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.


People with anorectal melanoma may not benefit from radical surgery

New research suggests that limited surgery is preferable to radical surgery for a rare and aggressive type of cancer called anorectal melanoma. This cancer starts in the anus or rectum (back passage). In limited surgery (wide local excision or WLE), the cancer and a small area around it is removed. In more radical surgery (abdominoperineal ...


A new technique could make more livers available for transplant

Demand for liver transplants is so high that many people on the waiting list die before they can receive a transplant. But surgeons are rejecting increasing numbers of donated livers because they are not satisfied with the quality. New research could address this problem and make more livers available for transplant. Current practice is for ...


Tackling fear and misinformation may help increase hepatitis C testing in prison

Liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health burden. The World Health Organisation is aiming to eliminate HCV as a public health problem by 2030 and testing in prisons is central to this campaign. People entering prison are asked to have a test for blood-borne viruses including HCV, but ...


Tranexamic acid should not be used for patients with severe gastrointestinal bleeding

A drug called tranexamic acid is used to control severe bleeding caused by injury or childbirth. Some doctors had also started using it to treat patients with severe gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, which is a common medical emergency. Evidence from small trials had suggested it could reduce deaths. The HALT-IT (Haemorrhage alleviation with tranexamic acid-Intestinal system) ...


With the right training, people with learning disabilities can become partners in research

A training course for students with learning disabilities succeeded in increasing their knowledge of research and their research skills. The course also increased their confidence and self-esteem. Several of the students went on to take up new work opportunities. The authors recommend that funding should be made available to help run more of these courses ...


Easy-read report: With the right training, people with learning disabilities can become partners in research

Easy-read report. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is an organisation that funds others to do Health and Care research. In 2019 the National Institute for Health Research funded a training course for students with learning disabilities. The research taught students with learning disabilities how to research things and how to share what they ...


New research provides insights into the distress experienced by transgender adults

Transgender people have a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and the gender they identify as. This can lead to sense of unease, dissatisfaction or distress (gender dysphoria) which can be intense. Social factors also cause negative feelings. Treatment at gender clinics is only available to those who have gender dysphoria. How gender dysphoria ...


More precise classification of risk in prostate cancer reveals a huge variation in treatment

A new study found a wide variation in how men with prostate cancer are managed in different hospitals. Current NICE guidelines recommend that prostate cancers are broadly classified into those at low, intermediate or high risk of spreading. A more precise system for classifying risk revealed that hospitals may have different approaches for managing men ...


Terminally ill patients and their families often need more help to manage their medicines

Terminally ill patients and their family caregivers often have to manage complex medication regimes in their homes. However, little is known about how healthcare professionals support them in this. This study examined healthcare professionals’ understanding of the experiences of patient and family caregivers when managing medicines in end of life care. The study suggests simple, ...


More health research should take place in the areas and populations with most disease

The numbers of patients who take part in health research varies across England. But overall, health research does not take place in areas where the burden of disease is highest. A new study found that areas with the highest burden of disease have the lowest numbers of patients taking part in research. This means that ...

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