Passive smoking increases the risk of bacterial meningitis in children

NICE’s Eyes on Evidence newsletter reports on a meta-analysis of observational studies looking at the incidence of bacterial meningococcal disease in relation to exposure to passive smoking. Bacterial meningitis is rare, which makes it hard to study.  There are only 2 to 6 cases per 100,000 people in the UK every year, with a mortality [read the full story…]

Objective evidence that active kids do better at school

Children playing football

Recent studies have suggested that physical activity helps children to do better at their studies.  Some of these studies have been hampered by difficulties with reliably measuring the amount of activity that actually goes on.  Others have been limited by a short duration or small sample size.  And all have been hampered by the possible [read the full story…]

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Exercise referral schemes may be cost-effective, but we don’t have enough good evidence yet

Exercising

In Exercise Referral Schemes (ERS), primary care patients who are sedentary or are likely to benefit from physical activity are referred by a primary care professional to a third party provider for a tailored exercise programme. Are the benefits of these exercise schemes worth the costs? Methods This was an economic evaluation using a cost-utility [read the full story…]

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Smoking when pregnant may harm your child’s brain: evidence from MRI scans

Smoking in pregnancy

There is an abundance of observational evidence that smoking during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn child. Previous studies have seen an association between prenatal smoking and a range of behavioural and psychiatric problems in childhood and beyond.  A new cohort study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of children whose mothers [read the full story…]

Systematic review highlights the dearth of evidence on exercise in reducing mortality

We know that people who exercise a lot live longer.  But how does exercise match up with traditional drug treatments?  An open-access systematic review in the BMJ synthesised the experimental evidence for exercise compared with drug treatments on mortality.  This paper garnered a lot of media attention.  Does the hype match up with what the [read the full story…]

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Review of how (and how not) to help poorer people improve their diet and do more exercise

Shouting with a megaphone

We know that type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in groups with lower socioeconomic status, and we know that improving diet and taking exercise can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.  So how can we help poorer people to act on diet and exercise advice? A recent mixed methods systematic review looked at the [read the full story…]

Mass media and smoking: cause and cure?

Smoking

Do mass media anti-smoking campaigns work? A recent Cochrane systematic review evaluated the evidence from controlled trials of mass media interventions on tobacco cessation. Not surprisingly, the reviewers found huge variation between the studies in the types of campaign they evaluated, and how they measured success. A key difficulty with this type of research is [read the full story…]

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The New York Tobacco Control Program may be cost-effective

Money, cigarettes and health

Reducing the prevalence of tobacco use is best achieved through a range of tobacco control measures designed to both prevent or reduce uptake, and encourage and support existing smokers to stop smoking. These measures can include education, taxation and cessation support, but while all of these have been shown to be effective, there remains uncertainty [read the full story…]

Eat Right 4 Your Type: Is there good evidence?

In 1997, Peter D’Adamo published the book Eat Right 4 Your Type, a book that argues that in order to eat a healthy diet, different blood types need different diets. For instance, D’Adamo makes the claim that blood group O needs a different diet than blood group A. The book has seen tremendous commercial success, [read the full story…]

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The UK’s chlamydia mass media campaign encouraged high risk groups to get tested

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) today in the United Kingdom, and sexually active young people (15 – 24) are most at risk.  It can be difficult to know if you have chlamydia as most people do not have symptoms, and if left untreated can lead to serious long-term health consequences including [read the full story…]