12 months on: Cochrane Oral Health, Dundee Dental School, and Wikipedia – a project update

Cochrane Oral Health's Co-ordinating Editor Jan Clarkson talks to the Wikipedia Editing Team at Dundee Dental School

Cochrane Oral Health’s Co-ordinating Editor Jan Clarkson talks to the Wikipedia Editing Team at Dundee Dental School

Last summer, we blogged about the fantastic project to update articles about dentistry on Wikipedia, led by the students at Dundee Dental School.

The team have been doing excellent work to update Wikipedia with Cochrane evidence. The project has been running since January 2016, led by Dundee graduate Nour Geres. Continue reading

Editors’ and Clinical Advisors’ Meeting

Chancellors Hotel with its autumnal gardens was the setting for the day

The Cochrane Oral Health Group held an event for their editors and clinical advisors at the Chancellors Hotel in Manchester. Co-ordinating Editors Helen Worthington and Jan Clarkson were the hosts at a tasty dinner on 22nd October, followed by a full day’s training and discussion on Cochrane Methods on 23rd October.


Professor Jan Clarkson outlines the agenda for the day

The day kicked off with Managing Editor Luisa Fernandez-Mauleffinch explaining the expectations of the role of an Oral Health Group editor. Editors should have completed a review, be able to attend at least two Cochrane events a year (eg editorial meetings, regional meetings, colloquia, training days), be able to input into the editorial process and act as contact editor for review teams. Luisa explained that contact editors were expected to provide advice through the whole review process, and judge whether the review was ready for peer review. Contact editors should also be able to advise on who should referee the review, look over submitted comments, look at revised reviews and confirm whether the review is ready for final sign-off. Contact editors should look upon themselves as mentors for review teams, particularly inexperienced teams. Luisa welcomed any input from current editors on how the editorial base could help make the process easier. The consensus was that communication from the editorial base could be improved, and that editors would welcome more information on where various review teams were up to in the review process.


Professor Helen Worthington discusses prioritization of reviews

Helen Worthington reported back on our last prioritization exercise, in the field of paediatric dentistry. We consulted all the authors of our paediatric reviews and asked them to rank them in terms of importance. Then we conducted two teleconferences with an international expert panel and asked them their opinion of the importance of the reviews and to identify any gaps in our portfolio. Prevention of caries and our reviews on fluoride varnishes, gels, mouthrinses, toothpastes and dental sealants came up as important areas. For treatment of caries, pulp treatment and preoperative analgesics as well as other methods of managing decay were priorities. Gaps in our portfolio were identified as complex interventions for preventing caries, caries diagnosis and management of early carious lesions. A result of the prioritization exercise was the realization that paediatric experts wanted to collaborate with the Oral Health Group over guidelines. We have now set up a guideline repository on our website. We also recognise as a group that we need more involvement in prioritization, from consumers, patients and policy makers.

Helen introduced the Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR), a set of standards for the conduct and reporting of Cochrane reviews. She took us through the concepts and how the standards were developed, and gave us some examples.

Toby Lasserson from the Cochrane Editorial Unit presented some information on the Cochrane screening project. All new reviews are now screened by the Editorial Unit before copyediting and final sign off. The team at the Editorial Unit are looking at particular problem areas, including appropriateness of conclusions, clarity of key messages and consistency between the abstract, the full-text and the plain language summary. Reviews can now be held back if they are incoherent or if there are serious errors in analysis or unjustifiable interpretation of evidence. The focus is very much on identifying and sharing good practice, so that the quality of Cochrane reviews can be continuously improved. Helen commented that to date the Oral Health Group have found the screening process a positive experience, with very helpful comments coming back from the Editorial Unit.

The afternoon session was presented by Cochrane Editors Anne-Marie Glenny, Tanya Walsh and Phil Riley. Using the review Flossing for the management of periodontal diseases and dental caries in adults as an example, they highlighted how to apply MECIR standards to a Cochrane review. Topics covered included how to evaluate an abstract, risk of bias, setting appropriate outcome measures and what to look for in a summary of findings table.

DSCN1671The slides from the day can be accessed below:

Here are some photos from the dinner, featuring the Oral Health Group heraldic shield competition!

Cochrane and related training for November and December 2013


c. Beko, under CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence

The following workshops are available in November and December. Follow the links for more information…

Cochrane Standard Author Training Course
Where: Vancouver, Canada
When: 4-6 November 2013

A three day course which will give the basics skills to conduct a Cochrane systematic review. Topics include protocols, setting your question, literature searching, study selection, assessing bias, data and analysis, formulating conclusions, and a hands-on session with the Review Manager software.

GRADE – From Medical Studies To Guidelines
Where: Austrian Cochrane Centre, Krems, Austria
When: 5-6 November 2013

Participants will get introduced to the GRADE-profiler, a special software and tool for assessing the quality of medical studies. Selected leading specialists as well as academic staff of the Department for Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology will act as presenters throughout the whole workshop.

