Jul 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm #1292355
Background To assess the extent and nature of claims regarding improved sports performance made by advertisers for a broad range of sports-related products, and the quality of the evidence on which these claims are based.
Methods The authors analysed magazine adverts and associated websites of a broad range of sports products. The authors searched for references supporting the performance and/or recovery claims of these products. The authors critically appraised the methods in the retrieved references by assessing the level of evidence and the risk of bias. The authors also collected information on the included participants, adverse events, study limitations, the primary outcome of interest and whether the intervention had been retested.
Results The authors viewed 1035 web pages and identified 431 performance-enhancing claims for 104 different products. The authors found 146 references that underpinned these claims. More than half (52.8%) of the websites that made performance claims did not provide any references, and the authors were unable to perform critical appraisal for approximately half (72/146) of the identified references. None of the references referred to systematic reviews (level 1 evidence). Of the critically appraised studies, 84% were judged to be at high risk of bias. Randomisation was used in just over half of the studies (58.1%), allocation concealment was only clear in five (6.8%) studies; and blinding of the investigators, outcome assessors or participants was only clearly reported as used in 20 (27.0%) studies. Only three of the 74 (2.7%) studies were judged to be of high quality and at low risk of bias.
Conclusions The current evidence is not of sufficient quality to inform the public about the benefits and harms of sports products. There is a need to improve the quality and reporting of research, a move towards using systematic review evidence to inform decisions.Jul 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm #1897825Jul 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm #1897826Jul 27, 2012 at 1:44 am #1897911
carlos fernandez rivasParticipant
@pitagorinLocale: Galicia -Spain
And…………. more ;-)Jul 27, 2012 at 9:38 am #1897981
@oroambulantLocale: San Francisco
The study, or should I say, "survey" was hardly rigorous, even by their own admission. While it does point out the patently obvious chasm between product hype and quality studies to back up those claims, the articles don't tell us where the solid work has been done. In very broad strokes covering every aspect of sports products, from kinesiology tape and wrist bands to electrolyte caps and shoes, everything falls in their dumpster.
Even lacking double-blind, sample bias corrected rigour, many studies show valid evidence of product efficacy. I agree that added rigour is welcome, but not necessary for a company to begin sales. Once a product is shipping, a company may not want a more rigourous inquiry that may expose weakness in their hype. That's the job of the independent researchers.
An example of unnecessary censorship is in the BBC article describing urine color's use as an indicator of hydration. They poo-poo the technique because of the lack of quality studies and the individual variances that make it unreliable. Tell me, is your urine lighter when you drink a lot?
Which brings up an interesting point about what research gets funded and who pays for it. In his book, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Kuhn makes the case that scientific inquiry is directed towards what the money will fund and will pass over what doesn't get funded. A case in point is global warming. It would be very difficult to fund a study to test a hypothesis that suggests man's CO2 production is not to blame. (Not my view, just showing an example)
What I really would like is an independent, comprehensive survey of what claims can be relied on, particularly with respect to nutrition and supplements, rather than an assessment that focuses on the garbage out there.Jul 27, 2012 at 9:47 am #1897985
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Well said Nathan
That shows the falacy of the idea that "the free market" will solve all problems
Another case in point is it's hard to get a study that shows a cheap generic drug is just as effective as expensive brand name. Easy to get study to show that an expensive brand name drug is infintesimally more effective so we waste lots of money using expensive brand name ineffective drugs.Jul 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm #1898083
Personally I believe it is incumbent on the producer to be able to justify their claims about a product before they foist it on an unsuspecting public. This is not something that should be left to independent researchers to do with their own funding, some time after the products market debut (Thalidomide ring a bell).
Publishing word limits mean that even if the researchers wanted to, they may not be able to list their data. I expect that if they did a manufacturer would want to sue them for any adverse findings.
The value of the paper is to expose widespread disregard for truth and evidence. It also shows what to look for when reading any supporting material before buying a product. I do agree however that times there can be too rigorous application of "scientific method" to these issues – insisting on huge samples and double blind tests, but this depends on the risks the product may create.Jul 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm #1898728
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
"Personally I believe it is incumbent on the producer to be able to justify their claims about a product before they foist it on an unsuspecting public. This is not something that should be left to independent researchers to do with their own funding, some time after the products market debut"
Amen. It always amazes me that companies are allowed to market stuff that has not passed any scientific scrutiny. Then again, it always amazes me how easily a fool and his money can be parted. That may be a fault of the education systems, or just the human nature that wants quick fixes and is not willing to do their own research into a product.Jul 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm #1898899
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Then again, it always amazes me how easily a fool and his money can be parted."
Which bings to mind something like……caveat emptor?
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