“Systematic review and evidence integration for literature-based environmental health science assessments”
The use of systematic review is gaining widespread regulatory use as a means of integrating, evaluating, and translating existing evidence on a variety of human health issues, and for potentially reducing the need for additional studies.
The authors of a recent publication in Environmental Health Perspectives note that there is also “increasing interest in applying the principles of systematic review to questions in environmental health.” At the same time, they suggest that methods honed on human clinical trials need to be adapted to incorporate the more varied sources of evidence used to address environmental health questions. Relevant data can come from human and animal studies, controlled experimental and observational designs, mechanistic in vitro data, and more.
Since 2011, the NTP Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) has been developing and refining its own systematic review procedures for literature-based environmental health assessments. In this paper, Andrew Rooney and co-authors describe their seven-step framework, including tools they have developed for assessing risk-of-bias, assigning confidence ratings to evidence, and hazard identification. They also encourage steps to enhance web-based data display, data management, and data-sharing.
Full citation: Rooney, A.A., Boyles, A.L., Wolfe, M.S., Bucher, J.R., and Thayer, K.A. (2014). Systematic review and evidence integration for literature-based environmental health science assessments. Environmental Health Perspectives 12: 711-718. [Open access]
More here on OHAT’s systematic review protocol, including a link to the Handbook for Conducting a Literature-Based Health Assessment Using OHAT Approach for Systematic Review and Evidence Integration.
Posted: January 27, 2015