Spin refers to reporting, interpretation and extrapolation related distortion or manipulation of the findings of a study. The aim of this report was to identify the prevalence and extent of spin in the abstracts of systematic reviews (SRs) including meta-analyses in the scientific field of Endodontics.
A sensitive and inclusive search strategy in PubMed was developed to identify eligible SRs with meta-analyses in Endodontics, supplemented by an electronic search within 3 major specialty journals, from January 1, 2010 to April 16, 2022. Inclusion and extent of spin was recorded, per domain and following issues related to misleading reporting, interpretation and inappropriate extrapolation of meta-analyses' findings. Association of spin with publication characteristics such as year, journal type, number of authors, continent of authorship, funding, primary study design and significance of the outcome was explored.
A hundred and eighty-six SRs with meta-analyses were retrieved, and inclusion of spin was detected in 125 abstracts (67.2%), for one or more domains. The majority of abstracts were affected by more than one types of spin (91/125; 72.8%). There was evidence that abstracts of meta-analyses of non-significant findings had 60% lower odds for inclusion of spin (Odds ratio, OR: 0.40; 95%CI: 0.19, 0.83; p= 0.04), after adjusting for year, journal type and number of authors.
Misleading reporting and misinterpretation of findings in abstracts of meta-analyses is evident in endodontic research. Efforts should be reinforced to increase awareness within the scientific and academic community to improve adherence to transparent reporting and interpretation.