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December 1998

The Cochrane Skin Group: Preparing, Maintaining, and Disseminating Systematic Reviews of Clinical Interventions in Dermatology

Author Affiliations

From the Dermato-Epidemiology Unit, Queen's Medical Centre, (Drs Williams and Adetugbo); the Centre for Evidence-Based Pharmacotherapy, Department of Clinical Pharmaceutics, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, England (Dr Li Wan Po); the Dermatology Clinic, Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy (Dr Naldi); the Department of Dermatology, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany (Dr Diepgen); and the Department of Dermatology, The St George Hospital, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (Dr Murrell).

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(12):1620-1626. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.12.1620

In 1979, Prof Archie Cochrane challenged1 the medical profession to produce a critical summary of randomized controlled clinical trials according to specialty, which should be updated periodically. The Cochrane Collaboration, an international voluntary group of reviewers and researchers from a range of professional backgrounds dedicated to producing systematic reviews, was established in 1992 in response to Cochrane's challenge. Systematic reviews produced by the Cochrane Collaboration start with individuals who formulate questions that are important to the care of patients. Every effort is then made to locate published and unpublished evidence to answer the question, and explicit criteria are used to select studies for inclusion in the review and to assess their quality. If appropriate, meta-analysis is used to combine results from several smaller studies to produce an overall result. Reviews are published in the Cochrane Library, an electronic publication (CD-ROM or diskette form), and the reviews are updated quarterly. In December 1997, a Cochrane Skin Group was registered with the Cochrane Collaboration to prepare, maintain, and disseminate reviews on the effects of health care for people with dermatological conditions. Currently, 25 titles and 9 review protocols have been registered with the Cochrane Skin Group, and the first set of dermatological reviews will be available before the end of 1999. The Cochrane Skin Group aims to become the best source of unbiased external evidence for summarizing the effects of dermatological care.

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