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.


Heart surgery in young children: routine monitoring of complications can help assess the quality of care

The vast majority of young children undergoing heart surgery survive the procedure; the survival rate is 98%. This means that the current practice of monitoring survival alone is a blunt measure that does not give a full picture of childrens’ recovery. New research suggests that complications may be a better indicator of the quality of ...


People with chronic fatigue syndrome want to be taken seriously and to receive personalised, empathetic care

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex, long-term condition that dramatically limits people's activities. It is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). People with CFS/ME are exhausted for no reason; rest does not help and it can take days or weeks to recover from any activity. Some describe 'brain fog' and problems with memory, concentration ...


Physician associates need support to establish their place within the healthcare workforce

The role of physician associate was recently introduced in the UK as a response to staff shortages, growing demand for services and rising costs in the NHS. Physician associates support multidisciplinary healthcare teams in the diagnosis and management of patients. They are supervised by doctors and they take medical histories, carry out physical examinations and ...


Getting up after a fall: training could encourage older people to get themselves back up

Most research into falls looks at how to prevent them from happening. The authors of this study wanted instead to understand more about getting up from a fall. They explored attitudes towards older people getting up by themselves and looked at measures that could encourage them to try. Falls are common among older people and ...


Parents are meaningfully involved in decisions on the care of their critically ill baby when they are given options not recommendations

Faced with the decision of whether to limit life support for their critically ill baby, parents fare better when doctors present them with options, rather than making recommendations. New research described distinct styles of communication used by doctors. Each had a different impact on parents’ involvement in decision-making. The researchers suggest this could in turn ...


A new framework for allied health professionals aims to promote a culture of research

‘Shaping Better Practice Through Research: A Practitioner's Framework’ is the first framework designed to help Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in all roles and at all career levels carry out research. The framework provides guidance on research activities, collaboration, how research relates to career development and how it informs practice. It could foster a stronger tradition ...


To improve team decision-making in cancer care: streamline workload, shorten meetings, address logistics and keep a gender balance on the team

For the past 20 years, the cornerstone of cancer care has been Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) who meet regularly to discuss the treatment and progress of people with cancer and plan the next steps. MDTs bring together a wide range of healthcare professionals, including surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, cancer nurse specialists and histopathologists (who examine samples of ...


New sub-groups of diabetes could lead to more targeted treatment for people in India

Type 2 diabetes is not a single disease. This was shown in 2018 when doctors in Scandinavia identified several sub-groups of type 2 diabetes in their population. Each sub-group has distinct characteristics and may respond to different treatments. Now, researchers have discovered different sub-groups among people in India. Their study included more than 19,000 people ...


Virtual quizzes involving several care homes are feasible and might reduce loneliness and social isolation

Simple low-cost video technology allowed residents in different care homes to enjoy taking part in virtual quizzes. Staff support was needed but new research found that the sessions were feasible and low-cost. This is the first study to trial connecting care homes virtually via quiz sessions. Interviews revealed that residents felt more connected with each ...


A combination of tests is needed to diagnose a dangerous type of meningitis in children

Meningitis caused by tuberculosis (TB) is rare in the UK, but it is a dangerous disease which can be fatal or leave people with disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to poor outcomes. TB is better known for causing lung disease, but the bacteria can also infect the brain, causing TB meningitis. The disease is often ...

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