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ISU Veterinary Researcher Develops New Reporting Process for Livestock Studies

January 29, 2010
Dr.  Annette O’Connor, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, (515) 294-5012, oconnor@iastate.edu
Dr. Lisa Nolan, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, (515) 294-9348, lknolan@iastate.edu
Ms. Tracy Ann Raef, Veterinary Communications, (515) 294-4602, traef@iastate.edu
AMES, Iowa – Producers and veterinarians are often asked to provide science-based rationale for recommendations that they make in livestock production. Often they turn to research found in scientific papers and studies from which to base those recommendations. But if the studies aren’t written in a clear and transparent manner, veterinarians and producers can find it difficult to understand the implications and limitations of the studies.
Dr. Annette O’Connor and colleagues have developed a method and process that helps researchers report their findings in a thorough and consistent manner. The process, REFLECT (Reporting Guidelines for Randomized Controlled Trials), proposes new terminology to describe the research that is more consistent with common language in livestock production.
“When researchers use REFLECT to report their findings, it will improve the quality of reporting of livestock trials used in production, health and food-safety studies,” said Dr. O’Connor, veterinarian and epidemiologist at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. O’Connor is the lead author of the peer-reviewed article that describes the REFLECT process: “The REFLECT statement: Methods and processes of creating reporting guidelines for randomized controlled trials for livestock and food safety.” Co-authors along with Dr. O’Connor are Drs. Jan. Sargeant, Ian Gardner, James Dickson and Mary Torrence. Highlighting the significance of this important paper is its publication in the January 2010 edition of five prestigious journals.
“The REFLECT process is an excellent tool for animal health and production researchers,” said Dr. Lisa K. Nolan, associate dean of research and graduate studies at the college. “It will help researchers report scientific findings in a more easily read and understood manner. Development of this process is truly a significant achievement that will have worldwide impact on animal health and food safety research.”
Previously, researchers used a statement called CONSORT that was developed in 1996 for reporting clinical trials in human medicine. Because clinical trials in livestock species pose unique challenges that may not be accurately and adequately summarized in scientific papers, researchers set out to fine-tune the CONSORT statement . The REFLECT Statement addresses issues such as the impact of animal housing, and outcomes involving natural exposure and/or deliberate challenge to infectious agents.
The REFLECT Statement has recently been published in five journals: Journal of Food Protection, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Zoonoses and Public Health, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, and Journal of Swine Health and Production.
More information about the REFLECT Statementcan be found at: www.reflect-statement.org