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World No Tobacco Day 2016

Tue, 31/05/2016 - 17:43

31 May is World No Tobacco Day. It is organized by the World Health Organization to draw attention to the health risks associated with the use of tobacco and what can still be done to reduce tobacco consumption around the world.

In support of World No Tobacco Day 2016, the Cochrane Library presents an updated Special Collection which highlights a selection of new or recently updated clinically relevant Cochrane Reviews that address tobacco addiction in the general population. There is free access to all Reviews included.

Here we focus on a Cochrane Review of a medical intervention - nicotine receptor partial agonists for smoking cessation - and what the available evidence tells us about its effectiveness.

Cochrane Review provides more support for medication as long-term aid to quitting smoking

When people stop smoking, they experience cravings to smoke and unpleasant mood changes. Nicotine receptor partial agonists aim to reduce these withdrawal symptoms and the pleasure people usually experience when they smoke. The most widely available treatment in this drug type is varenicline, which is available worldwide as an aid for quitting smoking. Cytisine is a similar medication, but is only available in Central and Eastern European countries, and through internet sales.

A team of Cochrane authors based in the UK, working with the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group, updated their review of the efficacy of nicotine receptor partial agonists, including varenicline and cytisine, for smoking cessation. Findings take from 44 studies, which include 25,200 people.

Varenicline at standard dose more than doubled the chances of quitting compared with placebo. Low-dose varenicline roughly doubled the chances of quitting, and reduced the number and severity of side effects associated with using the medication. The number of people stopping smoking with varenicline was higher than with bupropion or with nicotine replacement therapy. Based on the evidence available so far, the authors calculated that varenicline delivers one extra successful quitter for every 11 people treated, compared with smokers trying to quit without varenicline.

A key focus of this review update was to investigate any side effects that may result from using this type of medication. After varenicline became available to use, there were concerns that it could be linked with an increase in depressed mood, agitation, or suicidal thinking and behaviour in some smokers. However, this latest evidence does not support a link between varenicline and these disorders, although people with past or current psychiatric illness may be at slightly higher risk. There have also been concerns that varenicline may slightly increase heart and circulatory problems in people already at increased risk of these illnesses. Again, current evidence suggests that they are not caused or made worse by varenicline; however we should have clearer answers to these questions when a further study is published later in 2016.

“Varenicline is the most commonly used nicotine receptor agonist. It currently has a black box warning regarding adverse events on its packaging. This Cochrane update provides new insights into adverse events - early individual case reports linking the drug to suicidal behavior have not been confirmed by the pooled scientific evidence,” said Nicola Lindson-Hawley, one of the authors of the Cochrane Review. “While it is important that clinicans still take pre-existing conditions into consideration when prescribing varenicline, this Cochrane Review confirms the success of varenicline as an aid to quitting smoking in comparison to using no medications to quit.”


Cochrane Reviews for World No Tobacco Day:

Help to quit smoking: Nicotine receptor partial agonists

Help to quit smoking nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

Legislative smoking bands: do they benefit health?

Help to quit smoking: E-cigarettes

Help to quit smoking: Motivational interviewing

Help to quit smoking: behavioural support

Helping smokers quit before surgery

Nursing interventions for smoking cessation.

Institutional smoking bans

Mobile phone-based interventions to help people quit smoking.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Seoul Colloquium news

Mon, 30/05/2016 - 13:32

A limited number of stipends to help cover registration, travel costs, accommodation, and other expenses associated with attending the 24th Cochrane Colloquium in Seoul are available for Cochrane consumers and contributors from developing countries. Please visit the Stipends page for full information and, if eliglible, apply before 8 June!

The meeting request form is now available. Go to the Meetings page to find out more and to book your meetings - slots are filling up fast! The Meeting Request form will close on 14th September.
For complete information, please see the Colloquium website.

Look forward to seeing you in Seoul in October!

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Cochrane-Wikipedia partnership in 2016

Thu, 26/05/2016 - 08:03

Articles relating to medicine are viewed more than 180 million times per month on Wikipedia, yet fewer than 1 per cent of these have passed a formal peer review process.

The Cochrane-Wikipedia partnership, formalized in 2014, supports the inclusion of relevant evidence within all Wikipedia medical articles, as well as processes to help ensure that medical information included in Wikipedia is of the highest quality and accuracy.

As the third year of our partnership gets underway, we are delighted to announce the launch of the Cochrane-Wikipedia Initiative pages on Wikimedia as the go-to place for all Cochrane-Wikipedia projects and related resources. Find out more about ongoing work, key information on both organizations, and how to get involved - everyone is welcome!

Watch a video with more information about the partnership’s work and aims.

Is your Cochrane Review ‘Wikipedia-compatible’? Find out!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What is the state of systematic reviews in 2016?