How to Practise Evidence-Based Child Health
Where: Centre for Evidence-Based Child Health, London, UK
When: 6-8 November 2013

The course introduces health professionals to the skills required for Evidence-based Practice including: framing answerable questions from practice or policy problems, finding the best available evidence to answer the question, critically appraising research for its validity and usefulness and incorporating the findings into decisions. The course involves a mix of interactive plenary and facilitated small group sessions, combined with training in searching and support for self-directed searching. Key features are an emphasis on multi professional groups and a high tutor-participant ratio.

Review completion workshop
Where: Australasian Cochrane Centre, Melbourne, Australia
When: 11-15 November 2013

This workshop provides review authors with dedicated time and support to complete or update their Cochrane systematic review. Authors spend a week at the Australasian Cochrane Centre working on their review, with expert trainers on hand to provide advice and support. In addition to dedicated working time, the workshop is tailored to individual author’s learning needs, and may provide teaching and discussion on assessing the eligibility of studies, data collection, assessing risk of bias, using the Review Manager software, statistical analysis, interpreting results and drafting the final review.

Indirect and Mixed Treatment Comparisons
Where: York, UK
When: 13 November 2013

This new training course provides an introduction to indirect and mixed treatment comparisons for project managers, research commissioners and others new to these techniques, who are seeking a better understanding of how to plan, commission and assess such comparisons. The trainers are experienced statisticians, modellers and researchers, who have conducted a range of indirect and mixed treatment comparisons to inform reimbursement decisions and global economic models.

Webinar: Assessing Risk of Bias
Where: Online
When: 15 November 2013, 12pm-1pm (UTC+1)

The Cochrane Live webinar series is an opportunity for authors in Australia and the South East Asian region to participate in online, interactive training sessions from the comfort of your own desk. Most sessions last around an hour, and cover topics from the basics of planning a review, to advanced methods.

Making an Economic Case for Service Redesign in the NHS
Where: York, UK
When: 19 November 2013

This one-day course is aimed at NHS commissioners and providers who need to understand how to make an economic case for change. The training day aims to provide an understanding of how the NHS tariff system works and will outline a simple modelling approach to examine the impact of service change from the provider and commissioner perspective. The course will also outline how returns on investment can be forecast and how the results can be used in business cases.

CASP UK: Introduction to Critical Appraisal & Train the Trainer
Where: Oxford, UK
When: 27-29 November 2013

This 3 day training event is a shortened, more intense version of CASP UK’s International Training Week. Including an introduction to Evidence-Based Health Care (Covering study designs & the critical appraisal of Randomised Controlled Trials & Systematic Reviews) followed ‘Training the Trainer’ (TtT) workshops. The broad aim of the TtT days are designed to help participants develop the competence and confidence to teach critical appraisal skills and run a CASP-style workshop.

Webinar: Qualitative evidence synthesis and Cochrane Reviews
Where: Online
When: 28 November 2013, 12pm – 1pm (America/Toronto)

This webinar will explore when to consider undertaking a synthesis of qualitative evidence, some frequently used methods and examples of  developing  methods for synthesising qualitative evidence and approaches for integrating qualitative and quantitative findings.

Systematic Review Course Part I: Writing a protocol
Where: Leuven, Belgium
When: 29 November 2013

A basic course for those wishing to conduct a Cochrane or a Campbell systematic review. Topics covered include: formulating your question, writing the protocol, heterogeneity, searching for studies and next steps.

Cochrane Standard Author Training Workshop
Where: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: 2-4 December 2013

Take this three-day workshop to learn the basic skills of conducting a Cochrane Review. Topics include protocols, setting your question, literature searching, study selection, assessing bias, data and analysis, formulating conclusions and a hands-on session with the Review Manager software.

Introduction to writing a Cochrane systematic review
Where: The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, Australia
When: 4-6 December 2013

This three-day workshop is designed for new authors starting a Cochrane systematic review. A mixture of presentations and hands-on sessions will give you an overview of all the methods required to write your protocol and get started on the review.

Cochrane Standard Author Training
Where: Cairo, Egypt
When: 4-5 December 2013

A workshop designed to teach the basic skills of conducting a Cochrane systematic review. Topics include: protocols, setting your question, literature searching, study selection, assessing bias, data and analysis, formulating conclusions, and a session with the Review Manager software.

Overviews of reviews – what they are, what they aren’t, and how and when to do one
Where: Online
When: 5 December 2013, 12pm-1pm (America/Toronto)

In this webinar, Dr. Lisa Hartling and Denise Thomson from the Child Health Field will cover the process for conducting an overview: defining a viable topic, assembling the author team and managing the scope.

Developing a Protocol for a Cochrane Systematic Review
Where: Penang Medical College, Penang, Malaysia
When: 9-11 December 2013

This is a three-day course. It begins with an introduction to the Cochrane Collaboration and a brief overview of the format of a protocol for a systematic review. A mixture of presentations and small group activities gives participants the opportunity to develop and refine their own protocols. This workshop also covers formulating clinical questions, locating studies, appraising risk of bias and writing the methods section of a protocol.

