Evidence
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Statins do not commonly cause muscle pain and stiffness

Statins are a group of drugs which lower levels of fat (cholesterol) in the blood. They reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Despite this, many people prescribed statins stop taking them, sometimes through concerns about side effects. New research finds that statins do not commonly cause pain, stiffness and weakness in the muscles. ...

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How to improve information for people with osteoporosis

Much information about the bone condition, osteoporosis, is too difficult to understand. It is also sometimes misleading. New research makes recommendations for improvements. The aim is for people with the condition to have high quality, more readable information.  People with osteoporosis have weakened bones that become more likely to break. Many know little about their ...

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Diabetes checks: delays in treatment are reduced when support staff assess eye images

People living with diabetes need regular eye examinations to prevent serious problems with their vision. A shortage of eye specialists (ophthalmologists) is leading to delays in appointments. New research suggests that support staff could be trained to read images of the back of the eye (retina) almost as well as ophthalmologists.  Most of the support ...

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Advice by mail is as effective as targeted interventions at preventing fall-related injuries in older people

A booklet containing advice on falls prevention reduced fractures as effectively as more intensive interventions. In a large study, the booklet was sent to older people by post. This advice alone prevented as many fractures as an exercise programme, or as multiple assessments by a range of professionals, the study found.   Falls and fall-related injuries, ...

Collection

How can we reduce the toll of loneliness in older adults?

Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic threw a spotlight on loneliness. Social distancing separated people from their family and friends and caused heartache. It had the potential to create loneliness on a major scale.  Anyone can become lonely, but the changes that come with age put older people at particular risk. They may live alone, for example, ...

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Why don’t teenagers seek help for anxiety and depression?

Shame, stigma, and a lack of knowledge about mental health problems, are some of the barriers that prevent young people from seeking professional help for anxiety and depression. New research has identified many of these barriers.  Some, such as a lack of trust in professionals, or limited support from their families, could also affect other ...

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Carers of people with dementia benefit from online help for anxiety and depression

Online education can improve the mental health of people caring for those with dementia. A new study recommends that online education packages should be widely available for carers with anxiety or depression. Online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) combined with telephone support was equally effective, but used more resources. Many of those who care for people ...

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Biofeedback offers no additional benefit to pelvic floor muscle training

Women whose pelvic floor has become weakened, for example through pregnancy and childbirth, benefit from pelvic floor muscle training. Specific exercises can strengthen muscles and improve bladder control. Women are sometimes offered a biofeedback device which allows them to see their muscles working as they exercise. But new research found that the device offered no ...

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People with cognitive impairment are missing out on sight and dental checks

People with memory loss, confusion or difficulty concentrating (cognitive impairment) are far less likely than others to visit a dentist or have their eyesight checked, according to new research. It suggests they need more support to access preventive health services.   Cognitive impairment can be mild, or may worsen over time and develop into dementia. The ...

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People with dementia need more involvement in decisions about their long-term care

People with dementia are often not involved in key conversations about their future care when they are in hospital. NIHR research found that people with dementia often have their views or wishes overlooked, even when they are able to express their opinions clearly. This group of people can struggle with memory, communication and decision-making, and ...

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Home-based rehabilitation after a knee replacement is as effective as physiotherapy

Following knee replacement surgery, a home-based exercise programme delivered by rehabilitation assistants was as effective as traditional physiotherapy given at a clinic. New research found that both approaches had a similar effect. Increasing numbers of people are having knee replacements and needing rehabilitation. As many one in three say that surgery does not lead to ...

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Extra emphasis on care after cancer surgery could increase survival worldwide

Complications can occur after cancer surgery, wherever in the world it is carried out. New research suggests that the care provided after surgery can determine whether patients survive. It is often assumed that in low income countries, people are less likely to survive cancer because the disease is more advanced when diagnosed or because specific ...

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Schoolchildren who switch to walking or cycling may have a healthier body weight

Children who walk or cycle to school may have a healthier body weight than those who arrive by car. A new study followed more than 8,000 schoolchildren over a period of years. The findings showed that even using public transport instead of taking the car led to a reduction in body fat. It is widely ...

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Stroke care could be improved when patients, staff and researchers work together

Stroke survivors, stroke unit staff and researchers worked together in a partnership aimed at increasing inpatients' activity after a stroke. It was the first time that this joint approach has been trialled in stroke units. This research explores what measures helped make the partnership work, and what the barriers were.   People who receive early specialist ...

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Working in partnership with a British South Asian community could improve control of children’s asthma

Children from South Asian communities fare worse than others when they have asthma. They are diagnosed later and are more likely to need emergency treatment. Researchers worked with South Asian communities in Leicester to understand what needs to be done to increase asthma diagnoses and improve management among children. The Management and Interventions for Asthma ...

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Providers of the Diabetes Prevention Programme need to be more consistent, and offer flexibility and equality of access

Five million people in England are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and numbers are increasing. If current trends persist, one in three people will be obese by 2034 and one in 10 will develop type 2 diabetes. The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP) was set up by NHS England, Public Health England, ...

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New screening pathways could improve NHS England’s bowel cancer programme

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is treatable and curable if caught early. NHS England’s Bowel Cancer Screening Programme aims to find warning signs in people aged 60 to 74. They are invited to take a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) every two years. FIT measures blood in faeces and people with levels above a ...

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Even low doses of steroids increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with inflammatory diseases

People who take steroids to treat long-term inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular disease.  New research found that the risk of cardiovascular disease increases with the dose and duration of steroid treatment. A surprising finding was that even low daily ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

Collection

Rehabilitation: how can services meet demand?

The need Rehabilitation aims to give people the tools they need to lead the fullest lives possible. It helps them to regain skills, abilities, or knowledge that may have been lost or compromised through illness, injury, or acquiring a disability. At its best, rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary, person-centred treatment for anyone with a health condition, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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.  ...

Collection

Why we need more inclusive research

“Health and social care research also has a fundamental role to play in helping to reduce the disparities that exist in health outcomes caused by socio-economic factors, geography, age and ethnicity. Working with partners, NIHR needs to tackle the ingrained injustices that exist in the world of research in terms of who is involved, engaged ...

Collection

Brief conversations in primary care: an opportunity to boost health

Primary care is the ideal place to offer lifestyle and mental health advice; millions of people visit every month. The briefest of conversations can make a difference. New research from the NIHR offers advice to staff on how to maximise the impact of each encounter. GPs and nurses can be reassured that individuals value their ...

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