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

New evidence on antibiotics for exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – with some bits missing

Key message: Giving antibiotics to people admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with severe exacerbations of COPD showed large and consistent benefits. Evidence relating to the use of antibiotics for people with moderate or mild exacerbations is inconsistent and there is continued uncertainty about whether antibiotics benefit those who can be treated as outpatients.  Continue reading