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Original Investigation
January 2015

Identifying Otolaryngology Systematic Review Research Gaps: Comparing Global Burden of Disease 2010 Results With Cochrane Database of Systematic Review Content

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora
  • 2Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
  • 3Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
  • 4Department of Otolaryngology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York
  • 5Peninsula Dental School, Plymouth University, Plymouth, England
  • 6Hunter New England Population Health, Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia
  • 7School of Medicine and Public Health, the University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • 8Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 9Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
  • 10Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora
  • 11Dermatology Service, US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, Colorado
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015;141(1):67-72. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2014.2700

Importance  Burden of disease should inform research prioritization.

Objective  To determine whether systematic reviews and protocols published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) appropriately reflect disease burden for otolaryngologic conditions as measured by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 project.

Design  Two investigators independently assessed 10 otolaryngologic conditions in CDSR for systematic review and protocol representation from March to June 2014. The otolaryngologic diseases were matched to their respective GBD 2010 disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) to assess their correlation.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Relationship of CDSR representation (based on systematic reviews and protocols) with percentage of total 2010 DALYs, 2010 DALY rank, and DALY percentage change from 1990 to 2010 for 10 otolaryngologic conditions.

Results  All 10 otolaryngologic conditions were represented by at least 1 systematic review in CDSR. The number of reviews and protocols in CDSR was well matched with GBD 2010 disability metrics for only 1 disease, mouth cancer. Upper respiratory infections, otitis media, thyroid cancer, and cleft lip and cleft palate were overrepresented in CDSR, and esophageal cancer, “other hearing loss,” nasopharynx cancer, larynx cancer, and “cancer of other part of pharynx and oropharynx” were underrepresented.

Conclusions and Relevance  The representation of otolaryngologic conditions in CDSR correlates poorly with DALY metrics. The results of this study may guide future research prioritization and allocation of funds.