Introduction to writing a Cochrane Review
Where: Townsville, Queensland, Australia
When: 11-12 December 2013

This two-day workshop is suitable for authors who are either new to systematic reviews or need a refresher on the methods of doing a Cochrane review. A mixture of presentations and hands-on sessions will give you an overview of the methods required to write your protocol and get started on the review.

Cochrane and related training for May 2012

Creative Commons image, from Public-domain-image.com

The following training courses are available for May 2012, follow the links for more information and details of how to register:

Evidence-based practice  
Where: Robina, QLD, Australia
When: 2 May 2012-4 May 2012

A 3 day training workshop which will train on how to capture and formulate answerable clinical questions, search for primary evidence and guidelines, critically appraise evidence, understand basic measures of efficacy and understand the barriers to using and implemetning practice changes.

Pre-Symposium Workshops at the Cochrane Canada Symposium
Where: Winnipeg, Canada
When: 7 May 2012 – 8 May 2012

The following workshops are available as precursors to the Cochrane Canada Symposium: Cochrane Standard Author Training; Non-randomized studies and methodological issues; Health Systems Evidence (evidence to support policy-making and management); Meta-Bias in Systematic Reviews; using GRADE.

Developing Clinical Guidelines
Where: London, UK
When: 8 May 2012 – 10 May 2012

The aim of the course is to provide participants with an understanding and practical experience of the steps involved in the planning and development of clinical guidelines. The course has been designed for systematic reviewers, guideline developers and health care professionals.

Cochrane Systematic Reviews of Complex Interventions
Where: Melbourne, Australia
When: 9 May 2012 – 10 May 2012

This workshop will provide information and discussion about undertaking Cochrane systematic reviews of complex interventions. Considerations for defining the research question will be outlined, along with considerations for decisions about study design criteria, appropriate data extraction, and challenges with analysis.

Understanding searching techniques to inform HTA, systematic reviews and guideline development
Where: University of York, UK
When: 9 May 2012

This course provides an introduction to search strategy development for project managers, research commissioners, and searchers new to evidence synthesis. The trainers are experienced information specialists, trainers and researchers.

Basic systematic course
Where: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki
When: 10 May 2012-11 May 2012

A two day workshop covering the whole process of conducting a systematic review: from title to published review. Experienced tutors and facilitators will be on hand to give practical and individual advice.

Trials Registers, Trials Results Registers and Other Research Registers: Challenges and Opportunities
Where: University of York, UK
When: 10 May 2012

This one-day training course will highlight the background to the development of trial registers and trial results registers, will discuss the types of registers and their relative coverage, and will offer practical advice on searching registers and managing register records.

Review completion workshop
Where: Melbourne, Australia
When: 14 May 2012 – 18 May 2012

Designed to provide dedicated support and time to review authors who are working to complete or update their Cochrane systematic review. Authors visit the Australasian Cochrane Centre for a week to work on thier review, with expert trainers to provide advice.

How to practice evidence based healthcare
Where: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for Health Services, Holmsbu, Norway
When: 21 May 2012-25 May 2012

Five day workshop focussing on teaching the basics of using current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients or the delivery of health services.

Preparation and completion of a Cochrane review
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
When: 24 May 2012

The aim of the workshop is to facilitate participants in preparing a protocol, carrying out the review process and writing up the review manuscript. The workshop is open to people who have registered a title with a Cochrane review group.

Additional tables: something to be aware of…

Due to a bug in the software, it has been found that any additional tables that are NOT linked to the text in Cochrane reviews are not appearing in the published review. The reviews affected have been identified and are currently being amended. Can all authors ensure that if they are including additional tables in the review, that these are linked to the review text.

If you have any questions regarding this problem, contact the Editorial Base.





RR/MD (95%CI)

P value



Events/ Mean (SD)


Events/Mean (SD)




Allopurinol mouthwash versus placebo

(Porta 1994)

Improvement in mucositis





RR 6.33 (2.18, 18.37)


Mucositis eradicated





RR 19.00 (1.17, 307.63)


eg of a partial Additional Table from: Clarkson JE, Worthington HV, Furness S, McCabe MG, Khalid T, Meyer S. Interventions for treating oral mucositis for patients with cancer receiving treatment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010 , Issue 8 . Art. No.: CD001973. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001973.pub4

Nottingham/Finland Systematic Review Course: new dates announced

New dates have been announced for the systematic review courses based at the University of Nottingham and the University of Turku, Finland.

University of Turku: 12 – 15 June

University of Nottingham: 3 – 6 July

This course will appeal to all those interested in completing a Cochrane-style review. Tutors and facilitators will be available to give you practical and individual advice. After attending the course, participants should be able to understand search strategies, extract data, manage the results of systematic searches, understand the syntheses of the data, apply the methods and conduct reviews independently.

For more information (including course costs, venues, application and contacts) see the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group website.