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.


Same day treatment of uterine polyps in outpatients is no worse than inpatient treatment and better value for money

This NIHR-funded trial compared treatment of uterine polyps under local anaesthetic at the time of diagnosis in a hospital outpatient clinic with inpatient treatment under general anaesthetic on another day. Treatment success, as determined by women’s assessment of bleeding, was no worse in the clinic treated group, using a pre-determined threshold for an important difference. ...


Continuous positive airway pressure led to less daytime sleepiness in older adults with sleep apnoea

This NIHR trial found that continuous positive airway pressure for obstructive sleep apnoea in people aged 65 and over led to less daytime sleepiness and was reasonable value for money. Obstructive sleep apnoea causes the airway to close intermittently overnight leading to daytime sleepiness. It is most common in older people, but previous studies have ...


Pre-hospital non-invasive ventilation for people with acute respiratory failure

This NIHR-funded systematic review and cost-effectiveness study found that pre-hospital (i.e. in the ambulance) non-invasive ventilation in the form of continuous positive airway pressure for people with acute respiratory failure, can reduce both the risk of dying and the need for ventilation in intensive care. The small device used by trained ambulance personnel was more ...


Treatment of mother-child interaction might be of value for childhood anxiety disorder

Child cognitive behavioural therapy helps children with anxiety disorders. But children of mothers with anxiety disorder are less likely to improve. This trial (MaCH) found that treating maternal anxiety disorder at the same time as the child’s provided no additional treatment benefit. The treatments tested were maternal cognitive behavioural therapy or a new treatment focused ...


Two common drugs do not help more people pass kidney stones

This large, high quality trial found that people with a single kidney stone taking tamsulosin or nifedipine drugs for up to four weeks were no more likely to pass the stone spontaneously than those taking a placebo. This suggests that these drugs should not be offered to people with renal colic who are managed with ...


Paracetamol may be ineffective in treating lower back pain

This systematic review found that paracetamol as a first-line treatment did not reduce pain, disability, or improve quality of life in the short-term (up to 8 weeks) for people with low back pain. There was a very small effect in reducing pain and disability in the short-term for people with osteoarthritis of the hip or ...


Laser treatment is the preferred treatment for troublesome varicose veins

Initial results from this trial (CLASS) found that the three main treatments for varicose veins all improved symptoms and quality of life six months after treatment. On a balance of scores, laser treatment was more effective than foam treatment or surgery. Laser involved fewest complications six weeks after the procedure and may be the most ...


Very early mobilisation following a stroke is no better than usual care

The AVERT trial found very early mobilisation - such as out-of-bed sitting, standing and walking - within 24 hours of stroke onset and at increased intensity, led to 4% fewer people with good recovery than usual care. No differences were found in death rates, overall disability scores, or in the time to be able to ...


Financial incentives change health-related behaviour in the short term, but effects may not be sustained

This comprehensive review found that financial incentives were effective in changing individual health behaviours in the short term but not, in the few studies to look at longer term effects, beyond 18 months. Improvements stopped soon after the incentive was removed, though lasted a little longer for smoking cessation. Of the 34 studies included in ...


Interventions that help and harm patients in the critical care unit

This systematic review and expert consensus process found 15 non-surgical interventions affecting adult mortality in critical care. Seven interventions, such as the use of tranexamic acid after severe blood loss, reduced deaths. Eight interventions, such as improving oxygen supply by using a drug, dobutamine, increased them. 2015 UK guidelines only partly reflect these findings. They ...

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