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Featured Review: Fortification of staple foods with zinc for improving zinc status and health outcomes

Fri, 24/06/2016 - 18:10

New Cochrane evidence indicates that effects of adding zinc to staple foods are unclear

Low levels of zinc, or zinc deficiency, is a common problem in children and women living in low- and middle-income countries. Cereal-based foods and legumes are rich in dietary fibre and phytates, which reduce absorption of zinc from the intestine. As people in low-income households derive majority of their nutritional intake from only these foods, they are more likely to develop zinc deficiency. Adding zinc to common staple foods, alone or in combination with other vitamins and minerals, has been proposed as an intervention to increase intake of zinc.

A team of Cochrane authors based in India, Canada, and Switzerland worked with Cochrane Public Health to evaluate the effects of fortification of staple foods with zinc on blood zinc levels and health-related outcomes in the general population above two years of age. The review includes eight studies with a total of 709 participants. Seven of the included studies were from middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, where zinc deficiency is likely to be a public health problem.

Analyses suggest that fortification of foods with zinc may have a marginal increase in serum zinc levels, which is an indicator of zinc status. If zinc is added to food in combination with other micronutrients, it may make little or no difference. Effects of fortification of foods with zinc on other outcomes including zinc deficiency, children’s growth, cognition, work capacity of adults, or on haematological indicators, are unknown.

“Zinc deficiency is a significant public health problem. Zinc is vital for the normal functioning of the reproductive immune and gastrointestinal systems,” said Dheeraj Shah, the lead author of the Cochrane Review. “Fortification programmes play a major role in increasing dietary uptake of some vitamins and minerals lacking in populations, especially given the low cost and long-term sustainability. Unfortunately, the practice of many countries of implementing mandatory fortification of cereal flours with zinc in combination with other micronutrients may not be the best strategy to combat zinc deficiency in these populations. The World Health Organization is going to take the findings of this Cochrane Review into consideration in their future guidelines. We hope upcoming studies will investigate the feasibility of adding zinc to other foods, such as edible oils, sugars, and beverages.”

Read the full Cochrane Review

Visit the Cochrane Public Health website

Friday, June 24, 2016

Seoul Colloquium news

Thu, 23/06/2016 - 13:32

Reminder: nominations are open for the Anne Anderson, Thomas C Chalmers, Chris Silagy, Bill Silverman, and Kenneth Warren awards and prizes. Nominate your favorite Cochrane contributor who is making a difference! Deadline: 29 July.

Everyone who submitted an abstract for posters, oral presentations and workshops has been notified. We are very pleased to have accepted 400 oral presentations and posters and 80 workshops!

For complete information, please see the Colloquium website.

Look forward to seeing you in Seoul in October!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cochrane in the news: June 2016

Thu, 23/06/2016 - 13:31

A round-up of selected recent media coverage citing, discussing, and presenting health evidence - updated throughout the month

"Cochrane continues to seek stable funding": an article in CMAJ discusses Cochrane Canada's current funding situation and prospects for the future.

"The importance of getting evidence into health service decision making": Cochrane Editor in Chief David Tovey writes on BMJ Blogs: "Evidence should be at the heart of health service decision making and where it is not, we should not be surprised when mistakes are made and resources used sub-optimally."

"Health journalism has a serious evidence problem. Here’s a plan to save it." Health journalist Julia Belluz writes for Vox on the problem of "headline whiplash [in] health news" and offers suggestions on how health journalists "need help making sense of research, and in turn, [need to help] readers (who include patients, policymakers, and doctors) to do the same."

"To control your weight, eat more — of the right foods": an article in the Washington Post discussing strategies for weight management cites recent Cochrane Review examining portion sizes and consumption, recommends monitoring portion sizes.

Prince’s Death a ‘Sign of the Times’”: a recent Huffington Post blog examining the dangers of opioid prescription and dependence cites Cochrane evidence indicating that “opioids are less effective at relieving acute pain than a combination of over-the-counter ibuprofen and acetaminophen”.

An interview with Ben Goldacre”: New Zealand blog community Public Address recently featured an interview with Ben Goldacre, where he discussed his role as a researcher and science communicator and how the medical community engages with the public: “In the 21st century, the fact is that society doesn’t run on trust and authority any more, it runs on evidence and open public discussion.”

Larger Wine Glasses May Lead People to Drink More, Study Shows”: a story in Nutrition Insight cites a recent Cochrane Review examining portion sizes and consumption, and describes new research into alcohol consumption and glass size.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Making Cochrane Crowd's work go further

Thu, 23/06/2016 - 05:39

We are delighted to announce that the work of Cochrane Crowd, Cochrane’s new citizen science platform, is going open access.

Cochrane Crowd, launched in May 2016, is a global community made up of volunteers who are helping to identify the research needed to support informed decision-making about healthcare treatments.

