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Thread: Question?

  1. #11
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    I'm not sure that interesting is the right word peer review really refers to the process of publishing research where independent experts in the field review the study methodology and data analysis to ensure that the conclusions are robust. It is, at least a system of sorts but it is flawed in so many ways. That said, the key is in understanding scientific research methodology and being able to judge the validity of the conclusions that the researchers are proposing. That means examining the entire research approach that they have taken and the statistical analysis i.e. were the stats tests appropriate and applied correctly.

    It takes a good deal of experience and training to be able to see past the figures quoted in many papers and put them into context of the research methodology which can obviously be difficult for non-scientists/non-medics/vets.

    The important thing is to question what is in the literature and identify good quality, well planned and sound research.

    Ok chaps...wake up

  2. #12
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    Many types of peer review-what you stated is one type examining form but it actually cannot examine the substance (only how the research was written up). Only an expert in the very specific field can lay question to substance.
    Last edited by frecklesmom; 7th November 2008 at 11:01 PM. Reason: wrong word
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  3. #13
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    Forgot to ask, Mark, what's your specialty ?
    frecklesmom
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  4. #14
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    What do you mean by substance? The write up should contain every aspect of the research in a manner that it could be repeated.

    In terms of publishing research 'Peer review' only has one meaning which is an independent scrutiny of the research process and validity of the study. A reviewer needs knowledge of the research process moreso than to be an expert in the exact field in question. In most cases review by someone in the same field can cause the reviewer to be blinkered to the faults in the methodology or to be unfairly harsh in their review in the competitive field of research in which they are competing for recognition, I feel.
    Last edited by Mark; 7th November 2008 at 11:24 PM.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by frecklesmom View Post
    Forgot to ask, Mark, what's your specialty ?
    I review for clinical laboratory medical journals, my speciality is clinical and laboratory pathology and basic biomedicine (basic as in fundamental, not 'low level')
    Last edited by Mark; 7th November 2008 at 11:25 PM.

  6. #16
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    It takes a good deal of experience and training to be able to see past the figures quoted in many papers and put them into context of the research methodology which can obviously be difficult for non-scientists/non-medics/vets.
    I agree -- but the people that are doing the research in this particular area are considered some of the best internationally in their field. Guy Rouleau, who heads the genome research, is one of the finest researchers in this particular area. Clare Rusbridge is held in very high esteem by the leading human SM researchers and physicians. Dominic Marino is one of the cutting edge neurosurgeons in vet medicine internationally, and so on.

    Any of these folks would greatly welcome a massive study on incidence -- but who would fund it? So far, Dr Rusbridge has been almost entirely self financing and working with small grants and donations from people like many of us on the board -- yet is the preeminent expert in this particular area, working closely with experts at the Animal Health Trust, Cambridge University, etc. Club sponsored projects have generally been modest -- the largest grant to date is to Dr Blott, yet her results are largely dependent on the success of the Montreal genome research for any truly meaningful accuracy for her EBVs. The Montreal research has been given grants late in the game by the clubs in the US, but the original research again was funded by many individuals who gave blood and scans and this innovative project still needs financial and breeder/pet owner support to succeed (I am sending blood from three dogs next week as well as scans). The grants were spurred along by many individuals who wrote to the clubs to ask about the status of the grants -- and who donated to the specified grant funds themselves in order to show private interest. I would urge anyone who would like a huge study of MRId dogs to write and ask the clubs and KCs internationally to fund such a study as it isn't going to emerge out of the blue. For that matter the same sort of study would be useful for MVD -- but honestly, there's almost nobody questioning the serious rate of incidence in the breed and I think almost anyone involved in breeding or ownership of these dogs cares more about finding ways of addressing the problems rather than caring remotely whether the incidence is 1% 5% 30% or 70%. Every breeder I know who has scanned has had more than a 'low' incidence in their own dogs. I only know of one single line where more than one dog has scanned entirely clear. And sadly there are only a couple of dogs in that particular line. If incidence is low, then breeders would scan and find those clear dogs. They are not finding totally clear dogs. The people most insistent on the falsity of the suggested levels of incidence are those who do not scan. Half of my four have SM -- and the affected dogs were both diagnosed at under 5. That seems pretty typical amongst those willing to discuss their scan results.

