Objectives Reports that distorts the interpretation of results is referred as spin and it has been shown to be common in randomized controlled trials. Spin can be intentional and unintentional, and studies reported its presence in several specialties. It can mislead the health care practitioner in decision making and can affect wellbeing of patient. The objectives of this study were to estimate the frequency of spin in both abstract and main text in physiotherapy clinical trials published from India.
Method Pubmed was searched for randomized controlled trial published by Indian physiotherapists between January and November 2018. Articles included were parallel group randomized controlled trial with identified primary outcome as non-significant and published by Indian authors. Abstracts and full text were retrieved. Two authors independently scored each article for presence of spin in abstract and main text result, discussion and conclusion by using pre-tested strategies defined by Boutron and colleagues. Third author was contacted in case of conflicts. The frequency of spin was estimated in all studies
Results 129 relevant articles were identified in Pubmed search. In which 32 articles met the inclusion criteria. Spin was identified in results and conclusion section of the abstract of 27(84%) and 30(93.8%) studies, respectively. In main text results, discussion and conclusion section spin was identied in 22(68%), 26(81.3%) and 29(90.6%) studies, respectively. Spin in title was present in one study.
Conclusions Strategies of spin is frequently included in reporting results in physiotherapy related trials published from India. Readers should be aware of possibilities of reporting bias and should avoid relying on abstract as a reliable report. Peer reviewers and editors need awareness of this issue to avoid the treatment recommendation that are not supported by data.
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