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Updated: 10 hours 3 min ago

Cochrane goes 'Geek Chic' with new merchandise - an interview with Science Scribbles

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 21:58

The Cochrane community is embracing their geek chic and love for evidence-based healthcare with Cochrane merch! For our initial designs,  we worked with Dr. Lauren Callender from Science Scribbles.

We talked to Lauren about her background, the growing 'geek chic' trend, and what it was like working on these new designs for the Cochrane Community. 

Hi Lauren, can you tell us a bit about your background? 
Sure, I’m a research scientist working in the field of cancer immunotherapy. I have a PhD in Immunology and absolutely love T cells! Before my PhD I completed a BSc in Biology, MSc in Molecular Medicine and an MRes in Inflammation. When I started my undergraduate degree 10 years ago, I never imagined staying in education for so long, but I loved working in the lab so much that I just carried on. 

From the lab to designing through Science Scribbles; how did that happen?
Science Scribbles initially started as an educational YouTube channel where I created hand-drawn science tutorials - I called it scribbles as my artistic abilities are very limited on paper! As the online SciComm community enjoyed these, I started to design digital scribbles and create colourful accessories and gifts to help people celebrate science.

We love that more people want to celebrate science. Is 'Geek Chic' really a trend? 
Definitely! Scientists and researchers are very passionate and proud of their work and wearing science merch is a great way to outwardly show that. In the past I feel like a lot of science merch was either aimed at children or was too plain or serious. My mission for Science Scribbles is to create lots of fun and chic science accessories that people like myself would want to wear.

Why do you think it’s important to explicitly show support for science?
Openly supporting science and sharing science through science communication and public engagement is crucial as it helps to highlight the important work that scientists do, and to build trusts between scientists and the public. I feel this is even more important at the minute as trust in science is absolutely necessary during the current global pandemic.

Our Cochrane Community has been asking for some merchandise on social media. We were excited to work with someone that understood the passion behind our work and the importance of systematic reviews. 
I was excited to work with Cochrane too! A big part of being a scientist is staying up to date with the scientific literature and also contributing to science through publications. Whenever I am looking for publications I often search for Cochrane reviews as these are always highly informative and trusty worthy.

The new Cochrane designs look great! 
Thanks! For this project, I particularly wanted to draw attention to the fact that Cochrane is very highly regarded by the scientific community. I hope I was able to visually depict this and that people will really love the designs!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Prof Tracey Howe appears in Decade of Healthy Ageing ‘Leaders Voices’ video alongside WHO and UN leadership

Mon, 11/09/2020 - 12:00

Professor Tracey Howe, Director of the Cochrane-Campbell Global Ageing Partnership and Co-Chair of the Cochrane Governing Board, has pledged support for the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) in a video alongside António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General; Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum; Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director United Nations Population Fund; the International Federation on Ageing; and HelpAge International.

The Decade of Healthy Ageing aims to bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media, and the private sector to jointly take action in order to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live.

The Cochrane-Campbell Global Ageing Partnership has been actively supporting WHO in preparing for the Decade of Healthy Ageing, which is expected to formally launch via the United Nations in the coming months. We look forward to sharing the outputs of this collaboration in due course.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Supporting resilience and mental well-being in frontline healthcare professionals during and after a pandemic

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 12:10

What is the best way to support resilience and mental well-being in frontline healthcare professionals during and after a pandemic? What is ‘resilience’?

Working as a 'frontline' health or social care professional during a global disease pandemic, like COVID-19, can be very stressful. Over time, the negative effects of stress can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, which, in turn, may affect work, family and other social relationships. ‘Resilience’ is the ability to cope with the negative effects of stress and so avoid mental health problems and their wider effects. Healthcare providers can use various strategies (interventions) to support resilience and mental well-being in their frontline healthcare professionals. These could include work-based interventions, such as changing routines or improving equipment; or psychological support interventions, such as counselling.

What did the review authors want to find out?

Firstly, they wanted to know how successfully any interventions improved frontline health professionals’ resilience or mental well-being. Secondly, the authors wanted to know what made it easier (facilitators) or harder (barriers) to deliver these interventions.

Key message

The authors did not find any evidence that tells us about how well different strategies work at supporting the resilience and mental well-being of frontline workers. They found some limited evidence about things that might help successful delivery of interventions. Properly planned research studies to find out the best ways to support the resilience and mental well-being of health and social care workers are urgently required.

Lead author of this review Dr Alex Pollock explains, “It is clear that frontline healthcare workers have to deal with enormous stress when working in any infectious disease epidemic, and this clearly has a negative impact on their mental health. Despite this, there remains a lack of high quality research about how best to support the mental health of these workers. With the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic there is an opportunity for carefully planned, well-conducted research to determine the best way to support the mental health of frontline workers - I really hope that these research studies are prioritised. While we found a lack of high quality research in this review, it is important to note that our focus was limited to evidence relating to healthcare professionals working during infectious disease epidemics / pandemics. It’s clear that we now need to expand the scope of this review and turn to evidence from other diseases and health crises. We also need to bring together evidence about how best to prepare people for frontline work. Finally, it’s important to remember that the majority of people who work at the frontline are not healthcare professionals, but are, for example, porters or cleaners. We need to make sure that future research addresses ways to support this wider workforce.”

