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.


Teenagers' use of antidepressants is rising with variations across regions and ethnic groups

The number of 12-to-17 year olds prescribed antidepressants in England more than doubled between 2005 and 2017. This is one of the striking changes seen in a new study into the use of antidepressants by children and young people. It also found that antidepressant prescriptions for 5-to-11 year olds decreased between 1999 and 2017. Antidepressants ...


Women with cancer of the stomach or oesophagus are more likely to survive than men, but they have worse side effects from chemotherapy

Women treated for cancer of the stomach or oesophagus (the muscular tube which moves food from mouth to stomach) may survive longer than men. An analysis of over 3000 patients with these cancers also found that women experienced more nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea during therapy. Cancer-related survival was the same for older (70 or over) ...


First-line chemotherapy for ovarian cancer given once every three weeks may preserve quality of life

Women with a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer receiving weekly chemotherapy may have reduced quality of life compared to those receiving treatment every three weeks because the more frequent treatment may cause long-lasting nerve damage. Ovarian cancer is usually treated every three weeks with chemotherapy containing the medicines carboplatin and paclitaxel. A study in Japan ...


Missed miscarriage should be treated with mifepristone plus misoprostol rather than misoprostol alone

A combination of two drugs – mifepristone and misoprostol – was more effective than mifepristone alone for treating missed miscarriage. A large, multi-centre trial found that women given the combination were more likely to have completed their miscarriage within a week, and less likely to need follow-up surgery. During a miscarriage of pregnancy, the baby ...


Ongoing pain after knee replacement: people need support and encouragement to seek help

People with ongoing pain after knee replacement surgery may experience a sense of futility and believe nothing more can be done. A new study found that that one in five people report ongoing pain after knee replacement surgery, but many do not seek help in dealing with their pain. The researchers say that improvements in ...


Womb cancer could be detected early with an inexpensive new blood test

A simple, low-cost blood test offers great potential as a tool for diagnosing womb cancer, and for screening high-risk women. The test gives almost instant results and in a new study, it picked up changes in the womb that could lead to cancer (pre-cancerous growths). In the UK, womb cancer is the fourth most common ...


INCLUDE Roadmap can help researchers make trials more inclusive

Many groups – such as women, older people and ethnic minorities – are under-served in clinical trials. An NIHR project aims to ensure that health research includes the people who most need it. The project is called Innovations in Clinical Trial Design and Delivery for the Under-served (INCLUDE); the current research formed the first phase ...


Artificial intelligence can predict the development of a leading cause of blindness

Artificial intelligence (AI) predicted the development of a leading cause of blindness in new research. A collaboration between Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and Google’s DeepMind and Google Health found that AI predicted the development of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet-AMD) more accurately than clinicians. Wet-AMD can lead to rapid and severe loss of sight. ...


Befriending programmes for people with psychosis can be challenging but beneficial to both parties

Befriending programmes are designed to help people who are likely to be socially isolated. This could be due to illness, including mental illness, or old age. Befrienders are often volunteers who make a commitment to have regular meetings with an individual they are put in touch with, often via a service. People with psychosis are ...


National infection control campaigns led to a rapid decline in superbug infections in UK intensive care units

In the early 2000s, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics were widespread in UK hospitals and a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) posed a major threat to public health. This led to nationwide infection control programmes in the mid-2000s, with a rapid decline in rates in NHS hospitals over the following decade. This study ...

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