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Stat Med. 2005 Dec 30;24(24):3823-44.

Meta-analysis of heterogeneously reported trials assessing change from baseline.

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Centre for Biostatistics and Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, UK.


This paper considers the quantitative synthesis of published comparative study results when the outcome measures used in the individual studies and the way in which they are reported varies between studies. Whilst the former difficulty may be overcome, at least to a limited extent, by the use of standardized effects, the latter is often more problematic. Two potential solutions to this problem are; sensitivity analyses and a fully Bayesian approach, in which pertinent external information is included. Both approaches are illustrated using the results of two systematic reviews and meta-analyses which consider the difference in mean change in systolic blood pressure and the difference in physical functioning between an intervention and control group. The two examples illustrate that by adopting a fully Bayesian approach, as opposed to undertaking sensitivity analyses assuming fixed values for unknown parameters, the overall intervention effect can be estimated with greater uncertainty, but that assessing the sensitivity of results to choice of prior distributions in such analyses is crucial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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