What did the author team do?

They searched medical databases for any kind of study that investigated interventions designed to support resilience and mental well-being in healthcare professionals working at the front line during infectious disease outbreaks. The disease outbreaks had to be classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as epidemics or pandemics and take place from the year 2002 onwards (the year before the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak).

What did they find?

16 relevant studies were identified. These studies came from different disease outbreaks - two were from SARS; nine from Ebola; one from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS); and four from COVID-19. The studies mainly looked at workplace interventions that involved either psychological support (for example, counselling or seeing a psychologist) or work-based interventions (for example, giving training, or changing routines).

Objective 1: one study investigated how well an intervention worked. This study was carried out immediately after the Ebola outbreak, and investigated whether staff who were training to give other people (such as patients and their family members) 'psychological first aid' felt less ‘burnt out’. The authors had some concerns about the results that this study reported and about some of its methods. This means that confidence in the evidence is very low and the authors cannot say whether the intervention helped or not.

Objective 2: all 16 studies provided some evidence about barriers and facilitators to implement interventions. The author team found 17 main findings from these studies. They do not have high confidence in any of the findings and had moderate confidence in six findings and low to very low confidence in 11 findings.

The authors are moderately confident that the following two factors were barriers to implementation of an intervention: frontline workers, or the organisations in which they worked, not being fully aware of what they needed to support their mental well-being; and a lack of equipment, staff time or skills needed for an intervention. The authors are moderately confident that the following three factors were facilitators to implementation of an intervention: interventions that could be adapted for a local area; having effective communication, both formally within an organisation and informal or social networks; and having positive, safe and supportive learning environments for frontline healthcare professionals. The authors are moderately confident that the knowledge and beliefs that frontline healthcare professionals have about an intervention can either help or hinder implementation of the intervention.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Managing Editor, Cochrane Gut satellite - UK

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 21:00

Hours: Full time (37.00 hours per week - 1.0 FTE)
Basis: Fixed term contract for 12 months
Grade: I (£44045 - £51034)
Closing Date: 17th November 2020
Interview Date: 9th December 2020

The  University of Central Lancashire - School of Medicine wishes to appoint a Managing Editor who will be based at UCLAN Preston campus but will be expected to work collaboratively with the wider study team internationally employing IT solutions to achieve this.  This role will involve the primary managing editor role for the Cochrane Gut group satellite in UCLAN. The group has a portfolio of 120 reviews, 40 protocols and 25 titles at present. This covers IBD management in adults and children, excluding microbiome focussed works. Additionally, the children’s functional bowel portfolio. Through collaboration with the Cochrane Gut group in Canada, we will also lead editorial for all reviews authored by their editors and vice versa, involving work on a wider Gut portfolio.

There will be a significant volume of research output and scholarly content to be produced by the post holder themselves, as well as facilitating the wider team. Expect 30-40 full reviews per annum to be completing editorial as a minimum during this period of rapid updating and reprioritisation, as well as 20-30 protocols, associated positions pieces, editorials and patient / servicer user materials. The post holder will have to work highly efficiently, communicating in a timely and effective manner with the CEs and colleagues. There will also likely be educational and dissemination activities with various stakeholders and patients on a regular basis.

With experience of systematic review work and specific Cochrane experience, you will have knowledge and understanding of the work of Cochrane Collaboration and the nature of systematic reviews. Experience of Cochrane editorial roles and dissemination and presentation of such works is also essential.

You will have postgraduate training in an appropriate field to at least Masters level, including epidemiology, public health and medical specialities. A PhD or Professional Doctorate qualification are not essential requirements, but would be desirable.

You must possess excellent communication skills; have an ability to work within a multidisciplinary team and show initiative and innovation. With a professional and flexible approach, you will have a commitment to the missions and values of the University.

Informal enquiries are welcomed - please contact Morris Gordon, Head of Professionalism and Careers, via email in the first instance

Applicants need to meet all essential criteria on the person specification to be considered for interview. This position is based in Preston with travel required.

