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.


People with mild memory problems are left in limbo between health and dementia, and need help to make lifestyle changes

People with memory problems who are told they do not have dementia – but might get it in future – are left in limbo, uncertain about their future and with few services to help them. Research is underway into a programme that may help them reduce their risk of dementia. As more emphasis is put ...


Sharing electronic records with patients led to improved control of type two diabetes

Sharing electronic records with patients with type 2 diabetes helped them to reduce their blood sugar levels. A new analysis of pooled data from 20 studies showed that sharing records improved patients' management of their condition. Some of the studies also found that sharing records was associated with reduced anxiety, cardiac symptoms and cholesterol levels ...


Recommendations from male students help shape mental health support for this high-risk group

Male university students suggested approaches that would encourage them to seek help with their mental health. Examples include providing male-only spaces, and using positive masculine narratives of help-seeking. Terms other than ‘mental health’ could be used to describe group sessions. The study’s recommendations are important and relevant because men are less likely to ask for ...


Results from a routine blood test could help in early detection of cancer

Detecting cancer at the earliest opportunity can improve the chances of successful treatment.  New research suggests that a routine blood test could help find cancers early. Researchers have previously shown that high levels of platelets – cells in the blood that help stop bleeding – can be a sign of cancer. But now they have ...


Brain and nerve complications are more common than expected in younger patients with severe COVID-19

People aged under 60 who are hospitalised with COVID-19 are more likely than expected to experience severe psychiatric symptoms. Research found that altered mental states such as psychosis are being reported in these younger patients.  It confirmed that strokes and other neurological symptoms are common in severe COVID-19. An initial study included 153 cases reported ...


Prozac may be the best treatment for young people with depression – but more research is needed

Children and adolescents with moderate-to-severe depression are being prescribed treatments that are not backed by reliable evidence. There is insufficient data on whether treatments work and if they are safe. Unlike for adults, the best way to treat symptoms of depression in these age groups is unknown. A review of 71 separate trials found that ...


Play and social skills may protect children who have difficulties with spoken language

Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) have ongoing difficulties with spoken language. They may struggle to understand long sentences, to tell stories or to take turns in a conversation.  The disorder makes communication difficult and can slow children’s progress at school. Their self-esteem can be harmed and, overall, children with DLD have poorer mental health ...


Working may improve quality of life for carers of people with dementia

Those who care for people with dementia are likely to report a better quality of life if they also work outside the home. This may be linked to higher self-esteem. A study included almost 1,300 people caring for relatives with dementia. It found that carers with jobs outside the home were likely to be younger ...


A decision aid may help people with newly-diagnosed multiple sclerosis consider their options for treatment

When first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), people may feel overwhelmed with information, or too shocked by the diagnosis to fully engage with decisions about treatment. New research found that decision aids may help them to understand their condition and make decisions that are right for them.  Treatments for people with MS can improve long-term ...


People with anorectal melanoma may not benefit from radical surgery

New research suggests that limited surgery is preferable to radical surgery for a rare and aggressive type of cancer called anorectal melanoma. This cancer starts in the anus or rectum (back passage). In limited surgery (wide local excision or WLE), the cancer and a small area around it is removed. In more radical surgery (abdominoperineal ...

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