The latest important research summarised

Short summaries of the latest health research presented in plain English to promote use of research by all members of society.


Surgery is no more effective than a sling for misaligned shoulder fractures

This NIHR funded trial showed that conservative treatment involving a sling was as effective as surgery for treating people with displaced fractures of the upper arm. A linked economic analysis showed that surgery was not cost-effective. These kinds of shoulder fractures are common and disabling, and mainly affect people over 65. Slings are already used ...


New evidence compares effectiveness of prostaglandin drugs for inducing labour

This review partly funded by the NIHR provides the largest pooling of international data on the effectiveness of prostaglandin drugs used to induce labour. It found that the most effective prostaglandin for inducing vaginal birth within 24 hours was a vaginal misoprostol tablet (≥50 micrograms). Low dose misoprostol solution (<50 micrograms) given by mouth had ...


Mindfulness therapy may provide an alternative to continuing antidepressants in preventing recurrence of depression

This NIHR-funded RCT found no evidence that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was better than continuing antidepressant drugs in reducing depression relapse or recurrence for people at the highest risk of depression. There was also no significant difference in cost. When interpreted alongside the broader evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and the need for patient choice, the ...


Two drug treatments for severe alcoholic hepatitis do not improve survival rates

This NIHR funded trial found that neither prednisolone nor pentoxifylline improved mortality for people with severe alcoholic hepatitis. No differences were found in mortality at 28 or 90 days, or in the need for liver transplant at one year. Overall mortality was high. Nearly three in ten people died before 90 days and more than ...


Restricting blood transfusion may not be effective after cardiac surgery

This large NIHR-funded randomised trial found that using a lower haemoglobin threshold was no better or cheaper than using a higher one when deciding to transfuse blood after non-emergency cardiac surgery. People with milder anaemia, receiving blood transfusion at a haemoglobin level less than 90g/L (the liberal transfusion group) had similar health outcomes and health ...

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