Tue, 24/05/2016 - 09:14

A new study published in the online journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine on 24 May scrutinizes the quality of systematic reviews indexed in MEDLINE. The study found that the quantity of systematic reviews has increased significantly during the decade between 2004 and 2014 – tripling in number during that period – but that the quality, particularly of conduct and reporting, continues to be variable.

The study, entitled ‘Epidemiology and reporting characteristics of systematic reviews of biomedical research: a cross-sectional study’, was completed by an international team of researchers, led by Cochrane contributors David Moher and Matthew Page. They assessed a cross-section of all systematic reviews indexed in Medline in February 2014, identifying 682 and carrying out further analysis on a random sample of 300. They found that at least one-third of these reviews neither reported on how their authors had searched for studies, assessed the quality of studies included, nor used statistical methods generally approved as valid by the systematic reviewing community.

Among other findings relevant to Cochrane, the authors described completeness of reporting in Cochrane Reviews as ‘more complete…than in all other types of [systematic reviews]’. Their recommendations, based upon the study’s findings, focus on developing strategies to improve and standardize the conduct of systematic reviews, and thereby reduce research waste.

Read the PLoS Medicine press release

Read the PLoS Medicine article in full

Read an interview with lead study author Matthew Page on Cochrane Community

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cochrane statement to WHA on managing conflict of interest

Mon, 23/05/2016 - 14:20
Cochrane statement on Framework of engagement with non-State actors (World Health Assembly (WHA) Agenda item 11.3) 

Thank you for the opportunity to deliver this statement on behalf of The Cochrane Collaboration. An important part of Cochrane’s work with WHO involves support for guideline development. In 2015, 75% of the WHO guidelines issued cited a Cochrane Systematic Review.[1]

Recent analyses of WHO guidelines[2][3] have shown that editorial independence and use of reliable evidence have increased markedly since WHO has implemented reforms to protect against conflicts of interests. In 2015, Cochrane responded to the WHO Executive Board agenda item on 'WHO guidelines: development and governance'. We highlighted that involving participants with conflicts of interest in guideline development is likely to influence recommendations, make them less evidence based, and impact on their credibility.[4]

We urge the WHO to replicate its high standards for managing conflict of interest in guideline development across all of its work. In addition to individual conflict of interest disclosure, WHO’s conflict of interest policy should include other conflicts of interest, and be extended to disclosures from organizations providing evidence or information to WHO committees, such as the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines.

We congratulate the Working Group for their efforts to date in recognizing the need to ensure WHO's global health normative work remains free from any potential commercial and other interests. We sincerely hope this protection will continue through the finalization of FENSA and its implementation.  

23.05.16

Signed on behalf of the Cochrane WHO Working Group:

Lisa Bero, Co-Chair, Cochrane Steering Group
David Tovey, Editor in Chief, Cochrane Library
Erik von Elm, Co-Director, Cochrane Switzerland
Paul Garner, Coordinating Editor, Cochrane Infectious Diseases
Julie Wood, Head of Communication and External Affairs, Cochrane
Sylvia de Haan, Partnerships Coordinator, Cochrane

 

[1] http://community.cochrane.org/sites/default/files/uploads/inline-files/2015%20Dashboard%20FINAL_0.pdf

[2] Sinclair D, Isba R, Kredo T, Zani B, Smith H, Garner P. World Health Organization Guideline Development: An Evaluation. PLoS ONE 2013, 8(5): e63715. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063715

[3] Burda BU, Chambers AR, Johnson JC.  Appraisal of guideline developed by the World Health Organization.  Public Health 2014, 128:(2014): 444-474.

[4] Cosgrove L, Bursztajn HJ, Erlich DR, Wheeler EE, Shaughnessy AF.  Conflicts of interest and the quality of recommendations in clinical guidelines.  J Eval Clin Practice 2012, 19:(2013):674-681.

 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Edge Hill University seeks Research Associate (Cochrane Systematic Reviews on Bronchiectasis) - Ormskirk, UK

Sun, 22/05/2016 - 23:26
Location: OrmskirkSalary: £28,982 to £31,656 per annum pro rata Fixed Term for 12 months in first instancePost Type: Part TimeHours Per Week: 21.75Closing Date: Sunday 29 May 2016Interview Date: Friday 03 June 2016Reference: EHA1425-0416

The Faculty of Health & Social Care is seeking a positive team player, who is methodical, analytical, solution focused with an aptitude for prioritising key tasks and coordinating multiple activities.

The ideal candidate will have worked on Cochrane systematic reviews, possess excellent communication skills and have the ability to lead on projects, deliver presentations, allocate tasks and maintain excellent customer service with internal and external stakeholders.

Report writing, data analysis, quality assurance and experience of working in cross-sectoral collaborative research teams are key skills suited to this role.

