, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 151-155

Selective outcome reporting: telling and detecting true lies. The state of the science

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Introduction

Osteoarthritis is a common form of joint disease in the elderly and may cause severe pain and disability. Besides nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the mainstay of management for osteoarthritic pain, transcutaneous electrostimulation (TENS), ultrasound and opioids have been advocated as viable treatment options [13]. However, the evidence for their effectiveness and safety is contradictory. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews offers a series of recently published reviews dealing with osteoarthritis, clarifying the therapeutic role of these interventions. In critically appraising what we already know using the GRADE Working Group grades of evidence, Rutjes et al. rate the quality of the originally published reports for key clinical core outcomes: pain, function and the number of patients experiencing an adverse event. In many of these instances, the overall quality of evidence is rated as low because, among other reasons, only a small proportion of included stud