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.


Persistent throat symptoms should not be treated with pills that reduce stomach acid

Drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are increasingly used to treat throat symptoms such as the feeling of a lump in the throat or throat clearing. However, new research found PPIs offer no benefit over dummy pills. The researchers say these drugs should not be prescribed to treat throat symptoms. Persistent throat symptoms, which also ...


Research shows some types of HRT are linked to lower risks of breast cancer

Women considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be reassured about the risk of breast cancer. New research suggests that HRT is generally linked to only small increased risks. Different types of HRT were linked to different risks of breast cancer. The details of this study should help guide discussions between doctors and women considering HRT.  ...


A highly personalised approach to end of life care is needed to help Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities

Better understanding of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities would help develop healthcare services which are more acceptable to them. New research explored values and beliefs in communities, along with the practical barriers their members face in accessing healthcare. The research team says that these communities need sensitive and highly personalised services.  People in Travelling ...


Special arthritis gloves are no better at reducing pain and stiffness than looser-fitting gloves

Special arthritis gloves are no more effective than looser-fitting alternatives in reducing hand pain and stiffness, new work has shown. The researchers say that healthcare professionals should not recommend special gloves; the cheaper alternatives are just as effective.  Rheumatoid arthritis is a common condition which causes painful joints. Special gloves can be prescribed for hand ...


A booklet about low blood sugar reduced repeat emergency callouts

A simple booklet, given along with advice from ambulance crews, can reduce the need for further emergency callouts for low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia or hypos). New research found that this cheap intervention reduced the number of repeat emergency callouts for hypoglycaemia. It helped people recognise early warning signs and manage their own condition. Hypoglycaemia is ...


Rapid tests for flu in hospital led to earlier isolation, and less serious illness

Rapid tests for flu led to more timely treatment with antiviral medicines for people in hospital. New research found that people with suspected flu who had rapid tests were less likely to become seriously ill than those receiving standard care. They were also transferred to isolation more quickly, which could reduce the spread of infection. ...


Vaccinating teenagers reduces the spread of flu, model shows

Young people are thought to drive the spread of seasonal influenza (flu) while rarely becoming seriously ill themselves. A computer model developed before the pandemic showed the benefits of including teenagers in the vaccination programme. The model found that giving flu vaccines to 2 – 20 year olds cost less than vaccinating people over 65 ...


Vision screening for all stroke survivors would identify many who need support

Many stroke survivors have undiagnosed vision problems. A new study found that more than half of those with a new visual impairment do not – or cannot – report symptoms. The researchers say that all stroke survivors should have thorough assessments of their vision. Relying on reported symptoms alone is not enough. More than 1.3 ...


Advance care planning is welcomed by older people after an emergency admission

Emergency admissions may be an appropriate time to start advance care planning for older people. New research found that people over 70 generally welcomed these discussions in hospital. Advance care planning allows people to think and talk about the care they would like to receive, including in their final months of life. These discussions are ...


New tool can predict the risks of surgery for people with COVID-19

A new tool, called CovidSurg, can predict the risks of surgery for people who develop COVID-19. It gives a score based on readily available information, and could help patients and professionals discuss and manage the likely risks. The tool, which was developed using machine learning, is free for surgical teams around the world to use.  ...

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