Please apply online via or by contacting Human Resources on 01772 892324 and quoting the reference number. CVs will not be considered unless accompanied by a completed application form.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020 Category: Jobs

Cochrane Library Editorial: Prospective meta‐analyses and Cochrane's role in embracing next‐generation methodologies

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 16:27

An editorial was published on 30 October entitled "Prospective meta‐analyses and Cochrane's role in embracing next‐generation methodologies". Prospective meta-analysis (PMA) challenges the traditional approach to conducting a systematic review, including when and how the search is conducted and the role of trial authors, to minimise biases and maximise completeness and applicability. In the editorial, members of the Cochrane Prospective Meta-Analysis Methods Group describe the benefits of the approach and challenge Cochrane to find a balance in its systems and policies to accomodate next generation methods while maintaining quality and timeliness.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

ExME, the Spanish-language Students 4 Best Evidence blog, launches today

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 12:50

Today, a group of Iberoamerican medical and other health professions students have launched Estudiantes por la Mejor Evidencia (ExME), a Spanish-language blog that hopes to be an international hub for promoting, sharing, and disseminating information about evidence-based healthcare. This initiative, which follows in the footsteps of its English-language counterpart Students for Best Evidence (S4BE), is supported by Cochrane and Cochrane Iberoamerica and aligns with their Knowledge Translation strategies. 

After more than a year of preparations, ExME has launched as a network of students interested in evidence-based health care and as a "community for students, by students". Its objective is to develop an interactive platform with the best, evidence-based training resources, thanks to the contributions of individual, Spanish-speaking students from around the world and the support of its collaborating institutions.

"We hope that ExME will be a place where we can discuss and debate -- through a process of continuous learning and constant innovation -- about the different concepts that are fundamental to the application of evidence-based practice," writes the inaugural blogpost by the members of the Coordinating Committee, which is led by Andrés Viteri, from UTE in Ecuador. They add, "We would also like for this to be a place to build community and connect with other students and working groups. So we hope that, through publications of reviews, interaction on social media, and the space for discussion that we are making available here, you can find many opportunities and projects."

For the launch of the blog, ExME has published four posts simultaneously, as well as the inaugural welcome post: 

  • Can electronic cigarettes help you quit smoking?
  • Treatments can do harm
  • Observational cohort studies: general concepts from biostatistics and clinical epidemiology
  •  The "Evidencias COVID-19" tool offers the best, one-click information about the pandemic in Spanish

These entries are the first posts in five sections that the blog will explore (Critical thinking, Fundamentals of evidence-based medicine, Clinical Practice, COVID-19, and Community for best evidence), which will be expanded over time. 

If you are a Spanish speaker, join the ExME community! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Cochrane COVID-19 Podcasts

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 17:26

Cochrane is preparing a series of reviews to help decision makers with their response to COVID-19. Each Cochrane podcast offers a short summary of a recent Cochrane COVID-19 review from the authors themselves. They allow everyone from healthcare professionals to patients and families to hear the latest Cochrane evidence in under five minutes. 

Do blood thinners prevent people who are hospitalised with COVID-19 from developing blood clots?
In October 2020, we published the findings on the effects of anticoagulants and lead author, Ronald Flumignan from the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil describes what they found in this podcast.

How effective is screening for COVID-19?
Screening programmes are in place for many conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to discussions of whether people should be screened for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. A Cochrane rapid review from September 2020 looks at the evidence for universal screening and we asked lead author, Meera Viswanathan from RTI International in the USA to describe the findings in this podcast.

Is plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 an effective treatment for people with COVID-19?
In October 2020, we published our second update of the review of convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin and we asked its lead author, Khai Li Chai from Monash University in Australia, to tell us about the latest findings.

How accurate is chest imaging for diagnosing COVID-19?
We asked the lead author of the September 2020 review of the evidence on using imaging tests to diagnose the condition, Jean-Paul Salameh from The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada, to describe their findings in this podcast.

Does quarantine, alone or in combination with other public health measures, control coronavirus (COVID-19)?
In this podcast, lead author, Barbara Nussbaumer-Streit from Danube University Krems in Austria outlines the findings of the review of quarantine, which was originally requested by the World Health Organization and was first published in April, before being updated in September 2020.

Can travel-related control measures contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic?
In this podcast, lead author, Jake Burns from the University of Munich in Germany describes the findings of our review of the effects of travel-related control measures, which was published in September 2020.

Can symptoms and medical examination accurately diagnose COVID-19 disease?
Published in June 2020, this review examines the accuracy of using signs and symptoms to diagnose whether someone has the disease. We asked the lead author, Thomas Struyf from the KU Leuven in Belgium, to tell us why the review is needed and what they found.


You can view and search our entire catalogue of hundreds of podcasts or subscribe via iTunes for the latest updates.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Featured Review: Physical activity interventions for people with congenital heart disease

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 20:42

 Review question 

This review aimed to gather evidence for the use of any physical activity intervention for people with congenital heart disease. The authors of this review aimed to compare interventions including exercise training, physical activity promotion or lung training with no intervention (usual care). 


Congenital heart disease is the term used for a range of birth defects that affect how the heart works. People with congenital heart disease have reduced life expectancy, physical fitness and quality of life. However, due to better prenatal diagnoses, surgical procedures (often performed in the early years of life) and earlier interventions, the survival rate for those born with this disease has improved dramatically, such that most people will now live into adulthood. Exercise training and physical activity interventions are known to improve fitness, physical activity, survival and quality of life in healthy people, but it is not clear how effective these programmes are for people with long-term medical conditions. 

