Systematic reviews and meta-analysis of preclinical studies: why perform them and how to appraise them critically

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 May;34(5):737-42. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2014.28. Epub 2014 Feb 19.

Abstract

The use of systematic review and meta-analysis of preclinical studies has become more common, including those of studies describing the modeling of cerebrovascular diseases. Empirical evidence suggests that too many preclinical experiments lack methodological rigor, and this leads to inflated treatment effects. The aim of this review is to describe the concepts of systematic review and meta-analysis and consider how these tools may be used to provide empirical evidence to spur the field to improve the rigor of the conduct and reporting of preclinical research akin to their use in improving the conduct and reporting of randomized controlled trials in clinical research. As with other research domains, systematic reviews are subject to bias. Therefore, we have also suggested guidance for their conduct, reporting, and critical appraisal.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bias
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Stroke / drug therapy
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Translational Medical Research