Bringing harmony to the hospital: music as therapy

Music has the potential to make everything better, doesn’t it? Arguably, this is so in any and all situations. In difficult circumstances, it can help us endure. Music can take the edge off the pain, in both body and mind. No wonder there is a keen interest in exploring its potential to help us in various healthcare settings and this has been the subject of many Cochrane reviews.  Continue reading

Silver, napkins and some choice morsels of Cochrane evidence

Last week I gave you jellyfish, so don’t let it be said that I only go for the big health issues here! There’s a feast of new evidence in The Cochrane Library and this week, from an extensive menu, I’ve picked out a few tidbits on some more common health problems, plus some great dementia resources and a beautiful project that I want to highlight. Continue reading

Benefits and black holes in the latest Cochrane evidence

If you read my last blog, you’ll know I’ve been getting hot under the collar about evidence gaps and I’m not about to quieten down about those any time soon, as you’ll see if you read to the end of the blog. There are not just gaps but some enormous black holes, this time not because no evidence was found but because so much of it was unusable. But at least there’s good news too; some reviewers find what they’re looking for and can give us evidence which shows benefits from particular interventions. So, if you logged on thinking you’d like to read about teeth, pain (from several causes), schizophrenia treatments, gut bacteria and jellyfish (really!), you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading

Lessons in disappointment and some New Year’s resolutions

Broken your New Year’s resolutions yet? Research from the US suggests just 8% of people achieve theirs and we know that if you’re hanging onto them into February you’re doing really well. When I thought about making a list of resolutions which clinical trialists and systematic reviewers might like to follow (the cheek of it!), it looked like a welcome distraction from deciding I’m going to take up running (again), eat only healthy snacks and get 10 hours sleep a night. But I find I am coming to this with a rising sense of sadness, disappointment and, well, outrage about some of the evidence gaps. Gaps which leave people struggling with health problems, and those trying to help them, without clear guidance on which interventions might help; and, indeed, on which may make things worse. Continue reading

An evidence advent calendar!

It turns out that Cochrane’s for Christmas, not just for life, with evidence in the Cochrane Library on all manner of festive things from gold, frankincense and myrrh to stockings! Ok, some of the links are a bit tenuous, but we hope you’ll enjoy our advent calendar.

Owing to some trouble with the technology elves, we couldn’t make it interactive (boo!) but each day we’ll post some Cochrane evidence related to the day’s picture, below the calendar. If you think of any others, do share them via the comments box.

advent calendar

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Take a look: better diagnosis in pancreatic cancer

Key message: When CT scan shows a pancreatic or periampullary cancer that looks like it can be removed by surgery, having diagnostic laparoscopy may decrease the rate of unnecessary surgery by giving more information about whether this is likely to be so.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is drawing to a close. It’s been an opportunity for Pancreatic Cancer Action to raise awareness of a disease which is the fifth leading cause of cancer death here in the UK, where survival rates are among the worst in Europe and have not changed in over 40 years. The good news is that a new Cochrane review  from the Cochrane Upper Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Diseases (UGPD) Group has just been published with evidence that a diagnostic technique, laparoscopy, may help to reduce the number of people undergoing surgery unnecessarily.  Continue reading

Flu, chills and other ills: a wintry round-up of Cochrane evidence

This week it really feels like winter is upon us and infection is the dominant theme in this blog, which gives you a round-up of some new and updated Cochrane reviews on flu vaccination; antibiotics for colds, sore throats and for those having feeding tubes put in;  bringing down your poorly child’s temperature and whether avoiding lactose is helpful when diarrhoea strikes. Continue reading