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CoEHAR/O’Leary: “There is a desperate need of living systematic reviews to improve the level of research internationally”

“The results of LSR are of particular interest for lawmakers, clinicians, as well as the public seeking reliable information on e-cigarettes.”

The seminar “Living systematic reviews: a new standard for medical research questions” -held online by In Silico Science project leader Dr Renée O’Leary– underlined the need for living systematic reviews in medical research.

Hundred-fifty participants from all over the world- including students, researchers and international experts- gathered online to learn the cutting-edge methodologies in developing a Living Systematic Review. Among the participants were; Prof Giovanni Li Volti CoEHAR Director; Dr Daniela Saitta, Project Manager at the University of Catania.

“There is a desperate need for living systematic reviews to improve the level of research internationally,” says Dr. O’Leary to the audience attending the session online. “In Tobacco Harm Reduction new studies and new evidence is frequently being published, impacting the conclusions of current reviews and impacting practices informed by evidence based medicine.”

International regulatory bodies, clinicians, advocates from different sides of the THR debate have different opinions about e-cigarettes. This uncertainty about the evidence base is due to the the fact that many studies and conducted with inadequate research methods and lack of direct evidence on the human health effects of e-cigarettes. Furthermore, reviews are outdated as soon as they are published because of the months long lag between identifying the studies and the publication of the review..

LSR is a systematic review continually updated as soon as relevant new evidence becomes available. With hundreds of articles published on e-cigarettes every month, living systematic reviews are becoming crucial to keep reviews current and evidence based medicine fully informed.

“The results of LSR are of particular interest for lawmakers, clinicians, as well as the public seeking reliable information on e-cigarettes. A LSR produces a database that categorizes the previous studies, and also evaluates the quality of the studies,” stated Dr Renéè O’Leary. “Certainly, disseminating the studies to multiple audiences in a format that is accessible and readily understood is one of the main goals of LSR.”

As underlined by Dr O’Leary during the seminar, the most important feature of living systematic reviews is the capacity to synthesize and critically assess all the available studies. The LSR provides the up-to-date evidence on medical topics, including THR, that merit consideration for clinical practice.

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