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Table 1 Criteria used to assess the methodological quality of selected cohort and cross-sectional studies (Lievense et al. [5,6])

From: Could low grade bacterial infection contribute to low back pain? A systematic review

Item Criterion Study type
Study population   
1 Selection before disease was present or at uniform point CH/CC/CS
2 Cases and controls were drawn from the same population CC
3 Participation rate ≥80% for cases/cohort CH/CC/CS
4 Participation rate ≥80% for controls CC
5 Sufficient description of baseline characteristics CH/CC/CS
Assessment of risk factor   
6 Presence of bacteria was blinded CH/CC/CS
7 Presence of bacteria were measured identical for cases and controls CC
8 Presence of bacteria were assessed prior to the outcome CH/CC/CS
Assessment of outcome   
9 Low back pain/ Modic change was assessed identical in studied population CH/CC/CS
10 Low back pain/ Modic change was assessed reproducibly CH/CC/CS
11 Low back pain/ Modic change was assessed according to standard definitions CH/CC/CS
Study design   
12 Prospective design was used CH/CC/CS
13 Follow-up time ≥2 years CH
14 Withdrawals ≤20% CH
Analysis and data presentation   
15 Appropriate analysis techniques were used CH/CC/CS
16 Adjusted for at least age and sex CH/CC/CS
  1. CH, Applicable to cohort studies; CC, Applicable to case–control studies; CS, Applicable to cross-sectional studies; OA, Osteoarthritis.