August's web clinic was delivered by Jayne Tierney and Sarah Burdett from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL. They gave a fascinating presentation about FAME - the collaborative framework for prospective, adaptive meta-analysis.
The vast majority of systematic reviews are planned retrospectively, once most eligible trials have completed and reported, and are based on aggregate data that can be extracted from publications. Prior knowledge of trial results can introduce bias into both review and meta-analysis methods, and the omission of unpublished data can lead to reporting biases. The collaborative framework for prospective, adaptive meta-analysis (FAME) of aggregate data can reduce the potential for bias, and help produce more timely, thorough and reliable results.
Recognising that it might not be possible or desirable to apply all aspects of FAME to all Cochrane Reviews, this Methods Support Unit web clinic demonstrated how the adoption of some of the key principles (FAME-lite) could improve the quality and efficiency of the vast majority.
Posted by Rachel Richardson