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.


Healthy lifestyles increase life expectancy in people with multiple conditions (multimorbidity) by as much as in other groups

Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help overcome the negative impact of long-term diseases on life expectancy. A major new study found that middle-aged people who have multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity) can expect to live an extra 6-7 years if they adopt a healthy lifestyle.  The research includes data on almost half a million ...


GP referrals to weight loss programmes are accepted by men and women alike; research finds referrals reduce the gender gap

Structured programmes help people to lose weight, but they are overwhelmingly used by women. New research suggests that GPs who offer referrals to these programmes to both men and women can overturn the gender imbalance. It found that men are almost as likely as women to accept their GP’s referral, and are similarly successful at ...


Surgery for hand disorder Dupuytren’s disease is effective, but repeat operations come with higher risks

Research using large national datasets has confirmed that surgery for the common hand disorder Dupuytren’s disease is safe and effective. When surgery needs to be repeated, however, there are higher risks of serious complications such as finger amputation.  In Dupuytren’s disease, the tissue beneath the skin of the palm becomes thickened; this often does not ...


Practical changes in cancer care could reduce fear and confusion among people with dementia

People with dementia face unique challenges when they need cancer treatment. In a new study, researchers explored the difficulties faced by people with dementia, their carers and healthcare professionals.  They interviewed and spent time with these groups and came up with practical measures which could help. Dementia causes problems with memory, communication and decision-making. Many ...


Preventing childhood obesity requires a shift in focus away from individual behaviours towards the wider environment

Policies aiming to prevent childhood obesity are informed by research that mostly explores ways of changing the behaviour of individuals. An in-depth analysis of 153 research papers found that most interventions aim to teach children to improve their diet and/or take part in more physical activity.  This has been the mainstay of interventions studied for ...


Three effective treatments for frozen shoulder have different costs and benefits, study shows

A so-called frozen shoulder is painful and stiff for months and sometimes years. People with the condition may be unable to move their arm or shoulder and the pain may disturb their sleep. The three treatments most often offered by the NHS are physiotherapy, manipulation of the shoulder under general anaesthesia, and a form of ...


Better access to healthcare for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities is key to increasing vaccination rates: research makes five recommendations

Better access to healthcare services is the most important step in improving vaccination rates for people in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. New research suggests that easier access is more important than addressing beliefs about vaccine safety or the need for vaccination. Researchers set up a series of workshops for healthcare providers and representatives of ...


People who are active on the day of hip surgery, or the day after, are twice as likely to be home within a month

People over 60 who need surgery after breaking a hip are discharged from hospital sooner if they get moving quickly.  The largest study of its kind found that those who get out of bed on the day of hip surgery, or the day after, were twice as likely to leave hospital within 30 days.  The ...


Most shoulder replacements last longer than a decade: patients can be reassured by new research

Most shoulder replacements last longer than 10 years. A new study – one of the most complete reports to date – found that patients can expect large and long-lasting improvements in pain, strength, range of movement, and their ability to complete everyday tasks. Before surgery, patients want to know how they will benefit from surgery and ...


Why do people abandon assistive technologies? Research suggests users need to be partners in design

Many people with long term - chronic - conditions need a lot of support in their daily lives. A wide range of assistive technologies are designed to help, including wheelchairs, hearing aids, and electronic devices. But people often give up using them. Researchers wanted to identify the main reasons why. They found common barriers to ...

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