How to grade evidence using Revman, GRADEpro and Magicapp? Part I of III

Here’s a tutorial on grading of evidence

Everyday, we read or hear about stories where people discuss something works for something else. Sometimes it’s about foods we eat (X is good for your health or X is bad for Y; substitute X and Y for food and some health effect). At other times, it is about drugs or devices or new discoveries. What sense shall we make of the news? Shall we accept them as is? Shall we test the truth of these claims?

It turns out that with common sense, we are better off if we can test the truth of these claims and test for ourselves whether we should believe in the news we get to read. At other times, we face questions ourselves. If the doctor prescribes a certain drug, we may be interested to know if the drug is safe for us. We trust the doctor’s advice, yet, it is not uncommon for some of us to question and seek answers. Information about drugs, devices, food, diseases are available over the web. How can we best evaluate these information?

Since the seventies, doctors have been asking these questions as to how do we know what is the best way to treat diseases, or diagnose disease conditions, and indeed, what is the best way to address our concerns with health states and diseases? This gave rise to the field of evidence based health; if you understand the basic principles of evidence based health, you will be able to handle most of the queries yourself, as information is available over the web. Anyone with a computer (or a cell phone nowadays connected to the web) can connect to these information sources and learn for himself how to appraise information. In this series, I am going to write about how we can understand health studies and health research. My purpose is to demystify the details you will read in newspapers and you can use this information and tools and techniques I will discuss in this series to debate and understand for yourself what to believe.

What do we mean by evidence?

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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