What is it about?

This is an in-depth companion to the larger overview of systematic reviews in allergy epidemiology (https://goo.gl/zwhTSx). Intensive epidemiological research on asthma has produced a substantial body of evidence. What may be hard to glean trying to capture the vast information is the balance of interest in specific topics in asthma epidemiology. Moreover, while numerous systematic reviews on asthma epidemiology exist, little is known about their methodological quality and its potential determinants. This overview seeks to provide a compilation of existing systematic reviews in asthma epidemiology, indexed by topic, and an evaluation of their methodological quality for guidance of future studies.

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Why is it important?

A previously published overview of systematic reviews on risk and protective factors for asthma was restricted to the paediatric literature, nongenetic factors, and systematic reviews that included a meta-analysis. The present overview overcomes these limitations and provides a much more comprehensive picture of the existing literature including over 300 systematic reviews. Importantly, an evaluation of the methodological quality of these systematic reviews is included to provide guidance for future work.

Perspectives

We have procuded a wealth of literature on asthma epidemiology in the past decades. However, we tend to forget the "older" evidence and base our current efforts on referenced studies from recent years. This overview should only be the beginning of assembling and indexing literature in the field to aid future investigations. Don't forget the past - use the entire existing evidence to move the field forward! It may take a little longer but it will lead to higher quality...

PD Dr. med. Jon Genuneit
Universitat Leipzig

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This page is a summary of: The state of asthma epidemiology: an overview of systematic reviews and their quality, Clinical and Translational Allergy, March 2017, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1186/s13601-017-0146-y.
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