Cochrane Crowd has already identified thousands of reports of randomized controlled trials eligible for Cochrane’s Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), helping Cochrane Review authors around the world to find the evidence they need for their reviews.

As part of Cochrane’s commitment to improving the knowledge base and being transparent about the data going into systematic reviews, the plan now is to make the crowd’s data about trial identification available and accessible to everyone. The open access data will be stored in a data repository, accessible via Cochrane Crowd and regularly updated.

We hope to implement this new and exciting phase of Cochrane Crowd by August 2016.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cochrane seeks Online Learning and Support Officer - Flexible location

Wed, 22/06/2016 - 19:23

Specifications: Full Time
Salary:
£32,000 - £40,000
Location:
Flexible Location
Application Closing Date:
29 July 2016

Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by identifying, appraising and synthesizing individual research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed.

Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information. We want to be the leading advocate for evidence-informed health care across the world.

This exciting position of Online Learning Support Officer is an opportunity for a candidate with expertise in design and development of engaging online learning resources, together with an ambition to make a difference in the field of health care research, to join Cochrane’s Learning and Support Department and help us deliver our Training and Professional Development Strategy.

 You will be working with a wide range of international content contributors across Cochrane and beyond, bringing a talent for instructional design to develop engaging new online resources for the Cochrane Training website.  The role is also an excellent opportunity to contribute to Cochrane as we implement pioneering new technologies for efficient and effective production of systematic review and other research methodologies. 

You’ll be familiar with technical and pedagogical approaches to developing accessible online learning, and able to turn your expertise to a range of tasks from managing webinar and virtual classroom programmes, page design, editing of text and other multimedia content, to planning of user testing to assure quality architecture and usability.

You will work with our Informatics and Knowledge Management team on implementing new technology products, as well as support implementation and management of a new Learning Record Store and its integration with our forthcoming membership scheme.

The ideal candidate will bring experience of design and production of online learning resources, and web editing, including related software and systems.  An excellent communicator and collaborator, you are able to use your interpersonal and written skills to translate complex technical research material into exceptional learning resources.  An understanding of Cochrane specifically and health research more generally is an advantage, but not essential.

 The majority of Cochrane Central Executive staff are located in London, UK, however flexible location is possible for the right candidate.

 The full job description is available here.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to recruitment@cochrane.org with “Online Learning and Support Officer” in the subject line.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.

Deadline for applications: 29 July 2016 (12 midnight GMT)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Category: Jobs

Cochrane Steering Group announces appointment of third external member

Wed, 22/06/2016 - 04:28

Cochrane is delighted to announce the appointment of its third external member of the Cochrane Steering Group (CSG): Dr. Michael Makanga, MBChB, MSc, PhD, FRCP Edin.

The CSG has undertaken these appointments within its existing powers to co-opt external members as required, and potentially as the first step in Cochrane’s proposed re-structure of the CSG into the Cochrane Board. The governance re-structure is undergoing consultation with the Cochrane community during 2016, and Cochrane Groups will have the final vote on the proposal at the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 October, during the Cochrane Colloquium in Seoul, South Korea. For more information on this project, please see the Governance re-structure project pages on our Community site.

Michael Makanga is currently the Executive Director of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). He is a Ugandan physician with 25 years of professional experience working on health and poverty-related diseases in sub‐Saharan Africa, which includes over 20 years of work experience on medical product development and clinical regulatory activities. He holds a Medical Degree from Makerere University, Uganda, a Master’s Degree from the University of Liverpool, and a PhD in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.

Before joining EDCTP Michael was first in clinical practice and academia, and later clinical research where he served as Head of Regulatory Clinical Trials Facility and Outpatient Clinic at the Kenya Medical Research Institute –Wellcome Trust Collaborative Centre, Kilifi, Kenya, under the auspices of the Universities of Liverpool and Oxford.

He joined EDCTP in 2004, where he has held various management positions, including the appointment as Director of South‐South Cooperation and Head of EDCTP Africa Office in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2008. During his 12 years at EDCTP, Michael has built up significant experience in global health, research for health capacity development, quality assurance, project management and evaluation, health and research management, as well as diplomacy and engagement with policy makers, health and regulatory authorities in sub‐Saharan Africa and Europe. In addition, he has served on various scientific and policy advisory boards for international product development and philanthropic organizations, along with pharmaceutical companies involved in developing medicinal products for poverty related and neglected diseases.

Michael will join the Cochrane Steering Group with immediate effect. His appointment, along with two other recently-appointed CSG members, Marguerite Koster and Catherine Marshall, will also be subject to confirmation by Cochrane members at the 2016 AGM.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Stay connected! Sign up for the Cochrane newsletter.

