I am an information scientist with an interest in making knowledge from systematic research more accessible to people who need it. This means you. I've been attempting this in the area of Evidence-Based Health Care since 1995. So far the results have been mixed. For some reason we expected busy clinicians to search databases and appraise papers instead of seeing patients. We also expected publishers to make the research freely available to the people who paid for it.. Ha! Hence The National Elf service.
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…]
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…]
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…]
We are constantly told by the tobacco lobby that we need more evidence for plain (i.e. unbranded) cigarette packaging as a public health measure. This in spite of the vast sums they spend on, er, packaging, marketing, lobbying etc. Presumably for no benefit to themselves. This tremendous example of commercial philanthropy in support of the [read the full story…]
“Nudging” people to change their behaviour is one of the concepts du jour. In the cash- and time-strapped environment of health care delivery, the idea that small scale interventions can have a big collective impact particularly appeals. NICE has recently released guidance for primary care professionals on how to deliver brief advice on undertaking exercise. [read the full story…]