Journals often miss the endpoint: study

SOME of the most prestigious journals fail to report the results of clinical trials in a way that helps doctors make sense of their findings, according to the largest study of its kind.

Journals commonly report outcomes that are markers for disease (rather than disease itself), take a narrow look at what is behind patient mortality and couch their results in terms of relative rather than absolute risk, say US researchers.

They also found that trials funded exclusively by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to use surrogate outcomes and disease-specific mortality as endpoints.

“It demonstrates the complexity of interpreting medical research for patients, doctors, and policy makers,” the authors wrote.

“Without appropriate explanation of the limitations of these endpoints, readers may draw inappropriate conclusions.”

The UCLA and Harvard Medical School researchers looked at 316 randomised drug trials