Spin Infrequently Occurs in Abstracts of Systematic Reviews For The Pharmacological Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetic Medicine


Aims: Currently, there is a growing body of research demonstrating that spin - the misinterpretation and distortion of a study's findings - is common in different fields of medicine. To our knowledge, no study has investigated its presence in systematic reviews focused on diabetic therapies.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study by searching MEDLINE and Embase for systematic reviews focused on pharmacologic treatments for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Our search retrieved 26,490 records, from which 199 studies were extracted in a masked, duplicate fashion. Each study was evaluated for the nine most severe types of spin and other study design parameters. Spin was presented as frequencies and odds ratios to identify associations between study characteristics.

Results: Spin was identified in the abstracts of 15 systematic reviews (15/199, 7.5%). Spin type 5 was the most common type identified (7/199, 3.5%). Spin types 1, 2, 4, and 8 were not identified. In the last 5 years (2016-2021), 7 systematic reviews contained spin within their abstract. There was no association between spins presence and any extracted study characteristic .

Conclusions: Our findings show that spin infrequently occurs in abstracts of systematic reviews focused on pharmacologic therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, any amount of spin can lead to the distortion of a reader's interpretation of the study's findings. Thus, we provide recommendations with rationale to prevent spin in future systematic reviews.



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health care delivery, insulin therapy, metformin, oral therapies