Study characteristics 

The review authors searched for studies in September 2019 and identified 15 studies involving 924 participants. The studies used three main types of interventions, including programmes designed to increase physical activity, aerobic fitness and health-related quality of life and compared physical activity intervention and control interventions in people with congenital heart disease. 

Key results 

The authors included 15 trials with 924 participants. Half of the participants were female. Of the 15 trials, 5 used a total of 500 young people (less than 18 years of age) and 10 trials used a total of 424 adult participants. The review authors found that physical fitness and physical activity may slightly increase but we are very uncertain about quality of life. There is currently no data to say if this small increase in fitness will result in fewer visits to the hospital. But there were no recorded deaths or serious events that were related to participation in physical activity. 

Quality of evidence 

Using a validated scientific approach (GRADE), the certainty in the evidence base was moderate for fitness, low for physical activity and very low for quality of life. Most outcomes were limited due to small study participant numbers and poor reporting of study details.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Featured Review: Mental health of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 11:05

Migrants who have been forced to leave their home, such as refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons (IDP), are likely to experience stressors which may lead to mental health problems. The efficacy of interventions for mental health promotion, prevention, and treatment may differ in this population. A recent systematic review from the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders group looked at this topic: 'An overview of systematic reviews on mental health promotion, prevention, and treatment of common mental disorders for refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons.'

Supported by the National Institute for Health Research via Cochrane Infrastructure funding to the Common Mental Disorders Cochrane Review Group and Phil Roberts from the University of York they present the findings in this video:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Founding member of Cochrane, Dr. Peter Tugwell, receives the 2020 CIHR Barer-Flood Prize

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 19:45

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Barer-Flood Prize recognizes an exceptional researcher who has created a seminal body of work that has had a substantial impact on health services and policy research, policy, and/or care delivery.

Dr. Peter Tugwell is a Professor at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Medicine and the School of Epidemiology & Public Health, a Senior Scientist, and a practicing internist with a rheumatology practice. In 2001, Dr. Tugwell became Director for the Centre for Global Health at the Institute of Population Health and has built a research program and multidisciplinary team around his Canada Research Chair in Health Equity. Dr. Tugwell has been at the forefront of international initiatives working with patients, clinicians and guideline developers to ensure that medical treatments prescribed for musculoskeletal conditions are based on the most recent scientific evidence. In 2013, Governor General of Canada appointed Dr. Tugwell as an Officer of the Order of Canada. This appointment recognizes a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree. Dr. Tugwell was recognized for his contributions as an epidemiologist reducing global disparities in health care.

Dr. Tugwell’s history with Cochrane is long standing. He is founding member of Cochrane and a former Cochrane Steering Group member. He is the Founding Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Review Group, Founding Co-convener of the Campbell and Cochrane Methods Equity group, and Senior Editor of the Cochrane Musculoskeletal, Oral, Skin, and Sensory Network

Cochrane and our extended community offers our warmest congratulations to Dr. Tugwell on his achievement.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Talking to parents about evidence-based healthcare and the work of Cochrane

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 17:57

To mark the recent World Evidence-based Healthcare Day, Registered Nurse Penny Blunden (BN, MNursAP) spoke to her 21,000 followers on @Sick.Happens in an Instagram Live about Cochrane work and the importance of good quality evidence. This chat was aimed about parents interested in health evidence – we caught up with her to ask her more.

Hi Penny, thanks for speaking with us. It’s great to see so many healthcare professionals on social media. What’s your background?
I am a Paediatric Registered Nurse with a Masters of Nursing. I have always had a passion for working with children, but since becoming a Mum myself, I realised how much ongoing support and education parents need when raising little humans.

Your handle on Instagram is @Sick.Happens. Can you tell us more about that? Why did you start Sick Happens?
I started Sick Happens after realising that parents don’t have this ongoing support and education. The only access they had to evidence-based health education surrounding the illnesses in children were in a time-restricted GP appointment, a chaotic Emergency visit or in a first-aid course. Although these services are critical, they don’t provide the education surrounding the somewhat inevitable bouts of sickness. The fevers, vomiting, breathing colds & flu’s, poo questions — the list is endless. So I founded Sick Happens to fill this gap.

Not everyone is convinced that social media is a great way to disseminate health evidence because it’s a ‘serious and complex’ topic. Why do you think Instagram an important platform for parents?
Instagram is critical in delivering health education because this is where parents are hanging out. This is where parents retreat to when they have 5 minutes spare from parenting. This is also where they are choosing to find advice and inspiration, whether it be home organisation, exercise, relationships or fashion. So I felt it was absolutely necessary to make sure practical, evidence-based education was intermingled within all of this information so that it is easily accessible.

We see that you are often sharing Cochrane evidence and talking about systematic reviews with your audience. How do you know about Cochrane? How do you use it?
I learnt about Cochrane when I was an undergraduate studying Nursing. We were taught about the importance of systematic reviews, and how to undertake effective research. Now I use Cochrane as my first starting point whenever I want to research a new topic. Why would you not go to the highest level of evidence available at the beginning of your researching journey?!

