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Updated: 7 hours 34 min ago

Cochrane's 2023 International Women’s Day Event

Fri, 02/10/2023 - 13:43

In recognition of International Women's Day (IWD) happening on March 8th, Cochrane will host a virtual event. The event will feature a panel of accomplished women from diverse backgrounds discussing the IWD 2023 theme of #EmbraceEquity.

 The panelists will share their experiences and insights on topics such as gender equity in clinical trials, the impact of gender on health outcomes, and strategies for promoting equity in healthcare and in evidence synthesis. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session and engage in meaningful dialogue with the panelists.

Tiffany Duque, Cochrane US Senior Officer and Panelist says, "The 2023 IWD event is being run by our talented Cochrane US Mentees. This is the second cohort through the Cochrane Mentoree program. They come from 12 different countries and range from students to early career professionals; all with a shining future in Cochrane. In addition to this virtual event, we invite you to follow @Cochrane_US on Twitter to participate in our social media campaign, featuring video clips, interviews, and inspiring stories posted throughout the day and to contribute with your #EmbraceEquity experiences."

"We are excited to bring together this group of dynamic women to discuss issues of equity in healthcare," says Paola Andrencci, Cochrane US Mentor Program coordinator and lead on this event. "Their diverse perspectives and experiences will help us identify the barriers to equity and work towards solutions that benefit all patients. We welcome everyone from the Cochrane community and beyond to join us for this event!"

A full list of panel members will be released shortly. 

The event will take place on March 8th, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST (see in your time zone).

Registration is free and open to the public. Cochrane US encourages everyone to join in celebrating the achievements of women in healthcare and working towards a more equitable future.

 

Related resources:

Friday, February 17, 2023

Most widely followed COPD guideline updates their recommendations with Cochrane Airways reviews

Wed, 02/08/2023 - 14:59

The recently updated GOLD report includes evidence from 7 Cochrane Airways systematic reviews, helping to align it with the latest and best available evidence.  

Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) is usually caused by smoking or other airway irritants. COPD damages the lungs and causes airways to narrow which makes it difficult to breathe.

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) works with healthcare professionals and public health officials worldwide to raise awareness of COPD and improve the prevention and treatment of this lung disease. The GOLD strategy document for diagnosing, managing, and preventing COPD and the corresponding pocket guide is developed for healthcare professionals based on the best scientific information available. This global evidence-based document is used as a tool to implement effective management programs based on local healthcare systems around the world.


"The GOLD Report is the most widely accepted and followed COPD guideline," explains Emma Jackson, Managing Editor of Cochrane Airways. "We were pleased to see that 7 Cochrane Airways systematic reviews were added to the GOLD Report 2023 recommendations for the first time; over 35 Cochrane Reviews are already referenced in the GOLD Report."

"Cochrane is a not-for-profit organization with collaborators from more than 190 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest,” says Rebecca Fortescue, Co-ordinating Editor for Cochrane Airways Editor. “Cochrane Reviews are known as the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to health evidence synthesis. We are delighted to see that 7 Cochrane Airway reviews were added in the 2023 GOLD Report to help align clinical practice with the latest and best available evidence.”

The seven reviews included in the 2023 Report for the first time are:

Lead author of the review on dual combination inhaler therapy, Yuji Oba says, “COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Inhaler therapy is the mainstay treatment of COPD and the choice of inhalers is of paramount importance for patients and healthcare providers. The 2018 Cochrane review addressed which inhaler was the most efficacious and safe in the advanced form of COPD. We are proud to see the GOLD Report was updated and modified the first choice of inhaler treatment based on our Cochrane review. We are currently updating this Cochrane review and are looking forward to having our work contribute to future GOLD Reports." 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 Category: The difference we make

Cochrane seeks Internal Communications Manager

Mon, 02/06/2023 - 13:49

Title: Internal Communications Manager
Specifications: Permanent – Full Time
Location: Ideally based in the UK, Germany or Denmark. Candidates from the rest of the world will be considered; however, Cochrane’s Central Executive Team is only able to offer consultancy contracts outside these countries (1-year fixed-term contracts)
Directorate: Development
Closing date: 20 Feb, 2023

Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters from more than 220 countries. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

This is an exciting opportunity to build a new function from the ground up, as Cochrane’s first dedicated internal communications role. The first priority for this role will be to establish effective internal communications structures and processes for Cochrane’s~100 core staff, who are distributed across multiple countries and time zones. This includes developing an intranet and regular staff communications.

Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everything we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.

You can expect:

  • An opportunity to truly impact health globally
  • A flexible work environment
  • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
  • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.
  • The deadline to receive your application is 20 Feb 2023.
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples.
  • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
Monday, February 6, 2023 Category: Jobs

Cochrane seeks Future of Evidence Synthesis Administrative Support Officer

Mon, 02/06/2023 - 13:44

Title: Future of Evidence Synthesis Administrative Support Officer
Specifications: Fixed Term – 2 Years
Location: UK – Remote/Flexible
Directorate: Evidence Production & Methods
Closing date: 20 Feb, 2023

Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters from more than 220 countries. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

The Future of Evidence Synthesis (FES) is a critical programme of work for Cochrane over the next 3-5 years. Successful delivery is essential is Cochrane to achieve the Strategy for Change objectives and become a sustainable organisation. This role provides effective and efficient administrative support for the FES programme generally and supports the pilot phase of the Thematic Group pilot specifically.

Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everything we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.

You can expect:

  • An opportunity to truly impact health globally
  • A flexible work environment
  • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
  • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here
  • The deadline to receive your application is 20 Feb 2023.
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples.
  • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
Monday, February 6, 2023 Category: Jobs

Early registration now open for Cochrane London 2023

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 17:02

Registration is now open for the 2023 Cochrane Colloquium. Register before the 01 June 2023 to get the reduced early bird rate

You can now register for the Cochrane Colloquium, which will take place at the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Centre in London from 4th to 6th September 2023, with Satellite events on 3rd September.

The Colloquium is an annual event for everyone with an interest in the use of evidence in healthcare decision making including those engaged in evidence production, co-production, dissemination, implementation and policy making, as well as those making individual healthcare decisions.

This year’s theme is ‘Forward together for trusted evidence’. It will explore the challenges for the future around the trustworthiness of healthcare data and information whilst also celebrating 30 years of producing trusted evidence. 

Students, healthcare consumers, and people from low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income economies (LMIC) are eligible for a reduced rate.

As well as now being able to register, you can submit an abstract or submit a workshop for the event.

We look forward to welcoming you to London!

Register today: Further information Monday, February 6, 2023

Local steroid injection for carpal tunnel syndrome

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 15:40
Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cochrane review finds that vitamin D does not reduce risk of asthma attacks

Tue, 01/31/2023 - 17:25

Taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk of asthma attacks in children or adults, according to an updated Cochrane review.

These findings are in contrast to a previous Cochrane review that indicated a reduction in asthma attacks in people taking vitamin D. However, the review found no harm in taking vitamin D and it did not examine other possible health benefits.

The review was carried out by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Edinburgh. Researcher Adrian Martineau, Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity at Queen Mary University of London, said: “Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of severe asthma attacks and our previous Cochrane review, published in 2016, found that vitamin D reduced the risk of asthma attacks. However, more studies have been published since then and when we included the extra data in our updated review, the overall results changed. We found that vitamin D supplements had no effect on risk of asthma attacks or on control of asthma symptoms compared with a placebo.”

Professor Martineau and his colleagues analysed the results of 20 randomised controlled trials – the gold-standard for medical research – including data on 1,155 children and 1,070 adults with asthma. This compares to nine trials involving a total of 1,093 people whose data contributed to the previous review. The majority of patients in the trials had mild to moderate asthma.

When they compared patients who were assigned to take a vitamin D supplement with patients who were assigned to take a placebo (dummy medication), the researchers found no statistically significant difference in the number of people who experienced an asthma attack requiring treatment with a course of steroid tablets.

The review did not find any effect of taking vitamin D on asthma control even when people were vitamin D-deficient when they joined the studies, or with different doses of the supplement, or in people of different ages.

Professor Martineau said: “In contrast to our previous Cochrane review on this topic, this updated review does not find that vitamin D offers protection against asthma attacks or improves control of asthma symptoms. However, the trials we looked at did not include many people with severe asthma or people with very low levels of vitamin D in their blood, so these are areas where more research is still needed."

Anne Williamson, the first author on the study who is also from Queen Mary University of London, commented: “We can’t be certain why this updated review has given a different result to our original study from 2016. It could be that people with asthma may be getting better treatment than previously. Or it could be that, in general, rates of vitamin D deficiency have decreased over time, due to increasing intake of supplements or fortified foods. Either of these factors could obscure potential benefits from taking vitamin D supplements. Regardless of the reason, these most recent findings are likely to be correct for people living with asthma today.

