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.


Blowing up a balloon with the nose helps restore hearing in children with glue ear

The use of a simple nasal balloon can help restore hearing in children aged 4 to 11 with glue ear. After 3 months, this non-surgical treatment restored normal hearing to 49.6% of children with glue ear compared with 38.3% receiving usual care. Children inflate the balloon by blowing it up with their noses rather than their ...


Centralising stroke services improves chances of patients getting the right care

This study of two models of organising stroke care showed that fully centralised services were more likely to deliver clinically effective treatments. This NIHR-funded study looked at stroke care audit data before and after introducing two different models of centralised stroke services in London and Manchester. The audit recorded the proportion of stroke patients in ...


Education and support groups help carers of people with severe mental illness

This systematic review found that carer-focused interventions can improve the experience of caring, carer quality of life and reduce psychological distress in those caring for people with severe mental illness in the community. Psychoeducationand support group style interventions delivered by health and social care services led to improvements in carer outcomes such as how positively ...


Comparing blood tests to detect diabetes during NHS health checks

This NIHR-funded study estimated the long-term cost effectiveness of using two recommended blood tests – glycated haemoglobin or fasting blood glucose - to detect type 2 diabetes during NHS health checks. Several screening strategies were tested. In most cases the glycated haemoglobin test was more likely to be cost effective than a fasting blood glucose. ...


Self-monitoring of warfarin is safe and cost-effective

This NIHR-funded systematic review investigated the clinical and cost-effectiveness of self-monitoring by people receiving long-term anticoagulation using vitamin K antagonists, most commonly, warfarin. People receiving warfarin require regular blood tests to see how their blood is clotting and to adjust their dose to avoid bleeding from too high a dose or thrombosis (clots) if the ...


Resveratrol supplements do not improve cardiovascular risk markers

This systematic review of trials found that resveratrol supplements do not improve the results of tests that indicate risk of heart disease, including levels of blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol or C-reactive protein. Resveratrol is found naturally in red grapes, other fruits, and nuts. Some researchers think resveratrol in red wine may lower the risk ...


Occupational therapy several years after stroke does not improve function in severely ill care home residents

This trial found that a three-month individualised occupational therapy programme did not significantly improve the daily functioning (dressing, using the toilet and overall mobility) of severely physically and cognitively impaired people living in residential care who had a stroke on average three years before. About a quarter of stroke survivors in the UK cannot return ...


Same day treatment of uterine polyps in outpatients is no worse than inpatient treatment and better value for money

This NIHR-funded trial compared treatment of uterine polyps under local anaesthetic at the time of diagnosis in a hospital outpatient clinic with inpatient treatment under general anaesthetic on another day. Treatment success, as determined by women’s assessment of bleeding, was no worse in the clinic treated group, using a pre-determined threshold for an important difference. ...


Continuous positive airway pressure led to less daytime sleepiness in older adults with sleep apnoea

This NIHR trial found that continuous positive airway pressure for obstructive sleep apnoea in people aged 65 and over led to less daytime sleepiness and was reasonable value for money. Obstructive sleep apnoea causes the airway to close intermittently overnight leading to daytime sleepiness. It is most common in older people, but previous studies have ...


Pre-hospital non-invasive ventilation for people with acute respiratory failure

This NIHR-funded systematic review and cost-effectiveness study found that pre-hospital (i.e. in the ambulance) non-invasive ventilation in the form of continuous positive airway pressure for people with acute respiratory failure, can reduce both the risk of dying and the need for ventilation in intensive care. The small device used by trained ambulance personnel was more ...

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