It's great that you are sharing that with your audience too. Do you think evidence-based medicine and related concepts is something that should be shared with parents?
Absolutely! Not everyone understands how to analyse and interpret data. Critically analysing evidence, and understanding how this evidence is applied to everyday decisions is a learnt skill — a skill that takes time and practice. This is why it is important to help parents learn how to research effectively, and learn how this evidence can impact their decisions.

You recently spoke to a representative from Cochrane on your Instagram Live. What do you think parents get from these over your more static content?
It was great to talk to someone from Cochrane in a casual way over a live chat. This format gives parents the opportunity to:

  • See the conversation play out in real time
  • Join in on the conversation
  • Think about a topic before it is sprung on them
  • Watch it back and ask questions later
  • Plus, they can pop their headphones in and listen whilst driving to work, feeding a baby, cleaning the house or going for a walk.

We’ll include the video below of your Instagram Live Chat. what things did you cover?
A lot in such a short chat! I was so lucky to talk to a representative from the Cochrane to help parents understand how to research effectively, how evidence impacts healthcare, and how to differentiate high quality evidence from opinion. We chatted about what Cochrane does, what are systematic reviews, how Cochrane works with patients and carers directly, and how to distinguish high quality evidence, and some of their resources, such as Cochrane Evidence Essentials. It was a lovely, casual chat and feedback from the parents was positive – they felt the Cochrane evidence was assessable and something they could use.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Cochrane seeks - Software Developer

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 15:44

Specifications: Full Time, Permanent  
Salary: circa £55,000 p.a.
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Application Closing Date: Monday 9 November 2020

Are you passionate about quality software? Do you have a drive to make a difference for health care world-wide? We are a global, independent organization that strives to inform health-care decisions every day. We gather and summarize the best evidence from research to help doctors, nurses, patients, carers, researchers, funders, and policymakers. We do not accept commercial or conflicted funding, and work to minimize risk of bias, in order to generate authoritative and reliable information.

“Cochrane summarizes the findings so people making important decisions – you, your doctor, the people who write medical guidelines – can use unbiased information to make difficult choices without having to read every study out there…” Sifting the evidence, The Guardian, 14 September 2016

Our development team is located in Copenhagen and supports the process of creating systematic reviews through a web-based application. We are a group of motivated, mission-driven people who are energized by working together. We care about our users, taking pride in delivering features which both ensure the quality of Cochrane systematic reviews and make review production easier and more efficient.

As our new software developer, you'd contribute to the design and development of the web-based software used by thousands of Cochrane authors to produce systematic reviews, which includes tools and integrations for writing, statistical analysis, data management, study curation, data extraction, and more. Due to the fast-paced nature of our release cycle, the team interact frequently with users and other stakeholders.

Who we’re after
We are primarily looking for someone motivated by the mission of Cochrane and of our development team – that is, someone who cares about facilitating improved evidence-based healthcare decisions. We would consider it a bonus if you have specific knowledge of Cochrane, evidence-based health care, systematic reviews, and/or the global health sector.

On a technical level, we are looking for an analytical and efficient problem solver that can challenge our product and the processes around it, with experience in designing and building web applications in an Agile setting.

We work in English.

What you'd be doing

  • Working with a talented, passionate and collaborative agile team;
  • Designing, developing, testing, and maintaining our review production systems;
  • Achieving and maintaining a high level of automated test coverage;
  • Helping to drive continuous improvement of product, code, and processes.

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here
  • The deadline to receive your application is by 9th November 2020
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples
  • Note that we will assess applications as they are received, and therefore may fill the post before the deadline
  • Please note Interviews to be held on 16th and 17th November 2020.


Monday, October 26, 2020 Category: Jobs

Cochrane and Malaysian Ministry of Health join together to provide full access to the Cochrane Library across the country

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 20:56

Cochrane is delighted to announce that the Cochrane Library is now freely available to health decision-makers across Malaysia.

Thanks to the successful partnership between Cochrane Malaysia, Wiley, and researchers from the National Institutes of Health within the Malaysian Ministry of Health, the world-renowned Cochrane Library launches across the country, making it possible for decision-makers to use evidence to improve health decisions and expand evidence-based treatment in the Malaysian national healthcare system.

Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others in 140 countries working together to produce credible and accessible health information in the form of Cochrane systematic reviews and other evidence-based content and resources. This health information is published on the Cochrane Library

Cochrane Malaysia was officially formed as a branch of the Australasian Cochrane Centre in September 2014. It is a network coordinated by RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus and comprising four other institutions: Institute for Medical Research, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, University of Malaya and Universiti Sains Malaysia. Its work advocates for the evidence-informed health care across the country holding training events, mentoring authors, establishing close links with the Ministry of Health, and building up a network of individuals able to provide local support for the publication of Cochrane systematic reviews.

