Newswise — BETHESDA, MD (May 4, 2020) – Clinical studies with negative findings are the focus of a new “Negative Issue” of The American Journal of Gastroenterology (AJG), the flagship publication of the American College of Gastroenterology. The May 2020 issue is dedicated studies with negative findings in the belief that significant information can also be learned from studies that do not produce positive results but which may guide what physicians should not do in clinical practice. 

AJG Co-Editors-in-Chief Brian E. Lacy, PhD, MD, FACG, of Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, and Brennan M.R. Spiegel, MD, MSHS, FACG, of Cedars-Sinai Health System, write in an editorial to accompany the Negative Issue that traditionally in scientific publishing only research studies that produced a positive result were published based on the rationale that only a positive result could be used to change medical care.  

“Although once considered unpublishable, we strongly believe that a methodologically sound, well-crafted study with negative results is just as valuable, and sometimes even more valuable, than a scientific study with positive results,” the Co-Editors write. 

Why Negative Results Advance Clinical Care

In calling for submissions to AJG’s Negative Issue, Dr. Spiegel and Dr. Lacy eagerly sought studies that investigators might not have envisioned finding a home in a medical journal.  The Request for Manuscripts noted that, “the biomedical literature is full of positive studies; this trend can lead to a ‘publication bias’ by systematically failing to disseminate important yet negative studies. The American Journal of Gastroenterology wants to help correct this shortsightedness by dedicating a special issue to negative results.”  

The Co-Editors invited papers that explore “what medicines don’t work, what diets miss the mark, what risk factors are irrelevant, what supplements are no better than placebo, what diagnostic tests are unrevealing, unhelpful, or even harmful, and anything else that may be terrifically non-contributory in gastroenterology and liver diseases.” 

Their goal in dedicating and entire edition to negative studies was to provide license for investigators to feel comfortable contributing their highest quality negative studies, some of which could have the potential for immediate impact on practice. 

“Remember that ‘negative is positive,’” the Co-Editors advise in their editorial. 

What Are the Key Findings?


  • A systematic review providing up to date information demonstrating that proton pump inhibitors do not cause dementia by Khan, et al. Access these findings
  • The potential association of PPI therapy in a number of gastrointestinal malignancies is investigated and reported by Lee and colleagues. Access these findings
  • An interesting survey by Kurlander, et al. provides information about common misconceptions regarding PPI safety, which is clinically relevant as some clinicians inappropriately stop PPI use in patients who truly need therapy. Access these findings
  • The role of serum ammonia in predicting clinical outcomes is reviewed in a timely article by Rockey and colleagues. Access these findings
  • The results of a large study investigating a novel agent for Crohn’s disease are presented by Sands, et al. Access these findings
  • An important study by Forbes, et al. showing that prophylactic clipping does not prevent delayed post-polypectomy bleeding will be of interest to all who perform endoscopy. Access these findings

About The American Journal of Gastroenterology

Published monthly since 1934, The American Journal of Gastroenterology (AJG) is the official peer- reviewed journal of the American College of Gastroenterology. The goal of the Journal is to publish scientific papers relevant to the practice of clinical gastroenterology. It features original research, review articles, and consensus papers related to new drugs and therapeutic modalities. The AJG Editorial Board encourages submission of original manuscripts, review articles, and letters to the editor from members and non-members. AJG is published by Wolters Kluwer.

About the American College of Gastroenterology

Founded in 1932, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) is an organization with an international membership of more than 14,000 individuals from 85 countries. The College's vision is to be the pre-eminent professional organization that champions the evolving needs of clinicians in the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based, and compassionate health care to gastroenterology patients. The mission of the College is to advance world-class care for patients with gastrointestinal disorders through excellence, innovation, and advocacy in the areas of scientific investigation, education, prevention, and treatment. Follow ACG on Twitter @AmCollegeGastro.

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Journal Link: The American Journal of Gastroenterology (AJG)