Writer’s note: Some of you have expressed an interest in learning more of the medical terminology that comes up when discussing Migraine disease and other headache disorders. So I’ve joined Teri in posting a “term of the day” on a regular basis.
When you’re looking at migraine and headache information, whether it’s from your doctor, a book, or an online article, you most likely come across medical terms that can be confusing. Sometimes, it’s easy enough to substitute another word or a short phrase for the medical term. At other times, substituting just doesn’t convey quite the same meaning or takes more than a few words.
“Literature review” is one of those terms. It’s an important term for patients with Migraine to understand, especially for when trying to make sense of research.
Unlike a clinical trial, a literature review does not recruit participants to test a treatment or compare treatments. Instead, researchers take a second look at earlier studies. A literature review consolidates known information about a given topic. This unique research design offers learning opportunities not available from clinical trials.
A literature review can
- confirm results, call results into question, or shed light on the relative strength of each individual study
- offer valuable insight that leads to new areas of inquiry in future studies
- clarify the relative strength or weakness of scientific support for the treatment or concept being reviewed
Here’s an example of how it’s used in a sentence:
“It should come as a relief that, according to a 2013 literature review in Headache, people with Migraine of any type are not at increased risk for cognitive decline.”
This tells us important things about the study:
- There were no participants.
- Multiple, previously-conducted studies were examined.
- The conclusions are based on the combined data from all included studies.
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Headache disorders counselor and advocate Tammy Rome maintains a private practice specializing in treating clients with Migraine and other headache disorders. She also volunteers as vice chair of the American Headache and Migraine Association and as president of The Cluster Headache Support Group. You can read more of Tammy’s work on her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.