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Bias from historical control groups used in orthodontic research: a meta-epidemiological study


Papageorgiou, Spyridon N; Koretsi, Vasiliki; Jäger, Andreas (2017). Bias from historical control groups used in orthodontic research: a meta-epidemiological study. European Journal of Orthodontics, 39(1):98-105.

Abstract

AIM The validity of meta-analysis is dependent upon the quality of included studies. Here, we investigated whether the design of untreated control groups (i.e. source and timing of data collection) influences the results of clinical trials in orthodontic research. MATERIALS AND METHODS This meta-epidemiological study used unrestricted literature searching for meta-analyses in orthodontics including clinical trials with untreated control groups. Differences in standardized mean differences (ΔSMD) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated according to the untreated control group through multivariable random-effects meta-regression controlling for nature of the interventional group and study sample size. Effects were pooled with random-effects synthesis, followed by mixed-effect subgroup and sensitivity analyses. RESULTS Studies with historical control groups reported deflated treatment effects compared to studies with concurrent control groups (13 meta-analyses; ΔSMD = -0.31; 95% CI = -0.53, -0.10; P = 0.004). Significant differences were found according to the type of historical control group (based either on growth study or clinical archive; 11 meta-analyses; ΔSMD = 0.40; 95% CI = 0.21, 0.59; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS The use of historical control groups in orthodontic clinical research was associated with deflation of treatment effects, which was independent from whether the interventional group was prospective or retrospective and from the study's sample size. Caution is warranted when interpreting clinical studies with historical untreated control groups or when interpreting systematic reviews that include such studies.

Abstract

AIM The validity of meta-analysis is dependent upon the quality of included studies. Here, we investigated whether the design of untreated control groups (i.e. source and timing of data collection) influences the results of clinical trials in orthodontic research. MATERIALS AND METHODS This meta-epidemiological study used unrestricted literature searching for meta-analyses in orthodontics including clinical trials with untreated control groups. Differences in standardized mean differences (ΔSMD) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated according to the untreated control group through multivariable random-effects meta-regression controlling for nature of the interventional group and study sample size. Effects were pooled with random-effects synthesis, followed by mixed-effect subgroup and sensitivity analyses. RESULTS Studies with historical control groups reported deflated treatment effects compared to studies with concurrent control groups (13 meta-analyses; ΔSMD = -0.31; 95% CI = -0.53, -0.10; P = 0.004). Significant differences were found according to the type of historical control group (based either on growth study or clinical archive; 11 meta-analyses; ΔSMD = 0.40; 95% CI = 0.21, 0.59; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS The use of historical control groups in orthodontic clinical research was associated with deflation of treatment effects, which was independent from whether the interventional group was prospective or retrospective and from the study's sample size. Caution is warranted when interpreting clinical studies with historical untreated control groups or when interpreting systematic reviews that include such studies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Dental Medicine > Clinic for Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:February 2017
Deposited On:01 Feb 2017 15:07
Last Modified:31 Mar 2017 07:14
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0141-5387
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/ejo/cjw035
PubMed ID:27129869

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