Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


March 2009

Guide to Biostatistics

Another great find via twitter:

Guide to Biostatistics

“Here is a compilation of important epidemiologic concepts and common biostatistical terms used in medical research. You can use it as a reference guide when reading articles published on MedPage Today or download it to keep near the reading stand where you keep your print journals. For more detailed information on these topics, use the reference list at the end of this presentation.”


I’ve had a good relationship with ARIF for years and they’re kind enough to send me their links (saving me having to do it). As I was carrying out the upload I noticed that ARIF has the lowest publication ID. Each publication is given an ID and ARIF’s is 8 (Cochrane = 14 and Bandolier = 9) we’re currently up to around to publication IDs in excess of 1,100!

Ultimately, these IDs are meaningless to users but it does show the length of relationship!

TRIP around the world

I started this 3-4 years ago and kept it up for a few months, then workload pressures made me stop updating it – so I forgot about it – until now! It’s a great visualisation of the the contacts we have and I hope to be more diligent in updating it in the future! To view the map click here, alternatively, I’ve embedded a smaller version below.

OTC cough medicine for children

I was intrigued when I saw the headline on the BBC News ‘Child cold drugs under scrutiny‘. The article reports:

“A review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found “no robust evidence” that many popular remedies work in children.”

I was intrigued as I thought – this is old news! I did a quick search on TRIP and found the 2008 Cochrane Systematic Review ‘Over-the-counter medications for acute cough in children and adults in ambulatory settings‘. This concluded:

“There is no good evidence for or against the effectiveness of OTC medicines in acute cough. The results of this review have to be interpreted with caution due to differences in study characteristics and quality. Studies often showed conflicting results with uncertainty regarding clinical relevance. Higher quality evidence is needed to determine the effectiveness of self-care treatments for acute cough.”

I was also convinced we’d answered a question on it, so search TRIP Answers and found this Q&A from 2006 ‘Is there any role of cough mixture in treatment of cough?‘ which found an earlier version of the above Cochrane Systematic Review – from 2004.

So, since at least 2004, it has been explicitly stated that there is no evidence for OTC cough medicines.

The biggest question for me is not ‘Why the interest by the MHRA now?’ but the more important ‘Why no interest until now?’

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