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.


Education can restore awareness of low blood glucose in people with type 1 diabetes

This systematic review found that a range of educational and technological interventions could help adults with type 1 diabetes regain awareness of when they have low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia). Nearly one in every three adults with type 1 diabetes stops noticing low blood sugar levels. This means they cannot take action quickly to prevent a ...


Clinics and activities in primary care can reduce heart disease deaths

This review found that primary care interventions at an organisational level for people with coronary heart disease reduced death rates for up to six years after the intervention, compared to usual care. The structured interventions lasted between one and three years and included activities like organising dedicated clinics to monitor and adjust medication to meet ...


New drugs for deep vein thrombosis may offer a safe alternative to warfarin

This Cochrane systematic review found that two new types of drugs taken by mouth for deep vein thrombosis were as effective as standard treatment, which most commonly involves treatment by injection followed by warfarin tablets for at least three months. The new drugs have the advantage that they do not require monitoring or dose changes ...


Self-management support for stroke survivors may improve independence

This NIHR-funded summary of systematic reviews looked at the evidence on self-management support for stroke survivors. It found that the term self-management was rarely used in the literature. There was high quality evidence that therapy-based rehabilitation, some of it including components supporting self-management, had a beneficial effect on the basic activities of daily living, such ...


Cognitive behavioural therapy may help people with persistent low back pain

This NIHR-funded systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness of talking therapies in improving outcomes for people with non-specific low back pain. It found that cognitive behavioural therapies were more effective than no treatment and provided some benefit compared with other active treatments like physiotherapy with education, home and clinic based exercise, or to less active ...


Exercise referral schemes increase physical activity for some

This NIHR-funded systematic review found that exercise referral schemes increased physical activity in people who have no or little physical activity to begin with compared with usual care or advice. But these schemes do not appear to be cost-effective for all people. Exercise referral schemes may be more effective for people with coronary heart disease ...


Reducing street lighting doesn’t lead to more road traffic accidents or crime

This NIHR study found that reducing or adapting street lighting was not linked to more road traffic accidents or crime in the UK. Many local authorities have changed their street lighting in recent years – switching off entirely, switching off for part of the night, dimming, or changing to energy efficient LED bulbs – to ...


Talking therapies may prevent relapse of depression

This review looked at how effective different psychological "talking" therapies were at preventing relapse of depression. It found that cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy all reduced the risk of depression relapse over a year by 20 to 25% compared with a control treatment. There was further evidence that the effect for cognitive ...


Designing successful telehealth interventions

This NIHR-funded review identified three general principles for designing effective telehealth programmes for people with long-term health conditions. First, the technologies need to help people living with disease to build effective relationships with doctors, nurses and others. Second, there needs to be a good fit between the technology and everyday routine of the patient. Thirdly, the ...


Two drugs only partially helpful for pyoderma gangrenosum

This NIHR trial found no difference in the healing of pyoderma gangrenosum over six weeks in adults treated with prednisolone or ciclosporin. Pyoderma gangrenosum is a rare serious skin condition causing painful ulcers, and over half of ulcers had failed to heal after six months of either treatment. There were more serious side effects – ...

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