Professor Jacqueline Ho, Co-Director of Cochrane Malaysia at the RCSI & UCD Malaysia campus, said of this announcement: “We sincerely thank the Ministry of Health of Malaysia for providing national access to the Cochrane Library. National access to Cochrane Reviews has been the priority of Cochrane Malaysia since we started in 2014, and it is gratifying that it has finally happened. To progress as a Nation, Malaysia needs to have access to the best available research evidence in order to make the right healthcare policy and clinical practice decisions and to ensure that healthcare money is spent on treatments that are known to be beneficial. Access to the Cochrane Library is a big step in this direction.”

Director-General of Health in Malaysia, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said, “I am extremely happy that we are able to provide The Cochrane Library across the nation. As one of Cochrane Malaysia’s affiliate sites, MOH is extremely proud that we are progressing in providing the best research evidence for the best healthcare decision making. This provision comes at a very apt timing for use in our health care. I would like to congratulate NIH, Malaysia and all researchers for their dedication towards providing evidence from the Cochrane Library and continuous training for MOH, especially, and Malaysia generally.”

Professor Dr. Shaiful Bahari Ismail, Dean of the Medical School at Universiti Sains Malaysia, (USM), commented: “I strongly applaud a great move from our Ministry of Health to ensure free access to the Cochrane Library in Malaysia. USM has taken a leadership role in Cochrane Malaysia’s activities and systematic review process since 2004, with authorship of multiple reviews and organization of regular training courses. We are one of the official affiliates in Malaysia. In the early years, USM organized national meetings with all Malaysian medical schools to incorporate evidence-based medicine in the undergraduate medical curriculum. This was done in collaboration with the international SEA-ORCHID project. Among the pioneers that brought these important activities to USM include Prof. Hans Van Rostenberghe, Prof. Che Anuar Che Yaacob and Prof. Norhayati Mohd Nor. 

The move towards universal access to Cochrane will not only enhance in major ways our academic research but also will contribute to a more effective teaching and subsequently a better service to the patients. Community outreach programs will surely be facilitated too. I feel it is truly a great day for evidence-based medicine in Malaysia.”

Professor Dr. Moy Foong Ming, Coordinator of the University of Malaya site, reacted to this announcement: “As one of the members from the Cochrane Malaysia Coordinating Group, we are proud and grateful to note that the National Institutes of Health, Ministry of Health has successfully subscribed to the Cochrane National License. With this, all Malaysians and importantly for us, the University of Malaya’s students and staff get access to all full text under the Cochrane Library for free download. This will provide up to date evidence for clinical practice as well as research.”

Cochrane’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wilson, thanked the Malaysian Ministry of Health for arranging this agreement. He said: “I am delighted to hear this news – the exceptional efforts from the Cochrane Malaysia team mean that, now, everyone can access the high quality, trusted health information within the Cochrane Library from anywhere in the country. We are hopeful that Cochrane evidence will now inform more decisions made by policy makers, health practitioners, researchers and patients. Many of our Cochrane Malaysia researchers and clinicians are leaders in the field, and with the expertise they bring and new expanded access to the Cochrane Library, I know they will further our mission of delivering trusted evidence into health policy and clinical decision-making across Malaysia.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

COVID-19 Special Collection: evidence relevant to clinical rehabilitation

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 15:59

Cochrane has released a new Special Collection Coronavirus (COVID-19): evidence relevant to clinical rehabilitation. This Special Collection is one of a series of collections on COVID-19, and will be regularly updated.

Rehabilitation has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an essential health strategy, alongside promotion, prevention, treatment, and palliative care. Rehabilitation focuses on the overall functioning of the whole person, including comorbidities. Consequently, rehabilitation of individuals who have experienced COVID-19 must consider not only the consequences of the disease but also the effects of treatments applied during the acute phase. Rehabilitation inherently serves to reduce disability, with broad health, social, and economic impacts.

This Special Collection is the result of collaboration within Cochrane Rehabilitation, with rigorous involvement from stakeholders: the Steering Committee of the REH-COVER (Rehabilitation COVID-19 Evidence-based Response) action and the Cochrane Rehabilitation Advisory Board. This Special Collection includes systematic reviews from Cochrane Emergency and Critical CareCochrane NeuromuscularCochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care and Cochrane Common Mental Disorders.

Image credit: Montecatone Rehabilitation Institute

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Cochrane Rehabilitation receives award for Spanish blogshots

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 19:57

Cochrane Rehabilitation has received an award from AMLAR (America Latina Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Association) and the University of Antioquia's Evidence Based Medicine Group for blogshot translations in Spanish. 

Cochrane Rehabilitation, one of 13 Cochrane Fields, has been producing blogshots for all new Cochrane Reviews published in the past couple of years and relevant to the rehabilitation medicine field. Chiara Arienti started this initiative after her training in Oxford based on the model used by Cochrane UK; some evolution has occurred with the Field's experience with the project, but the overall project is true to Cochrane UK's model. 

