Evidence

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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.

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Exercise improves intermittent claudication leg pain on walking

People with intermittent claudication who participate in structured exercise programmes can walk about 80 metres further without experiencing leg pain than those who do not do the programme. They can also walk about 120 metres further overall. Intermittent claudication is a cramp-like pain in the legs caused by narrowing of the arteries, which restricts blood ...

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A school-based obesity prevention programme was ineffective

A school-based healthy lifestyle programme delivered to 6-7-year-old children and their parents made no difference to children’s weight, diet or activity levels. Around 1 in 4 remained overweight or obese. The NIHR-funded year-long programme was delivered in 54 primary schools in one region of England. Teachers were trained to provide an additional 30 minutes of ...

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The most effective antidepressants for adults revealed in major review

Antidepressants are effective to treat moderate to severe depression in adults. Five antidepressants appear more effective and better tolerated than others. A major review of 522 antidepressant trials found that all of the 21 drugs studied performed better than placebo, in short-term trials measuring response to treatment. However, effectiveness varied widely. Researchers ranked drugs by ...

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Physiotherapy education before major abdominal surgery reduces lung complications

A physiotherapy session before planned abdominal surgery, explaining the importance of breathing exercises and sitting out of bed as soon after surgery as possible, halves the risk of pneumonia. This trial compared the physiotherapy session with usual care which was provided to all 432 participants. This consisted of a leaflet given in the pre-operative outpatient ...

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Adding a third antiplatelet drug after a stroke doesn’t reduce the risk of another stroke

A combination of aspirin, clopidogrel and dipyridamole does not reduce the incidence or severity of recurrent stroke in people who have had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA). This NIHR-funded trial compared the triple treatment to current guideline-based antiplatelet therapy for preventing further stroke or TIA (brief loss of blood supply to the brain). ...

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A third of health practitioners do not get vaccinated against flu

Flu vaccination uptake amongst healthcare workers in England is below the NHS target of 75%. Reasons may include mixed views on the vaccine’s effectiveness, side effects and belief they are unlikely to catch or transmit flu. Surprisingly, practical barriers such as time and access to vaccination were not mentioned in this systematic review of qualitative ...

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Self-care support for children with long-term conditions may reduce emergency costs

Helping children and parents to manage long-term conditions like asthma may reduce their need for emergency care, and is unlikely to reduce children’s quality of life. This NIHR review found that structured professional help with self-care, including online support, provision of care plans, case management and face-to-face education, was linked to small increases in quality ...

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Hospital admission rates and costs increase in line with BMI

Each 2kg/m2 rise in body mass index (BMI) above the normal-weight threshold in women aged 55-79 leads to a 5% rise in annual hospital admissions and 7% rise in healthcare costs. In England, £662 million of the annual hospital admission costs in 2013 could be attributed to overweight or obesity in women of this age ...

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Person-centred care improves quality of life for care home residents with dementia

A person-centred care intervention for people with dementia living in care homes improved their quality of life, reduced agitation and improved interactions with staff. It may also save costs compared with usual care. The WHELD intervention involves training staff in person-centred care, with a focus on improving social interactions and appropriate use of antipsychotic medications. ...

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Enriched food and snacks can increase nutritional intake in older people in hospital

Enriching hospital food with energy or protein may improve nutrition in older people in hospital. Studies assessed in a systematic review showed consistent effects of enriched or fortified foods compared with usual nutrition. The extent of increased consumption varied depending on the amount and type of foods added. Malnutrition is common in older people in ...

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