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    -  Uniyal R
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LETTER TO EDITOR
Ahead of print schedule

Reply to letter to the editor: Author-based versus Group-Based Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis


 Department of Neurology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Ravindra Kumar Garg,
Department of Neurology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.280653

PMID: 32189714




How to cite this URL:
Rizvi I, Garg RK, Malhotra HS, Kumar N, Uniyal R. Reply to letter to the editor: Author-based versus Group-Based Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Neurol India [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2020 Mar 30]. Available from: http://www.neurologyindia.com/preprintarticle.asp?id=280653




We thank the author for his interest in the meta-analysis.[1] Concerns were raised on three counts; firstly, that the group-based reviews like the Cochrane reviews are better than the author-based reviews; secondly, that in view of the small number of articles included in the final analysis results should not have been presented on a forest plot, and lastly, that a preregistration of the study protocol on a platform like PROSPERO would have been better.

We fully agree with the reviewer that group-based systematic reviews like the Cochrane reviews are better than author-based reviews. It may be noted that we performed our systematic review as per the guidelines published in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.[2] This ranged from conducting the search, study selection, data extraction, risk of bias assessment, and data analysis as well as GRADE recommendation/s.

We beg to differ with the author's suggestion that we could have avoided presenting our results in the form of a forest plot in view of the small number of studies being included in the final analysis. The Forest plot is the most popular graphical illustration for a meta analysis. It provides a very good visual representation of the information derived from individual studies and the amount of variation between the results of individual studies, along with the overall effect.[3] What constitutes the minimum number for a forest plot can be debated, but any analysis with a minimum of two studies can be displayed on a forest plot.[2]

We fully agree with the reviewer that it would have been better to prospectively register our systematic review on a platform like PROSPERO. Even though we made a predefined protocol to be used amongst the authors and followed the Cochrane methodology, as the predefined method to avoid any reporting bias, we acknowledge not registering our protocol prospectively as a shortcoming of the analysis.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Raina SK. Author-Based versus Group-Based Systemic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Neurol India 2020;68:204-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
2.
Higgins JP, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, et al. editors. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.0 (updated 2019 Jul). Cochrane, 2019. Available from: www.training.cochrane.org/handbook.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Lewis S, Clarke M. Forest plots: Trying to see the wood and the trees. BMJ 2001;322:1479-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
    




 

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