Evidence

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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.

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Surgery to fix the womb in position after prolapse is an alternative to hysterectomy

Women who have surgery that uses stitches to lift and keep their prolapsed womb in place (called hysteropexy) are less likely to have recurrent symptoms after five years than those who have their womb removed (vaginal hysterectomy). These results from a Dutch trial involving 204 women showed comparable outcomes for the two surgical options for other …

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Pedometers can help people get more active as part of an exercise programme

Pedometers and accelerometers helped people with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases to increase their physical activity by a moderate amount, though pedometers were more successful. Programmes that involved face-to-face consultations with a facilitator were more effective than those where devices were used in isolation to track progress. This NIHR-funded systematic review included 36 trials which objectively …

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Occupational therapy at home may benefit people with dementia and their carers

Multiple occupational therapy sessions, provided in a person with dementia’s own home, improve their ability to carry out daily activities, compared with usual care. Improvements are also seen in behavioural and psychological symptoms and their quality of life. In addition, carers report feeling less distress, and a better quality of life. This study was a systematic …

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Advance care plans improve quality of life for heart failure patients

Advance care planning (ACP) can improve the quality of life of patients with heart failure, especially if it includes follow-up, involves family members and is carried out by trained clinicians working in multidisciplinary teams. This review summarised the evidence about the effect of ACP on quality of life, compared with usual care, for 2,924 patients …

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Increasing omega-3 intake does not prevent depression or anxiety

Increasing intake of polyunsaturated fats, for example with omega-3 fatty acid supplements, has little or no effect in preventing the onset of depression or anxiety symptoms in people without these conditions, but who might be at risk. These findings support dietary advice that omega-3 supplements are not needed in healthy people. This review also highlights …

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Text messaging support helps smokers quit, but apps not yet shown to work

Text messaging support helps people quit smoking, more than minimal support such as self-help materials. Also, when text messaging is combined with another smoking cessation intervention, it is more effective than just that intervention alone. However, the evidence to support smartphone apps is absent or of poor quality. This review included 26 studies and builds …

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Outcomes similar for full or partial hip replacement after hip fracture

For older people with hip fracture, the choice between full or partial hip replacement does not greatly influence outcomes. In this trial, approximately 8% of patients having each operation required further surgery within a 24-month period. Mortality rates were also similar at around 13%. This multinational trial included 1,495 adults aged over 50 with a hip …

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Universal ultrasound in late pregnancy did not reduce serious harms to babies

Offering all women third trimester ultrasounds did not reduce the rate of serious illness or death in babies in the first week of life. Monitoring fetal growth is part of routine antenatal care, using regular tape measurements from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. To date, it has been unclear whether also …

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Whole-school programme can have a small effect on reducing bullying in secondary schools

An anti-bullying intervention trialled at 20 UK secondary schools resulted in a reduction in bullying incidents at school. The ‘Learning Together’ initiative was funded by the NIHR and designed to modify the school environment and provide social and emotional support. The trial took place over three years and involved around 3,000 pupils who were 11 …

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Measles vaccine still effective if given to infants under nine months old

A first vaccination dose against measles is a safe and somewhat effective option if given to infants earlier than usual, and before the age of nine months. However, vaccine effectiveness does increase when administered at older ages, as currently. Two doses of measles-containing vaccines are recommended as part of a childhood immunisation programme. In countries …

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