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.


Continuous monitoring of sugar levels in premature infants is better than standard care

Continuous monitoring of blood sugar (glucose) in premature infants leads to better control than the standard approach of intermittent testing, a new study found. Research suggests it could prevent serious health and developmental problems in the infants.  In standard intensive care for newborns (neonatal care), babies need to have their blood sampled every few hours. ...


Earlier decisions on breast and ovarian surgery reduce cancer in women at high risk

Surgery to remove breasts or ovaries effectively reduces the risk of breast or ovarian cancers. A new study looked at women at high risk of developing these cancers. They did not have cancer, but had a positive genetic test which demonstrated that their genes put them at high risk of developing it. Most of the ...


Self-testing for sexually transmitted infections increases diagnoses while reducing costs

Self-testing kits for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) could increase diagnoses while reducing costs. In a new study, people took samples from 3 different sites in the body then pooled the 3 swabs in one container. The swabs were analysed in a single test for the common bacterial infections, gonorrhoea and chlamydia.  The researchers concluded that ...


Increased rates of organ damage are seen in people discharged from hospital after COVID-19

People discharged from hospital after being treated for COVID-19 have increased rates of organ damage, readmission and death, compared to the general population. New research suggests that COVID-19 might place a greater burden on healthcare systems than was previously thought. COVID-19 is known to affect the respiratory system. Increasing evidence suggests it also affects other ...


People carrying excess weight have an increased risk of severe COVID-19

Carrying excess weight increases the risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19. New research found that excess weight increases the chance of admission to hospital or intensive care, or of dying. The under 40s and people of Black ethnicity were more affected by excess weight than others. Early in the pandemic, small studies suggested that ...


How can acute mental health wards be improved?

Service users, carers and nurses suggested ways of improving acute mental health wards. In a new study, they came up with a list of potential improvements, including less paperwork and more staff training. Service users suggested events in which they could interact with nurses through ordinary activities such as playing music or going for a ...


Many people with mental illness did not seek help during the first lockdown; research highlights unmet need

The number of people with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and self-harm increased during the UK’s first lockdown. But a huge study across England found that fewer people asked their GP or hospital for mental health support.  The research team looked at primary care records to find the numbers of people who sought ...


Mothers of children with life-limiting conditions are at risk of serious health problems

Mothers of children with life-limiting conditions have an increased risk of common health problems, including depression and heart disease. New research found that, compared with mothers of healthy children, they had higher rates of mental and physical conditions. They were also more likely to die.  The study found that these mothers were at increased risk ...


Easy-read report - Love and Relationships: the views of adults with learning disabilities

  The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is an organisation that funds others to do Health and Care research. In 2020, The NIHR funded some research done by the University of Kent. The researchers looked at adults with learning disabilities having romantic relationships. They asked people with a learning disability over the age of ...


Love and relationships: the views of adults with learning disabilities

Many adults with learning disabilities place a high value on romantic relationships. New research identified the support they need to form loving partnerships. It also described the barriers they face.  In the past, adults with learning disabilities were not thought to have the same emotional, psychological or social needs as other people. This made it ...

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