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

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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Online patient feedback is mostly positive — but is not being used effectively

People are increasingly reading online feedback from other patients to gauge service quality but fewer people go online to write feedback themselves. Health organisations and professionals are not currently effective at using this feedback to improve services. These findings come from an NIHR-funded study which used five research streams to provide an overview of online patient ...

Alert

Group cognitive behavioural courses may reduce fatigue from rheumatoid arthritis

Fatigue can be one of the most difficult symptoms to cope with for people with rheumatoid arthritis and this study found that group cognitive behavioural courses may help. This NIHR-funded study compared six weekly group sessions plus a booster session with a single brief one-to-one meeting. Both groups also received an educational booklet. It took ...

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Working in groups with ongoing support is valued by people with severe obesity trying to lose weight

People with severe obesity, a BMI of 35kg/m² or more, value the support and motivation they get from weight management programmes that include group-based interventions. However, commissioners and service managers should consider how to maintain adequate support and motivation once programmes end. Although previous studies have assessed the impact of non-surgical weight management programmes for ...

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MRI and ultrasound scans are both helpful in assessing Crohn’s disease; MRI is slightly more accurate

Two types of scan, MRI and ultrasound, work well when used for staging and monitoring Crohn’s disease. MRI is more accurate. Researchers compared a form of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging that includes an oral contrast agent, with ultrasound scans. They aimed to see which was better able to detect the presence and extent of active ...

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‘As-needed’ combination asthma inhalers can be more effective than regular inhaled steroids

In adults with mild to moderate asthma, budesonide-formoterol used as needed for symptom relief was more effective at preventing severe exacerbations than maintenance low-dose budesonide plus as-needed terbutaline. In this trial involving 885 adults, those using the combination inhaler as required had fewer severe asthma attacks, with similar levels of general symptom control, and overall ...

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Longer duration of urinary catheter placement associated with an increase in urinary infection

The risk of urinary infection appears low with very short-term use but increases with the time that a patient has a catheter. Women and patients with paraplegia or cerebrovascular disease are at increased risk. This US-based retrospective analysis of electronic health records identified 148,361 indwelling catheterisations, of which 61,047 were for three or more days, ...

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Holistic services in advanced lung disease can help people cope better with breathlessness

Services providing holistic health care can improve the psychological well-being of people who are living with breathlessness associated with chronic or advanced lung disease, such as lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Breathlessness is a distressing symptom in which feelings of fear and helplessness, social isolation, high levels of anxiety and significant carer burden ...

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