Clinical Trials: Registered Late, Published Late, Smaller Than Planned

Kent Anderson, writing in the The Scholarly Kitchen, observes:

For any major medical study, the stakes are high — the results can affect how patients take care of themselves and how physicians treat disease, for years if not decades. Yet all is not well in the land of medical research, judging from a recent analysis of ClinicalTrials.gov, which finds that the majority of clinical studies are too small to matter in the near-term, are published late, and could be subtly manipulated by researchers, given when they are registered.

Problems like these are yielding undesirable downstream effects — for instance, only 15% of clinical guidelines are based on robust evidence, and there’s ongoing difficulty replicating published results.

The essay is on line, open access: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2012/05/10/clinicaltrials-gov-too-many-studies-are-registered-late-published-late-and-smaller-than-planned/

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