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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I run a search?
Be specific. The more terms you enter, the narrower your search will be and fewer irrelevant results you will retrieve. Do not use punctuation.

Can I use Boolean operators?
Yes, you can use the AND, OR and NOT operators. Some examples are given below:

  • The AND operator  – The AND operator (case-insensitive) provides the same results as the default on our site. That means that when you search for vitamin deficiency symptoms, the search that will actually be carried out will be (vitamin AND deficiency AND symptoms).
  •  The OR operator – The OR operator (case-insensitive) allows results to be returned even when they contain only one of the words entered. For example gluten OR wheat will give results which include either one of the terms “gluten” or “wheat”.
  • The NOT operator – The NOT operator (case-insensitive) excludes results that contain the term following the NOT. For example gluten NOT wheat will give results which include the term “gluten” but exclude the term “wheat”.

How do I narrow down a search?
You can narrow down a search using the filters on the left-hand side of the screen. Filters include Clinical Imbalances, Personal Lifestyle Factors and Functional Laboratory Testing. You can also filter results by year of publication and type of access (e.g. free full text).

How can I tell if a paper has been enhanced?
Enhanced papers appear differently in the search results. These papers will say ‘BANT enhanced’ and appear with a green heading.

In the BANT enhanced papers, what are fundamental physiological processes?
Each paper is indexed according to the main fundamental physiological process that’s covered. The possible fundamental physiological processes are Communications, Bioenergetics, Biotransformation, Digestion, Excretion and Inflammation.

In the BANT enhanced papers, what are patient centred factors?
This covers whether the paper is either an antecedent, mediator or trigger primarily. It also provide the specific main antecedent, mediator or trigger that’s covered.

  • Antecedent: Factors that predispose an individual to acute or chronic illness. These precede an illness.
  • Mediators: Contributes to the manifestation of disease and keeps it going.
  • Triggers: Factors which provoke an acute or chronic illness, or the emergence of symptoms for as long as an individual is exposed to them.

In the BANT enhanced papers, what are environmental inputs covered?
These include diet, nutrients, air and water, physical exercise, psychosocial influences, trauma, xenobiotics, microorganisms, radiation, mind and spirit.

In the BANT enhanced papers, what are the functional clinical imbalances covered?
These include hormonal, neurological, detoxification and biotransformation, immune and inflammation, digestive, absorptive and microbiological and structural.

In the BANT enhanced papers, what are the functional laboratory testing options?
These include blood, urine, saliva, imaging, tissue biopsy, stool, sweat, hair and breath.

In the BANT enhanced papers, what are the personal lifestyle factor options?
These include nutrition, hydration, sleep and relaxation, stress and resilience, relationships and network, exercise and movement, environmental and psychological.

In the BANT enhanced papers, what is a bioactive substance?
A bioactive substance is a compound that has an effect on a living organism, tissue or cell. It is a biochemical or bioactive compound (e.g. a hormone, a pharmaceutical etc.), therefore it would not include factors such as mindfulness, exercise, talking therapy.

In BANT enhanced papers, what is the JADAD score?
JADAD scores provide a numerical indication of the quality of a randomised controlled trial (RCT). It provides a numerical value between 0 (poor) to 5 (excellent) and is calculated using a series of questions based on the method of the RCT.

The following key questions are used to calculate the JADAD score:

  1. Was the study described as randomized (this includes words such as randomly, random, and randomization)? (yes=1, no=0)
  2. Was the method used to generate the sequence of randomization described and appropriate (table of random numbers, computer-generated, etc.)? (yes=1, no=0)
  3. Was the study described as double blind? (yes=1, no=0)
  4. Was the method of double blinding described and appropriate (identical placebo, active placebo, dummy, etc.)? (yes=1, no=0)
  5. Was there a description of withdrawals and dropouts? (yes=1, no=0)
  6. Deduct one point if the method used to generate the sequence of randomization was described and it was inappropriate (e.g. patients were allocated alternately, or according to date of birth, hospital number, etc.). Described but inappropriate = -1, Described and appropriate = 0
  7. Deduct one point if the study was described as double blind but the method of blinding was inappropriate (e.g. comparison of tablet vs. injection with no double dummy). Described but inappropriate = -1, Described and appropriate = 0

In BANT enhanced papers, what is ‘allocation concealment?
Concealment of allocation is considered adequate if patients and investigators who enrolled patients could not foresee the assignment. Adequate concealment included: central randomisation, pharmacy control, numbered or coded drug packs, or opaque, sealed and/or sequentially numbered envelopes.

What do I do if a paper I expect to be in the database is missing?
The database is built on a complex algorithm that is dynamic. If you find a paper in PubMed that you would expect to appear in the database but is missing please contact emma.hendricks@bant.org.uk so that this can be investigated. Please note that individual papers can’t just be added manually and that they need to be identified by the database’s search algorithm.

Who do I contact for any problems or comments?
The database is continually being developed and reviewed to make it the best possible resource. Any comments or questions can be directed to the BANT Centre of Excellence Manager, Emma Hendricks by emailed emma.hendricks@bant.org.uk