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.


A standing frame allows people with severe multiple sclerosis to enjoy a sense of normality

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong condition affecting the brain and spinal cord. For some people, symptoms are mild, but others develop serious problems with their sight, movement and balance. People with severe MS may be unable to stand unsupported.  The Standing Up in Multiple Sclerosis (SUMS) trial was set up to find out whether ...


Artificial intelligence tool rules out COVID-19 within an hour in emergency departments

Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for rapidly detecting COVID-19 in people arriving at a hospital’s emergency department. The tool can accurately rule out infection within an hour of a patient arriving at hospital, significantly faster than the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that has a turnaround time of typically 24 hours.  Widespread ...


Self-testing for HIV could increase diagnoses in the trans community

Kits for HIV self-testing are an effective and acceptable way of increasing HIV testing among trans people. Existing HIV testing services are often designed around men who have sex with men. This can create barriers for trans men and trans women, who are at high risk of HIV.  Many go undiagnosed as a result. A ...


What support do young people affected by adverse childhood experiences need?

Adverse childhood experiences include physical or sexual abuse, neglect, and living in a household with domestic violence or substance misuse. A key public health priority is to reduce the long-lasting and negative impact of these experiences on someone’s mental and physical health. To help inform future policy in this area, the Department of Health and ...


Group programmes for weight loss may be more effective than one-to-one sessions

People with obesity may be more likely to lose weight if they attend group sessions for weight loss programmes, rather than having one-to-one support. New research found that people attending groups had more treatment time and were more likely to lose enough weight to make a difference to their health.  Much previous research has established ...


A simple blood test may give women with symptoms a personalised risk assessment for ovarian cancer

A simple blood test may be much better at identifying ovarian cancer in primary care than was previously thought. New research found that the test, for women with abdominal symptoms such as pain or bloating, was most accurate in the over 50s. The test measures levels of a protein called cancer antigen 125 (CA125) in ...


Tourniquets increase the risk of serious complications in knee replacement surgery

Using a tourniquet in knee replacement surgery raises the risk of serious complications such as blood clots and infection. A new analysis of thousands of knee replacements also confirms that patients had more pain the day after surgery if a tourniquet was used. Tying a tight band (tourniquet) around an injured arm or leg has ...


Adopted children may develop specific types of post-traumatic stress

Thousands of children are adopted from care every year in the UK. Most have had a difficult beginning, but little is known about which early adverse experiences are most likely to lead to post-traumatic stress (PTS). Adverse experiences include abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction including exposure to drugs, alcohol, and violence. A new study found ...


Most children with life-limiting conditions still die in hospital, not home or hospice

Around seven in 10 children and young people with life-limiting conditions die in hospital, and that has changed little in the past 15 years. New research also found that children from ethnic minorities or deprived areas are more likely than others to end their lives in hospital, rather than in a hospice or at home.  ...


Women with kidney disease can be given a personal risk assessment for pregnancy, following new research

Women with long-term (chronic) kidney disease can now be given a clear indication of the risks of pregnancy, both to themselves and to their babies. New research assesses the likelihood that a baby will be born healthy, and estimates the impact of pregnancy on the woman’s disease. Pregnancy is known to put additional strain on ...

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