Evidence

Alerts

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.

Alert

Probiotics can prevent bacterial diarrhoea in hospital patients receiving antibiotics

Giving probiotics to people taking antibiotics reduces the chance of them developing diarrhoea caused by Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) bacteria by 60%. One case of Clostridium-associated diarrhoea was prevented for every 42 people receiving probiotics. They appear to work best for patients at more than 5% risk of Clostridium infection. When antibiotics disturb healthy gut ...

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Sending patient reminders improves immunisation uptake

Contacting patients by telephone or mail about recommended immunisations leads to eight more people in every 100 being immunised. Text messages, postcards or automatic dialling techniques and recorded voices are the reminder methods that have the highest certainty of being effective. In the UK over 90% of children currently receive the recommended immunisation programme, but ...

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Case managers improve outcomes for people with dementia and their carers

Using a case manager to coordinate health and social care improves the challenging behaviour of people with dementia and reduces the burden on caregivers. Quality of life of caregivers improves the most when case managers have a professional background in nursing. This NIHR-funded review compared the effectiveness of standard community treatment and interventions with case ...

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Lorazepam confirmed as first-line treatment for stopping prolonged seizures in children

Intravenous lorazepam is as effective as intravenous diazepam for stopping children’s tonic-clonic seizures in hospital. Lorazepam also results in fewer breathing problems than diazepam. Giving antiepileptic drugs intravenously generally stops seizures more quickly than giving the drugs buccally (in the cheek), intranasally (in the nose) or rectally. However, this effect can be cancelled out if ...

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Swimming in seawater is linked with an increased chance of some illnesses

People who swim in seawater have almost double the odds of experiencing illness than people who avoid it. The specific illnesses linked to seawater exposure are ear and gastrointestinal illnesses, but the exact or absolute rates of infection are not available. Many people enjoy coastal waters for sport and recreation, and it's important that they can ...

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Adding the extra antibiotic rifampicin did not improve cure rates after sepsis

Adding the antibiotic rifampicin did not improve cure rates or reduce deaths for people with bacterial blood infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus. It increased the risk of adverse reactions requiring a change in treatment and the chances of drug interactions. This NIHR-funded trial is the largest to date on adding rifampicin to standard antibiotic therapy. ...

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Atraumatic needles reduce headaches following lumbar puncture

Use of atraumatic needles rather than conventional needles for lumbar puncture more than halves the rate of post-procedure headache. Moreover, this improvement does not come at the expense of procedure success rates. Lumbar puncture involves inserting a needle in the lower back into the spinal canal to collect cerebrospinal fluid for diagnosis, or to inject ...

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Exercise improves intermittent claudication leg pain on walking

People with intermittent claudication who participate in structured exercise programmes can walk about 80 metres further without experiencing leg pain than those who do not do the programme. They can also walk about 120 metres further overall. Intermittent claudication is a cramp-like pain in the legs caused by narrowing of the arteries, which restricts blood ...

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A school-based obesity prevention programme was ineffective

A school-based healthy lifestyle programme delivered to 6-7-year-old children and their parents made no difference to children’s weight, diet or activity levels. Around 1 in 4 remained overweight or obese. The NIHR-funded year-long programme was delivered in 54 primary schools in one region of England. Teachers were trained to provide an additional 30 minutes of ...

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The most effective antidepressants for adults revealed in major review

Antidepressants are effective to treat moderate to severe depression in adults. Five antidepressants appear more effective and better tolerated than others. A major review of 522 antidepressant trials found that all of the 21 drugs studied performed better than placebo, in short-term trials measuring response to treatment. However, effectiveness varied widely. Researchers ranked drugs by ...

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