RAND Statistics Seminar Series

"Proof" in Medicine: The Role of Research Synthesis

Presented by Professor Joel B. Greenhouse, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Statistics
Thursday, March 15, 2007
RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA
Please contact Denise Miller if you would like to attend this seminar.


Meta-analysis is an essential methodology for synthesizing evidence, particularly in the biomedical and social sciences. Quantitative research synthesis is frequently used to accumulate evidence about questions of interest; it can also be used to investigate the generalizability of research results and to investigate alternative explanations for observed associations. Some even argue that meta-analysis can be used to establish causal effects. In this talk, we discuss the role of research synthesis in the process of scientific explanation and consider the strengths and weaknesses of evidence generated from research synthesis. As a case study to help illustrate some of these issues, we consider the evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that the FDA used to inform their decision to issue a black box warning for the use of antidepressants in children. This is joint work with Kelly Kelleher, Elly Kaizar, and Howard Seltman.

Professor Greenhouse's Statement: http://www.stat.cmu.edu/GSS/greenhouse.html

Attending a Seminar

RAND Visitors are welcome to attend the statistics seminars, but must RSVP at least one day prior to the seminar. To ensure your attendance, contact Denise Miller at dmiller@rand.org with your name, company or university affiliation, and national citizenship (for security purposes). Light refreshments will be served.

RAND Pittsburgh is located at 4570 Fifth Avenue, Suite 600, Pittsburgh, PA. For parking and directions please see: http://www.rand.org/about/locations/pittsburgh.html. Visitors, including those from other RAND offices, should check in at the receptionist's desk on the sixth floor.

For further information and to be added to the mailing list contact Denise Miller at dmiller@rand.org.