Evidence

Alerts

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.

Alert

Advance care plans improve quality of life for heart failure patients

Advance care planning (ACP) can improve the quality of life of patients with heart failure, especially if it includes follow-up, involves family members and is carried out by trained clinicians working in multidisciplinary teams. This review summarised the evidence about the effect of ACP on quality of life, compared with usual care, for 2,924 patients ...

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Increasing omega-3 intake does not prevent depression or anxiety

Increasing intake of polyunsaturated fats, for example with omega-3 fatty acid supplements, has little or no effect in preventing the onset of depression or anxiety symptoms in people without these conditions, but who might be at risk. These findings support dietary advice that omega-3 supplements are not needed in healthy people. This review also highlights ...

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Text messaging support helps smokers quit, but apps not yet shown to work

Text messaging support helps people quit smoking, more than minimal support such as self-help materials. Also, when text messaging is combined with another smoking cessation intervention, it is more effective than just that intervention alone. However, the evidence to support smartphone apps is absent or of poor quality. This review included 26 studies and builds ...

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Outcomes similar for full or partial hip replacement after hip fracture

For older people with hip fracture, the choice between full or partial hip replacement does not greatly influence outcomes. In this trial, approximately 8% of patients having each operation required further surgery within a 24-month period. Mortality rates were also similar at around 13%. This multinational trial included 1,495 adults aged over 50 with a hip ...

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Universal ultrasound in late pregnancy did not reduce serious harms to babies

Offering all women third trimester ultrasounds did not reduce the rate of serious illness or death in babies in the first week of life. Monitoring fetal growth is part of routine antenatal care, using regular tape measurements from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. To date, it has been unclear whether also ...

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Whole-school programme can have a small effect on reducing bullying in secondary schools

An anti-bullying intervention trialled at 20 UK secondary schools resulted in a reduction in bullying incidents at school. The ‘Learning Together’ initiative was funded by the NIHR and designed to modify the school environment and provide social and emotional support. The trial took place over three years and involved around 3,000 pupils who were 11 ...

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Measles vaccine still effective if given to infants under nine months old

A first vaccination dose against measles is a safe and somewhat effective option if given to infants earlier than usual, and before the age of nine months. However, vaccine effectiveness does increase when administered at older ages, as currently. Two doses of measles-containing vaccines are recommended as part of a childhood immunisation programme. In countries ...

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Impact of online or app-based assessment for urgent health problems largely unclear

Relatively little robust evidence exists on the impact of online or app-based health assessments for people seeking urgent care. The available evidence suggests that these services are not as good at making diagnoses as health professionals; though it is not clear whether this is a useful benchmark. The ‘NHS 111 Online’ service for symptom checking ...

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Tranexamic acid is safe to use following mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury and reduces deaths

In people with mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury, tranexamic acid (a drug which reduces bleeding) given within three hours of injury reduces the risk of death by 22%. This effect is seen in a subgroup of those who are less severely affected. This NIHR-funded multi-centre international trial randomised 12,737 adults with intracranial bleeding to receive either ...

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Intensive routine follow-up after bowel cancer treatment may not be necessary

More intensive follow-up strategies for patients who have surgery to cure bowel cancer do not result in an overall survival benefit when compared with less intensive follow-up. More intensive strategies include increased frequency of clinic visits, blood tests and scans. This Cochrane review did find that those people followed up intensively had more frequent surgery ...

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