November 19th, 2013

Big Impact from a Little-Publicized Session at AHA.13

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending AHA.13 in Dallas this week are blogging for CardioExchange. The Fellows include Vimal RamjeeSiqin YeSeth MartinReva Balakrishnan, and  Saurav Chatterjee. You can find the previous post here. For more of our AHA.13 coverage of late-breaking clinical trials, interviews with the authors of the most important research, and blogs from our fellows on the most interesting presentations at the meeting, check out our AHA.13 Headquarters.

Another power-packed day at the AHA annual Scientific Sessions in Dallas. I started the day trying to have a better understanding about how to interpret the literature as published in reputable journals, and the pitfalls thereof, and thus decided to attend the ‘ask the experts’ session held at 7:30 a.m., in a well-attended session in spite of the early hour.

The faculty was an all-star line-up. Sripal Bangalore of NYU presented common red flags and issues to look out for in meta-analyses, citing recent examples, like a Lancet paper which had found that trials that used acronyms of Greek philosophers for their names had ‘positive outcomes’ compared with names of trials that did not have acronyms of Greek philosophers! Sanjay Kaul of Cedars Sinai delved into the details of missing data and reporting biases with high-impact, published, randomized studies. Sharon-Lise Normand from the Harvard School of Public Health brought to the fore the many confounding issues with observational data, while Mark Hlatky unravelled the basics of cost effectiveness analyses.

A fabulous presentation overall in the Scientific Sessions, but again it defied logic — why did that need to be held at a relatively early hour and in one of the smaller meeting rooms? I gleaned a lot of valuable insights from this session and suspect sessions such these — primers on interpreting published data — may be of invaluable benefit to early-career individuals.

Which kind of presentation at the large cardiology conferences are the  most useful to you?

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