Mon, 20/06/2016 - 19:28

Cochrane Connect brings you a monthly dose of news, events, and noteworthy Cochrane Reviews - right to your inbox.

Get the latest Cochrane news with our monthly newsletter, Cochrane Connect. It rounds up the month's most important Cochrane Reviews and biggest news stories, so you can stay up to date with the latest Cochrane information.  

Each newsletter contains:

  • Feature stories from the Cochrane community
  • Cochrane Review news that includes links to free access collections, editorials, featured reviews, and press releases.
  • Organizational news which covers what Cochrane is up to and how you can get involved.

Stay connected with Cochrane by signing up for Cochrane Connect today!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Announcing the Global Evidence Summit 2017

Fri, 10/06/2016 - 12:58

Cochrane, together with four other leading organizations in the production and dissemination of evidence for decision making in the global health, social, and economic policy and practice sectors - proudly announces the first ‘Global Evidence Summit’ in Cape Town, South Africa.

Next year, Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health, is joining with four other leading organizations – the Guidelines International Network, The Campbell Collaboration, the International Society for Evidence-based Health Care, and the Joanna Briggs Institute - to hold the first ‘Global Evidence Summit’ (GES) in Cape Town, South Africa from 12-16 September 2017.

The theme of the GES, ‘Using Evidence. Improving Lives’, will highlight and promote evidence-informed approaches to health policy and development, offering the most cost-effective interventions.

The summit will focus on the opportunities and challenges facing low- and middle-income countries - a reason why the GES is to be hosted in Cape Town, South Africa. The event is expected to attract up to 2000 delegates and will bring together many parts of the evidence community to promote evidence-informed decision-making worldwide.

Professor Jimmy Volmink, Director of host organization Cochrane South Africa, said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity for the global evidence world. It is the first global meeting of its kind which will highlight how using evidence and information helps people make better decisions to improve lives, as well as enhancing capacity development and future research in the fields of health and social development.”

He went on to say: “This global event will show how the best available evidence, clinical judgment and patient preferences are important components of healthcare decision-making.”

Cochrane’s CEO, Mark Wilson warmly welcomed today’s news: “We hope the Global Evidence Summit will be a watershed moment in the appreciation of how evidence-informed policy and practice can improve health and development outcomes in both developed and low- and middle-income countries. The Summit will be a high-quality scientific conference; but we also intend that it will bring together international healthcare and development leaders with many of the world’s experts in the production and use of high-quality evidence across many disciplines. By expanding these relationships, we will ensure that Cochrane learns more about the needs of policy-makers and practitioners, and can provide them in future with even more high-quality, accessible and useful evidence products and services that change lives for the better.”

More detail on dates, registration, and the scientific programme will be announced in the coming months. You can find out more at globalevidencesummit.org and follow on Twitter: @GESummit and #GESummit17

Find out more at globalevidencesummit.org
Twitter: @GESummit, #GESummit17
Facebook: facebook.com/globalevidencesummit/

Registration will open in late 2016.

Partner organizations

Press contacts

Michelle Galloway
Cochrane South Africa
E Michelle.Galloway@mrc.ac.za

Jo Anthony
Senior Media and Communications Manager, Cochrane 
M +44(0) 7582 726 634 janthony@cochrane.org or pressoffice@cochrane.org

Friday, June 10, 2016

Brazil launches first-ever Cochrane Network

Wed, 08/06/2016 - 03:29

Cochrane is delighted to announce the official launch of our first national Cochrane Network.

The new Brazilian Cochrane Network consists of the Brazilian Cochrane Centre (located at the Centro de Estudos em Medicina Baseada em Evidências e AvaliaçãoTecnologica em Saúde in São Paulo) and five new Affiliates, located in the cities of Fortaleza and João Pessoa (in the Northeast region of Brazil), in Belém (in the Amazon region), in Petrópolis (in the Southeastern region, near Rio de Janeiro) and in Muriaé (in the Central West region).

The Network will promote evidence-based decision making in health care in Brazil by supporting and training new Brazilian authors of Cochrane Reviews, as well as working with clinicians, professional associations, policy-makers, patients, and the media to encourage the dissemination and use of Cochrane evidence.

The Brazilian Cochrane Network is part of Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. The Network will be co-ordinated and led by the Brazilian Cochrane Centre, which will offer methodological support,  mentoring, and supervision to the Affiliates.

The Director of Cochrane Brazil, Dr. Alvaro Atallah, says this is a hugely exciting opportunity: “The launch of the first-ever Cochrane Network is very important, both to Brazil and globally. Producing and increasing the dissemination of the best available information on health care is critical for clinicians and patients everywhere in the world, including Brazil.”

Established in 1996 and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Cochrane Brazil (Centro Cochrane do Brasil) has supported authors from different regions of the country, and produced more than 300 Cochrane Reviews for the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Some of these author teams are now in a position to lead the production of Cochrane work in their own regions.