This also highlights why it’s vital to update reviews when more research is published.”

Today’s review includes data from 20 clinical trials, compared with nine in the 2016 review, and children with asthma are better represented than previously. The review team say they have also applied stricter criteria on which studies would be included, compared to some other reviews. For example, they excluded studies that did not compare vitamin D with a placebo and those that did not monitor patients for at least 12 weeks.

Most of the trials included in the review involved patients taking cholecalciferol, which is the typical form of vitamin D supplement. One trial that used calcidiol, which is a compound that the body can make from vitamin D, reported an improvement in asthma control in patients taking this supplement. The reviewers say further research is needed to confirm whether this form of vitamin D has benefits for people with asthma.

Williamson A, Martineau AR, Sheikh A, Jolliffe D, Griffiths CJ. Vitamin D for the management of asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2023, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD011511. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011511.pub3.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Can cognitive stimulation benefit people with dementia?

Tue, 01/31/2023 - 12:56
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Cochrane review shows that reducing trip hazards and decluttering can prevent falls among older people living at home

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 17:27

Measures to eliminate hazards around the home, such as reducing clutter, adding railings to stairs and improving poor lighting, can reduce the risk of falls for older people by around a quarter, according to a Cochrane review recently published.

The review did not find any compelling evidence for other measures to reduce falls, such as making sure older people have the correct prescription glasses, special footwear, or education on avoiding falls.

It also found that decluttering and reducing hazards had the most benefit for older people who are at risk of falls, for example because they have recently had a fall and been hospitalised or need support with daily activities such as dressing or using stairs.

Nearly one third of people aged 65 years and older fall each year. Most falls occur in the home.

Lindy Clemson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney, Australia was lead author of the review. She said: “Falls are very common among older people. They can cause serious injury or even death, but they are preventable. In this review we wanted to examine which measures could have the biggest impact on reducing falls among older people living at home.”

Professor Clemson and her colleagues analysed the results of 22 studies including data on 8,463 older people living in the community.

They found that taking measures to reduce fall hazards around the home lowers the overall rate of falls by 26%. This typically includes an assessment of fall hazards in and around the home and recommendations for lowering the risk, for instance by removing clutter and adding handrails and non-slip strips to steps. These measures have the biggest effect (38% fewer falls) for people who are at a higher risk of falls. Based on their analyses, the reviewers found that if 1,000 people who had previously had a fall followed these measures for about a year, the total number of falls would come down from 1,847 to 1,145.

Professor Clemson said: “Having had a fall or starting to need help with everyday activities are markers of underlying risk factors, such as being unsteady on your feet, having poor judgement or weak muscles. These risk factors make negotiating the environment more challenging and increase the risk of a trip or slip in some situations.

The research shows that, for those at risk of falls, being aware of fall hazards in and around the home, removing hazards and adapting with safe behaviours can significantly reduce the risk of falling. It appears that interventions to reduce fall hazards around the home need certain elements of assessment and support to work, not just a short check list of things to tick off. So, while everyone can take more care about their home environment and should do exercise for balance and lower limb strength, professional support from an occupational therapist is an important intervention for many people living at home."

“We encourage all people, as they age, to reduce fall hazards. These are often simple things like removing or changing slippery floor mats, improving lighting on stairs or de-cluttering the home. It seems this is not always ‘common sense’. People tend not to notice clutter around their home or realise that climbing ladders the way they always have is potentially a fall risk, particularly if their mobility or balance is not as it used to be.”

While the review showed fewer falls with hazard reduction, there was not enough data from the studies to determine if there were fewer admissions to hospital due to a fall. The authors found limited evidence for the other approaches to prevent falls that they examined – assistive technologies and education. They also found there was a lack of research on the impact on fall reduction of providing equipment or modifications to help older people carry out daily activities, such as showering or as cooking a meal.

Professor Clemson added: “Preventing falls is a really important way of helping people to remain healthy and independent as they grow older, and our review also highlights the need for more research in this area.”

Friday, March 10, 2023

Cochrane London 2023: Call for abstracts now open

Thu, 01/26/2023 - 13:59

Cochrane London 2023: Forward together for trusted evidence
4-6 September 2023
Central London, UK

Cochrane UK is delighted to be hosting the  Cochrane Colloquium at the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Centre in London, UK from the 4 to 6 of September 2023, with satellite events and meetings on the 3rd September.

