Evidence

Alerts

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.

Alert

Thyroid hormone treatment does not help adults with mildly abnormal thyroid tests

There appears to be no benefit from treating adults with subclinical hypothyroidism. Treatment has no effect on quality of life or symptoms compared with placebo or no treatment. Thyroid function tests are commonly performed in general practice for patients who present with a range of symptoms, including fatigue or tiredness. When subclinical hypothyroidism is detected, …

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Home-based cardiac rehabilitation for heart failure has high rates of participation

Home-based cardiac rehabilitation for people with heart failure improves quality of life at 12 months compared with usual care. Among those allocated to rehabilitation, 90% remained in the programme – more than double average attendance rate for hospital-based rehabilitation. The average cost was estimated at £418 per participant which is within the National Health Service …

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Antidepressants do not help treat depression in people living with dementia

Antidepressants do not reduce symptoms of depression in people with dementia compared with placebo (dummy pills). Measured 6 to 13 weeks after starting the treatment, there is little or no difference in participants’ symptoms, but an increased chance of unwanted side effects. The review did not identify enough data to determine if antidepressants have an …

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People leaving hospital after medical illness do not benefit from extended clot reducing treatment

Taking rivaroxaban after discharge from hospital does not significantly reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism, either blood clots in large veins or of dying from clots travelling to the lungs. People who are hospitalised with conditions such as heart failure and stroke are at an increased risk of blood clots. This risk is further increased …

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Repeat thyroid function tests for healthy older people are not needed

Older adults with normal thyroid function or subclinical thyroid dysfunction show notable long-term stability of their thyroid hormone levels. This suggests that it is safe for GPs not to routinely retest older adults unless they have risk factors or develop clinical symptoms of overt thyroid dysfunction. Over five years, about 0.2% older adults with normal …

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Pelvic floor muscle training can improve symptoms of urinary incontinence

Two-thirds of women with any type of urinary incontinence who have pelvic floor muscle training see improvement or cure compared with only a third of women who receive no treatment or inactive treatments. It is even more effective for women with stress incontinence, with three-quarters of women reporting improvement or resolution of symptoms, such as …

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Diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy

Diet and exercise are effective ways of preventing the development of diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is becoming more common and is associated with poorer outcomes for mother and baby. Diet, physical activity and weight are modifiable risk factors, but trials published to date have shown inconsistent results. This systematic review …

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Benzodiazepines may increase length of stay and chance of delirium in intensive care

Benzodiazepines given during mechanical ventilation in intensive care could increase the risk of a longer hospital stay and delirium compared to other sedatives. A range of sedatives are used to reduce psychological distress in critically ill patients, but prior to this study, it was not clear which drugs are most effective. This systematic review looked …

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The best dose of aspirin for cardiovascular protection may depend on body weight

Low dose aspirin only appears to be effective at preventing stroke or heart attack for people weighing less than 70kg, while higher doses are better for people who weigh over 70kg. Researchers analysed data from 13 trials of aspirin for primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular events, totalling over 115,000 participants. They found that 75 …

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A total diet replacement programme helped obese people lose weight and keep weight off

A programme of weekly behavioural support with total diet replacement led to over 7kg greater weight loss than usual care in primary care. This weight loss was maintained for a year after starting the 8-12 week low calorie programme. This trial, funded by NIHR and a commercial sponsor, was carried out in ten primary care …

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