Evaluation of spin in the abstracts of otolaryngology randomized controlled trials

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Abstract

Objective: Spin, the misrepresentation and distortion of research findings, has been shown to affect clinical decision making. Spin has been found in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in various fields of medicine, but no study has tested for the presence of spin in otolaryngology RCTs. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the abstracts of RCTs found in the otolaryngology literature for spin. Methods: In this cross-sectional analysis, we analyzed the abstracts of RCTs for spin using a pilot-tested form. Double data extraction was performed by two blinded authors, and discrepancies were resolved using mutual discussion. Results: Out of the 534 PubMed citations retrieved by our search string, 162 parallel-group RCTs with clearly defined primary and secondary endpoints were identified. Further analysis identified 47 trials with nonsignificant primary outcomes, which were then evaluated for spin. Spin was identified in 33 of the 47 (70%) abstracts. Spin was found in the results sections of 25 (53%) of the included abstracts and was found in the conclusion section of 27 (57%) of the abstracts. Spin was not present in the titles of any of the included studies. Conclusion: Spin was common in our sample of otolaryngology RCTs. Spin may potentially create false impressions about the true validity of a drug or intervention. Further research needs to test for potential clinical implications of spin in the otolaryngology literature. Level of Evidence: NA. Laryngoscope, 129:2036–2040, 2019.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2036-2040
Number of pages5
JournalLaryngoscope
Volume129
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Randomized controlled trials
  • abstracts
  • evidence-based medicine
  • spin

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