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.


Humidified oxygen linked to increased chest infections

More respiratory infections in adults followed the use of humidified oxygen compared with non-humidified low-flow oxygen therapy. Bacterial contamination was common in the humidified oxygen bottles across various hospital departments including respiratory wards. UK guidelines currently recommend using non-humidified oxygen for adults requiring low-flow oxygen. However, in countries such as China, oxygen is routinely humidified ...


Drug reduces deaths from bleeding after childbirth

Tranexamic acid, given to women who bleed heavily after giving birth, reduced the risk of death by 31% when given within three hours. This trial included 20,060 women with postpartum haemorrhage who were randomly assigned to receive tranexamic acid or placebo. This is the first large study to indicate that it is safe and implies ...


Carers of stroke survivors voice an unmet need for practical and emotional support

The carers of stroke survivors express a need to be recognised by hospital rehabilitation teams as partners in care. Carers emphasised that their deep knowledge can contribute to joint decision making about the care of their spouse or family member. This research suggests that considering carers’ needs for support, information and training into care planning ...


Silk clothing for children does not reduce objective measures of eczema severity

Six months of wearing special silk clothing had no effect on objective measures of child eczema severity, infection rates or medication use. Children and carers reported some small improvements in eczema severity on two scales but their awareness of the clothing worn by their child may have slightly influenced their judgment. Overall quality of life ...


Using mesh does not improve results in vaginal prolapse surgery

Using a synthetic mesh or biological tissue graft is no better than standard surgical repair, without the use of these materials, in women with vaginal wall prolapse. Some women had problems from the mesh. This large pragmatic study looked at over 3000 women with vaginal prolapse. Half of these were randomised; the rest contributed data ...


Dexamethasone before bowel surgery reduces postoperative nausea and vomiting

A single dose of dexamethasone given at the time of anaesthesia for bowel surgery reduced vomiting in the next 24 hours, with no increase in complications. Thirteen people need to be treated to prevent one extra episode of vomiting. Dexamethasone (a steroid) is one of several drugs recommended for patients at moderate and high risk ...


Talking therapy given by parents shows promise for childhood anxiety disorders

Brief guided cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered by parents was as good as a commonly used treatment, delivered by a therapist, in improving anxiety levels in children. Anxiety continued to improve after the end of treatment and by six months about 70% had recovered. The brief CBT was potentially the more cost-effective option. This NIHR-funded ...


Treating subclinical thyroid dysfunction in pregnancy probably has no benefit

Testing for and then treating pregnant women with mild or “subclinical” underactive thyroid did not improve pregnancy outcomes, newborn baby outcomes, or the child’s IQ at three to five years. A clearly underactive thyroid (clinical hypothyroidism) in pregnancy has been linked with various adverse outcomes for the mother and baby, including pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, congenital ...


Stop smoking services can work for people in treatment or recovery from substance misuse disorders

Providing stop smoking services to people with substance misuse disorders increases the numbers of people who stop smoking by about 10% without reducing the rates of abstinence from drugs or alcohol. Combined drug treatment and counselling showed the best result though pharmacotherapy alone was also successful. However counselling alone was not beneficial. This Cochrane review ...


Online parental training may help to improve behaviour in children

Online parental training led to reasonable improvements in behaviour problems in children and young people, compared to no training. The findings of this review suggest that additional support and contact – such as “check-in” calls and on-line forums – can help to increase participation. Online training had similar outcomes to face-to-face training. The review identified ...

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