DAMASCENE and Meta-Ecological Research: A Bridge Too Far

Circ Res. 2014 Aug 15;115(5):484-7. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.114.304767. Epub 2014 Jul 8.


Population level studies commonly induce the ecological fallacy i.e., the belief that a relationship identified at the population level implies a cause and effect relationship at the level of the individual. A recent research report (DAMASCENE) that related clinical trial effect sizes in cardiovascular cell therapy trials to reporting discrepancies in the trials themselves has compounded meta-analysis difficulties with ecological fallacy issues. This dangerous combination has produced misleading conclusions and speculation that the research community should set aside.

Keywords: cell- and tissue-based therapy; meta-analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / surgery*
  • Cell Phone
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Epidemiologic Research Design*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke Volume
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Function, Left