For more information, please see the complete job description.

Sunday, May 22, 2016 Category: Jobs

International Clinical Trials' Day 2016

Thu, 19/05/2016 - 06:00

International Clinical Trials' Day is celebrated around the world each year on or close to 20 May, commemorating the day in 1747 on which James Lind began the first known controlled trial, comparing different treatments for scurvy then in common use among sailors in the British Royal Navy. (Watch a video explaining the trial to see history in the making.) International Clinical Trials' Day seeks to raise awareness of the importance of research to health care, and draw attention to ways in which the research can become more relevant to practice.

The European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network (ECRIN) helps to co-ordinate the annual commemoration, providing a focal point for international events, meetings, debates, and other celebrations of clinical research. The highlight of each year is a series of public lectures and discussions, held in a different European city. The 2016 celebrations are taking place on May 20th in Prague, Czech Republic. A range of speakers will present a variety of relevant topics, including ‘Clinical trials in the era of personalised medicine', with healthcare professionals and researchers from across Europe in attendance.

Learn about Cochrane systematic reviews and how clinical trials are used:


As part of our own commemoration of International Clinical Trials’ Day, Cochrane presents the eighth annual series of specially prepared podcasts:

  • Analysis bias: Mike Clarke, podcast editor for Trials Change Lives, based at the Northern Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research in Queen’s University Belfast discusses the general need to keep biases out of trials by looking at the specific challenge of minimizing bias when the results are being analyzed.
  • Aspirin and stroke trials: Peter Sandercock from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland tells us how two randomised trials, with 40,000 patients in more than 800 hospitals, changed clinical practice for tens of millions of people with a stroke.
  • Clinical Trials for the NHS: In the UK, the main public funder of healthcare research is the National Institute for Health Research, or NIHR. In this Evidence Pod for Trials Change Lives, we asked Hywel Williams, Director of the NIHR’s Health Technology Assessment programme to outline the importance of clinical trials to this programme and health and social care more generally.
  • Clinical Trials Unit: A key part of the infrastructure for clinical trials in the UK is provided by more than 50 Clinical Trial Units spread across the country. We asked Julia Brown, Director of the Clinical Trial Units’ Network to tell us about their work and their contribution to ensuring that trials change lives.
  • Exercise trials: Being physically active can have beneficial effects on our physical and mental health, but the UK population as a whole doesn’t meet the current Government guidelines. Dr Ruth Hunter, Lecturer in Physical Activity and Public Health/NIHR Career Development Fellow, UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland describes some of the innovative approaches that her team are testing to encourage people to be more active.
  • GP Trials. General practitioners are key to both the conduct of clinical trials and the uptake of their results. Carol Sinnott a GP from Cork in Ireland tells us how they have helped her to change lives.

Read about a Cochrane Review  that used previouly unpublished clinical trial data. Cochrane Review researchers get unpublished data from study sponsors to evaluate effects of new medication used to treat women with advanced ovarian cancer. Alison J Wiggans, a researcher at Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset, UK and joint lead author of the Cochrane Review said:  “Astra Zeneca were extremely helpful in releasing previously unpublished data. It’s important that future reviews, both in oncology and in other fields, look not just published results in academic journals, but also look for unpublished data and ongoing trials to get an accurate overview.”

Post and find other relevant information and resources on Twitter by using the hashtag #ICTD2016.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cochrane Skin Group seeks a Cochrane Systematic Review Methodologist - Nottingham, UK

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 16:52

Specifications: 2.5 working days per week (0.5 FTE)
Location:
Nottingham, UK
Application closing date:
13 June 2016

An exciting opportunity has arisen to appoint a Systematic Review Methodologist for the Cochrane Skin Group at its’ editorial base which is located within the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology (CEBD), School of Medicine at King’s Meadow Campus. CEBD has an international reputation for independent research into the prevention and treatment of skin disease. It attracts around £1million of grant income per year with a focus on delivering independent clinical research that informs the NHS.

The Cochrane Skin Group (CSG) is part of the international Cochrane organisation, and is the editorial base for the preparation and dissemination of Cochrane systematic reviews on the treatment and prevention of skin diseases, and on diagnostic test accuracy reviews. The CSG is one of 52 Cochrane review groups worldwide which contribute to Cochrane and this busy editorial base currently has over 160 review teams preparing protocols or reviews for publication or updating published reviews. The Cochrane Systematic Review Methodologist will lead on providing support and guidance on methodological aspects of CSG systematic reviews and will report to the CSG Managing Editor

 The role-holder will be responsible for working with review teams at all stages of the review-writing and editorial process (from protocol to review publication), and will ensure that relevant methodological procedures are adhered to and will lead on the implementation of new Cochrane methodologies as they develop over time.

