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NIHR Signal Twenty mph speed zones reduce the danger to pedestrians and cyclists
Introducing 20mph speed zones reduces road traffic accidents, including those suffered by pedestrians and cyclists. Speed zones use physical obstacles such as road narrowing, speed bumps and chicanes, whereas speed limits only use signs and lines. The evidence was inconclusive on whether limiting speed to 20mph alone was effective, without the traffic calming. There was scant evidence on whether either speed reduction intervention was linked to increased activity such as walking or cycling. Th...
NIHR Signal Stopping smoking is unlikely to worsen symptoms of ulcerative colitis
Non-smokers and people who stop smoking after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis are unlikely to have more flare-ups or other signs of worsening disease, compared with those who continue to smoke. Smoking is linked to reduced rates of developing ulcerative colitis in some studies. Some patients also believe that smoking can also lessen the symptoms of the disease, although previous research about this has had conflicting results. This study indicates that smoking does not have a significan...
NIHR Signal A workplace voucher reward scheme failed to boost physical activity
Staff enrolled on a workplace reward scheme to encourage them to become more physically active took fewer steps per day than their colleagues in the control group after six months. Employees at two public sector organisations in Northern Ireland took part in the Physical Activity Loyalty scheme, which worked in a similar way to a high street loyalty card. Their activity levels during the workday were monitored using key fobs and remote sensors. The participants were rewarded for physical activi...
NIHR Signal A lower drink-drive limit in Scotland is not linked to reduced road traffic accidents as expected
Lowering the drink-drive blood alcohol limit in Scotland was not followed by reduced road traffic accidents, perhaps because of a lack of enforcement. While there was a 0.7% reduction in alcohol bought in pubs and restaurants after the new legislation (on-trade sales), there was no significant change in sales of alcohol from shops or supermarkets (off-trade), where most purchases are made. Drink-drive accidents account for around 13% of all road deaths in Britain. In an attempt to improve this ...
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 Mixed evidence shows some impact of mass media campaigns promoting tobacco control, physical activity and sexual health
Mass media campaigns have demonstrated effectiveness for promoting tobacco control, physical activity and sexual health. Most of the evidence relates to improving awareness of health risks or the availability of services. However, for those aimed at the risks associated with sedentary lifestyles, smoking or sexual behaviours, there are signs that the campaigns also achieved positive changes to the target behaviour. This large review, funded by NIHR, identified 36 systematic reviews and individu...
NIHR Signal Using both nicotine patches and gum together improves the chances of quitting smoking
Using a nicotine patch together with a fast-acting type of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum or lozenges improves smoking cessation rates compared to using only a single type of NRT. Higher-dose nicotine patches are also more effective than lower dose ones, this NIHR-funded review suggests. A previous Cochrane systematic review found that NRT boosts people’s chances of successfully quitting smoking compared to none, but it was unclear which types, doses and schedules were mos...
NIHR Signal Antiretroviral treatment can reduce the risk of HIV transmission between male partners to ‘zero’
The risk of transmission of HIV between gay couples when the HIV-positive partner is taking antiretroviral treatment that successfully suppresses the viral load is ‘effectively zero.’ A study of men from 14 European countries, including the UK, found no cases of transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive partner taking antiretroviral therapy to an HIV-negative partner, as long as the viral load of the HIV-positive partner remained undetectable or very low. The study recorded an avera...
NIHR Signal Smartphones instead of direct supervision can improve adherence rates for TB treatment
People who need supervision take their medication for tuberculosis (TB) more reliably when using a smartphone to send video evidence instead of direct observations;for example, by attending a clinic appointment. Almost double the number of observations was completed in the video-supervised arm at six months than when people were directly observed. Ensuring the effectiveness of treatment is central to worldwide TB control. Directly-observed treatment, in which a healthcare professional supervise...
NIHR Signal E-cigarettes helped more smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapy
Smokers who use NHS stop smoking services appear almost twice as likely to be successful for a year if they use e-cigarettes than if they use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. In a trial of 866 smokers who used NHS stop smoking services, 18% of those assigned to e-cigarettes were abstinent 12 months from their quit date, compared to 9.9% of those assigned to NRT. Everyone in the study was also offered four weeks of one-to-one behavioural support from a clinician. Of those who had suc...
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