The new Brazilian Cochrane Network was agreed during a recent trip to São Paulo by Cochrane’s CEO Mark Wilson and Deputy Editor in Chief Karla Soares-Weiser. Wilson warmly welcomed today’s launch: “I am delighted we are announcing the first-ever single-country Cochrane Network which, by working closely together, will deepen and expand the scope, reach, and impact of Cochrane activities on health and healthcare decision making across Brazil. This is also an important announcement for global health research. The Network will promote recognition of studies conducted and published in Brazil and this will not only simply increase the access of evidence, but also promote sharing of clinical experiences across the country, and the world.”

One of the five Affiliate Coordinators, Florentino de Araujo Cardoso Filho from Fortaleza, Ceará, is proud to be a part of this Network. He said, ”Health care will have a very positive impact with the increased presence of Cochrane’s work in Brazil, because this is going to stimulate and focus our actions relating to the care of patients based on strong scientific evidence. Knowledge is evolving intensely and fast, and this is one of the main reasons why we need systematic reviews to evaluate healthcare interventions. The state of Ceará will benefit the most from this affiliation because it will be able to put together a team of the best qualified scientific professionals from the state.”

Affiliate Coordinator Dr. Luis Eduardo Fontes from Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, added, “It’s an honour to be invited to be part of this new Network. However, it is also a responsibility to be associated with Cochrane through Cochrane Brazil. The best part of this new partnership is to be able to collaborate on the production and dissemination of the best available evidence through Cochrane Reviews. This is an excellent opportunity for scientific growth, and gives us the chance to train students and a future generation that will develop high-quality research. Our chance to support health professionals in improving their decision making based on the best available evidence will support patient care.” Dr Fontes concluded, “This is an innovation for our region and we intend to collaborate in the dissemination of Cochrane Reviews and to continue supporting Cochrane to reach its 2020 strategic objectives.”

Cochrane Affiliates

UNVERSIDADE FEDERAL DA PARAIBA, coordinated by Dr. Andre Telis de Vilela Araujo

FACULDADE DE MEDICINA DE PETROPOLIS, coordinated by Dr. Luis Eduardo Fontes

UNIVERSIDADE ESTADUAL DO PARA, coordinated by Dr Regis Bruni Andriolo and Dr. Brenda Nazare Gomes Andriolo

CENTRO DE TRATAMENTO MULTIDISCIPLINAR EM ONCOLOGIA DO CEARA,  coodinated by Dr Florentino de Araujo Cardoso Filho

FUNDACAO CRISTIANO VARELLA,  coodinated by Dr Flavia  Maria Ribeiro Vital

For more information on the work of Cochrane Brazil and the Network, please visit the Cochrane Brazil website.

For all media enquiries, please contact the Cochrane Press Office.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Featured Review: Participation in environmental enhancement and conservation activities for health and well-being in adults

Tue, 07/06/2016 - 06:00

Can taking part in activities that enhance the physical environment improve your physical and mental health?

There is growing research and policy interest in the potential for using the natural environment to enhance human health and well-being. It is thought that contact with the natural environment has a positive impact on health and well-being. Outdoor environmental enhancement and conservation activities include activities such as unpaid litter picking, tree planting, or path maintenance. It is thought that these offer opportunities for physical activity alongside greater connectedness with local environments, enhanced social connections within communities, and improved self-esteem, which may, in turn, further improve well-being for the individual.

A team of Cochrane authors based in the United Kingdom worked with Cochrane Public Health to assess the health and well-being impacts on adults following participation in environmental enhancement and conservation activities. Participants were adult volunteers or were referred by a healthcare professional.

The review includes 19 studies based on numerical data (quantitative) and text from interviews (qualitative) and  data from 3,603 participants. They came from the UK, US, Canada, and Australia.

The majority of quantitative studies reported no effect on health and well-being. There was limited evidence that participation had positive effects on self-reported health, quality of life, and physical activity levels. Some also reported increased mental fatigue and greater feelings of anxiety.

The qualitative studies illustrate the experiences of people taking part, and their perceptions of the benefits. People reported feeling better. They liked the opportunity for increased social contact, especially if they had been socially isolated through, for example, mental ill-health. They also valued a sense of achievement, being in nature, and provision of a daily structure.

“Research into this area is not very robust and quality of the design and reporting is low, therefore we cannot draw any definite conclusions about any positive or negative effects. However, participants perceived that there was a benefit,” said Kerryn Husk, the lead author of the Cochrane Review. “We were able to develop a conceptual framework that illustrates the range of interlinked mechanisms through which people believe they potentially achieved health and well-bring benefits. We hope this will help future research on this this topic.”