CSG  is seeking an individual with proven knowledge and experience of involvement in systematic review methods e.g. by being the lead author of quality systematic reviews or having a consistent track record of published  research in the fields of statistics or methodology. Candidates should possess a good understanding of statistical and research methodology, including knowledge of the relevant statistical techniques used in meta-analysis along with an ability to critically appraise systematic review methodology with attention to detail. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate with clarity on complex and conceptual ideas to those with limited knowledge and understanding as well as to peers, are also essential. They particularly welcome applications from candidates with Cochrane systematic review methodology experience.

For further information about this role, including the link to apply online, please see here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Category: Jobs

Cochrane Skin Group seeks Managing Editor - Nottingham, UK

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 16:43

Specifications: 3 working days per week (0.6 FTE)
Location:
Nottingham, UK
Application closing date:
13 June 2016

Due to the forthcoming retirement of the incumbent role-holder an exciting opportunity has arisen to appoint a Managing Editor for the Cochrane Skin Group at its’ editorial base which is located within the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology (CEBD), School of Medicine at King’s Meadow Campus. CEBD has an international reputation for independent research into the prevention and treatment of skin disease, with a focus on delivering independent clinical research that informs the NHS.

The Cochrane Skin Group (CSG) is part of the international Cochrane organisation, and is the editorial base for the preparation and dissemination of Cochrane systematic reviews on the treatment and prevention of skin diseases, and on diagnostic test accuracy reviews. The CSG is one of 52 Cochrane review groups worldwide which contribute to Cochrane and this busy editorial base currently has over 160 review teams preparing protocols or reviews for publication or updating published reviews. The CSG Managing Editor will be a key member of the CSG Editorial team. They will be responsible for co-ordinating the work of the editorial team, which aims to assist groups of review authors in the production of Cochrane systematic reviews in dermatology, which are published in the Cochrane Library. The role holder will report to the CSG Co-ordinating Editor Prof Hywel Williams.

CSG is  seeking an experienced, highly-motivated individual with a proven track record in a similar area and demonstrable knowledge and experience of systematic review methods, including basic understanding of relevant statistical concepts and the principles of evidence-based healthcare. Candidates should possess good interpersonal skills including the ability to communicate sensitively with those from different backgrounds and cultures for whom English may not be their first language. Experience of managing multiple projects in a comparable working environment along with proven managerial or supervisory skills are also essential and we particularly welcome applications from candidates familiar with Cochrane systematic review methodology.

For further information about this role, including the link to apply online, please see here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Category: Jobs

Interventions for treating hyperemesis gravidarum

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 09:06

New Cochrane evidence provides no definitive recommendation on the best way to treat severe nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy are very common, affecting approximately 80% of pregnancies. Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a severe form affecting only about 1.0% of pregnancies worldwide, generally includes intractable nausea/vomiting, signs of dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss, excluding other diagnoses. The onset is generally in the first trimester, peaking by 12 weeks, with most women having resolution of symptoms by 20 weeks.

HG is debilitating and worrying for women, and the leading cause of hospital admissions in pregnancy. The socio-economic costs of hyperemesis are also significant, stemming from treatment expense, lost job productivity, and high healthcare costs.

This is the first Cochrane Review on treating HG, focusing specifically on trials of interventions for severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. A team of authors based in Italy, the UK, and the US and working with the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group assessed 25 studies involving 2052 women and examining 18 different comparisons of interventions, including acupressure/acupuncture, outpatient care, intravenous fluids, and various commonly used anti-sickness drugs. They concluded that there was little evidence to support the superiority of any one intervention over another, which is useful to know for those making decisions about managing the condition.

Read the Cochrane Review

Listen to a podcast summarizing the findings of this Cochrane Review from lead author Rupsa Boelig

Read Caitlin’s story of her experiences with and work raising awareness about HG at Evidently Cochrane

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

NHS Choices highlights new Cochrane evidence on yoga and asthma

Mon, 16/05/2016 - 20:53

NHS Choices is the UK's biggest health website. In their ‘Behind the Headlines’ section, they examine science that makes the news. They recently featured evidence from a new Cochrane Review that suggests that yoga may have a beneficial effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, although effects on lung function and medication use remain uncertain.

Read the NHS Choices article

Read more about this Cochrane evidence

Monday, May 16, 2016

Become a Cochrane citizen scientist!

Thu, 12/05/2016 - 17:08

Cochrane Crowd has launched!

crowd.cochrane.org

This platform will enable anyone to get involved with Cochrane and help identify the evidence we need to make informed healthcare decisions.