Typically, Cochrane Rehabilitation produces 2 to 4 blogshots per months that are then published in the Cochrane Rehabilitation Newsletter with an accompanying text giving more details on the review and commenting on it from a rehab perspective. This is all coordinated by Cochrane Rehab's Comunication Working area led by Francesca Gimigliano, according to our Comunication Strategy. 

The translations into Spanish are provided according to the agreement made with the University of Antioquia, by the group coordinated by Luz Helena Lugo-Agudelo, who is also member of Cochrane Rehabilitation's Advisory Committee.

Congratulations to Cochrane Rehabilitation!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Help find studies about COVID-19: COVID Quest is now live!

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 19:40

Cochrane Crowd is pleased to launch its latest citizen science task: COVID Quest. We need your help to find studies related to COVID-19. Anyone can join this task. To join, simply head over to Cochrane Crowd and once logged in, you will see the task in your task dashboard.

The task is supported by an interactive training module that will guide you through the different types of studies we are looking for.

The studies identified by the Crowd will be fed to Cochrane’s COVID-19 register of studies. This register is fast becoming an essential source of studies for systematic reviewers and others around the world. 

Anna Noel-Storr, who manages the Cochrane Crowd platform, says: 

“This new task in Cochrane Crowd is exciting for us because it’s quite different from other tasks. The Crowd are presented with a title and abstract of a research article and they have to answer a series of questions about it relating to the study design and the aim of the study. 

It is one of our more challenging tasks but there is a good training module. It’s a great way to learn a bit about different types of studies while at the same time contribute to the global effort to defeat COVID-19”.

How to participate in COVID Quest:

  1. Go to and sign-up/log-in
  2. Head to your tasks page and you will see a task called COVID Quest
  3. Click the training button to launch the training module

It is anticipated that this task will be live on Cochrane Crowd for the foreseeable future. Our current COVID Quest records are from and provided under license from Elsevier.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Join Cochrane’s Editor in Chief and Dr. John Grove of WHO for a World Evidence Based Healthcare Day panel session

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 19:20
COVID-19: evidence challenges and lessons learned Tuesday 20 October 202016:30-17:30 CET (check in your time zone)Link to connect coming Monday 19 OctoberOpen to all

We are delighted to announce that as part of the inaugural World Evidence Based Healthcare Day on Tuesday 20 October, Cochrane will host an online session with Dr. John Grove, Director of the Quality Assurance, Norms and Standards Department within the World Health Organization (WHO) Science Division.

During the session, COVID-19: evidence challenges and lessons learned, Cochrane Editor in Chief Dr. Karla Soares-Weiser and Dr. Grove will discuss WHO’s evidence needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cochrane’s response to support those needs, and to reflect on evidence priorities during the next phase of the pandemic.

Cochrane is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in official relations with WHO. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working closely with WHO by producing rapid reviews to answer priority questions, thus supporting the development of effective guidance, treatments and cost-efficient responses to the pandemic. 

The session is open to all who are interested. A link to join the session will be provided Monday 19 October. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Special Collection: In vitro fertilisation – effectiveness of add-ons

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 14:01

Special Collection: In vitro fertilisation - effectiveness of add-ons 

Infertility affects as many as 1 in 7 couples. Many of these people turn to fertility treatments for help. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is generally considered the most advanced treatment option, and is recommended in many cases, regardless of the cause of subfertility.

Currently there are many adjunctive treatments offered in addition to standard IVF, in the hope that pregnancy outcomes will improve. These have been called IVF ‘add-ons’. The term has gained popularity and is applied to collectively group any extra (non-essential) procedures, techniques or medicines, which can be added to standard IVF protocols, and which often claim to increase the chance of a successful outcome. IVF add-ons also tend to cost extra, on top of the cost of standard IVF. Examples include endometrial scratching, assisted hatching of embryos, steroid treatments, and pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos. 

The Special Collection In vitro fertilisation - effectiveness of add-ons includes Cochrane reviews assessing available evidence for specific IVF add-ons. This Special Collection aims to summarise these reviews to support health professionals and people undergoing IVF, to make decisions about offering or using IVF add-ons. The reviews in this collection should also guide future research by identifying gaps in evidence and under-researched areas. The special collection contains 11 reviews published by Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group. We have only included reviews which have been published or updated in the last 5 years, to ensure the evidence is up-to-date. This means some reviews about common IVF add-ons may not have been included. When relevant reviews on add-ons become available, we will update the special collection.

Dr Sarah Lensen who developed the collection together with Cochrane Gynaacology and Fertility group adds “This Special Collection is a summary of the most robust, high-quality evidence available for different IVF add-ons. I hope that it will be useful for health professionals and people undergoing IVF, when making decisions about offering or using IVF add-ons.”

Friday, October 16, 2020

Featured Review: Drugs for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting in adults after general anaesthesia: a network meta-analysis

Thu, 10/15/2020 - 19:43

Which medicines work best to stop people from being sick (vomiting) after an operation?

