The Reporting of Observational Clinical Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies: A Systematic Review
- Additional Document Info
- View All
INTRODUCTION: Complete reporting assists readers in confirming the methodological rigor and validity of findings and allows replication. The reporting quality of observational functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies involving clinical participants is unclear. OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine the quality of reporting in observational fMRI studies involving clinical participants. METHODS: We searched OVID MEDLINE for fMRI studies in six leading journals between January 2010 and December 2011.Three independent reviewers abstracted data from articles using an 83-item checklist adapted from the guidelines proposed by Poldrack et al. (Neuroimage 2008; 40: 409-14). We calculated the percentage of articles reporting each item of the checklist and the percentage of reported items per article. RESULTS: A random sample of 100 eligible articles was included in the study. Thirty-one items were reported by fewer than 50% of the articles and 13 items were reported by fewer than 20% of the articles. The median percentage of reported items per article was 51% (ranging from 30% to 78%). Although most articles reported statistical methods for within-subject modeling (92%) and for between-subject group modeling (97%), none of the articles reported observed effect sizes for any negative finding (0%). Few articles reported justifications for fixed-effect inferences used for group modeling (3%) and temporal autocorrelations used to account for within-subject variances and correlations (18%). Other under-reported areas included whether and how the task design was optimized for efficiency (22%) and distributions of inter-trial intervals (23%). CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that substantial improvement in the reporting of observational clinical fMRI studies is required. Poldrack et al.'s guidelines provide a means of improving overall reporting quality. Nonetheless, these guidelines are lengthy and may be at odds with strict word limits for publication; creation of a shortened-version of Poldrack's checklist that contains the most relevant items may be useful in this regard.
has subject area