Read the full Cochrane Review

Read the Review abstract in Russian

Visit the Cochrane Public Health website

Selected media coverage: Science Daily, Health Medicine Network, Medical Xpress, EurekaAlert!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cochrane Making a Difference: Midwifery

Thu, 02/06/2016 - 06:07

The Cochrane Making a Difference series focuses on stories of how Cochrane evidence has made an impact on real-world health decision making and outcomes. This story focuses on the improved outcomes that women and infants experience in pregnancy and delivery when they are cared for by a midwife that they know.

A Cochrane Review on continuity of midwife care was first published in 2004, and most recently updated in 2016. As more trials have been added to the Cochrane Review, uncertainties in the original findings have been reduced. The current evidence demonstrates that women who have received continuity of care from a midwife they know, rather than receiving medical-led or shared care, are:

  • 24% less likely to experience preterm birth,
  • 19% less likely to lose their baby before 24 weeks' gestation, and
  • 16% less likely to lose their baby at any gestation.

These women are also more likely to have a vaginal birth, fewer interventions during birth (instrumental birth, amniotomy, epidural and episiotomy), and are likely to have a more positive experience of labour and birth. These findings apply to both low- and mixed-risk populations of women, and there are no significant differences in outcomes between caseload and team care models.

Both the World Health Organization and the UK’s Department of Health have identified this Cochrane Review as a priority topic for updating. Its findings have had a significant influence on recent policy developments in relation to maternity care in the UK and beyond:

 Have you got a story of how Cochrane evidence has made an impact on health decision-making? Let us know!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

World No Tobacco Day 2016

Tue, 31/05/2016 - 17:43

31 May is World No Tobacco Day. It is organized by the World Health Organization to draw attention to the health risks associated with the use of tobacco and what can still be done to reduce tobacco consumption around the world.

In support of World No Tobacco Day 2016, the Cochrane Library presents an updated Special Collection which highlights a selection of new or recently updated clinically relevant Cochrane Reviews that address tobacco addiction in the general population. There is free access to all Reviews included.

Here we focus on a Cochrane Review of a medical intervention - nicotine receptor partial agonists for smoking cessation - and what the available evidence tells us about its effectiveness.

Cochrane Review provides more support for medication as long-term aid to quitting smoking

When people stop smoking, they experience cravings to smoke and unpleasant mood changes. Nicotine receptor partial agonists aim to reduce these withdrawal symptoms and the pleasure people usually experience when they smoke. The most widely available treatment in this drug type is varenicline, which is available worldwide as an aid for quitting smoking. Cytisine is a similar medication, but is only available in Central and Eastern European countries, and through internet sales.

A team of Cochrane authors based in the UK, working with the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group, updated their review of the efficacy of nicotine receptor partial agonists, including varenicline and cytisine, for smoking cessation. Findings take from 44 studies, which include 25,200 people.

Varenicline at standard dose more than doubled the chances of quitting compared with placebo. Low-dose varenicline roughly doubled the chances of quitting, and reduced the number and severity of side effects associated with using the medication. The number of people stopping smoking with varenicline was higher than with bupropion or with nicotine replacement therapy. Based on the evidence available so far, the authors calculated that varenicline delivers one extra successful quitter for every 11 people treated, compared with smokers trying to quit without varenicline.

A key focus of this review update was to investigate any side effects that may result from using this type of medication. After varenicline became available to use, there were concerns that it could be linked with an increase in depressed mood, agitation, or suicidal thinking and behaviour in some smokers. However, this latest evidence does not support a link between varenicline and these disorders, although people with past or current psychiatric illness may be at slightly higher risk. There have also been concerns that varenicline may slightly increase heart and circulatory problems in people already at increased risk of these illnesses. Again, current evidence suggests that they are not caused or made worse by varenicline; however we should have clearer answers to these questions when a further study is published later in 2016.

“Varenicline is the most commonly used nicotine receptor agonist. It currently has a black box warning regarding adverse events on its packaging. This Cochrane update provides new insights into adverse events - early individual case reports linking the drug to suicidal behavior have not been confirmed by the pooled scientific evidence,” said Nicola Lindson-Hawley, one of the authors of the Cochrane Review. “While it is important that clinicans still take pre-existing conditions into consideration when prescribing varenicline, this Cochrane Review confirms the success of varenicline as an aid to quitting smoking in comparison to using no medications to quit.”


Cochrane Reviews for World No Tobacco Day:

Help to quit smoking: Nicotine receptor partial agonists

Help to quit smoking nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

Legislative smoking bands: do they benefit health?

Help to quit smoking: E-cigarettes

Help to quit smoking: Motivational interviewing

Help to quit smoking: behavioural support

Helping smokers quit before surgery

Nursing interventions for smoking cessation.

