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.


Terminally ill patients and their families often need more help to manage their medicines

Terminally ill patients and their family caregivers often have to manage complex medication regimes in their homes. However, little is known about how healthcare professionals support them in this. This study examined healthcare professionals’ understanding of the experiences of patient and family caregivers when managing medicines in end of life care. The study suggests simple, ...


More health research should take place in the areas and populations with most disease

The numbers of patients who take part in health research varies across England. But overall, health research does not take place in areas where the burden of disease is highest. A new study found that areas with the highest burden of disease have the lowest numbers of patients taking part in research. This means that ...


Cultural and language barriers need to be addressed for British-Pakistani women to benefit fully from breast screening

British-Pakistani women may need help to overcome cultural and language barriers if they are to fully take part in the NHS breast screening programme. Breast screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. UK women aged 50 to 70 years receive an invitation ...


Community-based medicine collection improves access to lifesaving HIV treatment in South Africa

A programme in South Africa is successfully shifting the location of treatments for long term conditions from the clinic to the community. It is the largest programme of its kind in the world and a new study highlights the benefits to people living with HIV. The programme is called Centralised Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution ...


Parents-to-be need to be prepared for receiving uncertain results from genetic tests

Parents-to-be are offered a range of tests to predict whether their baby is likely to have certain health conditions. Many are keen to have these pre-natal tests for reassurance. But sometimes the results are unclear, leaving parents to deal with uncertainty. New types of genetic tests look in detail at the baby’s genetic material (the ...


Most patients welcome advice from GPs on changing their behaviour to improve health

Most patients are open to receiving advice on behaviour change from their GP. That is especially true if the advice is personally tailored and relevant to their illness. A good doctor-patient relationship is also important for the way advice is given and received. The findings come from interviews with people about their experiences of receiving ...


Male prisoners develop unhealthy hearts at younger ages than people on the outside

The risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is higher among male prisoners than among men of the same age who live in the community. CVD affects the heart and blood vessels and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The largest European study of the heart health of prisoners found that more than one in ...


Teams of healthcare professionals from a wide range of disciplines and pay grades are most effective at delivering improvements in patients’ experiences

Teams with the most diverse range of skills, knowledge and experience may be most effective at planning and implementing projects to improve patients’ experience of the NHS. A study looked at the resources, or ‘team capital’ of groups aiming to make improvements to the quality of service. They found teams with members from a range ...


Psychiatric drugs given to children and adolescents have been ranked in order of safety

Dozens of drugs prescribed for psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents have been ranked in order of safety by an international team of psychiatrists. The drugs are prescribed for mental health conditions including depression, psychosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders. All drugs can have unwanted side effects (adverse effects). The researchers looked ...


Anti-inflammatory drugs do not lift depression in bipolar disorder

Two drugs which are often used to treat inflammation failed  to help people with bipolar depression. Previous research has suggested that inflammation of the brain may be involved in some mental illnesses, including depression. It meant that drugs which block inflammation could potentially be a new way of treating depression. But the first large clinical ...

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