Cochrane holds an annual conference, known as a Colloquium, that brings together Cochrane researchers, clinical professionals, early career professionals, patients and carers, policymakers, and anyone interested in evidence synthesis and evidence-based healthcare. The events are a mix of keynote speakers, training opportunities, workshops, presentations, and a lively social and networking atmosphere. They are an exciting opportunity for a community of evidence synthesis enthusiasts to share, learn, and connect.  

Today, 30 January 2023, the call for abstracts has opened. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, 1 March 2023. 

The theme of the Colloquium is 'Forward together for trusted evidence', which explores the challenges for the future around the trustworthiness of healthcare information whilst also celebrating 30 years of producing trusted evidence. 

We invite abstract submissions for the following streams: producing trusted evidence; advocating for trusted evidence; informing health and care decisions; and co-production and working together. 

We recognize that everything Cochrane does is about and for patients and other health consumers. We ask that all abstract submissions consider the impact on patients and healthcare consumers. In particular, we welcome submissions that are co-produced, co-presented or co-designed with patients or other healthcare consumers.

If you are planning to submit an abstract, please see our guidance and recommendations:

 Catherine Spencer, Cochrane CEO said, “The Cochrane Colloquium will bring people together in one place to discuss, develop and promote Cochrane’s work. I am looking forward to a packed programme at my first Colloquium and encourage you to submit your contributions now.”

Martin Burton, Director of Cochrane UK, said: “We look forward to receiving your abstract submissions for London 2023. You can now submit abstracts for posters, oral presentations, or workshops – and we have guidance to help you.” 

We invite everyone to visit the Colloquium website for all information related to the Colloquium as it's released, including submissions for abstracts and awards/prizes, registration, stipend applications, and the event programme.

 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Cochrane seeks Head of Fundraising - UK

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 14:03

Title: Head of Fundraising
Specifications: Permanent – Full Time
Salary: 60K per annum
Location: United Kingdom
Directorate: Development
Closing date: 21 Feb, 2023

Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters from more than 220 countries. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

The Head of Fundraising will lead a small and dedicated team to provide the necessary vision, leadership, and fundraising skills which will enable the organisation to achieve its fundraising targets and organisational Development Strategy. They will have substantial international fundraising and management experience, a talent for building relationships and a proven track record in securing funds from international institutions, statutory sources, major international trusts and foundations, and major donors.

Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everting we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.

You can expect:

  • An opportunity to truly impact health globally
  • A flexible work environment
  • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
  • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.
  • The deadline to receive your application is 21st Feb, 2023.
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples.
  • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 Category: Jobs

RevMan Web, Cochrane’s systematic-review production software, is now available to the wider academic community

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 16:51

Cochrane is delighted to announce the availability of RevMan Web, its popular, web-based systematic-review production software, to the wider academic community beyond Cochrane – to support evidence synthesis development and evidence-based medicine education. Cochrane expects interest in use of the tool from those in universities and medical schools, and many other research sectors.

RevMan Web facilitates the creation of meta-analyses, forest plots, risk-of-bias tables, and other systematic review elements. It is acknowledged to be easy-to-use – and is also widely used in learning or training about systematic review production.

Cochrane is making RevMan Web available for use by institutions or individuals for their own systematic review development work. The product is presented on a Software-as-a-Service basis: Cochrane offers a hosted service, comprising the software and cloud storage of all review data uploaded. 

Laura Ingle, Cochrane’s Director of Publishing and Technology, says this is a hugely positive step forward: “Cochrane’s investment and development of RevMan Web has allowed the preparing and maintaining of Cochrane Reviews to reach our high standards and methodologies – making Cochrane reviews the gold standard in health evidence. Cochrane is committed to making RevMan Web the platform of choice for all systematic review production, and now we are enabling access to RevMan Web for the wider review community at a reasonable and affordable cost.

"In addition to reviews of studies of the effects of healthcare interventions, you can use RevMan Web to write reviews that synthesize qualitative evidence, reviews of prognosis studies, reviews of studies of methodology, diagnostic test accuracy reviews, and overviews of reviews. RevMan Web is easy to use, is a safe and central place to manage all reviews, and allows collaboration across people to work on the same project. With its included learning and training materials, it also makes it a great training tool for teaching systematic review techniques. 

"Cochrane authors have been using RevMan for 5 years and we are excited to offer this systematic review and meta-analysis software to individual researchers, those working on reviews together, and to those looking for licences for their university. It’s a great tool for those generating one-off meta-analyses and forest plots or conducting their own systematic reviews.”

