Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Cochrane Library’ Category

Cochrane withdraws criticized alcohol misuse report for “major errors”

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Cochrane_LogoThe Cochrane Library has withdrawn a criticized 2014 meta-analysis about a technique to help young people avoid alcohol abuse, because of “major errors.” 

The review found that motivational interviewing, a form of counseling to help people change behaviors, showed some effects but had “no substantive, meaningful benefits” in preventing alcohol abuse among people 25 and younger. However, other researchers in the field, including some whose studies were included in the analysis, soon raised concerns about the review’s methods and data calculation, and the authors withdrew it. 

Here’s the brief notice for “Motivational interviewing for alcohol misuse in young adults:”

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Cochrane withdraws review on zinc for colds for data concerns

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Cochrane_LogoThe Cochrane Library has withdrawn a 2013 systematic review on zinc’s ability to fight the common cold.

Cochrane often marks reviews “withdrawn” once new evidence emerges that renders them out of date — but in this case, the review was flagged while the editors investigate issues “regarding the calculation and analysis of data.”

Here’s the notice.

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Authors’ pharma ties cause Cochrane to withdraw two diabetes reviews

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Cochrane_LogoThe Cochrane Library has withdrawn two reviews evaluating the effectiveness of diabetes treatments because some of the papers’ authors work with pharmaceutical companies.

Bianca Hemmingsen, first author on both reviews, told us the Cochrane Library asked the authors to remove the researchers with ties to pharma, but after one “refused to withdraw,” both papers were pulled entirely.

However, Hemmingsen insists that their employment had no impact on either paper.

This breaks the typical mold for Cochrane withdrawals, which are usually only pulled to indicate updates and show that older reviews no longer represent the best evidence.

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Progressive: How the Cochrane Library handles updates-in-progress

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Over the summer, while searching for some studies and evidence for various treatments, my wife, a television writer and producer, noticed something she thought unusual enough to flag for me. The titles of a number of Cochrane Library reviews started with “WITHDRAWN.”

The Cochrane Library is the world’s leading publisher of systematic reviews, which gather all of the high-quality evidence on a given subject and offer a rigorous analysis of whether a given test or treatment works. It’s an invaluable resource. (Shameless plug: Join the Association of Health Care Journalists, where I’m treasurer, and access to the $285-per-year Cochrane subscription is included.)

Retraction Watch was curious about what “WITHDRAWN” meant, since “withdrawal” is often used synonymously with retraction. Cochrane updates its reviews regularly, as new evidence surfaces, of course. But these abstracts didn’t say anything about new reviews.

We asked Jen Beal, who handles media relations for Wiley, the Cochrane Library’s publisher. She responded: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 20th, 2010 at 9:30 am