choices. Health operators require a summary of the evidence in terms of its quality and relevance as well as information about the potential benefits and harms for a particular individual. The workshop, particularly oriented to clinical neurologists, will introduce the basic principles of understanding a systematic review, making sure that the rationale for everything is explained. The emphasis will be on statistical issues but this be interpreted very broadly. Thus, many issues will be addressed, including the need to specify review methodology, aspects of searching the literature, data extraction and quality assessment of primary studies. The basic principles of statistical alalysis (meta-analysis) will be introduced (with minimal mathematics) together with some discussion of areas which cause particular difficulty. The second part will consider some practical aspects of trying to implement the procedures discussed in the first part, such as problems of data extraction and difficulties of working out the design of the study. Finally, various aspects of the interpretation of systematic reviews will be discussed. All topics will be illustrated with real neurological examples.