Is Homeopathy More Effective Than Placebo?
Homeopathy is a medical system that has been practiced for a long time. However, there is divided opinion on whether this type of medicine is more efficient than placebo among people who practice it and scientists. A new study aimed to discover whether there is a distortion of information from the current research on homeopathy in contemporary medicine.
The authors of the study focused on demonstrating whether reporting bias may impact the outcome of meta-analyses like the present one. Reporting bias means a higher likelihood of publishing articles with positive outcomes than those reporting neutral or negative results. If articles with negative outcomes are often excluded, the general outcome of combined studies may appear more favorable. As a result, since 2008, the public trial registries have been designed to include all trials. Nevertheless, although scientists are given the opportunity to register trials, most of them are not issued due to publication bias.
The research team behind the study examined public registration databases and publications released in the period up to April 2021. It was discovered that from 2002 onward, there was no publication of more than one-third of registered homeopathy studies. In addition, almost half of the issued studies were not registered. In line with this discovery, the decision for publishing generally relies on the findings. Moreover, one-fourth of the published initial outcomes differ from the registered initial outcomes, which paves the way for selective publishing.
While researchers gather a broad range of data, not defining the primary outcomes often results in randomly choosing the findings. Therefore, to reduce publishing bias, it is essential that journalists publish only findings from prospectively recorded studies.
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