Evaluation of Spin in the Abstracts of Emergency Medicine Randomized Controlled Trials

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Abstract

Study objective: We aim to investigate spin in emergency medicine abstracts, using a sample of randomized controlled trials from high-impact-factor journals with statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Methods: This study investigated spin in abstracts of emergency medicine randomized controlled trials from emergency medicine literature, with studies from 2013 to 2017 from the top 5 emergency medicine journals and general medical journals. Investigators screened records for inclusion and extracted data for spin. We considered evidence of spin if trial authors focused on statistically significant results, interpreted statistically nonsignificant results as equivalent or noninferior, used favorable rhetoric in the interpretation of nonsignificant results, or claimed benefit of an intervention despite statistically nonsignificant results. Results: Of 772 abstracts screened, 114 randomized controlled trials reported statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Spin was found in 50 of 114 abstracts (44.3%). Industry-funded trials were more likely to have evidence of spin in the abstract (unadjusted odds ratio 3.4; 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 11.9). In the abstracts’ results, evidence of spin was most often due to authors’ emphasizing a statistically significant subgroup analysis (n=9). In the abstracts’ conclusions, spin was most often due to authors’ claiming they accomplished an objective that was not a prespecified endpoint (n=14). Conclusion: Spin was prevalent in the selected randomized controlled trial, emergency medicine abstracts. Authors most commonly incorporated spin into their reports by focusing on statistically significant results for secondary outcomes or subgroup analyses when the primary outcome was statistically nonsignificant. Spin was more common in studies that had some component of industry funding.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

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Emergency Medicine
Randomized Controlled Trials
Industry
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Odds Ratio
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Confidence Intervals

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@article{72fc2497c02241ac8136b25fc6db515b,
title = "Evaluation of Spin in the Abstracts of Emergency Medicine Randomized Controlled Trials",
abstract = "Study objective: We aim to investigate spin in emergency medicine abstracts, using a sample of randomized controlled trials from high-impact-factor journals with statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Methods: This study investigated spin in abstracts of emergency medicine randomized controlled trials from emergency medicine literature, with studies from 2013 to 2017 from the top 5 emergency medicine journals and general medical journals. Investigators screened records for inclusion and extracted data for spin. We considered evidence of spin if trial authors focused on statistically significant results, interpreted statistically nonsignificant results as equivalent or noninferior, used favorable rhetoric in the interpretation of nonsignificant results, or claimed benefit of an intervention despite statistically nonsignificant results. Results: Of 772 abstracts screened, 114 randomized controlled trials reported statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Spin was found in 50 of 114 abstracts (44.3{\%}). Industry-funded trials were more likely to have evidence of spin in the abstract (unadjusted odds ratio 3.4; 95{\%} confidence interval 1.1 to 11.9). In the abstracts’ results, evidence of spin was most often due to authors’ emphasizing a statistically significant subgroup analysis (n=9). In the abstracts’ conclusions, spin was most often due to authors’ claiming they accomplished an objective that was not a prespecified endpoint (n=14). Conclusion: Spin was prevalent in the selected randomized controlled trial, emergency medicine abstracts. Authors most commonly incorporated spin into their reports by focusing on statistically significant results for secondary outcomes or subgroup analyses when the primary outcome was statistically nonsignificant. Spin was more common in studies that had some component of industry funding.",
author = "Victoria Reynolds-Vaughn and Jonathan Riddle and Jamin Brown and Michael Schiesel and Cole Wayant and Matt Vassar",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.03.011",
language = "English",
journal = "Annals of Emergency Medicine",
issn = "0196-0644",
publisher = "Mosby Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evaluation of Spin in the Abstracts of Emergency Medicine Randomized Controlled Trials

AU - Reynolds-Vaughn, Victoria

AU - Riddle, Jonathan

AU - Brown, Jamin

AU - Schiesel, Michael

AU - Wayant, Cole

AU - Vassar, Matt

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Study objective: We aim to investigate spin in emergency medicine abstracts, using a sample of randomized controlled trials from high-impact-factor journals with statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Methods: This study investigated spin in abstracts of emergency medicine randomized controlled trials from emergency medicine literature, with studies from 2013 to 2017 from the top 5 emergency medicine journals and general medical journals. Investigators screened records for inclusion and extracted data for spin. We considered evidence of spin if trial authors focused on statistically significant results, interpreted statistically nonsignificant results as equivalent or noninferior, used favorable rhetoric in the interpretation of nonsignificant results, or claimed benefit of an intervention despite statistically nonsignificant results. Results: Of 772 abstracts screened, 114 randomized controlled trials reported statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Spin was found in 50 of 114 abstracts (44.3%). Industry-funded trials were more likely to have evidence of spin in the abstract (unadjusted odds ratio 3.4; 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 11.9). In the abstracts’ results, evidence of spin was most often due to authors’ emphasizing a statistically significant subgroup analysis (n=9). In the abstracts’ conclusions, spin was most often due to authors’ claiming they accomplished an objective that was not a prespecified endpoint (n=14). Conclusion: Spin was prevalent in the selected randomized controlled trial, emergency medicine abstracts. Authors most commonly incorporated spin into their reports by focusing on statistically significant results for secondary outcomes or subgroup analyses when the primary outcome was statistically nonsignificant. Spin was more common in studies that had some component of industry funding.

AB - Study objective: We aim to investigate spin in emergency medicine abstracts, using a sample of randomized controlled trials from high-impact-factor journals with statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Methods: This study investigated spin in abstracts of emergency medicine randomized controlled trials from emergency medicine literature, with studies from 2013 to 2017 from the top 5 emergency medicine journals and general medical journals. Investigators screened records for inclusion and extracted data for spin. We considered evidence of spin if trial authors focused on statistically significant results, interpreted statistically nonsignificant results as equivalent or noninferior, used favorable rhetoric in the interpretation of nonsignificant results, or claimed benefit of an intervention despite statistically nonsignificant results. Results: Of 772 abstracts screened, 114 randomized controlled trials reported statistically nonsignificant primary endpoints. Spin was found in 50 of 114 abstracts (44.3%). Industry-funded trials were more likely to have evidence of spin in the abstract (unadjusted odds ratio 3.4; 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 11.9). In the abstracts’ results, evidence of spin was most often due to authors’ emphasizing a statistically significant subgroup analysis (n=9). In the abstracts’ conclusions, spin was most often due to authors’ claiming they accomplished an objective that was not a prespecified endpoint (n=14). Conclusion: Spin was prevalent in the selected randomized controlled trial, emergency medicine abstracts. Authors most commonly incorporated spin into their reports by focusing on statistically significant results for secondary outcomes or subgroup analyses when the primary outcome was statistically nonsignificant. Spin was more common in studies that had some component of industry funding.

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