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Including adolescents of childbearing potential in clinical trials with possible exposure to teratogenic medication: a challenge for paediatricians and researchers

Review article: Medical guidelines
Michaud PA, Diezi M, Guihard L, Jacot-Guillarmod M, Kleist P, Sprumont D, Wenger P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20333

This article reviews how to address practical and ethical questions regarding minor adolescents of childbearing potential enrolled in a clinical trial that may involve teratogenic medication and offers a series of concrete advice and tools for dealing with problematic situations.

Data protection and biomedical research in Switzerland: setting the record straight

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Martani A, Egli P, Widmer M, Elger B
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20332

The objective of this article is to review the interaction of data protection law and biomedical research with a predominant focus on the Swiss context.

Uncertainties about the need for ethics approval in Switzerland: a mixed-methods study

Original article
Gloy V, McLennan S, Rinderknecht M, Ley B, Meier B, Driessen S, Gervasoni P, Hirschel B, Benkert P, Gilles I, von Elm E, Briel M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20318

Jurisdictional inquiries are an important means for researchers to clarify whether their project requires ethical oversight. However, this mixed-methods study has identified some difficulties in the interpretation of legal terms, which often reflect persistent structural issues that many other countries also face. More detailed guidance may be helpful to reduce the researchers’ uncertainties and ethics committees’ workloads in relation to jurisdictional inquiries.

Bayesian networks to identify potential high-risk multimorbidity and intervention clusters in inpatients: an explorative data mining study

Original article
Roth JA, Sakoparnig T, Gerber M, Hug BL
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20299

Bayesian network analysis may be used as a tool to mine large healthcare databases in order to explore intervention targets for quality improvement programmes. However, the resulting associations should be substantiated in consecutive investigations using specific causal models.

Data-driven inference of the reproduction number for COVID-19 before and after interventions for 51 European countries

Original article
Karnakov P, Arampatzis G, Kičić I, Wermelinger F, Wälchli D, Papadimitriou C, Koumoutsakos P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20313

The authors present an online tool for the data-driven inference and quantification of uncertainties for the reproduction number, as well as the time points of interventions for 51 European countries.  The results quantify the rate of the disease’s spread before and after interventions and provide a metric for the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions in different countries.

A research agenda for digital proximity tracing apps

Viewpoint
von Wyl V, Bonhoeffer S, Bugnion E, Puhan MA, Salathé M, Stadler T, Troncoso C, Vayena E, Low N
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20324

It is likely that there is only a limited time window for the optimisation of the proximity tracing app and promotion of substantial population uptake. It will be all the more important that research programmes allow data-driven, evidence-based optimisations, and information for the public about the benefits, harms and costs of proximity tracing apps.

Deficiencies in paediatric research applications delaying ethics committee approval

Original article
Bergstraesser E, Nadal D, Özgü H, Kleist P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20267

Careful preparation of submission documents by the investigators and close adherence to formal and legal requirements have the potential to considerably optimise and expedite the ethics committee review process, and thus the commencement of the clinical research.

One in seven Swiss physicians has left patient care - results from a national cohort study from 1980-2009

Original article
Streit S, da Costa BR, Christensen S, Tal K, Tandjung R, Jüni P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2019;149:w20116

Physician shortage is problematic, but the percentage of physicians who have left patient care in Switzerland is unclear.

Diagnostic diversity – an indicator of institutional and regional healthcare quality

Original article
Brutsche M, Rassouli F, Gallion H, Kalra S, Roger VL, Baty F
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14691

The diagnostic diversity index can be seen as an indicator of diagnostic precision - the higher the degree of diversity, the better the diagnostic precision.

Rationale and methods of an observational study to support the design of a nationwide surgical registry: the MIDAS study

Original article
Vach W, Saxer F, Holsgaard-Larsen A, Overgaard S, Farin-Glattacker E, Bless N, Bucher HC, Jakob M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14680

Surgical registries are becoming increasingly popular, and Swiss legislation requires data on therapeutic outcome quality. The Swiss Association of Surgeons has agreed on a first minimum data set for a nationwide registry.

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