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Cleve Clin J Med. 2008 Jun;75(6):431-9.

Meta-analysis: Its strengths and limitations.

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Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH 44195, USA.


Nowadays, doctors face an overwhelming amount of information, even in narrow areas of interest. In response, reviews designed to summarize the large volumes of information are frequently published. When a review is done systematically, following certain criteria, and the results are pooled and analyzed quantitatively, it is called a meta-analysis. A well-designed meta-analysis can provide valuable information for researchers, policymakers, and clinicians. However, there are many critical caveats in performing and interpreting them, and thus many ways in which meta-analyses can yield misleading information.

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