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Applying CONSORT to conference presentations not just abstracts

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:24 GMT

Author: Matthew Sydes
Position: Senior Medical Statistician
Institution: MRC Clinical Trials Unit
Additional Authors: (none)
Submitted Date: March 24, 2008
Published Date: March 25, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I read with great interest the recent correspondence from the CONSORT group with a version of the CONSORT statement for abstracts and conference abstracts.{ref 1} This is a marvellous idea and I hope it will be extended further.

I am constantly bemused by the poor quality reporting of clinical trials during oral presentations, especially at major medical conferences. For example, it is commonly unclear which patients were included in a given set of analyses.

For the more high profile, plenary sessions, I suspect that the presentation itself may have more impact than the abstract. Therefore, I should like to see these CONSORT reporting guidelines applied also to oral presentations. I propose that a completed CONSORT checklist for the relevant trial’s data be the final slide of each presentation. The job of the session Chair should be to closely question the speaker around any areas that were not presented or were unclear before opening the floor to further questions. I hope that conference organisers will pilot this.

With kind regards

Matthew R Sydes
Senior Medical Statistician
MRC Clinical Trials Unit

{1} Hopewell S, Clarke M, Moher D, Wager E, Middleton P, et al. CONSORT for Reporting Randomized Controlled Trials in Journal and Conference Abstracts: Explanation and Elaboration. PLoS Medicine Vol. 5, No. 1, e20 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050020

No competing interests declared.