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.


Active monitoring in early prostate cancer prevents as many deaths as surgery or radiotherapy, new research shows

A long-running clinical trial of how best to treat men diagnosed with early prostate cancer found that active monitoring was as effective as surgery or radiotherapy in preserving life. Active monitoring, sometimes called 'watch and wait', means that men have regular tests, and only have surgery or radiotherapy if the cancer progresses. In the trial, ...


Mental health problems in complex trauma: the most promising therapies are identified in a new review

Complex trauma arises from events that happen repeatedly and are difficult to escape from, such as war, childhood abuse and violence. People may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Mental health services are ill-equipped to help them, due to a lack of clear evidence on the best therapies for ...


Dialysis for acute kidney injury can be safely delayed for many patients

Early dialysis does not improve survival among critically ill patients with acute kidney injury, new research shows. A large multinational trial found that starting dialysis within 12 hours of acute kidney injury was no more effective than watchful waiting with delayed dialysis. Acute kidney injury means that the kidneys stop working suddenly. It is a ...


Informed decision-making when birth defects are suspected: new research brings fresh insight

Parents expecting a baby suspected of having a serious birth defect must decide whether or not to continue the pregnancy. This research provides fresh insight into the decision-making process for these parents. Informed decision-making is expected throughout the NHS. The new research highlights the difficulty of putting this into practice when birth defects are diagnosed ...


People with diabetes with a low risk of developing foot ulcers can be screened less often, study suggests

People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing foot ulcers. Current NICE guidance recommends that they have their feet screened annually to identify those most at risk.  But a new study suggests that annual foot checks could be scaled back. It found that people at low risk of developing ulcers do not need annual ...


People in the most deprived groups were least likely to take part in the exercise referral scheme, study finds

Exercise referral schemes are designed for people with long term conditions that can be improved by exercise, such as raised blood pressure or mental health problems. They aim to encourage people to become more active, but evidence for the success of such schemes is mixed. This study evaluated the Welsh National Exercise Referral Scheme and ...


Aspirin could reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in people with pneumonia, research suggests

People with pneumonia are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke. New research suggests that taking aspirin may reduce the risk of these cardiovascular events. Pneumonia is swelling (inflammation) of the tissue in one or both lungs. It is usually caused by bacterial infection but can also be caused by viruses, including ...


Older people move safely from hospital to home when staff communicate widely and bridge gaps in the system

The transition period from preparing to leave the hospital (being discharged) to the first few weeks at home can be risky, particularly for older patients. Most research on hospital discharge has looked at when things turn out badly: a patient has to go back to hospital or has their safety compromised. The authors of this ...


Plaster cast is as good as surgery for a broken scaphoid bone in the wrist, SWIFFT trial finds

Fractures of the scaphoid bone in the wrist are among the most common broken bone injuries. Traditionally, they have been healed by immobilising the wrist in a plaster cast but over the last two decades, surgeons have increasingly fixed the injury in surgery, by putting a small screw across the break. However, before this study, ...


Lockdown raised anxiety in people with anorexia and their carers, but online resources helped

The lockdowns and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted eating disorder services. People with anorexia nervosa experienced a loss of routine, heightened anxieties, and increased symptoms. Carers felt more concern and greater responsibility for their loved ones. Despite these difficulties, some patients and carers benefitted from digital self-management resources. The TRIANGLE project aims to help ...

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