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.


Workplace interventions may support return to work after sick leave

This systematic review finds that interventions based in the workplace can help to support employees’ return to work following illness or disability. There is evidence indicating that the longer period of sick leave someone takes, the less likely they are to return to work. This review identified interventions to improve return to work, with support ...


One size does not fit all – evaluating the move to a hospital with 100% single rooms

This was a well-designed NIHR funded mixed methods evaluation of a move to a new build NHS hospital in England with 100% single inpatient rooms. The study found that while two thirds of patients preferred single rooms, a number reported feeling isolated. There were differences of opinions across groups, for example half of the men ...


Overseas models of specialist support for primary care physicians in managing depression may not be transferrable to the UK health system

This Cochrane review found limited evidence that specialist support for primary care through a consultation liaison model may improve care for people with mental health illness for up to 12 months. Primary care is framed as general practice in the UK or family physicians in North America. Consultation liaison is where a mental health specialist ...


Stopping Donepezil may be linked to nursing home placement for people with Alzheimer’s disease, but a “cause and effect” not conclusive

This follow up study examined whether the drugs donepezil or memantine affected the chance that people with Alzheimer’s disease could continue to live in the community, rather than move permanently to a nursing home. One or both of the drugs was taken for a year and then participants could have any treatment thereafter. The study ...


Heated, humidified high-flow oxygen therapy may be a useful alternative to other forms of respiratory support for preterm babies

This review found that heated, humidified high-flow oxygen therapy by nose was a safe and effective alternative to other non-invasive methods for supporting breathing for preterm babies. It was less likely to cause nasal injury compared with other methods that used nose tubes. Oxygen therapy is commonly used as a form of breathing support for ...


Pre-hospital intubation of people with serious head injuries by inexperienced staff linked to increased death rate

This systematic review of patients with a serious head injury found that prehospital intubation by undertrained or inexperienced staff was linked to an increased risk of death when compared to no intubation or intubation after arrival in the hospital. Restoring an individual’s airway is a priority because lack of oxygen can cause death, brain damage ...


A low residue diet may be as effective as a clear liquid diet for colonoscopy preparation

This review found that a low residue diet with laxatives for a day before colonoscopy is just as safe and effective in clearing the bowel as the clear liquid diet with laxatives currently recommended. The low residue diet was also preferred by patients and better tolerated. Good clearance of the bowel assists diagnosis and treatment ...


Preventive antibiotics for gallbladder surgery not required in those at low or moderate risk

Guidelines recommend that antibiotics are only prescribed before gallbladder keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) to those at increased risk of infection. However, 36% of surgeons still prescribe them. This systematic review found that antibiotics given before removing the gall bladder by keyhole surgery for gallstone colic did not reduce the rate of surgical site infection, distant site ...


Unexpected results from a trial of therapeutic hypothermia for severe head injury

This NIHR-funded trial of cooling the body temperature (therapeutic hypothermia) to treat traumatic head injury was stopped early by the researchers because it appeared that the treatment might be harmful. People who have severe head injuries from trauma can suffer from injury to the brain, which can be very harmful, even fatal. Survivors of traumatic ...


Intermittent pressure on the legs helps prevent leg clots in immobile people after stroke

This NIHR-funded trial found that using intermittent pneumatic compression sleeves around the legs was effective in preventing deep vein thrombosis in immobile people after a stroke. When used on people admitted within three days of an acute stroke, this technique was inexpensive and also appeared to improve survival at six months. The results of this ...

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