Free access is available in Research4Life low and middle-income countries and to Cochrane Review authors working on Cochrane Reviews. Cochrane authors working on non-Cochrane reviews, Cochrane Members, students,  and academics are eligible for a discounted rate. 

To find out more:

Friday, March 24, 2023

Yoga for chronic non-specific low back pain

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 15:28
Tuesday, January 24, 2023

What health evidence can we trust when we need it most?

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 12:45

Dr Jenny McSharry, Health Psychologist and lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Galway, explains what systematic reviews are and why they are a particularly trustworthy source of health evidence. 

Dr Jenny Mc Sharry was supported by an Evidence Synthesis Ireland Writing Mentorship (Grant code ESI-2021-001) and this blog post was originally posted on Evidently Cochrane.

When we are diagnosed with a new condition, experience a worrying symptom or need to make a health decision for ourselves or our loved ones, it can be hard to know where to turn. How often have we found ourselves unable to sleep, alone at 3AM, searching online for answers to questions we never thought we would have to ask?  In times of anxiety and uncertainty, how can we know what health evidence to trust when we need it most?

When looking for reliable information to help with health decisions, reviews of evidence, in particular systematic reviews, can be a good place to start.

Systematic reviews of multiple studies can be useful for health decisions

Reviews that bring together and summarise the existing evidence are more reliable than one research study, or one person’s opinion or experience. Lots of things can affect the findings of a research study and we can have more confidence in reviews that bring together lots of studies. There is more information on why Personal experiences or anecdotes (stories) are an unreliable basis for assessing the effects of most treatments on the Evidently Cochrane blog.

Systematic reviews are seen as the gold-standard of research evidence. A systematic review is a type of review that tries to find, assess, and summarise all the evidence that meets pre-specified criteria to answer a specific question. Researchers who complete systematic reviews follow a number of key steps to make their findings more trustworthy.

Systematic reviews summarise evidence related to a specific question

Systematic reviews look for evidence that might help answer a specific question, and clearly outline this question from the start. For example, a systematic review Antihistamines for motion sickness was done to find out if  medicines used for allergy symptoms (antihistamines) work and are safe in preventing travel (motion) sickness. The review summarises evidence on how antihistamines compare with dummy treatment (placebo), no treatment, and other medicines. This review is useful if you want to find evidence about medicines for travel sickness, but not if you want to know if you should avoid reading or drink ginger tea while travelling. When a review clearly states its focus, it helps us judge whether it is relevant and useful to us.

Systematic reviews aim to find all studies that meet certain criteria

Systematic reviews researchers try to find and include all studies relevant to a specific question. This is important, as we want all relevant information to be available to us when making a health decision. When using evidence from a review to decide if we should start a new treatment for example, we want to be sure that studies that found benefits, studies that found harms, and studies that found little or no difference, are just as likely to have been included.

Systematic review researchers try to find all relevant studies by clearly outlining the sources they will search, and by making a list of the criteria they will use to decide if studies should be included. For example, in our review Video calls for reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people, we wanted to find out if older people who used video calls to keep in touch with family and friends feel less lonely than those who did not. For this review, we needed to decide on what we meant by older adults, as the findings might be different for people aged 65 and older, or people aged 70 and older. For this review, we decided to include studies of people aged 65 and older and made it clear when reporting the findings that this was the group we had focused on.

Systematic review researchers clearly state the methods they will use to identify studies before starting the review. Other researchers should be able to use these methods and find the same set of studies.

Systematic reviews assess and report on the quality of evidence

When reading reviews of evidence, it is important to know how many relevant studies there are, but also to know if the studies are of good quality. Even if a number of studies find that a treatment is beneficial, we may not want to choose this treatment if we find out that the number of people included in the studies was very small, or that the way in which people were identified to take part in the studies was not clear. For a systematic review, researchers assess if the methods used in the included studies were appropriate. Researchers then make a judgement on the level of certainty we can have in the overall evidence, based on whether the included studies were done well or not.

Finding relevant systematic reviews: Where to look?

When it comes to trustworthiness, not all information we find is equal, and it is good to know that systematic reviews can be helpful in making health decisions. However, when feeling anxious about a health condition or symptom, or when trying to make an urgent health decision, it can be hard to know how to find relevant systematic reviews.