The platform builds on the hugely successful Embase project where a community of over 2,000 people helped identify well over 20,000 reports of randomized trials for Cochrane’s Central Register of Controlled Trials. Cochrane Crowd offers this same task but with some significant enhancements:

 

 And the fun is only just beginning. Over the next few weeks and months, Cochrane Crowd will roll out more tasks aimed at classifying and describing the evidence.

Go on, take a look: crowd.cochrane.org and see if you can you find an RCT today!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Can psychological therapies help people who self-harm?

Mon, 02/05/2016 - 17:44

Latest Cochrane research has found that psychological therapies, more commonly known as ‘talking treatments’, may help people who self-harm.

Self-harm is intentional self-poisoning or self-injury. Many people who are admitted to hospital because of this are at an increased risk of self-harming again and of suicide.  It is a major problem in many countries, leads to high levels of distress for patients and their families and friends, and places significant demands on health services.

Psychosocial interventions could involve specific psychological therapies as well as maintaining support and contact with patients. Psychological therapies are usually a type of ‘talking treatment’. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a specific type of psychological therapy, focuses on how a patient’s beliefs and attitudes affect their feelings and behaviour, and aims to help them respond to and deal with their problems.

This updated Cochrane Review, published today in the Cochrane Library, evaluates the evidence about a range of psychosocial interventions for adults who self-harm. The review includes 55 trials, where a total of 17,699 participants were randomized to receive either a psychosocial intervention or the care they would normally have received.

A range of interventions were used. The most commonly evaluated were CBT-based psychological therapies. In most of the CBT studies, therapy was delivered to patients, one-to-one, in fewer than 10 sessions. Some of the other interventions were aimed at helping people who had a previous history of multiple episodes of self-harm. Other interventions were focused on helping people to maintain their treatment and contact with mental health services.

Of the 55 studies, 18 evaluated CBT. The Cochrane authors analyzed data from 17 which reported on the repetition of self-harm. At the end of the follow-up, people who had received CBT-based psychological therapy were less likely to self-harm, although the quality of the evidence was low. Following CBT, 6% fewer people self-harmed when compared with those who did not get CBT. Benefits of CBT-based psychological therapy were also found for depressed mood, hopelessness about the future, and suicidal thoughts. Some other interventions for people with a history of multiple episodes may help them self-harm less often; however, only a small number of trials evaluated these interventions.  

Lead author Keith Hawton, Professor of Psychiatry from the Centre for Suicide Research, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, said, “While most of the studies were small, taken together we found that CBT-based psychological therapy may have led to a small-to-modest reduction in the number of patients repeating self-harm behaviours. We found some variation between the results of the studies. Also, a difficulty with trials in this area is that patients will be aware that they received either the specific psychological therapy or the care they would normally have received (unlike in placebo-controlled trials of medication). This expectation could have influenced the results. It is important to bear these points in mind when considering the implications of these findings. However there were indications that CBT-based psychological therapy also helped patients’ emotional well-being.”

Keith Hawton added, “The effects of other therapeutic approaches are less clear because they were mostly evaluated in small single trials. Future studies will help us understand which patients are likely to benefit from these types of interventions for self-harm. It’s important that people who self-harm are aware of this, so that they can make more informed choices about their treatment."

Read this in Spanish.


Full citation:  Hawton K, Witt KG, Taylor Salisbury TL, Arensman E, Gunnell D, Hazell P, Townsend E, van Heeringen K. Psychosocial interventions for self-harm in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Review; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012189

Lead author
Keith Hawton
Professor of Psychiatry, Centre for Suicide Research
University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford.
E keith.hawton@psych.ox.ac.uk

For all media enquiries, please contact
Jo Anthony
Senior Media and Communications Officer, Cochrane
M +44(0) 7582 726 634 janthony@cochrane.org or pressoffice@cochrane.org

About Cochrane
Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health.

Cochrane produces reviews which study all of the best available evidence generated through research and make it easier to inform decisions about health. These are called systematic reviews.

Cochrane is a not-for-profit organization with collaborators from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Our work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Find out more at cochrane.org

Follow us on twitter @cochranecollab

If you are a journalist or member of the press and wish to receive news alerts before their online publication or if you wish to arrange an interview with an author, please contact the Cochrane press office: pressoffice@cochrane.org

About Wiley
Wiley is a global provider of knowledge and knowledge-enabled services that improve outcomes in areas of research, professional practice, and education. Through the Research segment, the Company provides digital and print scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising. The Professional Development segment provides digital and print books, online assessment and training services, and test prep and certification. In Education, Wiley provides education solutions including online program management services for higher education institutions and course management tools for instructors and students, as well as print and digital content. The Company's website can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cochrane Infectious Disease Group seeking to fill three research positions - Liverpool, UK

Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:04

The Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group is seeking to hire three research-related positions at the Group's editorial base at the University of Liverpool. For more information, please read the complete job descriptions available on the University of Liverpool's website:

Clinical Research Fellow (closing date 11 May)

Clinical Research Associate (closing date 13 May)

Research Assistant (closing date 13 May)

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yoga may have health benefits for people with asthma

Wed, 27/04/2016 - 03:22

A new Cochrane Review, published in the Cochrane Library today, suggests that yoga may have a beneficial effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, but effects on lung function and medication use are uncertain.

