Table 2

Single Term with the Best Sensitivity (keeping Specificity ≥50%), Best Specificity (keeping Sensitivity ≥50%), and Best Optimization of Sensitivity and Specificity (based on the lowest possible absolute difference between sensitivity and specificity) for Detecting Studies of Causation in EMBASE in 2000

Search term OVID search*

Sensitivity (%) (n = 215)

Specificity (%) (n = 27,554)

Precision (%)†

Accuracy (%) (n = 27,769)


Best sensitivity

exp general aspects of disease

72.6 (66.6 to 78.5)

55.7 (55.1 to 56.3)

1.3 (1.1 to 1.5)

55.8 (55.2 to 56.4)

Best specificity

exp risk

50.7 (44.0 to 57.4)

87.5 (87.1 to 87.8)

3.1 (2.5 to 3.6)

87.2 (86.8 to 87.6)

Best Optimization of Sensitivity & Specificity

control:.mp.

60.9 (54.5 to 67.5)

66.4 (65.9 to 67.0)

1.4 (1.2 to 1.6)

66.4 (65.8 to 66.9)


*The search strategy is reported using Ovid's search engine syntax for EMBASE.

†Denominator varies by row.

exp = explode, a search term that automatically includes closely related indexing terms; : = truncation; mp = multiple posting – term appears in title, abstract, or subject heading.

Haynes et al. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2005 5:8   doi:10.1186/1472-6947-5-8

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