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.


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 ...


Short term palliative care reduced costs without compromising quality for people with neurological conditions

People with long term neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis may have important needs that are not met within standard care. Palliative care considers the whole person, not just the illness, and aims to manage pain and other distressing symptoms while also providing psychological, social and spiritual support for ...


People with anaemia may not benefit from iron therapy ahead of major abdominal surgery, research finds

People with anaemia who were due to have major abdominal surgery did not see the expected benefits from receiving iron infusions in advance. A new study found that iron infusions did not reduce blood transfusions or deaths compared to a dummy treatment with salt water (placebo). There was no reduction in complications while people were ...


Strong patient-staff relationships are key to reducing conflict in high-security psychiatric hospitals

Aggression and conflict are common in high-security psychiatric hospitals. High-risk interventions – including restraint, seclusion and tranquilisers – are sometimes used to manage violence. De-escalation is an alternative approach which may help staff respond to aggression without using these restrictive interventions. It trains staff to recognise and understand the early signs of agitation and irritation. ...


Lonely young people have an increased risk of mental health problems years later: research suggests lockdown could have a long term effect

Loneliness and social isolation increase the long-term risk of depression and anxiety in children and teenagers, a recent review of research suggests. It included studies carried out before the current pandemic and found that negative impacts on mental health were evident up to nine years later. Children and teenagers rely on close friendships more than ...


Young offenders with undiagnosed language problems are twice as likely to reoffend within a year

Young people convicted of a criminal offence are much more likely to have another conviction within 12 months if they have an undiagnosed language problem. People with developmental language disorder (DLD) have difficulty expressing themselves verbally or understanding what is said to them. The disorder often starts in early childhood but persists into adulthood and ...


Laser surgery for an enlarged prostate is no more effective than standard surgery

Two procedures to treat men with enlarged prostates are both effective, new research has shown. A benign enlarged prostate is not cancer and is not usually a serious threat to health. But it is common in men over 50 and some need surgery to treat troublesome urinary symptoms caused by the growing prostate. The most ...


An innovative swallowable sponge detects Barrett's oesophagus in people with heartburn, study shows

Detection of a pre-cancerous throat condition called Barrett’s oesophagus can be improved with the use of an innovative swallowable sponge and laboratory test, a large multicentre trial found. Heartburn, caused by acid reflux from the stomach up into the gullet (oesophagus), is common among people visiting their GP. It is usually treated with acid suppressants. ...


Men who have sex with men are less likely to use drugs to prevent HIV if they are young, unemployed or have a low disposable income, research finds

The use of drugs to reduce the transmission of HIV has increased substantially in recent years. New research found that two in five men who have sex with men (MSM) attending sexual health clinics in London and Brighton had taken drugs as a precaution in case they encounter the virus. At the time of the ...


First-time mothers need clear and consistent information about the care they can expect after giving birth

The first six to eight weeks after giving birth is an important time in a woman’s transition into motherhood. But currently little is known about what pregnant women expect, or how well informed they feel in advance about the care they will receive during this postnatal period. The current national guidance in England covers the ...

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