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NIHR Signal Text message reminders increase attendance at NHS health checks
Sending text messages reminding people to book their NHS health check following their invitation letter increases attendance. There is little evidence to support pre-notification text messages telling people an invitation would soon be sent. NHS health checks are offered to adults aged 40 to 74 years. Identification and management of cardiovascular risk factors has been shown to save lives. Yet only half of adults attend a check when it is offered. This trial conducted across general practices ...
NIHR Signal Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for women is unlikely to be a fair use of NHS resources
Nearly 4,000 women would need screening to prevent one death, and a third of aneurysms detected wouldn’t have influenced the individual woman's health or lifespan. Aneurysm rupture is a life-threatening emergency with low survival. Men are known to be at higher risk of an aneurysm and are offered screening at age 65 to allow early diagnosis of aneurysms large enough to warrant surgical repair. However, a third of deaths from rupture are in women. This NIHR-funded study is the first t...
NIHR Signal Testing oxygen levels of newborn babies helps find serious heart defects
Measuring oxygen levels in newborn babies as part of routine care can identify cases of critical congenital heart defects sooner than waiting until symptoms appear. If 10,000 babies were screened, pulse oximetry could correctly identify about 5 of the 6 expected asymptomatic cases and might miss one. This international research suggests there would be about 14 false alarms. Waiting until babies are at least 24 hours old minimises the number of these false positives. Babies with critical heart d...
NIHR Signal Single routine offer of a blood test for prostate cancer did not save lives
Offering all men aged 50 to 69 a single, screening prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test did not prevent deaths from prostate cancer. This large trial included 573 UK general practices and over 400,000 men. It found that men who were invited to have a PSA test were 19% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but no less likely to die from the condition, over an average 10 years of follow up. Forty per cent of men took up the offer. Controversy over PSA testing has persisted for ...
NIHR Signal New screening pathway could help to identify a rare, single-gene form of diabetes
A screening pathway using blood and urine tests followed by two genetic (DNA) tests identified all people with a rare subtype of diabetes called monogenic diabetes. The screening pathway performed better than current practice based on age at diagnosis and family history which misses 63%. It is, therefore, a useful approach for ruling out this form of diabetes and probably cheaper overall than offering every young person with diabetes DNA testing. Monogenic diabetes, caused by a mutation in a si...
NIHR Signal New evidence confirms three-yearly surveillance interval for people at intermediate risk of bowel cancer
People with benign growths (adenomas), who are at intermediate risk of bowel cancer, benefit from follow-up colonoscopy. However, some of the patientsat the lower end of risk in this intermediate category may not benefit from more than one follow-up. This NIHR-funded cohort study reviewed data for 11,944 intermediate-risk patients from UK hospitals. Within this group, particular features were identified which placed them at higher risk, such as the presence of larger or highly abnormal adenomas...
NIHR Signal Intensive lifestyle interventions can help obese young people lose weight
Obese children and adolescents can lose up to seven pounds over six to 12 months when they engage in at least 52 hours of behaviour-based lifestyle interventions. Minimal benefit was seen with shorter contact time, with less than 25 hours ineffective. The control group gained weight. Rising obesity in the young is a global concern, which may lead to high rates of obesity-related diseases in adulthood. This review identified trials covering various weight management strategies. Lifestyle-based-i...
NIHR Signal Financial incentives do not increase attendance for diabetic eye screening
Two types of financial incentives are not effective at increasing attendance at eye screening for people with diabetes who do not regularly attend screening. Surprisingly, financial incentives may even reduce the numbers of people attending screening. Retinopathy is a type of eye disease common to people with diabetes. Sight deteriorates only in the later stages and early diagnosis and treatment can prevent blindness. Annual eye screening is offered for people with diabetes but take-up could be...
NIHR Signal Postal invitations, even with added incentives, don’t improve NHS health check attendance
Being sent an invitation which included questions about their intention and readiness to attend did not encourage people to have an NHS health check. This was true even when people were offered a £5 voucher to complete the questionnaire. More people had an opportunistic health check when offered one while they were attending their surgery for another reason, than people who received an invitation letter. People who had health checks after the written invitations had a lower risk of cardio...
NIHR Signal Self-testing kits for HPV could be a useful option to tackle low cervical screening rates in young women
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) self-sampling kits and the opportunity to book appointments had the largest effect in improving cervical screening uptake for those not responding to initial prompts. However, uptake improved only slightly from 27% to 30%, when the kit was sent. A survey of non-attenders showed they value the convenience and privacy of self-testing. This large NIHR trial tested a range of interventions to increase uptake among women eligible for their first cervical screening test. S...
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