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Quantifying the advantages of conducting a prospective meta-analysis (PMA): a case study of early childhood obesity prevention

Seidler, A. L., Hunter, K. E., Espinoza, D., Mihrshahi, S., Askie, L. M., Askie, L. M., Espinoza, D., Martin, A., Daniels, L. A., Mihrshahi, S., Taylor, R., Wen, L. M., Campbell, Karen, Hesketh, Kylie, Rissel, C., Taylor, B., Magarey, A. and Baur, L. A. 2021, Quantifying the advantages of conducting a prospective meta-analysis (PMA): a case study of early childhood obesity prevention, Trials, vol. 22, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1186/s13063-020-04984-x.

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Title Quantifying the advantages of conducting a prospective meta-analysis (PMA): a case study of early childhood obesity prevention
Author(s) Seidler, A. L.
Hunter, K. E.
Espinoza, D.
Mihrshahi, S.
Askie, L. M.
Askie, L. M.
Espinoza, D.
Martin, A.
Daniels, L. A.
Mihrshahi, S.
Taylor, R.
Wen, L. M.
Campbell, KarenORCID iD for Campbell, Karen orcid.org/0000-0002-4499-3396
Hesketh, KylieORCID iD for Hesketh, Kylie orcid.org/0000-0002-2702-7110
Rissel, C.
Taylor, B.
Magarey, A.
Baur, L. A.
Journal name Trials
Volume number 22
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2021
ISSN 1745-6215
Keyword(s) Collaboration
Early childhood obesity prevention
Individual participant data
Methodology
Outcome harmonisation
Prospective meta-analysis
Systematic reviews
EPOCH Collaboration
Summary Background:
For prospective meta-analyses (PMAs), eligible studies are identified, and the PMA hypotheses, selection criteria, and analysis methods are pre-specified before the results of any of the studies are known. This reduces publication bias and selective outcome reporting and provides a unique opportunity for outcome standardisation/harmonisation. We conducted a world-first PMA of four trials investigating interventions to prevent early childhood obesity. The aims of this study were to quantitatively analyse the effects of prospective planning on variations across trials, outcome harmonisation, and the power to detect intervention effects, and to derive recommendations for future PMA.
Methods:
We examined intervention design, participant characteristics, and outcomes collected across the four trials included in the EPOCH PMA using their registration records, protocol publications, and variable lists. The outcomes that trials planned to collect prior to inclusion in the PMA were compared to the outcomes that trials collected after PMA inclusion. We analysed the proportion of matching outcome definitions across trials, the number of outcomes per trial, and how collaboration increased the statistical power to detect intervention effects.
Results:
The included trials varied in intervention design and participants, this improved external validity and the ability to perform subgroup analyses for the meta-analysis. While individual trials had limited power to detect the main intervention effect (BMI z-score), synthesising data substantially increased statistical power. Prospective planning led to an increase in the number of collected outcome categories (e.g. weight, child’s diet, sleep), and greater outcome harmonisation. Prior to PMA inclusion, only 18% of outcome categories were included in all trials. After PMA inclusion, this increased to 91% of outcome categories. However, while trials mostly collected the same outcome categories after PMA inclusion, some inconsistencies in how the outcomes were measured remained (such as measuring physical activity by hours of outside play versus using an activity monitor).
Conclusion:
Prospective planning led to greater outcome harmonisation and greater power to detect intervention effects, while maintaining acceptable variation in trial designs and populations, which improved external validity. Recommendations for future PMA include more detailed harmonisation of outcome measures and careful pre-specification of analyses to avoid research waste by unnecessary over-collection of data.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s13063-020-04984-x
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1102 Cardiorespiratory Medicine and Haematology
1103 Clinical Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30148618

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.