Con: Meta-analysis: some key limitations and potential solutions Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Meta-analysis, a statistical combination of results of several trials to produce a summary effect, has been subject to criticism in the past, mainly for the reasons of poor quality of included studies, heterogeneity between studies meta-analyzed and failing to address publication bias. These limitations can cause the results to be misleading, which is important if policy and practice decisions are based on systematic reviews and meta-analyses. We elaborate on these limitations and illustrate them with examples from the nephrology literature. Finally, we present some potential solutions, notably, education in meta-analysis for evidence producers and consumers as well as the use of individual patient data for meta-analyses.

publication date

  • June 2016