Evidence

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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.

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Local nerve blocks can improve outcomes for people with hip fracture

Local nerve blocks around the time of hip fracture surgery reduced pain on movement within 30 minutes of injection. People had less need for opioid pain-relief and were quicker to mobilise after surgery. Also, one case of pneumonia was prevented for every seven people given pain relief using a nerve block. By injecting local anaesthetics ...

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Use of a facemask ventilator can reduce deaths in severe flare-ups of COPD

People admitted to hospital with a severe exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were 46% less likely to die if they received non-invasive ventilation. Only 12% of those receiving non-invasive ventilation needed subsequent invasive ventilation via a tube, compared to 34% of those who had usual care. This review identified 17 trials of adults ...

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Intensive lifestyle interventions can help obese young people lose weight

Obese children and adolescents can lose up to seven pounds over six to 12 months when they engage in at least 52 hours of behaviour-based lifestyle interventions. Minimal benefit was seen with shorter contact time, with less than 25 hours ineffective. The control group gained weight. Rising obesity in the young is a global concern, ...

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Heel casts do not improve heel ulcers in diabetes

Fibreglass casts moulded to the heel did not improve heel ulcers in people with diabetes when added to usual ulcer care. Ulcers healed within six months in 44% of people using casts compared with 37% without which was not a statistically significant difference. Foot ulcers are a common complication of diabetes, and heel ulcers are ...

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Guided self-help therapy for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) did not improve symptoms

Offering people guided self-help whilst on a waiting list for therapist-led therapy did not improve their obsessive-compulsive symptoms when assessed after three or 12 months. However, these low-intensity interventions may reduce the likelihood of people taking up therapist-led cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This NIHR-funded trial included 473 adults with moderate to severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who ...

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Blood test and ECG may safely rule out heart attack

A high sensitivity troponin test accurately ruled out a heart attack amongst a third of patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain. A patient with no detectable troponin and normal electrocardiogram was almost certain not to have had a heart attack. Many people come to hospital with chest pain, but more than 75% ...

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A range of anti-epilepsy drugs are effective as first-line treatment

Lamotrigine and levetiracetam are emerging as first-line treatments for epilepsy, which people may be more likely to keep taking than carbamazepine. Reducing the risk of adverse events and treatment withdrawal is important when selecting an anti-epilepsy drug as it usually will need to be taken long-term. This study reviewed evidence on anti-epilepsy drugs in adults ...

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Group rehabilitation activities improve walking after stroke

Group-based circuit class therapy (CCT) focused on repetitive mobility, and functional tasks improved walking ability in people after stroke. People walked on average 61m further during six minutes than those receiving comparison interventions. CCT involves stroke survivors practising different activities at workstations in sight of each other. This Cochrane review identified 17 trials of group-based ...

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52-week programme leads to more weight loss than 12-week

Obese people referred to a 52-week group weight management programme lost about 2kg more weight on average by one and two years compared to those referred for the standard 12 weeks. These modest health gains were also more likely to be sustained over time in the long programme. A brief intervention led to 3kg weight ...

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Use of public defibrillators linked to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival

Providing a shock using a defibrillator to people with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest before the arrival of emergency medical services increases their chance of survival. The UK survival rate is around 8%, which is lower than in other developed countries. This review found that bystander assistance through cardiopulmonary resuscitation and attaching a defibrillator increased it to ...

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