Objective: to assess the proportion of registered randomised controlled trials in five core clinical geriatric journals and to analyse whether registered study outcomes correspond with published outcomes.
Design: survey of original papers published 2008 to 2012.
Methods: two independent reviewers retrieved the sample through search in the web-based archives of Age and Ageing, the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association and International Psychogeriatrics. Data extraction was performed by two independent reviewers using a pre-tested 13-item checklist. Registration status was checked and information provided in registers compared with information presented in the original publication. A third reviewer was consulted if no consensus could be reached.
Results: the sample comprised 220 original publications on randomised controlled trials. A total of 140 (63.6%) were registered. Registration was in accordance with the ICMJE requirements in 54 out of 140 registered trials (38.6%). Less than one-third of registered papers (n = 40) reported on all study outcomes listed in the study register. In 74 out of the 80 non-registered trials, the missing registration was not declared in the publication. There was no consistent upward trend towards higher registration compliance throughout journals and years.
Conclusion: our survey shows that prospective trial registration and compliance between outcomes declared in the registry and reported in the publication is poor. Concerted action of authors, editors and peer-reviewers is overdue aimed to irreversibly implement the imperative of registration of randomised controlled trials and complete outcome reporting.
Keywords: geriatrics; older people; patient outcome assessment; publication bias; randomised controlled trials; registries.
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