Authors conducted a systematic survey of the methodological literature to identify recommended approaches for how and what randomised clinical trial (RCT) authors should report on missing participant data and, on the basis of these approaches, to propose guidance for RCT authors. Most identified approaches invite trial authors to report the extent of MPD and the underlying reasons. Fewer approaches focus on reporting missingness patterns, methods for handling MPD and implications of MPD on results. 

4th January 2016 • comment

This paper presents a review of the available evidence on the effectiveness of community-based health interventions to improve the reproductive health status of young married couples in LMICs. Review suggests that multi-layered community-based interventions, targeting young married women, their families and the health system can improve utilization of reproductive health services among young couples in resource-constrained settings. The paper emphasizes the need for further research to fill the knowledge gaps that exist about improving utilization of reproductive healthcare services, especially safe abortion care among young married women in LMICs.

13th October 2015 • comment

Systematic reviews involving the central collection and analysis of individual participant data (IPD) usually are larger-scale, international, collaborative projects that can bring about substantial improvements to the quantity and quality of data, give greater scope in the analyses, and provide more detailed and robust results. Following this step-by-step guide will help reviewers and users of IPD meta-analyses to understand them better and recognise those that are well designed and conducted and so help ensure that policy, practice, and research are informed by robust evidence about the effects of interventions.

11th August 2015 • comment

The objective of this systematic review is to investigate the changes in the prevalence of stunting, a chronic form of undernutrition, in South Africa over 40 years, and to derive lessons from the South African experience, a country in an advanced process of transition in sub-Saharan Africa.        

11th June 2015 • comment

In celebration of Global Health Trials' fifth birthday (May 11th 2015) Professor Trudie Lang, Principal Investigator of the programme, talks to us about why Global Health Trials was started, why people should share their experience, and what the future holds.

8th May 2015 • comment

To prioritise the many possible research questions on infant <6m malnutrition, this paper used the systematic, transparent, well-established Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) approach. Sixty-four experts scored 60 research questions on the basis of their answerability, likelihood of intervention efficacy, effectiveness, deliverability, sustainability, impact on disease burden, and impact on equity.      

28th April 2015 • comment

Rigorous and transparent systematic reviews are recognized internationally as a credible source for evidence of effectiveness. However, in the field of nutrition, despite attempts at developing consensus on actions and interventions to reduce undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, there is lack of coordination among various groups. Each of these methodological choices influences the findings of the reviews, and lack of standardization across these domains increases the complexity for users of systematic reviews in interpreting results. There is a need to develop a consensus on methodologies for nutrition reviews, criteria for assessing the evidence and possibly facilitating development and collation of the evidence in the subject area.

14th April 2015 • comment

The authors in this paper describe the development of a reporting guideline, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses for Protocols 2015 (PRISMA-P 2015). PRISMA-P consists of a 17-item checklist intended to facilitate the preparation and reporting of a robust protocol for the systematic review. Funders and those commissioning reviews might consider mandating the use of the checklist to facilitate the submission of relevant protocol information in funding applications. Similarly, peer reviewers and editors can use the guidance to gauge the completeness and transparency of a systematic review protocol submitted for publication in a journal or other medium.      

4th February 2015 • comment

The methodology of systematic reviews—although laid out three or more decades ago—is continuously and rapidly updated by scientists specializing in research synthesis. Now, Systematic Reviews is publishing a series of articles including methods and examples of accelerating approaches to conducting literature reviews.      

16th January 2015 • comment

Inadequate illness recognition and access to antibiotics contribute to high case fatality from infections in young infants (<2 months) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to address three questions regarding access to treatment for young infant infections in LMICs: (1) Can frontline health workers accurately diagnose possible bacterial infection (pBI)?; (2) How available and affordable are antibiotics?; (3) How often are antibiotics procured without a prescription?  

15th October 2014 • comment

This series of five papers assesses and summarizes information from relevant systematic reviews on the impact of various approaches to improve the quality of care for women and newborns.

17th September 2014 • comment

Worldwide, 250,000–280,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year and an estimated 6.55 million children die under the age of five. The majority of maternal deaths occur during or immediately after childbirth, while 43% of child death occurs during the first 28 days of life. However, the progress in limiting these has been slow and sporadic. In this supplement of five papers, teh authors aim to systematically assess and summarize essential interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health from relevant systematic reviews.

22nd August 2014 • comment

This thematic series of eight papers provides an overview on infectious diseases of poverty and integrated community-based interventions, describes the analytical framework and the methodology used to guide the systematic reviews, reports findings for the effectiveness of community-based interventions for the prevention and control of helminthic NTDs, non-helminthic NTDs, malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and proposes a way forward. While previous reviews focus on process and effectiveness of integrated community-based interventions under real life field conditions, this series of papers evaluates the efficacy of such interventions with respect to disease or prevention outcomes.

8th August 2014 • comment

The current difficulties in keeping systematic reviews up to date leads to considerable inaccuracy,  hampering the translation of knowledge into action. Incremental advances in conventional review updating are unlikely to lead to substantial improvements in review currency. A new approach is needed. The authors propose living systematic review as a contribution to evidence synthesis that combines currency with rigour to enhance the accuracy and utility of health evidence.

19th February 2014 • comment

The development of effective treatments for use by non-specialists is listed among the top research priorities for improving the lives of people with mental illness worldwide. The purpose of this review is to appraise which interventions for children with intellectual disabilities or lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders delivered by non-specialist care providers in community settings produce benefits when compared to either a no-treatment control group or treatment-as-usual comparator

28th December 2013 • comment

This systematic review of the current evidence assessed the effectiveness of food fortification with single micronutrients (iron, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, iodine, zinc) as well as MMN when compared with no fortification on the health and nutrition of women and children.

11th September 2013 • comment

Neonatal infections cause a significant proportion of deaths in the first week of life, yet little is known about risk factors and pathways of transmission for early-onset neonatal sepsis globally. This review aimed to estimate the risk of neonatal infection (excluding sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] or congenital infections) in the first seven days of life among newborns of mothers with bacterial infection or colonization during the intrapartum period.

26th August 2013 • comment

This study informs the development of future antenatal care programmes through a synthesis of findings in all relevant qualitative studies.

22nd March 2013 • comment