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Table 4 Quality items and score of one study using a reaction-time task included in a systematic review on the effect of spinal manipulation on ‘brain function’

From: Unravelling functional neurology: does spinal manipulation have an effect on the brain? - a systematic literature review

1st Author
Yr of publication
-Were study subjects in sham controlled studies reported to be blind? (Yes / No / Unclear)
-If yes / unclear, was the blinding tested for success? (Yes / No)
-If yes, was it successful? (Yes / No)
-Were study subjects in studies with control group reported to be naive? (Yes / No / Unclear)
-Was the origin of the subjects reported (Yes / No)
-If yes, does it allow to exclude any interest? (Yes / No / Unclear)
Were study subjects reported to have been randomly allocated to study groups? (Yes / No / Unclear) Were study groups comparable in relation to symptoms when studying symptomatic subjects (duration and pain intensity) (NA when cross-over study design)? (Yes / No) Were the intervention and control(s) well described (at least where and how)? (Yes / No) Was the assessor reported to be blind to group allocation? (Yes / No) Were losses and exclusions of study subjects reported or obvious in result section (including in tables or graphs)? (Yes / No / Unclear) Was the person who statistically analyzed the data reported to be blind to group allocation? (Yes / No) Comments by the technical experts (i) on the statistical analysis, and (ii) in relation to the methodology and/or technical aspects
Quality score (risk of bias, also including an external validity criteria) and classification
  -Yes (but in relation to the outcome)
-The authors used a Student t tests to compare means instead of using a mixed-model ANOVA, followed by post-hoc tests if needed.
-The authors did not study how RT (for correct answers) varied with angle, which is the main analysis conducted in the literature on such data. Therefore, without such a (usually linear) trend analysis it is not possible to understand if the overall mean effect observed by the authors is due to a change in slope (reflecting a change in processing speed) or in intercept (reflecting a change in stimulus encoding).
-Between-group difference pre-post significant only with one-sided t-test.
-The between-group difference pre-post is not reported for the simple RT task but it seems that a contribution of the simple RT to the RT of the complex task cannot be excluded.
-Unclear whether errors were also counted.
3.5/6 (58%)
NA = Unclear 0.5 pt Yes 1 pt NA (healthy subjects) -Yes 0.5 pt
-Yes 0.5 pt
No 0 pt Yes 1 pt No 0 pt
  1. NA Not applicable, RT Rreaction time