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  • Juvenile Psammomatoid Ossifying Fibroma is Defined by SATB2 Rearrangement Cleven, A., Szuhai, K., van IJzendoorn, D., Groen, E., Baelde, H., Schreuder, P., Briaire-de Bruijn, I., Genders, S., Kleijwegt, M., Kroon, H., Suurmeijer, A., Savci-Heijink, D., Baumhoer, D., Bovee, J. SPRINGERNATURE. 2022: 866
  • Juvenile Psammomatoid Ossifying Fibroma is Defined by SATB2 Rearrangement Cleven, A., Szuhai, K., van IJzendoorn, D., Groen, E., Baelde, H., Schreuder, P., Bruijn, I., Genders, S., Kleijwegt, M., Kroon, H., Suurmeijer, A., Savci-Heijink, D., Baumhoer, D., Bovee, J. SPRINGERNATURE. 2022: 866
  • Analysis of 567,758 randomized controlled trials published over 30 years reveals trends in phrases used to discuss results that do not reach statistical significance. PLoS biology Otte, W. M., Vinkers, C. H., Habets, P. C., van IJzendoorn, D. G., Tijdink, J. K. 2022; 20 (2): e3001562

    Abstract

    The power of language to modify the reader's perception of interpreting biomedical results cannot be underestimated. Misreporting and misinterpretation are pressing problems in randomized controlled trials (RCT) output. This may be partially related to the statistical significance paradigm used in clinical trials centered around a P value below 0.05 cutoff. Strict use of this P value may lead to strategies of clinical researchers to describe their clinical results with P values approaching but not reaching the threshold to be "almost significant." The question is how phrases expressing nonsignificant results have been reported in RCTs over the past 30 years. To this end, we conducted a quantitative analysis of English full texts containing 567,758 RCTs recorded in PubMed between 1990 and 2020 (81.5% of all published RCTs in PubMed). We determined the exact presence of 505 predefined phrases denoting results that approach but do not cross the line of formal statistical significance (P < 0.05). We modeled temporal trends in phrase data with Bayesian linear regression. Evidence for temporal change was obtained through Bayes factor (BF) analysis. In a randomly sampled subset, the associated P values were manually extracted. We identified 61,741 phrases in 49,134 RCTs indicating almost significant results (8.65%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 8.58% to 8.73%). The overall prevalence of these phrases remained stable over time, with the most prevalent phrases being "marginally significant" (in 7,735 RCTs), "all but significant" (7,015), "a nonsignificant trend" (3,442), "failed to reach statistical significance" (2,578), and "a strong trend" (1,700). The strongest evidence for an increased temporal prevalence was found for "a numerical trend," "a positive trend," "an increasing trend," and "nominally significant." In contrast, the phrases "all but significant," "approaches statistical significance," "did not quite reach statistical significance," "difference was apparent," "failed to reach statistical significance," and "not quite significant" decreased over time. In a random sampled subset of 29,000 phrases, the manually identified and corresponding 11,926 P values, 68,1% ranged between 0.05 and 0.15 (CI: 67. to 69.0; median 0.06). Our results show that RCT reports regularly contain specific phrases describing marginally nonsignificant results to report P values close to but above the dominant 0.05 cutoff. The fact that the prevalence of the phrases remained stable over time indicates that this practice of broadly interpreting P values close to a predefined threshold remains prevalent. To enhance responsible and transparent interpretation of RCT results, researchers, clinicians, reviewers, and editors may reduce the focus on formal statistical significance thresholds and stimulate reporting of P values with corresponding effect sizes and CIs and focus on the clinical relevance of the statistical difference found in RCTs.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001562

    View details for PubMedID 35180228