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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Oct;20(10):931-7.

Publication bias in obesity treatment trials?

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1
Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University College of Physicians Surgeons, NY 10025, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The present investigation examined the extent of publication bias (namely the tendency to publish significant findings and file away non-significant findings) within the obesity treatment literature.

DESIGN:

Quantitative literature synthesis of four published meta-analyses from the obesity treatment literature. Interventions in these studies included pharmacological, educational, child, and couples treatments.

METHODS:

To assess publication bias, several regression procedures (for example weighted least-squares, random-effects multi-level modeling, and robust regression methods) were used to regress effect sizes onto their standard errors, or proxies thereof, within each of the four meta-analysis. A significant positive beta weight in these analyses signified publication bias.

RESULTS:

There was evidence for publication bias within two of the four published meta-analyses, such that reviews of published studies were likely to overestimate clinical efficacy. The lack of evidence for publication bias within the two other meta-analyses might have been due to insufficient statistical power rather than the absence of selection bias.

CONCLUSIONS:

As in other disciplines, publication bias appears to exist in the obesity treatment literature. Suggestions are offered for managing publication bias once identified or reducing its likelihood in the first place.

PMID:
8910098
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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