Institutional smoking bans

Mobile phone-based interventions to help people quit smoking.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Cochrane-Wikipedia partnership in 2016

Thu, 26/05/2016 - 08:03

Articles relating to medicine are viewed more than 180 million times per month on Wikipedia, yet fewer than 1 per cent of these have passed a formal peer review process.

The Cochrane-Wikipedia partnership, formalized in 2014, supports the inclusion of relevant evidence within all Wikipedia medical articles, as well as processes to help ensure that medical information included in Wikipedia is of the highest quality and accuracy.

As the third year of our partnership gets underway, we are delighted to announce the launch of the Cochrane-Wikipedia Initiative pages on Wikimedia as the go-to place for all Cochrane-Wikipedia projects and related resources. Find out more about ongoing work, key information on both organizations, and how to get involved - everyone is welcome!

Watch a video with more information about the partnership’s work and aims.

Is your Cochrane Review ‘Wikipedia-compatible’? Find out!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What is the state of systematic reviews in 2016?

Tue, 24/05/2016 - 09:14

A new study published in the online journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine on 24 May scrutinizes the quality of systematic reviews indexed in MEDLINE. The study found that the quantity of systematic reviews has increased significantly during the decade between 2004 and 2014 – tripling in number during that period – but that the quality, particularly of conduct and reporting, continues to be variable.

The study, entitled ‘Epidemiology and reporting characteristics of systematic reviews of biomedical research: a cross-sectional study’, was completed by an international team of researchers, led by Cochrane contributors David Moher and Matthew Page. They assessed a cross-section of all systematic reviews indexed in Medline in February 2014, identifying 682 and carrying out further analysis on a random sample of 300. They found that at least one-third of these reviews neither reported on how their authors had searched for studies, assessed the quality of studies included, nor used statistical methods generally approved as valid by the systematic reviewing community.

Among other findings relevant to Cochrane, the authors described completeness of reporting in Cochrane Reviews as ‘more complete…than in all other types of [systematic reviews]’. Their recommendations, based upon the study’s findings, focus on developing strategies to improve and standardize the conduct of systematic reviews, and thereby reduce research waste.

Read the PLoS Medicine press release

Read the PLoS Medicine article in full

Read an interview with lead study author Matthew Page on Cochrane Community

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cochrane statement to WHA on managing conflict of interest

Mon, 23/05/2016 - 14:20
Cochrane statement on Framework of engagement with non-State actors (World Health Assembly (WHA) Agenda item 11.3) 

Thank you for the opportunity to deliver this statement on behalf of The Cochrane Collaboration. An important part of Cochrane’s work with WHO involves support for guideline development. In 2015, 75% of the WHO guidelines issued cited a Cochrane Systematic Review.[1]

Recent analyses of WHO guidelines[2][3] have shown that editorial independence and use of reliable evidence have increased markedly since WHO has implemented reforms to protect against conflicts of interests. In 2015, Cochrane responded to the WHO Executive Board agenda item on 'WHO guidelines: development and governance'. We highlighted that involving participants with conflicts of interest in guideline development is likely to influence recommendations, make them less evidence based, and impact on their credibility.[4]

We urge the WHO to replicate its high standards for managing conflict of interest in guideline development across all of its work. In addition to individual conflict of interest disclosure, WHO’s conflict of interest policy should include other conflicts of interest, and be extended to disclosures from organizations providing evidence or information to WHO committees, such as the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines.

We congratulate the Working Group for their efforts to date in recognizing the need to ensure WHO's global health normative work remains free from any potential commercial and other interests. We sincerely hope this protection will continue through the finalization of FENSA and its implementation.  

23.05.16

Signed on behalf of the Cochrane WHO Working Group:

Lisa Bero, Co-Chair, Cochrane Steering Group
David Tovey, Editor in Chief, Cochrane Library
Erik von Elm, Co-Director, Cochrane Switzerland
Paul Garner, Coordinating Editor, Cochrane Infectious Diseases
Julie Wood, Head of Communication and External Affairs, Cochrane
Sylvia de Haan, Partnerships Coordinator, Cochrane

 

[1] http://community.cochrane.org/sites/default/files/uploads/inline-files/2015%20Dashboard%20FINAL_0.pdf

[2] Sinclair D, Isba R, Kredo T, Zani B, Smith H, Garner P. World Health Organization Guideline Development: An Evaluation. PLoS ONE 2013, 8(5): e63715. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063715

[3] Burda BU, Chambers AR, Johnson JC.  Appraisal of guideline developed by the World Health Organization.  Public Health 2014, 128:(2014): 444-474.

[4] Cosgrove L, Bursztajn HJ, Erlich DR, Wheeler EE, Shaughnessy AF.  Conflicts of interest and the quality of recommendations in clinical guidelines.  J Eval Clin Practice 2012, 19:(2013):674-681.

