Do the CONSORT and STRICTA Checklists Improve the Reporting Quality of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Randomized Controlled Trials Published in Chinese Journals? A Systematic Review and Analysis of Trends

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: We investigated whether there had been an improvement in the quality of reporting for randomised controlled trials of acupuncture and moxibustion published in Chinese journals. We compared the compliance rate for the quality of reporting following the publication of both the STRICTA and CONSORT recommendations in China. METHODS: Four Chinese databases were searched for RCTs of acupuncture from January 1978 through to December 2012. The CONSORT and STRICTA checklists were used to assess the quality of reporting. Data were collected using a standardised form. All included RCTs were divided into three distinct time periods based on the time that CONSORT and STRICTA were introduced in China, respectively. Pearson's χ2 test and/or Fisher's exact test were used to assess differences in reporting among three groups. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A total of 1978 RCTs were identified. Although the percentage of all the items has increased over time with the introduction of CONSORT and STRICTA in China, the actual compliance in several important methodological components, including sample size calculation (0% vs. 0% vs. 1.2%, for pre-CONSORT and pre-STRICTA, post-CONSORT but pre-STRICTA, and post-CONSORT and post-STRICTA, respectively), randomisation sequence generation (1.4% vs. 15% vs. 26.3%) and implementation (0% vs. 0% vs. 1.3%), allocation concealment (0% vs. 1.4% vs. 4.9%), and blinding (0% vs. 5.7% vs. 9.1%), remains low. Moreover, no RCTs have reported the setting and context of treatment and no descriptions of the participating acupuncturists have been provided thus far. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the quality of the reporting of RCTs of acupuncture and moxibustion published in Chinese journals has improved since CONSORT and STRICTA were introduced in China, though the actual compliance rate of some important items were still low as of 2012. In the future, Chinese journals should enhance the adoption of the CONSORT and STRICTA statement to improve the reporting quality of the RCTs of acupuncture and moxibustion and to ensure the truth and reliability of the conclusions.

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Ma, B., Chen, Z. min, Xu, J. ke, Wang, Y. nan, Chen, K. yang, Ke, F. yong, … Wang, Y. ping. (2016). Do the CONSORT and STRICTA Checklists Improve the Reporting Quality of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Randomized Controlled Trials Published in Chinese Journals? A Systematic Review and Analysis of Trends. PloS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0147244

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