Introducing an Aerospace Medicine Systematic Review Group

Andrew Winnard, Nick Caplan, Mick Wilkinson, Dorothee Debuse

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Systematic review finds, appraises and interprets evidence to inform clinical and operational decision making and guidelines. Systematic review methods reduce bias, increase statistical power and perform gap analysis. Conducting systematic reviews requires specific methodological skills, therefore, systematic review groups are established. Due to an increasing amount of research in Aerospace Medicine, there is a need for systematic review in this field. We have, therefore, begun developing an Aerospace Medicine Systematic Review Group and conducted: (A) A pilot systematic review on the effectiveness of countermeasures against spinal changes due to spaceflight. This developed methods for judging the applicability of bedrest simulation studies to spaceflight and statistics to compare countermeasure results to baseline data. (B) Priority setting exercises involving key stakeholders.
(A) Electronic databases were searched from the start of their records to November 2014. Studies were assessed with PEDro, Cochrane Risk of Bias and a bed-rest study quality tool. Magnitude based inferences were used to assess countermeasure effectiveness. (B) The CAA, AsMA, RAF, ESA, International Space University and SeaSpace Research Ltd. were asked to feedback on group proposals and recommend topical and beneficial reviews to conduct during group establishment.
(A) Seven studies were included in the systematic review that found heterogeneity of outcome measures, no participant reported outcome measures and no countermeasure able to fully protect against all expected spaceflight induced changes. Research and operational recommendations were made and included in a European Space Agency Topical Team Report on post-mission rehabilitation. (B) Stakeholders felt the proposed group would be useful and contributed ideas for initial review topics.
The initial systematic review and its impact to an ESA Topical Team Report demonstrates the research and operational usefulness of the group concept. Initial positive response of several major organisations in the Aerospace Medicine field provides support to group proposals and a list of quick win review titles will be reviewed to determine the most beneficial. Funding options to undertake initial reviews and develop resources such as a website with methodological guidance and directory of reviews will be sought.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event88th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association. - Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel, Denver, CO, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20174 May 2017


Conference88th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association.
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDenver, CO


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