    Peer review is of course open to flaws, like any area of human overview of research, but what is the alternative? It is the best method of independently assessing research, and Clare Rusbridge's work amongst others has been peer reviewed in some of the leading international vet journals.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  7. #17
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    I think we should be caring about the incidence, particularly when so many owners are worried sick by the figures they hear. Their worry affects how they interact with their puppies and dogs and how fulfilling their relationship is. Pet owners do care about the figures as forums such as this are constantly seeing these queries from worried owners. So I disagree that it isn't important.

    I don't dispute the reputation of any of the researchers mentioned but there is no way the research of anyone should ever go unquestioned just because they are renowned in the field. It is not a reflection on the researchers, any research degree will actively encourage researchers to sit and brainstorm and criticise each others work. The researchers mentioned aren't offering these figures on incidence as part of published work anyway since they know can't provide them at this stage.

    I'm not sure that there being only one line with more than one dog scanned clear is correct. Then again that information isn't really available for anyone to make a judgement. Neither really can anyones individual experience with SM in their pets be a marker of incidence. Many people on this board have multiple cavs who are asymptomatic for SM, does this mean that the incidence is zero? No, but put like that someone could argue it.

  8. #18
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    Mark, your comments have suggested a questioning of the skills of the researchers on my reading and that of others, and the reason I point out the reputation of the individuals not just in their own field but across into human medicine as well is to emphasise that some of the leading experts in other areas have also read this work, spoken with these researchers, and trust the figures they are getting. Thousands of illnesses have levels of incidence measured not from vast studies but from smaller studies so this is hardly unusual to do this especially in the case of a condition that is expensive to actually assess. Nonetheless I'd say the overall sample now is running close to 2000 MRId cavaliers if you add in all the studies plus the work of Geoff Skerritt who has scanned over a thousand dogs, many hundreds of those for breeders, not for people bringing in sick dogs. Geoff confirms at least the minimal published levels of incidence amongst those that arrive in with no clinical symptoms, presumed clear. MVD is measured the same way and I can definitely confirm those estimates are accurate in the dozens and dozens of cavaliers I take into rescue and have heart checked. Almost every cavalier age 5 or older has a murmur.

    Did you attend any of the SM conferences so far? Have you read the existing studies? Are you following with current progress on the genome work? Spoken to Sarah Blott? I'd respectively suggest that actually, it isn't all that hard to get information as extensive notes, abstracts, publications and CDs of the Rugby talks, for example, are all easily available. I recommend Rod Russell's extensive summary of all current research and publications at his cavalierhealth.org site.

    I do know for a fact that there is only ONE line with any significant degree of fully clear dogs -- which still I believe is only three -- with the key scanning dog now elderly and beyond reproducing. Unless there are breeders keeping their clear/clear lines secret from everybody, both other breeders and researchers, believe me, there are no fully clear lines. It would be so exciting if there were even one, but so far, there are none.

    For going on a decade now many of us with affected dogs have listened to some breeders denying incidence; some of these being people that I know for a fact have threatened pet owners with legal action if they reveal their affected dog of that line. Meanwhile every neurologist can attest to huge numbers of cavaliers presenting with this disease; I have talked directly to several of them who see this condition constantly in cavaliers. I know of breeders that have had to completely end their lines and start over because SM was so widespread amongst nearly every dog scanned; I know of people with more typically, about a fourth to half of dogs showing syrinxes. These are dogs all related to all the significant lines, as almost every cavalier is closely related anyway. Unless all the scans on all those dogs are catching some serious anomoly then I think it is quite safe to say that existing studies are accurately reflecting incidence in wider populations. We all hope these are somehow flukes and it will not be the case.

    I know you would definitely be happier over on the CKCS-SM list discussing these issues though, so I am going to suggest you move your discussions on this issue over there -- this forum is really addressed to giving support to those with questions about SM and with dogs suffering from it, not to have arguments on level of incidence (that is the type of discussion that the CKCS-SM list was set up for). Even the KC and CKCS Club have said it is pointless to keep returning to such areas of disagreement when all accept that too many cavaliers are suffering and the level of incidence is by any means of calculating it, now alarming -- and on a forum like this, with primarily a support focus and dozens of owners of affected dogs living with pain, your insistence on returning to this here is increasingly insensitive. Thank you for your contributions to the board, but your particular interests in the subject would be more appropriate in other places.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  9. #19
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    I've had a predictably childish and silly private reply from 'Mark' which pretty well revealed their own agenda and also indicated to me who this actually was.

    Why some people are obsessed with being on this board, I don't know -- -- but 'Mark', you need to get out a bit more I think!

    Maybe 'Mark' is a bit jealous of well regarded researchers?
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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