#studies

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Flaws in study design

Will COVID-19 vaccines save lives? Right now, we cannot tell

Vaccines are being hailed as the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the vaccine trials currently underway are not designed to tell us if they will save lives, reports Peter Doshi, Associate Editor at The BMJ. Several COVID-19 vaccine trials are now in their most advanced (phase 3) stage, but what will it mean exactly when a vaccine is declared “effective”? Many may assume that successful…

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Strict separation policy

Creating 'COVID-19 free' hospital areas to save lives after surgery

Setting up ‘COVID-19 free’ hospital areas for surgical patients could save lives during the second wave of the pandemic – reducing the risk of death from lung infections associated with coronavirus, a new global study reveals. Researchers working together in Brazil and beyond found that that patients who had their operation and hospital care in ‘COVID-19 free’ areas had better outcomes.…

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'Rush to publish'

Have research standards suffered during COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a flood of potentially substandard research amid the rush to publish, with a string of papers retracted or under a cloud and a surge in submissions to pre-print servers where fewer quality checks are made, a leading ethicist has warned in the Journal of Medical Ethics. This has implications for patients, clinicians, and potentially government policy, says…

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Study establishes link

Growth factor IGF-1 increases risk for several cancers

A study of almost 400,000 British participants has identified a new link between raised levels of the growth factor IGF-1 and increased thyroid cancer risk and has confirmed associations with breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. This could lead to new preventative strategies, including diet and lifestyle interventions.

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Cardiovascular risk

Cholesterol drug combination could benefit heart patients

A new study has suggested that more patients could benefit from combinations of cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce their risk of stroke and heart attacks. While risk is reduced for many patients through taking statins, those at the highest risk of cardiovascular events may benefit from combinations of lipid-lowering therapies, according to the results of a European study of patients across 18…

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Gender parity

Why heart failure research needs more female authors

While about a quarter of physicians and researchers working in advanced heart failure (HF) and transplant cardiology are women, representation of women leading HF research remains limited, according to new research led by Penn Medicine. The authors say the findings point to a need to support great gender diversity among researchers to drive diversity among clinical trial participants and even…

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Sterilising with VHP, EO or HPGP

Sterilisation study puts cleansing methods to the test

A new study from the USA highlights how low temperature sterilisation can jeopardise effective cleansing of medical tools and lead to transmission of dangerous bacteria to patients. Steam sterilisation was shown to be the most effective and robust sterilisation technology. However, the researchers, working at the University of North Carolina, also showed that vaporised hydrogen peroxide (VHP)…

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Frac­tures of the hu­meral shaft

Surgical patients recover faster

A finnish study compared functional bracing, the non-operative treatment of humeral shaft fractures, with surgical treatment of similar fractures in adult patients. In the study, patient recovery was monitored for a year.

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Green light for trial study

Blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients: a promising approach

In a small clinical trial just granted approval, about 30 COVID-19 patients at Karolinska University Hospital may soon begin to receive blood plasma from people who have recovered from the disease. Sweden's Ethical Review Authority has approved the trial treatment, and its effectiveness will be evaluated in a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the Karolinska University Hospital.…

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Early detection

Lung cancer screening: ESR welcomes release of NELSON trial results

The publication of the results of the Dutch-Belgian lung cancer screening trial (NELSON) supports recent calls to introduce lung cancer screening programmes throughout Europe. In light of the scientific evidence, lung cancer screening should be firmly embedded in any initiative launched by the European Commission and the Member States in the fight against cancer. As the leading cause of death…

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False appendicitis alarm

Study reveals many unnecessary appendix surgeries in children

Surgery for appendicitis is the most common emergency operation in children. A new study has found that the UK has the highest reported national rate of ‘normal appendicectomy,’ where children undergo surgery for suspected appendicitis but laboratory examination of the removed appendix finds it to be normal. Although most children who are misdiagnosed as having appendicitis improve without…

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Assistance in lymphedema treatment

