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NIHR Signal Text messaging support helps smokers quit, but apps not yet shown to work
Text messaging support helps people quit smoking, more than minimal support such as self-help materials. Also, when text messaging is combined with another smoking cessation intervention, it is more effective than just that intervention alone. However, the evidence to support smartphone apps is absent or of poor quality. This review included 26 studies and builds on the evidence from an earlier, smaller review, indicating that text messaging support is an effective way to help smokers quit. Mob...
NIHR Signal Pedometers can help people get more active as part of an exercise programme
Pedometers and accelerometers helped people with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases to increase their physical activity by a moderate amount, though pedometers were more successful. Programmes that involved face-to-face consultations with a facilitator were more effective than those where devices were used in isolation to track progress. This NIHR-funded systematic review included 36 trials which objectively measured the activity of people with cardiac or metabolic conditions, and in which wea...
NIHR Signal Measles vaccine still effective if given to infants under nine months old
A first vaccination dose against measles is a safe and somewhat effective option if given to infants earlier than usual, and before the age of nine months. However, vaccine effectiveness does increase when administered at older ages, as currently. Two doses of measles-containing vaccines are recommended as part of a childhood immunisation programme. In countries with ongoing measles transmission, the first dose (MCV1) is recommended at nine months. In the UK, the MCV1 is recommended at 12 month...
NIHR Signal Whole-school programme can have a small effect on reducing bullying in secondary schools
An anti-bullying intervention trialled at 20 UK secondary schools resulted in a reduction in bullying incidents at school. The ‘Learning Together’ initiative was funded by the NIHR and designed to modify the school environment and provide social and emotional support. The trial took place over three years and involved around 3,000 pupils who were 11 to 12 years old at the start of the study. A control group of schools which did not receive the intervention was monitored for comparis...
NIHR Signal Uptake of shingles vaccination is more likely if proactively offered in primary care
The shingles vaccination programme is intended for people aged between 70 and 80 years, but uptake in this group has been low. This survey found that people were more likely to have had the vaccine if it was proactively offered by a GP or nurse. The survey was completed by 536 individuals born in 1934 and 1935, from 69 UK general practices. It found vaccination less likely in people who had already had shingles, who believed they had control of the disease or had perceived barriers to vaccinati...
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...
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