How the MS Trust keeps professionals up-to-date with research
Way Ahead 2012;16(3):15
Maintaining current awareness of recent developments in research underpins evidence-based practice and is essential for continuing professional development. However, the volume of information available can make this a daunting and time consuming task.
The MS Trust Information Team offer a number of ways to access recently published research in MS so you can choose the way that works best for you.
Way Ahead Research News
Featured in each issue of Way Ahead. This includes reports from national and international conferences, licensing of MS drugs and NICE reviews and recommendations that have occurred in the most recent quarter, in addition to peer reviewed articles of interest.
Weekly MS Research Update
an e-mail alert. Articles from peer reviewed journals are divided into MS related topic areas including symptom management, diagnosis and assessment tools. Two articles are highlighted with a summary and bibliographic details are given for the remainder, with links to abstracts on Medline and, where available, full text.
Sign up at www.mstrust.org.uk/research/updates
Quarterly MS Research Update
(formerly Information Update) - a selection of the most relevant papers from the weekly update. This is included in printed form with Way Ahead or can be sent electronically. For the Quarterly MS Research Update abstracts are written in house to highlight the points of particular relevance for health and social care professionals who support people living with MS. Full text copies of all papers featured can be ordered from the MS Trust.
How do we select what's relevant?
The articles included in the research updates are found by searching the Medline database. 5,619 peer reviewed journals are currently indexed by Medline, the US National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database. If the term 'multiple sclerosis' is entered into Medline between 70 and 250 new articles per week are found.
Within research, there is a recognised hierarchy of reliability which can be used as a guide when considering the quality of evidence and which we take into account when selecting articles to include in the updates. This is outlined in Figure 1.
This hierarchy is dependent on the area that is being examined; for treatment or therapy the highest possible level of evidence is a systematic review or meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials; around prognosis this would be a review of cohort studies. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) in Oxford has recently published a table to identify the different levels of evidence for different areas1.
In view of this, when we examine the papers for inclusion we do not select:
- case studies
- experimental models including EAE
- those articles very focussed on detail eg very specific aspects of MRI scans
- comments on another paper
- phase I studies.
Personalised literature searches
If you have a particular area of interest, or you might be thinking of carrying out research yourself or developing areas of your practice, we can carry out a literature search tailored for you. Just get in touch with the Information Team
Evidence-based information is at the heart of the MS Trust's work and has been since our foundation in 1993. As an organisation we are certified to carry The Information Standard quality mark which requires us to demonstrate how we select and use the evidence to produce our information for people living with MS.
1. OCEBM levels of evidence working group. The Oxford 2011 levels of evidence. Oxford: Oxford centre for evidence based medicine; 2011.