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.


Most patients leaving hospital in India are given inadequate medical information

A lack of medical information could make it more difficult for patients to recover after they are discharged from hospital. Patients with long term conditions such as cancer or diabetes, called chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), need repeated visits to doctors. Surveys in India included hundreds of patients with NCDs and showed that only half receive ...


Drug users who lack access to clean water use dangerous alternatives to prepare injections

Strategies to reduce the harm to homeless people who inject drugs rarely focus on their lack of access to clean water. This matters because injecting drugs prepared with unclean water or alternatives to water can lead to serious infections and illness. A study explored how people who inject drugs typically prepare injections, including when they ...


Asthma patients with a history of opioid use have worse outcomes

A new study of asthma patients with and without a history of drug misuse found that rates of attendance at an annual asthma review were poor across the whole group. Rates of flu vaccination, which is recommended for people with asthma, were also generally low. However, patients with a history of opioid use disorders (OUD) ...


Most patients undergoing planned surgery do not need compression stockings

Compression stockings might be unnecessary for patients at moderate or high risk of blood clots who are undergoing planned surgery. A study called GAPS suggests that anti-clotting medicine alone is just as effective as using it in combination with compression stockings.  Researchers involved in the large randomised controlled study recommend that guidelines for preventing blood ...


Some antidepressants can help people quit smoking, but other medications may offer greater benefits

Some anti-smoking medicines are designed specifically to reduce cravings for the nicotine in cigarettes. They include the drug varenicline and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as patches and gum. But medicines designed to treat depression may also help people to stop smoking. One antidepressant, called bupropion, can be prescribed as an anti-smoking medicine in the ...


Combined drug and psychological therapies may be most effective for depression

The most effective treatment for adults with moderate depression is likely to be a combination of antidepressant drugs and psychological interventions. A new summary provides the strongest evidence to date that the combination of treatments work better than either alone. The most recent advice from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) comes in ...


New research supports the move to raise the blood pressure target for frail older people

Frail older people may not benefit from the same tight blood pressure control that has been shown to benefit relatively younger, healthier groups in existing trials. The medical records of more than 400,000 patients in primary care were reviewed. The researchers found that lower than normal blood pressures were associated with a higher death rate ...


Ambulance staff who respond to suicides need more support

UK ambulance staff report lasting and troubling memories of being called to suicides. But in a small qualitative study, they said there was little acknowledgment in the workplace that such events are traumatic. This is important since someone exposed to suicide is known to be themselves at greater risk of suicide. Each worker interviewed had ...


Interactive dashboard identifies patients at risk of unsafe prescribing in a flexible and sustainable way

The Salford Medication Safety Dashboard (SMASH) was successfully used in general practices with the help of on-site pharmacists. SMASH is a web application that flags up a list of patients who are potentially at risk from medicines they have been prescribed.  There was an initial period of increased workload when SMASH was used to review ...


Alcohol advice needs to address how and why people drink, not just how much

GPs can help patients reduce their drinking by providing brief advice during a routine appointment. New research found that discussions on alcohol are most effective when they reflect how and why people drink, rather than simply how much. Most people who regularly drink more than 14 units a week (the recommended limit in the UK) ...

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