Asthma is a common chronic disease affecting about 300 million people worldwide. The many typical symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

Yoga has gained global popularity as a form of exercise with general life-style benefits, and recent studies have investigated the potential of yoga to relieve asthma-related problems.

A new Cochrane Review summarizes the results of randomized trials and has found evidence that practicing yoga might be able to improve asthma quality of life and symptoms to some extent. However, researchers also warned that higher-quality studies with more participants would be needed to draw any firm conclusions about the effects of yoga.

The team of Cochrane researchers wanted to find out the effects of yoga in people with asthma.

They found 15 randomized controlled trials which involved 1,048 men and women. Most of the trials were conducted in India, followed by Europe and the United States. The majority of participants had mild to moderate asthma for six months to more than 23 years. Six studies looked into the effects of breathing alone during yoga exercise, whilst the other studies assessed the effects of yoga that included breathing, posture, and meditation.

Most people continued to take their usual asthma medication while participating in the studies.

The studies were conducted over a time period of two weeks to over four years.

The researchers found some moderate quality evidence from five studies that yoga exercise reduces the impact of asthma on people’s quality of life. However, evidence about yoga’s impact on the participants’ lung function is more uncertain because the results varied. The effects of yoga on medication use and any side effects of yoga are also uncertain, because only a few very small studies reported these outcomes.

Lead author, Dr Zuyao Yang from the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care at the Chinese University of Hong Kong commented, “Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to small improvements in asthma quality of life and symptoms. However, it is unclear whether yoga has a consistent impact on lung function, and we don’t yet know if yoga can reduce people’s medication usage, or if there are any side effects of yoga for people with asthma.”

Deputy Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Airways Group Rebecca Normansell added, “At present, we just don’t have enough high quality evidence to determine the effects of yoga as a type of exercise for helping people manage their asthma. Because there is uncertainty about the effects of yoga on lung function and use of asthma medication, it’s important that people with asthma continue to take their medication, as prescribed. The findings of this Cochrane Review will help people make more informed choices about their future treatment options.”

Editor’s notes
Full citation:  Yang Z-Y, Zhong H-B, Mao C, Yuan J-Q, Huang Y-F, Wu X-Y, Gao Y-M, Tang J-L. Yoga for asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 2 . Art. No.: CD010346. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010346.pub2

For further information, please contact:

Jo Anthony
Senior Media and Communications Manager, Cochrane
M
+44(0) 7582 726 634 janthony@cochrane.org or pressoffice@cochrane.org

Sarah Sharples
Senior Communications Officer, St George’s, University of London
E s.sharples@sgul.ac.uk P 020 8725 5180

Media spokespeople:  
Zuyao Yang
Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Epidemiology, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
E
zyang@cuhk.edu.hk

Rebecca Normansell
Editor, Population Health Institute at St George’s Hospital, University of London
Joint Co-ordinating Editor, Cochrane Airways Group
E rnormans@sgul.ac.uk

About Cochrane
Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health.

Cochrane produces reviews which study all of the best available evidence generated through research and make it easier to inform decisions about health. These are called systematic reviews.

Cochrane is a not-for-profit organization with collaborators from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Our work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Find out more at cochrane.org
Follow us on twitter @cochranecollab

If you are a journalist or member of the press and wish to receive news alerts before their online publication or if you wish to arrange an interview with an author, please contact the Cochrane press office: pressoffice@cochrane.org

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Featured Review: Drugs for the acute treatment of migraine in children and adolescents

Mon, 25/04/2016 - 21:26

Cochrane Review provides guidance on what drugs can help kids with migraines

Migraine is a painful and debilitating disorder that is common in children (under 12 years of age) and adolescents (12 to 17 years of age). Common symptoms reported during a migraine attack are headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Many treatments for migraine are available, of which the most common are paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen), ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories; and triptans. Not all triptan medications are approved for use in children or adolescents, and approvals vary from country to country.

A team of Cochrane authors based in Canada and the United States worked with the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Group to assess the effects of pharmacological interventions versus placebo for migraine in children and adolescents to find out which treatments were effective at providing pain freedom two hours after treatment and what the side effects were. The review includes 27 randomized controlled trials of drugs compared to placebo, with a total of 7630 children receiving medication in the studies.