Why are people sick after an operation?

Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting) is a common unwanted effect of general anaesthesia—medicine that makes people unconscious and unresponsive so they don't move or feel pain during an operation.

Most unwanted effects of general anaesthesia, including feeling or being sick, happen immediately and stop after a few hours, although some people may continue to feel sick for up to a day. If people carry on feeling or being sick, they might have to stay in hospital longer than expected and may experience other unwanted effects or complications.

Women are more likely to be sick after an operation, as are people taking opioid painkillers, those who have had motion sickness, and those who have been sick after previous operations.

Medicines to stop people from being sick

Medicines called antiemetics are given to stop people from feeling or being sick. For people at higher risk of being sick, these medicines may be given before or during anaesthesia.

Antiemetic medicines are grouped into six classes based on how they act. Combining medicines from different classes sometimes makes them work better.

Why we did this Cochrane Review

We wanted to find out which medicines work best to stop people from being sick after an operation and cause the fewest unwanted effects. Common unwanted effects of antiemetic medicines include headache, constipation, movement disorders such as tremors, sleepiness, irregular heartbeat, and wound infection.

What did the authors do?

The authors of this review searched for studies that looked at the use of antiemetic medicines in adults having general anaesthesia to stop people from being sick afterwards.

They looked for randomised controlled studies, in which the treatments people received were decided at random. This type of study usually gives the most reliable evidence about the effects of a treatment.

Search date

Authors included evidence published up to November 2017; in April 2020, we found another 39 studies, which are not yet included in the analysis.

What they found

The authors found 585 studies in 97,516 people (83% women) who were given antiemetic medicines before or during general anaesthesia. Most studies were conducted in Asia, Europe, or North America.

These studies measured how many people were sick in the first 24 hours after their operation and how many unwanted effects were reported. Most studies compared medicines (given alone or in combination) with a dummy (placebo) treatment.

Authors compared all antiemetic medicines with each other using a mathematical method called network meta-analysis.

What were the main results and how reliable are these results?

Compared with placebo treatment, 10 out of 28 single medicines and 29 out of 36 combinations of medicines stopped people from being sick in the first 24 hours after their operation (282 studies). Combinations of antiemetic medicines generally worked better than single medicines given alone. However, aprepitant, casopitant, and fosaprepitant worked as well alone as most combinations of antiemetics. The single medicine that worked best was fosaprepitant, followed by casopitant, aprepitant, ramosetron, granisetron, dexamethasone, tropisetron, ondansetron, dolasetron, and droperidol.

The authors of this review are confident that aprepitant, ramosetron, granisetron, dexamethasone, and ondansetron stopped people from being sick. They are moderately confident about how well fosaprepitant and droperidol worked, but this finding may change when further evidence becomes available. They are uncertain about how well casopitant, tropisetron, and dolasetron worked.

Not all studies reported serious, life-threatening unwanted effects. The review authors are uncertain how many of these effects were reported when taking an antiemetic medicine and whether serious, life-threatening unwanted effects occur at a similar rate or are reduced compared to placebo (28 studies).

Of the best medicines for stopping being sick, granisetron and ondansetron probably made little to no difference in the occurrence of unwanted effects compared to placebo, although dexamethasone and droperidol may cause fewer unwanted effects than placebo. Authors are uncertain about unwanted effects with aprepitant and ramosetron (61 studies). They found no studies reporting unwanted effects for fosaprepitant.

Authors are less confident about unwanted effects of all other antiemetic medicines because they found little reliable evidence about this. The results for unwanted effects are likely to change when further evidence is available.


For people at higher risk, some medicines worked well to stop them from being sick after general anaesthesia. The most reliable antiemetic medicines were aprepitant, ramosetron, granisetron, dexamethasone, and ondansetron, followed by fosaprepitant and droperidol.

However, the authors did not find enough reliable evidence about potential unwanted effects to rank these medicines reliably according to how well they worked.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Building an effective sustainable organization: Goal 4 of Strategy to 2020

Thu, 10/15/2020 - 12:33

Cochrane is in the final year of its multi-year strategic plan, Strategy to 2020

Strategy to 2020 has set in motion transformational change in the way Cochrane works at all levels of the organization with the aim of giving us the best chance to achieve our mission. Goal 4 of Strategy to 2020 challenged us to be a diverse, inclusive, and transparent international organization that effectively harnesses the enthusiasm and skills of our contributors, is guided by our principles, governed accountably, managed efficiently, and makes optimal use of its resources.

Watch the video below to learn about Cochrane’s initiatives over the past several years to become a more effective, collaborative and sustainable international organization:

We are now developing a new strategy for 2021 onwards, and we want to hear from you! The draft plan is available for your review and comment, with your feedback having the potential to directly contribute to changes before it’s finalized. The deadline for your feedback has been extended and the survey will close on October 18, 2020. Let’s collaborate now to define Cochrane’s new strategic priorities!

Thursday, October 15, 2020