The theoretical foundation of relevant packages of R software for network meta-analysis is mainly based on Bayesian statistical model and a few of them use generalized linear model. Network meta-analysis is performed using GeMTC R package through calling the corresponding rjags package, BRugs package, or R2WinBUGS package (namely, JAGS, OpenBUGS, and WinBUGS software, respectively). Meanwhile, GeMTC R package can generate data storage files for GeMTC software. Techonically, network meta-analysis is performed through calling the software based on Markov Chain Monte Carlo method. In this article, we briefly introduce how to use GeMTC R package to perform network meta-analysis through calling the OpenBUGS software.
Network plots can clearly present the relationships among the direct comparisons of various interventions in a network meta-analysis. Currently, there are some methods of drawing network plots. However, the information provided by a network plot and the interface-friendly degree to a user differ in the kinds of software. This article briefly introduces how to draw network plots using the network package and gemtc package that base on R Software, Stata software, and ADDIS software, and it also compares the similarities and differences among them.
The WinBUGS software can be called from either R (provided R2WinBUGS as an R package) or Stata software for network meta-analysis. Unlike R, Stata software needs to create relevant ADO scripts at first which simplify operation process greatly. Similar with R, Stata software also needs to load another package when drawing network plots. This article briefly introduces how to implement network meta-analysis using Stata software by calling WinBUGS software.
R Software is an open, free of use and charge statistical software which has a powerful graphic capability; however, it requires more complex codes and commands to perform network meta-analysis, which causes errors and difficulties in operation. WinBUGS software is based on Bayesian theory, which has a powerful data processing capability, and especially its codes are simple and easy to operate for dealing with network meta-analysis. However, its function of illustrating statistical results is very poor. In order to fully integrate the advantages of R software and WinBUGS software, an R2WinBUGS package based on R software has been developed which builds a “bridge” across two of them, making network meta-analysis process conveniently, quickly and result illustration more beautiful. In this article, we introduced how to use the R2WinBUGS package for performing network meta-analysis using examples.
With the rapidly growing literature across the surgical disciplines, there is a corresponding need to critically appraise and summarize the currently available evidence so they can be applied appropriately to patient care. The interpretation of systematic reviews is particularly challenging in cases where few robust clinical trials have been performed to address a particular question. However, risk of bias can be minimized and potentially useful conclusions can be drawn if strict review methodology is adhered to, including an exhaustive literature search, quality appraisal of primary studies, appropriate statistical methodology, assessment of confidence in estimates and risk of bias. Therefore, the following article aims to: (Ⅰ) summarize to the important features of a thorough and rigorous systematic review or meta-analysis for the surgical literature; (Ⅱ) highlight several underused statistical approaches which may yield further interesting insights compared to conventional pair-wise data synthesis techniques; and (Ⅲ) propose a guide for thorough analysis and presentation of results.
ObjectiveTo compare the characteristics and functions of the network meta-analysis software and for providing references for users. MethodsPubMed, CNKI, official website of Stata and R, and Google were searched to collect the software and packages that can perform network meta-analysis up to July 2014. After downloading the software, packages, and their user guides, we used the software and packages to calculate a typical example. The characteristics, functions, and computed results were compared and analyzed. ResultsFinally, 11 types of software were included, including programming and non-programming software. They were developed mainly based on Bayesian or Frequentist. Most types of software have the characteristics of easy to operate, easy to master, exactitude calculation, or good graphing; however, there is no software that has the exactitude calculation and good graphing at the same time, which needs two or more kinds of software combined to achieve. ConclusionWe suggest the user to choose the software at least according to personal programming basis and custom; and the user can consider to choose two or more kinds of software combined to finish the objective network meta-analysis. We also suggest to develop a kind of software which is characterized of fully function, easy operation, and free.
The nlme package is developed based on the generalized least squares (gls) and linear mixed-effects model (lme). It can perform meta-analysis based on linear and nonlinear mixed effects models in R language. When conducting meta-analysis using nlme package in R language, the first step is to translate the data into its logarithm estimation. In this article, we introduce how to perform network meta-analysis using R language nlme package and show the core step of data translation in detail.
The goal of JAGS (Just Another Gibbs Sampler) software is to remedy the short of BUGS software that unable to running on a system besides Microsoft Windows, such as Unix or Linux. JAGS owns independent computing function and formula of Bayesian theory; it is mischaracterized with simple user interface, good system compatibility, smoother operation, and good interactivity with other programming software. However, due to the limitations of lacking function for results data reading and unscrambling and graph plotting, the popularization and application of JAGS software is restricted. Calling JAGS software from R software through R2jags package, rjags package, or runjags package can overcome these limitations. The operating principle of these three packages is calling JAGS software in the framework of the R software, they have similar functional structure and all have easy maneuverability, concise command, perfect function of data reading and unscrambling and graph drawing; however, there are some differences among them in practice. This article introduces how to performing network meta-analysis by calling JAGS software from R through these three packages.
NetMetaXL is a macro command to conduct network meta-analysis in the frame of Microsoft Excel on basis of Bayesian theory. This macro command, which was officially launched in 2014, integrates data extraction and entry, analysis results output and graph plotting as a whole. Currently, this version contains enough optional models, and all operations are through menu and easy to conduct; however, it is appropriate only for the network meta-analysis based on dichotomous variables, which still has fairly a lot to be enhanced and improved. This article gives a brief introduction based on examples to implement network meta-analysis using NetMetaXL.
Due to the lack of head to head direct comparison evidence, applying indirect comparison (ITC) as well as network meta-analysis to compare multiple interventions becomes a new popular and powerful statistical technique. However, its theoretical system still needs improvement. In this article, we briefly introduce and summarize its progress concerning basic concepts, method assumptions, influencing factors of effectiveness, and software for analysis, so as to help researchers better understand the method and promote its application in evidence production.