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.


Social prescribing could empower patients to address non-medical problems in their lives

Many GP practices are exploring social prescribing, which is a way of linking patients to sources of support in the local community. Social prescribing addresses non-medical needs such as loneliness and financial difficulties. The NHS employs link workers to connect patients with local support networks. During the COVID-19 crisis, link workers may have an even ...


Cancer screening across the world is failing people with mental illness

People with mental illness are nearly 25% less likely to receive cancer screening than those in the general population. Results from a large international study suggest this is one explanation for why people with mental illness tend to die 15-20 years earlier than other people. The study included more than 4.5 million people across the ...


Support programme for GP practices increases referrals for domestic abuse

Many GPs take little action when they encounter women they suspect are affected by domestic abuse. A training and support programme used by hundreds of practices across several London boroughs was successful in increasing referrals to specialist services, a study found. The research shows that the right interventions can help doctors and nurses ensure that ...


Functional braces are effective alternatives to plaster casts for ruptured Achilles tendons

Early weight-bearing in a below-knee rigid boot, a functional brace, following ruptured Achilles tendon can achieve similar results to traditional plaster casting. This NIHR-funded trial included 540 people, and after nine months there appeared to be no difference between the two treatments in terms of how well patients recovered from their injury. The functional brace ...


Eplerenone does not improve vision in people with central serous chorioretinopathy

Eplerenone, a drug used for people with central serous chorioretinopathy, is no more effective than placebo. Neither visual acuity nor the build-up of fluid in the eye shows an important improvement. Central serous chorioretinopathy is a serious eye condition that causes blurred and distorted vision. Fluid collects underneath the macula, which is the central area ...


Primary prevention and shared decision-making are the key to managing decay in baby teeth

Sealing in decay, improving tooth hygiene and using conventional fillings all work to prevent future dental pain and infection for children with decay in baby teeth. The approaches are equally acceptable to children and parents. Researchers tested three methods of managing decay in the primary molars of children aged three to seven: best practice prevention ...


Using wires to fix wrist fracture has good long-term outcome

Fixing a displaced broken wrist with wires is as effective as fixation with locking plates in the long term. Wrist function and pain continue to improve in the five years following either operation, with no evidence of a difference between the two treatments. In 2014, a trial comparing the use of Kirschner wires and locking plates ...


Plasma and blood cell injections have not shown a benefit for Achilles tendon injury

Injecting a ruptured Achilles tendon with a small sample of a person’s own plasma, without the red blood cells, has no functional or other benefit. Plasma rich in platelets and white blood cells for the acute injury was compared with placebo. The NIHR-funded trial involved 230 adults with acute Achilles tendon rupture (the tendon which ...


Decision aids including leaflets and computer programs help patients make treatment choices

Decision aids help patients choose between treatment options in obstetrics and gynaecology, and reduce uncertainty. A systematic review of trials of decision aids used for choices of contraception, caesarean section and menopause treatment found that patients who used them felt more confident in their ability to make the decision that was right for them, and ...


A lifestyle change programme not effective for those at risk of heart disease or stroke

A package of extra support, including motivational interviewing, did not add value in terms of boosting weight loss or physical activity in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease, a new study has found. This NIHR-funded trial recruited 1,220 people deemed at high risk of heart disease or stroke. Researchers compared the clinical and cost-effectiveness ...

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