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.


New evidence confirms three-yearly surveillance interval for people at intermediate risk of bowel cancer

People with benign growths (adenomas), who are at intermediate risk of bowel cancer, benefit from follow-up colonoscopy. However, some of the patients at the lower end of risk in this intermediate category may not benefit from more than one follow-up. This NIHR-funded cohort study reviewed data for 11,944 intermediate-risk patients from UK hospitals. Within this group, ...


Simple preventive actions by parents linked to fewer child injuries

Education is promoted as a way to tackle the scale of avoidable injuries to young children. Children have two to five times the risk of an accident leading to injury if a parent leaves them on a raised surface, places hot drinks within reach, or does not put medicines away straight after use. For example, ...


Head position after acute stroke does not affect disability outcomes

Lying flat for 24 hours after a stroke is no better than sitting up at an angle of at least 30 degrees. These differences in early head position did not affect people’s levels of disability or survival to 90 days, which was more than 92% in both groups. It had been thought that the head ...


Early discharge ‘hospital-at-home’ gives similar outcomes to in-patient care

Supported early discharge, where patients receive on-going hospital-level treatment in their own home, had no effect on mortality compared with standard in-patient care. Patients had shorter hospital stays, were more likely to be satisfied and less likely to end up in residential care. This updated Cochrane review identified 32 international trials comparing early discharge hospital-at-home ...


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 ...


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 ...


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, ...


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 ...


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 ...


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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