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

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Alive, able and at home: stroke unit care offers better outcomes than alternatives

Key message: people who have a stroke are more likely to be alive, be at home and be independent after a year if they are cared for in a stroke unit

We probably all know someone who’s had a stroke, which is now the second leading cause of death and the third most common cause of disability worldwide. Many of us have followed broadcaster Andrew Marr’s progress in the wake of the stroke he had, aged 53, earlier this year and his wife, Jackie Ashley, caught the attention of many with her recent Guardian blog on their experience of this devastating event. She deemed the NHS to be “wonderful, wonderful, wonderful” and paid tribute to the health professionals who helped get her husband back on his feet, but pointed to the void in support offered by community services after intensive and generally excellent care in hospital. Not all hospital care is equal either, of course, and the type of care offered in hospital after acute stroke can make all the difference to whether, and how well, the person recovers. Continue reading

Babies, bright lights, blood-thinners and more: Cochrane evidence round-up

It’s probably best to draw a veil over many of the things done in English boarding schools by past generations and some in the name of health. The boys of Dickens’ fictional Dotheboys Hall were given brimstone and treacle from “a common wooden spoon, which might have been originally manufactured for some gigantic top, and which widened every young gentleman’s mouth considerably: they being obliged, under heavy corporal penalties, to take in the whole of the bowl at a gasp.” Continue reading

Waiting for the royal baby? We’ve new arrivals in the Cochrane Library

July is proving to be an exciting month here in the UK. Andy Murray is the new Wimbledon Champion, we’re enjoying lots of wonderful warm weather and we’re anticipating the arrival of the new royal baby. But before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have news for us, we have news for them, for these are exciting times too in the world of Cochrane and yesterday saw the publication of new evidence that delaying clamping the cord after birth benefits babies. Continue reading

After stroke: the Cinderella of falls prevention research

Key message: There is a lack of evidence on interventions which aim to prevent falls in people after they have had a stroke. This is in contrast to good evidence on some effective  preventive measures for older people living in the community.

It’s Age UK’s annual Falls Awareness Week this week, with an emphasis this year on healthy feet. The excellent review from the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group on preventing falls in older people living in the community, which we blogged about when it was updated last autumn, has useful evidence on a range of strategies to prevent falls, including some relating to feet! Continue reading