Quick Thoughts

Systematic review shows no improvement in quality of mindfulness research in 16 years

Should we still take claims about mental health benefits of mindfulness with a grain of  salt? A systematic review by one of mindfulness training's key promoters suggests maybe so.

Psychological interventions do not reduce pain, despite claims of proponents

A provocative review finds a “lack of strong supporting empirical evidence for the effectiveness of psychological treatments for pain management.”

Interventions to reduce stress in university students: Anatomy of a bad meta-analysis

A meta-analysis of interventions for stress reduction among university students provides an opportunity to study anatomy of a meta-analysis.

A systematic review of mindfulness-based stress reduction for fibromyalgia that I really like

This systematic review is honest. It found low quality evidence for a small short term improvement of pain and quality of life after MBSR for fibromyalgia, when compared to usual care or active control interventions. No evidence was found for long-term effects.

Probing an untrustworthy Cochrane review of exercise for “chronic fatigue syndrome”

Updated April 24, 2016, 9:21 AM US Eastern daylight time: An earlier version of this post had mashed together discussion of the end-of-treatment analyses with the follow-up analyses. That has now been fixed. The implications are even more serious for the credibility of this Cochrane review. From my work in progress My ongoing investigation so […]

My response to an invitation to improve the Cochrane Collaboration by challenging its policies

I interpret a recent Cochrane Community Blog post as inviting me to continue criticizing the Collaboration’s conflict of interest in the evaluation of “chronic fatigue syndrome” with the intent of initiating further reflection on its practices and change. Cochrane needs to Clean up conflicts of interest in its systematic reviews. Issue a Statement of Concern […]

Why the Cochrane Collaboration needs to clean up conflicts of interest

A recent failure to correct a systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrates that Cochrane’s problem with conflict of interest is multilayered. Cochrane  enlists thousands of volunteers committed to the evaluation of evidence independent of the interests of the investigators who conducted trials. Cochrane is vigilant in requiring declaration of conflicts of interest but is inconsistent in […]

How to (re)create the illusion that psychotherapy extends the life of cancer patients

I provide a quick analysis of a story summarizing a peer-reviewed paper that did not encourage me to take a look at the paper.  Life is too short, and there is just so much dubious stuff out there to devote much time pursue tracing claims that don’t pass a first screen. The British Psychological Society […]

PLOS One allows authors of experimercial undeclared conflicts of interest, restrictions on access to data

While checking what PLOS One had done to address my complaints about authors’ repeated undeclared conflicts of interest, I made some troubling discoveries. The PLOS One Academic Editor for one of the papers  was from Harvard Medical School, the same as the offending authors. PLOS One had agreed to absurd restrictions on the availability of […]

Undisclosed conflicts of interest in a systematic review protocol of interventions for medically unexplained symptoms

A protocol for a systematic review of the treatment of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) that is posted and downloadable at York University’s PROSPERO site has blatant but undeclared conflicts of interest.