 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Edge Hill University seeks Research Associate (Cochrane Systematic Reviews on Bronchiectasis) - Ormskirk, UK

Sun, 22/05/2016 - 23:26
Location: OrmskirkSalary: £28,982 to £31,656 per annum pro rata Fixed Term for 12 months in first instancePost Type: Part TimeHours Per Week: 21.75Closing Date: Sunday 29 May 2016Interview Date: Friday 03 June 2016Reference: EHA1425-0416

The Faculty of Health & Social Care is seeking a positive team player, who is methodical, analytical, solution focused with an aptitude for prioritising key tasks and coordinating multiple activities.

The ideal candidate will have worked on Cochrane systematic reviews, possess excellent communication skills and have the ability to lead on projects, deliver presentations, allocate tasks and maintain excellent customer service with internal and external stakeholders.

Report writing, data analysis, quality assurance and experience of working in cross-sectoral collaborative research teams are key skills suited to this role.

For more information, please see the complete job description.

Sunday, May 22, 2016 Category: Jobs

International Clinical Trials' Day 2016

Thu, 19/05/2016 - 06:00

International Clinical Trials' Day is celebrated around the world each year on or close to 20 May, commemorating the day in 1747 on which James Lind began the first known controlled trial, comparing different treatments for scurvy then in common use among sailors in the British Royal Navy. (Watch a video explaining the trial to see history in the making.) International Clinical Trials' Day seeks to raise awareness of the importance of research to health care, and draw attention to ways in which the research can become more relevant to practice.

The European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network (ECRIN) helps to co-ordinate the annual commemoration, providing a focal point for international events, meetings, debates, and other celebrations of clinical research. The highlight of each year is a series of public lectures and discussions, held in a different European city. The 2016 celebrations are taking place on May 20th in Prague, Czech Republic. A range of speakers will present a variety of relevant topics, including ‘Clinical trials in the era of personalised medicine', with healthcare professionals and researchers from across Europe in attendance.

Learn about Cochrane systematic reviews and how clinical trials are used:


As part of our own commemoration of International Clinical Trials’ Day, Cochrane presents the eighth annual series of specially prepared podcasts:

  • Analysis bias: Mike Clarke, podcast editor for Trials Change Lives, based at the Northern Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research in Queen’s University Belfast discusses the general need to keep biases out of trials by looking at the specific challenge of minimizing bias when the results are being analyzed.
  • Aspirin and stroke trials: Peter Sandercock from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland tells us how two randomised trials, with 40,000 patients in more than 800 hospitals, changed clinical practice for tens of millions of people with a stroke.
  • Clinical Trials for the NHS: In the UK, the main public funder of healthcare research is the National Institute for Health Research, or NIHR. In this Evidence Pod for Trials Change Lives, we asked Hywel Williams, Director of the NIHR’s Health Technology Assessment programme to outline the importance of clinical trials to this programme and health and social care more generally.
  • Clinical Trials Unit: A key part of the infrastructure for clinical trials in the UK is provided by more than 50 Clinical Trial Units spread across the country. We asked Julia Brown, Director of the Clinical Trial Units’ Network to tell us about their work and their contribution to ensuring that trials change lives.
  • Exercise trials: Being physically active can have beneficial effects on our physical and mental health, but the UK population as a whole doesn’t meet the current Government guidelines. Dr Ruth Hunter, Lecturer in Physical Activity and Public Health/NIHR Career Development Fellow, UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland describes some of the innovative approaches that her team are testing to encourage people to be more active.
  • GP Trials. General practitioners are key to both the conduct of clinical trials and the uptake of their results. Carol Sinnott a GP from Cork in Ireland tells us how they have helped her to change lives.

Read about a Cochrane Review  that used previouly unpublished clinical trial data. Cochrane Review researchers get unpublished data from study sponsors to evaluate effects of new medication used to treat women with advanced ovarian cancer. Alison J Wiggans, a researcher at Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset, UK and joint lead author of the Cochrane Review said:  “Astra Zeneca were extremely helpful in releasing previously unpublished data. It’s important that future reviews, both in oncology and in other fields, look not just published results in academic journals, but also look for unpublished data and ongoing trials to get an accurate overview.”

Post and find other relevant information and resources on Twitter by using the hashtag #ICTD2016.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cochrane Skin Group seeks a Cochrane Systematic Review Methodologist - Nottingham, UK

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 16:52

Specifications: 2.5 working days per week (0.5 FTE)
Location:
Nottingham, UK
Application closing date:
13 June 2016

An exciting opportunity has arisen to appoint a Systematic Review Methodologist for the Cochrane Skin Group at its’ editorial base which is located within the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology (CEBD), School of Medicine at King’s Meadow Campus. CEBD has an international reputation for independent research into the prevention and treatment of skin disease. It attracts around £1million of grant income per year with a focus on delivering independent clinical research that informs the NHS.

