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.


Digital analysis of cells and tissue was as reliable as using a microscope in a new review

Diagnoses made using digital scans of cell and tissue samples are as reliable as looking at traditional slides through a microscope, a new review suggests. It provides the strongest evidence to date that digital techniques are a viable alternative to microscopy and could in future replace it. Small samples of body tissue (biopsies) are sometimes ...


Easy-read report: The risk of forced marriage for people with learning disabilities from South Asian communities

Easy-read report. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is an organisation that funds others to do Health and Care research. This report is about research that has been going since 2009 called, ‘My Marriage, My Choice’. This study has looked at people with learning disabilities who have ‘forced marriages’. What is this research about? ...


Risk of forced marriage among people with learning disabilities: carers provide insights into consent, care needs and the place of marriage in South Asian communities

Under UK law, some people with learning disabilities cannot legally marry. If someone is unable to understand the implications of marriage - or to develop the capacity to understand - they cannot consent to marry. By law, any marriage that goes ahead is considered ‘forced’. Most forced marriages in the UK take place within South ...


Acting on feedback from national clinical audits: NHS staff describe their motivations and the barriers to engaging with the data

A national clinical audit (NCA) in a specific condition gives a picture of the standard of care provided by NHS Trusts across the country. Hospitals can use NCA data to determine where their service is doing well compared to other Trusts, and where there could be improvements. The aim is to improve the quality of ...


Extending breast screening to women in their forties may save lives without increasing harms, research suggests

Around 7,600 women in their 40s are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK. But the NHS Breast Screening Programme only starts inviting women once they turn 50. Mammography (X-ray of the breasts) is offered to women every three years between the ages of 50 to 70. There is long-standing debate about the ...


Being overweight is linked with an increased risk of dementia in new research

People who carry excess weight in midlife have an increased risk of developing dementia, suggests new research from the long-running English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). This study included people aged over 50 and followed them for an average of 11 years. Overall, those who were obese at the start of the study had a ...


Hand strengthening and stretching for people with rheumatoid arthritis: online training helps therapists deliver an exercise programme

A programme of exercises for people with rheumatoid arthritis improves hand strength and function. The Strengthening and Stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH) programme is recommended by NICE following positive results in a large clinical trial. Therapists were initially trained face-to-face to deliver the SARAH programme. To speed up its routine use in ...


Heart surgery in young children: routine monitoring of complications can help assess the quality of care

The vast majority of young children undergoing heart surgery survive the procedure; the survival rate is 98%. This means that the current practice of monitoring survival alone is a blunt measure that does not give a full picture of childrens’ recovery. New research suggests that complications may be a better indicator of the quality of ...


People with chronic fatigue syndrome want to be taken seriously and to receive personalised, empathetic care

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex, long-term condition that dramatically limits people's activities. It is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). People with CFS/ME are exhausted for no reason; rest does not help and it can take days or weeks to recover from any activity. Some describe 'brain fog' and problems with memory, concentration ...


Physician associates need support to establish their place within the healthcare workforce

The role of physician associate was recently introduced in the UK as a response to staff shortages, growing demand for services and rising costs in the NHS. Physician associates support multidisciplinary healthcare teams in the diagnosis and management of patients. They are supervised by doctors and they take medical histories, carry out physical examinations and ...

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