Ibuprofen appears to be effective in treating children with migraine, but the evidence is limited to only two small trials. Paracetamol was not shown to be effective in providing pain relief in children, but only one small study was found. Triptans are a type of medication designed specifically to treat migraine and are often effective at providing greater pain freedom in children and adolescents than a placebo. The triptans examined in children included rizatriptan and sumatriptan, while almotriptan, eletriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, and zolmitriptan were examined in adolescents. The combination of sumatriptan plus naproxen sodium is also effective at treating adolescents with migraine. Overall, there is a risk that the triptan medications may cause minor unwanted side effects like taste disturbance, nasal symptoms, dizziness, fatigue, low energy, nausea, or vomiting. The studies did not report any serious side effects.

“Parents of children with migraines are looking for both an effective and safe treatment,” said Lawrence Richer, the lead author of the Cochrane Review. “Ibuprofen is readily available and inexpensive, making it an excellent first choice for migraine treatment. Clinicians may consider the triptan class of medications, as well as sumatriptan in combination with naproxen sodium, as suitable options for children and adolescents with migraine, when ibuprofen has failed to provide pain freedom or headache relief.”

Read the full Cochrane Review

Visit the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Group

Monday, April 25, 2016

DianaHealth portal to improve clinical appropriateness of recommendations

Fri, 22/04/2016 - 20:12

Portal to help with  better decision making concerning patient care and healthcare systems sustainability.

Dissemination of Initiatives to Analyse Appropriateness in Healthcare, or DianaHealth (www.dianasalud.com) was developed to easily identify recommendations which improve clinical appropriateness. The portal was created by the Clinical Epidemiology Service, Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre located at the Hospital of Sant Pau, and by the other groups of the Clinical Epidemiology Programme of CIBERESP (CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública; Biomedical Research Networking Centres of Epidemiology and Public Health), which partially funded it.

This open access portal is available in Spanish and English and allows searching existing recommendations (currently almost 3000), which have been previously identified and classified by speciality, health condition, and initiative. DianaHealth could help physicians and other stakeholders make better decisions concerning patient care and healthcare systems sustainability.

Read more about the portal in a recent PLOS ONE journal article.

Visit DianaHealth in Spanish and English.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cochrane seeks part-time Human Resources Manager - London, UK

Fri, 22/04/2016 - 16:57

Specifications: part-time (2 vacancies) – up to 22.5 hours per week (permanent job share)
Salary: £35,000-£45,000 pro rata
Dependant on experience
Location:
London
Application closing date:
22 May 2016

Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates, and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by identifying, appraising, and synthesizing individual research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm, and where more research is needed.

Our work is recognized as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information. We want to be the leading advocate for evidence-informed health care across the world.

We are looking for exceptional candidates to work collaboratively in a permanent job share. The main purpose of the role is to assist the Head of Finance and Core Services in providing an effective, efficient, and comprehensive Human Resources service in order to support the strategic aims and operational activities of the organization.

This is a challenging and varied role and requires the post holder to be comfortable with managing and supporting concurrent projects and activities. The successful candidate will need to be extremely well organized to manage a high workload as well as having a sound understanding of employment law. We are looking for a service-focused professional with a proven collaborative approach.  

Key accountabilities include:

  • Provide HR support and advice to the Chief Executive Officer, Head of Finance and Core Services, CEO of Cochrane Innovations (Cochrane’s commercial trading company), other senior managers and Central Executive staff so that Cochrane policies are followed and good practice and legal obligations are met.
  • Develop and maintain good employee relations within Cochrane through a thorough knowledge of the whole organization and understanding its objectives.
  • Provide leadership and project management for HR-related projects in order to improve the general HR service and to meet individual and organizational objectives.
  • Oversee and coordinate the recruitment and selection process to ensure that best talent is recruited in order to meet organizational resourcing needs.
  • Liaise with the external payroll providers in the UK, Germany, and Denmark and deal with any pay-related queries.
  • Manage the pension scheme to ensure the monthly payments are made and deal with any queries.
  • Ensure that employment policies and procedures, including Health & Safety, comply with legal requirements and good practice and are implemented to a high standard.
  • Meet with the Chief Executive, Head of Finance and Core Services, and CEO of Cochrane Innovations as and when required, provide them with strategic reports, and discuss and update them on any employee/business issues.
  • Provide advice to entities on HR related issues as and when required.
  • Liaise with HR legal and other consultants and external bodies as and when required.
  • Promote equality and diversity as part of the culture of the organization.
  • Analyze training needs in conjunction with departmental managers following annual appraisals.
  • Undertake other duties that may be considered appropriate.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • CIPD qualification
  • Previous generalist HR experience
  • Current working knowledge of employment legislation
  • International payroll/contract experience
  • Intermediate level IT skills, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook
  • Ability to prioritize and manage own workload
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Ability to communicate confidently with people at all levels

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV quoting “HR Manager” in the subject line, along with a supporting statement or cover letter to recruitment@cochrane.org. The supporting statement/cover letter should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples. List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities, and skills that you feel are relevant to the post.

