Members of Cochrane and others have developed techniques to manage Type I and II errors that can occur over time by updating and repeating meta-analyses. Cochrane has provided funding for a review of these techniques undertaken by Mark Simmonds at York University and other members of the Statistical Methods Group. Two principle techniques emerge as controlling for these errors: Trials Sequential Analysis and Sequential Meta-analysis. Further detailed information is available (see full statement below]). Some review authors have used these techniques, we do not currently encourage or discourage their use at this point.
Cochrane Scientific Committee recommendation (Full statement, July 2017):
Further technical examination of these two approaches is required before the Committee can decide whether there is a preferred approach or whether the methods provide added value to managing random error. An expert panel established will discuss further and report back to the Committee before arriving at a final decision.
Expert panel consensus statement (Full statement, December 2018):
The Expert Panel recommends against the use of sequential methods for updated meta-analyses in most circumstances within the Cochrane context. They should not be used for the main analyses, or to draw main conclusions.
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