Top 5 Fridays! 5+ Red Flags an Abstract Contains Spin | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

Top 5 Fridays! 5+ Red Flags an Abstract Contains Spin

5+ Red Flags an Abstract Contains Spin -

Only three months into the year 2021 and pubmed already has over 170,000 articles published pertaining to the topic of medicine.

With many medical providers already suffering from high caseloads along with increased work and documentation standards, it becomes difficult to dive into all the new practical literature that is constantly updating.

In order to at least try to keep your head above water, many providers will read the abstract which is a short summary of the article’s main findings and results. 

The problem with that, is that many abstracts contain spin to “beef” up their findings better promoting it for publication.

In order to detect whether abstracts are prone to spin, Paul Ingraham, who is much smarter than me, has delivered 5+ red flags you can identify to appraise whether the article contains a lot of spin.
5+ Red flags an abstract contains spin by Cameron Faller

👉Omission of effect size and making too much of P-values instead

👉Emphasizing positive results for less important outcome measures 

👉Touting positive “trends” (which is just jargon for a positive result that was almost statistically significant)

👉Filling up the abstract with excessive editorializing and speculation, especially anything that smacks of an “excuse” for inconclusive (padding with special pleading7)

👉Excessive positive “context” for the study (“homeopathy helps millions of people every year”)

👉Encouraging “more study” not because it’s actually justified, but because the researchers didn’t find what they wanted

So before you go making claims or stating what the evidence suggests because of the conclusions written in the abstract, it is important you screen the article for any red flags and take a deeper dive to actually appraise it’s validity towards your practice.

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