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

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A wake-up call on children’s well-being: do more, do it now

It’s official – the Chief Medical Officer is ‘profoundly ashamed’. In her report on child health, Professor Dame Sally Davies highlights appalling inequalities in the UK, with three times as many child deaths in the poorest areas compared with wealthier regions, and shows us to be a nation lagging behind our European neighbours too. Much more needs to be done to improve the health of Britain’s children and it needs to be done sooner, she says. Early, preventive action rather than reaction will benefit both the health and the wealth of the nation. I thought I’d take a look at where Cochrane evidence might fit into her vision of what needs to be done. Continue reading

Hot off the press: catch this Cochrane evidence!

News desk vintage photo

New and updated Cochrane reviews are now published daily

If your idea of a present is a new or updated Cochrane review then it’s now Christmas every day with the arrival of Publish When Ready here in Cochraneland. In a huge change to the system for publishing reviews and protocols in the Cochrane Library, new arrivals appear daily, throughout the day, instead of once a month. In the time it takes me to make a cup of tea, a new review may have popped into the Library, ready for my consumption. It’s all rather exciting! It’s also rather alarming, as I have the distinct feeling that with such a rapid flow of  evidence I may miss things and fail to shout about stuff that you might like to know about. It may calm down (or I may speed up!) but with the sudden arrival of a very large amount of new evidence I thought I’d give you a bit of a round-up. So here are my picks of the week on surgery, drugs and rock’n’roll, with some talking treatment thrown in. Continue reading

Medicines help smokers quit long term, finds Cochrane overview of reviews

Key message: Varenicline, nicotine replacement therapy and bupropion all improve smokers’ chances of quitting long term, with a low risk of harms

Today is World No Tobacco Day, which seems a great day for the publication of new Cochrane evidence on medicines to help people quit smoking. Three medicines are licensed for this purpose in Europe and the USA and recommended in many national guidelines: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion and varenicline. Cytisine is licensed in Russia and some other countries and other medicines, such as nortriptyline, have been tested. A new overview of reviews from a team at the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group has brought together results from Cochrane reviews on the effectiveness of medicines for helping adults to quit smoking for at least six months and on harms associated with them. Continue reading

Texting for health: updated Cochrane review finds long-term effectiveness of mobile phone interventions to help people stop smoking

Key message: This review update has been able to show that interventions delivered via mobile phones can help people give up smoking and that these benefits are sustained at least six months later.

There is an increasing amount of interest in the medical press and beyond in ‘telehealth’, the use of technologies such as mobile phones and the internet to help in the prevention or management of a range of health conditions, and rightly, for it offers a potentially cost-saving means to reach large numbers of people. Continue reading

Smoking: helping people stop and stopping them from starting

adviceSmoking, with its enormous implications for health, is a high profile health topic, and the spotlight is firmly on it this month as the Department of Health’s ‘Stoptober’ smoking cessation campaign continues. Sir Richard Peto, giving the Harveian Oration, Halving premature death, at the Royal College of Physicians on Thursday, named smoking as one of the “four corpsemen of the Apocalypse”, along with alcohol, obesity and HIV. Continue reading

Can incentives encourage children and teens to resist smoking?

The other side of the smoking coin is, of course, prevention, with children and young people being a key target for initiatives designed to stop people becoming smokers. The second new review looked at whether incentives are effective in preventing children and adolescents from starting to smoke. Continue reading