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Psychiatrists, like all doctors, are obliged to offer our patients treatments based on the highest level of evidence that is available. For some of our interventions the evidence may be patchy while for others it may be more firm. Distilling all the findings from the variety of trials that are available is often impossible. To assist us, systematic reviews/meta-analyses are a very useful resource and they represent the highest level of evidence. The Cochrane Collaboration is the most prestigious source of systematic reviews yet many doctors have difficulty understanding the methodology and findings of these very lengthy papers. For this reason, I felt that an educational journal like BJPsych Advances was the ideal vehicle to promote evidence-based practice through the publication of summaries of recent Cochrane reviews. Elaboration on the content and on the methodology of these by means of an accompanying commentary was felt to be the most concise and informative way of disseminating this knowledge and of demystifying systematic review terminology such as heterogeneity, effect size, Forrest and Funnel plots, among others. I greatly welcome the publication of all the Systematic Review summaries published in BJPsych Advances and their associated commentaries (entitled Cochrane Corner and Round the Corner respectively) in a collection and am confident that it will enrich your knowledge to a new level.
Professor Patricia Casey
Editor-in-Chief, BJPsych Advances
Introductory article: The usefulness and interpretation of systematic review