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

Impact of online or app-based assessment for urgent health problems largely unclear

Relatively little robust evidence exists on the impact of online or app-based health assessments for people seeking urgent care. The available evidence suggests that these services are not as good at making diagnoses as health professionals; though it is not clear whether this is a useful benchmark. The ‘NHS 111 Online’ service for symptom checking …

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Tranexamic acid is safe to use following mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury and reduces deaths

In people with mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury, tranexamic acid (a drug which reduces bleeding) given within three hours of injury reduces the risk of death by 22%. This effect is seen in a subgroup of those who are less severely affected. This NIHR-funded multi-centre international trial randomised 12,737 adults with intracranial bleeding to receive either …

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Intensive routine follow-up after bowel cancer treatment may not be necessary

More intensive follow-up strategies for patients who have surgery to cure bowel cancer do not result in an overall survival benefit when compared with less intensive follow-up. More intensive strategies include increased frequency of clinic visits, blood tests and scans. This Cochrane review did find that those people followed up intensively had more frequent surgery …

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‘Care navigation’ is being widely adopted in primary care, but in varying ways

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England are implementing care navigation in primary care to help people with non-medical issues to access alternative services. This ‘social prescribing’, facilitated by nominated care navigators, also aims to reduce the pressure on general practice, and forms part of the NHS Long Term Plan. This NIHR-funded study shows that the …

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Antenatal MRI can aid ultrasound when fetal brain abnormality is suspected

In utero magnetic resonance imaging (iuMRI) can provide a more accurate diagnosis when used after ultrasound in pregnancy. Adding iuMRI when a brain abnormality is suspected but unclear from ultrasound could help clinicians provide better prognostic advice and support to parents during pregnancy. This NIHR-funded cohort study compared ultrasound and iuMRI in 570 women at …

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GLP-1 drug for diabetes gives modest cardiovascular benefits compared with placebo

Taking a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1) agonist drug lowers the likelihood of having a stroke, heart attack or dying due to cardiovascular causes by 12%. The drugs give a similar 12% reduction in overall mortality. They do not increase the risk of heart failure, very low blood sugar levels or pancreatic disease. Diabetes causes one …

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Uptake of shingles vaccination is more likely if proactively offered in primary care

The shingles vaccination programme is intended for people aged between 70 and 80 years, but uptake in this group has been low. This survey found that people were more likely to have had the vaccine if it was proactively offered by a GP or nurse. The survey was completed by 536 individuals born in 1934 …

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Fewer infections with antibiotic-impregnated shunts for hydrocephalus

Antibiotic-impregnated shunt catheters led to fewer infections than standard catheters in this study, although the overall rate of shunt revision remained about the same. In hydrocephalus, a shunt is a device consisting in part of a long catheter (a tube) that relieves the raised pressure of fluid in the ventricles of the brain. It is …

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Impact of a national quality improvement programme for hospital wards is unclear

The Productive Ward quality improvement programme has shown some procedural changes on hospital wards in England in the 10 years since it was introduced. But evidence to show any sustained changes to the experiences of staff or patients is hard to find. This NIHR-funded study used quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate the programme in …

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Two commonly used pressure redistributing mattresses are similar for preventing pressure ulcers but differ on price

The choice of mattress used in hospital makes no difference to whether adults develop pressure ulcers, or how quickly, but differ on price. This large NIHR-funded trial included 2,029 participants at high risk of developing pressure ulcers and found fewer pressure ulcers overall than expected (7.9%). Half of about 2,000 participants in this large NIHR-funded …

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