Evaluation of “Spin” in the Abstracts of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Focused on Cataract Therapies

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Abstract

Purpose: “Spin,” a slang term meaning the misrepresentation of study findings such that the beneficial effects of an intervention are magnified beyond what the results actually show, is a reporting practice that has been shown to influence perceptions of treatment efficacy and clinical decision making. The extent of spin and its complications were evaluated in the abstracts of systematic reviews of cataract surgery. The issue of whether particular study attributes were associated with spin was also evaluated. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: MEDLINE and Embase were searched for systematic reviews and meta-analyses relating to cataract treatment. From these search records, eligible studies were screened in duplicate. A previously developed classification system for spin was used to assess the systematic reviews that met eligibility criteria for the occurrence of the 9 most severe forms of spin. Evaluation of spin, extracted study characteristics, and appraisal of the methodological quality of each study were performed using the 16-question A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews (AMSTAR-2) scale in duplicate. Results: Searches retrieved 2,059 studies, of which 110 were eligible for data extraction. At least 1 form of spin was found in 30.0% of included systematic reviews (33 of 110). Six of the 9 types of spin were identified in the study sample, the most common being type 3 in 18.2% (20 of 110) of abstracts. No significant associations were found among spin in abstracts, AMSTAR-2 appraisal, and any of the extracted study characteristics. Results: Searches retrieved 2,059 studies, of which 110 were eligible for data extraction. At least 1 form of spin was found in 30.0% of the included systematic reviews (33 of 110). Six of the 9 types of spin were identified in the sample, the most common being type 3 in 18.2% (20 of 110) of abstracts. No significant associations were found among spin in abstracts, AMSTAR-2 appraisals, and any of the extracted study characteristics. Conclusions: Spin was evident in approximately one-third of the abstracts of evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses of cataract surgery and associated complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume228
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

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