New microsurgery robot shows promise

Supermicrosurgery – operations on vessels ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 millimeters – is limited by the dexterity of the surgeon’s hands. To bypass this limitation, robots can assist in the surgical process. One such robot is MUSA – the world’s first robotic platform for supermicrosurgery, which was co-developed by researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the TU/e…

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Finding the right hospital

Colon cancer surgery: why experience pays off

Patients with colorectal cancer have a greater chance of survival if they are operated in hospitals with a high case load. This is because complications that can occur after surgery can be better managed there. Tumours of the colon, so-called colorectal carcinomas, are the second to third most frequent tumours in women and men in Germany. The surgical removal of the tumours is a central component…

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Brain signals control a four-limb robotic system

Tetraplegic moves towards taking walks

Thanks to a four-limb robotic system controlled by brain signals, a patient with a cervical spinal cord injury could walk and control both arms for the first time in a proof of concept. Developed by CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), the system is driven via the long-term implant of a semi-invasive medical device to record brain activity. ‘This device is an…

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Meta-analysis

Benefit and risk: drug-coated balloon angioplasty

Scientists of Jena University Hospital, Germany, conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate benefit and risk of paclitaxel-coated balloon angioplasty compared to conventional balloon angioplasty as therapy of intermittent claudication. The study confirms an increased all-cause mortality, which has formerly been stated, and found a broad heterogeneity in the effectivity of the procedure depending on…

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Major global study reveals

Colorectal, pancreatic cancer rates up 10% in last 30 years

The results of a major study across 195 countries, presented at UEG Week Barcelona 2019, indicate that global death rates for pancreatic cancer and incidence rates for colorectal cancer both increased by 10% between 1990 and 2017. The Global Burden of Disease study, is the first to provide comprehensive worldwide estimates of the burden, epidemiological features and risk factors of a number of…

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Rehabilitation

Hope for patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states

Non-invasive brain stimulation is to be trialed for the first time alongside advanced brain imaging techniques in patients who are minimally conscious or in a vegetative state. The study builds on promising results from the Centre for Human Brain Health at the University of Birmingham which suggested that non-invasive brain stimulation can improve the success of rehabilitation for non-responsive…

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Hypothyroidism

Underactive thyroid: Study validates treatment guidelines

A study led by the University of Birmingham provides strong support for current recommendations on treating patients with an underactive thyroid and validates latest UK and US guidelines, say researchers. The retrospective cohort study, published in The BMJ, analysed anonymous GP records of over 162,000 patients who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism – a highly prevalent condition more…

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Feasibility study

Liquid biopsy to complement early breast cancer screening

Investigators from the Biomedical Research Institute of Malaga [(IBIMA)-CIMES-UMA, Malaga Spain] and collaborators have published the first pilot study to examine the use of a non-invasive liquid biopsy in early diagnosis of breast cancer. This study was unique in that the ctDNA analyses was performed before any invasive diagnostic procedure or treatment. To achieve their goal, the researchers…

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Cardiovascular disease

Why exercise is even more beneficial for CVD patients

A study of nearly half a million people has found for the first time that those with heart or blood vessel problems benefit more from having a physically active lifestyle than do healthy people without cardiovascular disease (CVD). Increased physical activity reduced the risk of dying during a six-year follow-up period for people with and without CVD, but the researchers found the greatest…

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The MR-INFORM trial

Seeking a first-line ischaemia test

Findings from a comparative outcome study have highlighted the benefits of using cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) perfusion imaging as a first-line ischaemia test in patients with moderate risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). The MR-INFORM (Magnetic Resonance Perfusion or Fractional Flow Reserve in Coronary Disease) trial, which began in 2012 (results published in the New England…

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Draft guidance

FDA: Include male breast cancer patients in trials

In its latest draft guidance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages inclusion of males in breast cancer clinical trials. Historically, males either have not been included in clinical trials for drugs to treat breast cancer or inclusion of males in those trials has been very limited; when finalized, the draft guidance will provide clarity for industry regarding clinical…

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