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NIHR Signal ‘Last resort’ antipsychotic remains the gold standard for treatment-resistant schizophrenia
Among patients with schizophrenia that has not responded to other drugs, the antipsychotic drug clozapine cuts the chances of hospital admissions and drugdiscontinuation. Recent trials have questioned the superior efficacy of clozapine compared with other standard antipsychotic drugs. However, a review of real-world data from observational studies confirms its place as a drug that may work when others fail. Patients prescribed clozapine had better outcomes, despite having more severe illness. ...
NIHR Signal Diagnosis of delirium in hospitals can be improved by the 4 A’s test
A new shorter test for delirium appears helpful in assessing older people in hospital who may have the condition. A normal score on the 4 A’s test effectively rules out delirium while an abnormal score is reasonably useful for detecting the condition. People detected by the test would still need a full assessment to confirm the diagnosis. Delirium is common in older people who have been hospitalised, but it can go undiagnosed. To help combat this, the 4 A’s test was developed as an ...
NIHR Signal Closer links between police and health services can improve experiences for people in mental health crisis
Tighter working partnerships between health professionals and police services are likely to improve the care of people who come into contact with police during mental health crises. People experiencing severe mental health episodes can present with extreme and unpredictable behaviour posing a danger to themselves and members of the public. Police are often the first to respond in these challenging situations. New models are emerging of mental health staff working with police. This NIHR-funded ...
NIHR Signal Adding behavioural support to drug treatment helps more people quit smoking
Among people using drug treatment to stop smoking, adding telephone or face-to-face behavioural support boosts their chances of success. Adding support increases the proportion of people quitting from around 17% on average to about 20%. This is a small but worthwhile increase given the health risks associated with smoking. These were the findings of an updated Cochrane review, which included 83 studies. All 29,536 participants were using nicotine replacement therapy or another drug to help them...
NIHR Signal Virtual reality can help reduce the pain and anxiety of stressful medical procedures for children
Virtual reality shows promise in helping to distract children from self-reported pain and anxiety during medical procedures. Younger children in particular may benefit from the intervention. This review of seventeen trials looked at virtual reality interventions tested in trials with children receiving treatment for burns, dental and tumour related health needs, and during needle insertion for intravenous access. Results suggested a marked impact on pain and anxiety of children from these immer...
NIHR Signal Pulmonary rehabilitation may modestly improve anxiety and depression in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) improves psychological symptoms modestly, compared with no intervention. Depression improves by about 2.5 points, and anxiety by 2.2 points on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (range 0 to 21). This review of 10 trials is the first to show that pulmonary rehabilitation – already known to improve quality of life and exercise capacity - may also improve anxiety and depression, which are common in people with C...
NIHR Signal Meaningful increases in physical activity levels after cancer can be sustained for three months or more
People who have had cancer, who are able to keep mobile, can benefit from interventions aimed at increasing physical activity. Being active regularly is already known to improve health and may also reduce the risk of cancer returning and improve life expectancy. This NIHR-funded review looked at what kinds of exercise interventions can lead to behaviour change in adult cancer survivors. Researchers specifically looked at the components that are linked to continued physical activity at least thr...
NIHR Signal Telephone or internet delivered talking therapy can alleviate irritable bowel symptoms
People with irritable bowel syndrome may find cognitive behavioural therapy (a talking therapy) delivered via telephone or internet improves their symptoms. Compared with usual care alone, both interventions were shown to be more effective, with telephone delivery resulting in greater symptom reduction and web-based therapy being more cost-effective. Irritable bowel symptoms can persist long-term and have a major impact on the quality of life. Stress is one of the known triggers. Cognitive beha...
NIHR Signal Psychological therapies may improve parenting skills in parents of children with chronic illness
Psychological therapies appear to show promise in helping improve self-reported parenting behaviour of parents of children and adolescents with cancer, chronic pain, diabetes or traumatic brain injury. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and problem-solving therapy (PST) appear particularly valuable in supporting this. Psychological therapies also seemed beneficial in improving the mental health of parents who have children with cancer and chronic pain, but not in studies of children with diabe...
NIHR Signal Steps to better understanding resistant behaviours and the culture of bedside dementia care in hospitals
High levels of resistance to care by people with dementia can be exacerbated by responses by staff on the wards. This study sought to understand the interactions and culture underlying care by closely observing and documenting what was actually happening on ten wards in five UK hospitals, and through interviews with carers and families. This in-depth study confirmed that people living with dementia are often resistant to care in acute hospital settings. Behaviour included wandering in wards, pu...
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