What is a living systematic review?
A systematic review is a type of research study that systematically looks at (or reviews) all available evidence on a particular topic or question. It goes beyond just one study and combines information from many studies to give us a more complete picture. A systematic review also considers how included studies were conducted and assesses how much confidence we should have in the results.
When we want to know more about our health and factors that may influence our health, relying on results of a single study may not be enough to feel confident about what we know. That's why systematic reviews are important. They analyze evidence from all existing studies with relevant information to provide a comprehensive understanding of what we know and what we do not know. They also consider how studies are conducted and how relevant they are to real-world experiences of people.
A "living" systematic review is a type of systematic review that is regularly updated with new studies as they become available. Thus, the systematic review stays current by rapidly incorporating the latest evidence on the topic or question.
Living systematic reviews hold particular importance in rare diseases like scleroderma. Since rare diseases often have limited research and a smaller pool of studies available, regularly updating systematic reviews becomes even more important.
What are depression and anxiety?
Depressive and anxiety disorders are mental health conditions that affect our emotional well-being and daily functioning.
Symptoms of depression may include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating or making decisions. Symptoms of anxiety may include excessive worry, restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, and a sense of impending danger or panic.
To some degree, everyone experiences symptoms of depression and anxiety. They are normal human responses to life experiences and they can vary in intensity and duration for different people.
However, if these symptoms persist for an extended period and significantly impact our daily lives, they may be diagnosed by a professional as depressive or anxiety disorders. These disorders can interfere with our ability to function normally, maintain relationships, and find joy in life.
We are conducting a living systematic review to learn more about depression and anxiety in people with scleroderma. Our review looks at two research questions:
1. How common are depression and anxiety disorders in people with scleroderma (the prevalence)?
2. What personal (e.g., sex, age) and disease characteristics (e.g., scleroderma symptoms or overall disease severity) are associated with more symptoms of depression and anxiety?
We have updated our search through February 1, 2024, with planned ongoing monthly updates. For our infographic results, please visit the following links: Research Question 1: Prevalence and Research Question 2: Characteristics.