Deadline for applications: 22 May 2016 (12 midnight GMT)

Friday, April 22, 2016 Category: Jobs

Making a difference in policy conversations about food consumption

Fri, 22/04/2016 - 16:53

For more than 20 years, Cochrane has produced systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy. We are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based healthcare resources.

The Cochrane Review, 'Portion, package or tableware size for changing selection and consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco' published in September 2015 from the Cochrane Public Health group found significant evidence that people consume more food or non-alcoholic drinks when offered larger sized portions or when they use larger items of tableware.

Since then this Cochrane review has had a significant impact, and has been one of the most important public health stories of 2015, globally.

Author, Ian Shemilt, based at the University of Cambridge, UK tells the story for this Cochrane Review, so far…

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cochrane seeks Financial Controller - London, UK

Fri, 22/04/2016 - 16:47

Specifications: Full Time 37.5 hours per week
Salary: £35,000-£45,000 pro rata
Dependant on experience
Location:
London, UK
Application Closing Date:
22 May 2016

Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by identifying, appraising, and synthesizing individual research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm, and where more research is needed.

Our work is recognized as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information. We want to be the leading advocate for evidence-informed health care across the world.

The main purpose of this role is to support the Head of Finance and Core Services in providing an efficient and effective finance function for Cochrane and Cochrane Innovations.

This is a challenging and varied role and requires a pro-active, hands on approach as the post holder will need to be managing and supporting concurrent projects and activities. We are looking for a service-focused professional with a proven collaborative approach.  

Key tasks:

  • To manage and support two part-time book-keepers, including providing cover for the book-keepers during holiday periods.
  • To oversee the management of the financial ledgers for four entities: Cochrane, Collaboration Trading, Cochrane Innovations, and Cochrane IKMD, ensuring all transactions are accurate, processed, and dealt with in line with agreed terms and conditions.
  • Work with the book-keepers to produce a monthly finance pack to include management accounts and control account reconciliations (including bank accounts) with an awareness of restricted funding and project accounting for both Cochrane and Cochrane Innovations.
  • Work with the HR manager to ensure two UK and two overseas payrolls are completed and sent to payroll bureaus on a monthly basis and all contractors are paid in line with agreed contractual terms and conditions.
  • With the HR manager, develop effective partnerships with third-party local providers of payroll and financial accounting in Denmark and Germany.
  • Monitor and manage the cost of foreign exchange transactions.
  • Provide support to managers for partnership funding applications and assist with the production of ongoing monitoring reports and information.
  • Be the point of contact for colleagues in relation to financial issues, including budget queries, project cost allocation, and payment enquiries.
  • Work with the Head of Finance and Core Services to ensure the contracts database is reflective of ongoing financial commitments, and the grants database is maintained to ensure timely payments of contractual arrangements.
  • Oversee the preparation and submission of quarterly VAT returns.
  • Act as authorized signatory on bank accounts.
  • Support the annual audit process.
  • Support the annual budgeting process.
  • Work with the Head of Finance and Core Services to collate financial monitoring information from Cochrane Groups.
  • To support the development of the Finance function and implement standard operating procedures alongside improvements to controls, making full use of IT wherever possible.
  • Ensure compliance of all financial matters with that of statutory bodies and relevant regulations through integrated standard operating procedures.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Part/qualified CIMA accountant
  • Good all-round knowledge of current accounting practice, the charity SORP, VAT, the requirements of charity taxation and charity and company legislation
  • Experience of using Xero
  • Experience of foreign currency transactions
  • Advanced Microsoft Excel skills
  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks within a project using project management skills
  • Experience of working in cross-functional teams
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to build relationships across the business
  • Have the proven ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to accomplish projects with little supervision
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines
  • Can demonstrate strong problem solving skills and think widely and deeply when faced with new problems 
  • Relevant experience of preparing management accounts and budgets
  • Proven experience of funder reports and audit files
  • Experience of costing models and accurate budgets relating to bids for new funding
  • Proven experience of building productive working relationships, both internally and externally in an international environment
  • Ability to communicate clearly with non-finance employees about financial matters, and to deliver effective finance training where necessary
  • Awareness of agile/remote working
  • Commitment to Cochrane’s mission and values

Desirable:

  • Experience of healthcare charity sector

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV quoting “Financial Controller” in the subject line, along with a supporting statement or cover letter to recruitment@cochrane.org.  The supporting statement/cover letter should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities, and skills that you feel are relevant to the post.

Deadline for applications: 22 May 2016 (12 midnight GMT)

Friday, April 22, 2016 Category: Jobs