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CENTRAL, PEDro, PubMed, and EMBASE are the most comprehensive databases indexing randomized controlled trials of physical therapy interventions.

Overview
Title:
CENTRAL, PEDro, PubMed, and EMBASE are the most comprehensive databases indexing randomized controlled trials of physical therapy interventions.
Authors:
Michaleff ZA, Costa LO, Moseley AM, Maher CG, Elkins MR, Herbert RD, Sherrington C
Journal:
Phys Ther
Publication date:
2011
Volume:
91
Issue:
2
First page:
190
Last page:
7
ISSN:
1538-6724
Link to pubmed:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21148259
Publication type:
Journal
Free text

Background Many bibliographic databases index research studies evaluating the effects of health care interventions. One study has concluded that the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) has the most complete indexing of reports of randomized controlled trials of physical therapy interventions, but the design of that study may have exaggerated estimates of the completeness of indexing by PEDro. Objective The purpose of this study was to compare the completeness of indexing of reports of randomized controlled trials of physical therapy interventions by 8 bibliographic databases. Design This study was an audit of bibliographic databases. Methods Prespecified criteria were used to identify 400 reports of randomized controlled trials from the reference lists of systematic reviews published in 2008 that evaluated physical therapy interventions. Eight databases (AMED, CENTRAL, CINAHL, EMBASE, Hooked on Evidence, PEDro, PsycINFO, and PubMed) were searched for each trial report. The proportion of the 400 trial reports indexed by each database was calculated. Results The proportions of the 400 trial reports indexed by the databases were as follows: CENTRAL, 95%; PEDro, 92%; PubMed, 89%; EMBASE, 88%; CINAHL, 53%; AMED, 50%; Hooked on Evidence, 45%; and PsycINFO, 6%. Almost all of the trial reports (99%) were found in at least 1 database, and 88% were indexed by 4 or more databases. Four trial reports were uniquely indexed by a single database only (2 in CENTRAL and 1 each in PEDro and PubMed). Limitations The results are only applicable to searching for English-language published reports of randomized controlled trials evaluating physical therapy interventions. Conclusions The 4 most comprehensive databases of trial reports evaluating physical therapy interventions were CENTRAL, PEDro, PubMed, and EMBASE. Clinicians seeking quick answers to clinical questions could search any of these databases knowing that all are reasonably comprehensive. PEDro, unlike the other 3 most complete databases, is specific to physical therapy, so studies not relevant to physical therapy are less likely to be retrieved. Researchers could use CENTRAL, PEDro, PubMed, and EMBASE in combination to conduct exhaustive searches for randomized trials in physical therapy.

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CENTRAL, PEDro, PubMed, and EMBASE are the most comprehensive databases indexing randomized controlled trials of physical therapy interventions. Michaleff ZA, Costa LO, Moseley AM, Maher CG, Elkins MR, Herbert RD et al. Phys Ther 2011; 91(2):190-7.

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