The Cochrane Skin Group (CSG) is part of the international Cochrane organisation, and is the editorial base for the preparation and dissemination of Cochrane systematic reviews on the treatment and prevention of skin diseases, and on diagnostic test accuracy reviews. The CSG is one of 52 Cochrane review groups worldwide which contribute to Cochrane and this busy editorial base currently has over 160 review teams preparing protocols or reviews for publication or updating published reviews. The Cochrane Systematic Review Methodologist will lead on providing support and guidance on methodological aspects of CSG systematic reviews and will report to the CSG Managing Editor

 The role-holder will be responsible for working with review teams at all stages of the review-writing and editorial process (from protocol to review publication), and will ensure that relevant methodological procedures are adhered to and will lead on the implementation of new Cochrane methodologies as they develop over time.

CSG  is seeking an individual with proven knowledge and experience of involvement in systematic review methods e.g. by being the lead author of quality systematic reviews or having a consistent track record of published  research in the fields of statistics or methodology. Candidates should possess a good understanding of statistical and research methodology, including knowledge of the relevant statistical techniques used in meta-analysis along with an ability to critically appraise systematic review methodology with attention to detail. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate with clarity on complex and conceptual ideas to those with limited knowledge and understanding as well as to peers, are also essential. They particularly welcome applications from candidates with Cochrane systematic review methodology experience.

For further information about this role, including the link to apply online, please see here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Category: Jobs

Cochrane Skin Group seeks Managing Editor - Nottingham, UK

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 16:43

Specifications: 3 working days per week (0.6 FTE)
Location:
Nottingham, UK
Application closing date:
13 June 2016

Due to the forthcoming retirement of the incumbent role-holder an exciting opportunity has arisen to appoint a Managing Editor for the Cochrane Skin Group at its’ editorial base which is located within the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology (CEBD), School of Medicine at King’s Meadow Campus. CEBD has an international reputation for independent research into the prevention and treatment of skin disease, with a focus on delivering independent clinical research that informs the NHS.

The Cochrane Skin Group (CSG) is part of the international Cochrane organisation, and is the editorial base for the preparation and dissemination of Cochrane systematic reviews on the treatment and prevention of skin diseases, and on diagnostic test accuracy reviews. The CSG is one of 52 Cochrane review groups worldwide which contribute to Cochrane and this busy editorial base currently has over 160 review teams preparing protocols or reviews for publication or updating published reviews. The CSG Managing Editor will be a key member of the CSG Editorial team. They will be responsible for co-ordinating the work of the editorial team, which aims to assist groups of review authors in the production of Cochrane systematic reviews in dermatology, which are published in the Cochrane Library. The role holder will report to the CSG Co-ordinating Editor Prof Hywel Williams.

CSG is  seeking an experienced, highly-motivated individual with a proven track record in a similar area and demonstrable knowledge and experience of systematic review methods, including basic understanding of relevant statistical concepts and the principles of evidence-based healthcare. Candidates should possess good interpersonal skills including the ability to communicate sensitively with those from different backgrounds and cultures for whom English may not be their first language. Experience of managing multiple projects in a comparable working environment along with proven managerial or supervisory skills are also essential and we particularly welcome applications from candidates familiar with Cochrane systematic review methodology.

For further information about this role, including the link to apply online, please see here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Category: Jobs

Interventions for treating hyperemesis gravidarum

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 09:06

New Cochrane evidence provides no definitive recommendation on the best way to treat severe nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy are very common, affecting approximately 80% of pregnancies. Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a severe form affecting only about 1.0% of pregnancies worldwide, generally includes intractable nausea/vomiting, signs of dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss, excluding other diagnoses. The onset is generally in the first trimester, peaking by 12 weeks, with most women having resolution of symptoms by 20 weeks.

HG is debilitating and worrying for women, and the leading cause of hospital admissions in pregnancy. The socio-economic costs of hyperemesis are also significant, stemming from treatment expense, lost job productivity, and high healthcare costs.

This is the first Cochrane Review on treating HG, focusing specifically on trials of interventions for severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. A team of authors based in Italy, the UK, and the US and working with the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group assessed 25 studies involving 2052 women and examining 18 different comparisons of interventions, including acupressure/acupuncture, outpatient care, intravenous fluids, and various commonly used anti-sickness drugs. They concluded that there was little evidence to support the superiority of any one intervention over another, which is useful to know for those making decisions about managing the condition.

Read the Cochrane Review

Listen to a podcast summarizing the findings of this Cochrane Review from lead author Rupsa Boelig

Read Caitlin’s story of her experiences with and work raising awareness about HG at Evidently Cochrane

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016