Cochrane is an independent global organisation that aims to provide high-quality evidence to inform decisions about health and care. Cochrane systematic reviews are published online in the Cochrane Library. The Cochrane Library is free to access for people in the UK and Ireland (and in many other countries). You can search by topic, and the reviews all have a Plain Language Summary. The blogs here on Evidently Cochrane aim to make health evidence easy to understand and use by providing summaries of Cochrane Reviews in context, often alongside patients’ and health professionals’ experiences. Evidently Cochrane includes an A-Z list of topics to make it easier to search for relevant evidence, and can be a good place to start when supporting family and friends or making choices about our own health.

What else can you do to work out if health information is trustworthy?

If you are interested in finding out more about health information and what we can trust, the blog, Making health decisions: things that can help, looks at some key things to consider to help us to make the right decision and to reduce the risk of regretting our choices later on. The blog also reminds us that summaries of research evidence are just one part of how we make health decisions, and our own preferences and values and the views of healthcare professionals are also very important. The blog includes lots of resources to help you think critically about health information and to support your decision-making.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

New Cochrane review on family-centred interventions for Indigenous early childhood well-being by primary healthcare services

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 12:16

Family-centred care is a way of providing care that focuses on the needs of children while providing planned care around the whole family unit. A new Cochrane review published recently found there was a small improvement in the overall health and well-being of Indigenous children and their families when they participated in family-centred care programmes at a primary healthcare service.

‘Family centred-care is not new,’ says lead author Dr Natalie Strobel, Senior Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Improving Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families. ‘Aboriginal Medical Services have been doing this for years. For example, they don’t just immunise babies, they talk to mums, aunts, uncles, grandparents and everybody that’s part of that family unit – trying to ensure that everybody's getting care. That’s both health and social care, so it might be making sure there’s appropriate housing, referrals to services that they needed or for other types of support.’

‘We know that primary healthcare, particularly Indigenous-led services, are well placed to deliver services that reflect the needs of Indigenous children and their families. Of our author team of nine, four are Aboriginal and have worked in health services as nurses and midwives for a long time. Families want primary healthcare services that both support them and recognise Indigenous ways of knowing and doing business. This can be delivered through environmental, communication, educational, counselling, and family support approaches.’

A key finding of this new review was that family-centred care delivered by primary healthcare services may improve the overall health and well-being of children and their families, however, due to a range of factors, the evidence was rated as very low certainty. There was also evidence to suggest that families who participated in family-centred care increased their parenting knowledge and awareness to a small degree. However, for all other outcomes it was unclear whether family-centred care improves specific child health and well-being outcomes. Ultimately more high quality trials are needed to generate evidence to determine whether family-centred care improves the health and well-being of Indigenous children.

‘We consider family-centred care to be really promising, but we’re not confident in the evidence for a range of reasons, which are quite complex,’ Natalie says. ‘For example, people in the studies were aware of what intervention they were getting, many people did not come back to report their results, and not all the studies reported the information we were interested in. Also, some of the issues around low quality of evidence are really hard for communities that are doing this type of work to get around.’

‘For instance, in the United States you're delivering the intervention on a reservation and there's not a huge number of people to do this work. Often the person who delivers the intervention also collects the data. We know that's got a significant level of bias involved in it, but it's also very pragmatic, that's what happens and how it has to work because there's not enough people to complete the project. This highlights the challenges of conducting high quality studies, and underscores the need to build capacity and support people in communities.’

‘I think with the advent of this type of research, it will give people an idea of what's going on in the field so that they know where potentially they could identify and collect better evidence to add to this emerging evidence base. Ultimately it is quite a tricky space, and realistically when you are trying to do things that are good for your community, you have to make allowances and be pragmatic about how research is delivered.’

‘Overall, this was a huge and complex review that was really challenging to deliver but we’re so pleased we did,’ Natalie says. ‘I really have to hand it to the team though. It was their sheer persistence that delivered this review, and the reward now for us is having this really high quality piece of work that people from health services can use to show how effective their programs are. We wanted to support local services to advocate for themselves and now they can use this information as they need – either to show where they might need to make changes or to demonstrate that what they're doing is effective and benefits children, families and communities. They are really making a difference.’

Strobel NA, Chamberlain C, Campbell SK, Shields L, Bainbridge RG, Adams C, Edmond KM, Marriott R, McCalman J. Family‐centred interventions for Indigenous early childhood well‐being by primary healthcare services. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2022, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD012463. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012463.pub2.

Written by  Shauna Hurley, Cochrane Australia 

 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

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