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NIHR Signal Placental growth factor testing can speed up diagnosis of pre-eclampsia
Measuring the level of placental growth factor (PlGF) in women with suspected pre-eclampsia helps to reduce the time to diagnose pre-eclampsia from 4 days to 2 days. PlGF testing is also associated with fewer adverse outcomes for mothers. In this NIHR-funded trial, the test results were used alongside the NICE clinical management algorithm to help clinicians make a diagnosis. Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious complications for mothers and babies. Women with suspected pre-eclampsia require furt...
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 More than 50% of hip replacements appear to last 25 years
Data from national registries and large case series showthat in those countries, around 85% of total hip replacements last for 15 years, with 58% lasting for 25 years. This means that those hip replacements have lasted last longer than was first thought. It is good news for an ageing population, as it should mean that the chances of needing a second hip operation are reducing. However, it is not clear how directly relevant the results of this study are to the UK. The NIHR-funded study didn&rsqu...
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 Does an antibacterial milk protein reduce infection in premature babies?
Lactoferrin, a protein found in human and cows milk, does not appear to protect premature infants from late-onset infections. When given to babies born before 32 weeks, their risk of acquiring infections, such as sepsis, was virtually the same as those in the control group, about 30%. Late-onset infections, those occurring 72 hours or more after birth, are a significant cause of illness and even death in newborns. Premature babies are particularly vulnerable. This very large UK based NIHR funde...
NIHR Signal A commonly-used antidepressant doesn’t improve recovery after stroke
The antidepressant fluoxetine works no better than placebo to reduce disability after a stroke, lowering hopes that had been raised by other smaller studies. After a six month trial including more than 3,000 adult stroke patients recruited at 103 UK hospitals, researchers concluded that fluoxetine should not be used to promote recovery from stroke-related disability, or routinely prescribed to prevent depression after stroke. Several smaller studies and animal trials had found promising result...
NIHR Signal Radiotherapy benefits some men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones
Adding radiotherapy directed at the prostate to hormone treatment for all men with metastatic prostate cancer makes no difference to overall survival. However, when men with a limited number of metastases confined to the bones of the pelvis and spine are treated with radiotherapy to the prostate, their survival improves. The standard treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer is anti-androgen hormone therapy, and this is sometimes combined with chemotherapy. Radiotherapy of the prostate ...
NIHR Signal Joint infection after hip replacement is linked to some risk factors that could be modified
Ten years of National Joint Registry data show that many factors may increase the risk of joint infection following hip replacement. Less than 1 in 1,000 people on average needed revision surgery for infection per year. Several modifiable patient factors increased risk, such as obesity and diabetes. Using ceramic components, and approaching surgery from the back rather than the side of the hip, may slightly reduce infection risk. This NIHR-funded study analysed registry data for 623,253 hip re...
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 Patient-centred care for multimorbidity improves patient experience, but quality of life is unchanged
A patient-centred intervention in general practice for people with multiple chronic conditions, based on recommended best practice, had no effect on patient quality of life or burden of illness and treatment. Patients were, however, more likely to report being satisfied with their care. An increasing number of people in the UK are living with multimorbidity, defined as two or more long-term health conditions. NICE recommends a comprehensive approach to care, tailored to the patient’s need...
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