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Podcast: Home use of devices for cleaning between the teeth (in addition to toothbrushing) to prevent and control gum diseases and tooth decay

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 12:34

Many people use toothbrushes to remove the plaque that builds up on the surface of teeth, but what about getting to the plaque between the teeth? Should we be using dental floss or interdental brushes to help? The relevant Cochrane Review was published in April 2019 and we asked the lead author, Helen Worthington from Cochrane Oral Health at the University of Manchester in England to let us know the answer.

"To keep our mouths and teeth in good health depends a lot on removing the dental plaque that builds up every day and, as Monaz said, most people use toothbrushes to do this. But toothbrushes can’t reach in-between teeth, which is where periodontal (or gum) diseases start and develop, and that’s where dental floss and interdental brushes might help. We’ve examined whether using these interdental aids helps prevent or reduce gum disease, plaque and tooth decay, and have found some, albeit low quality, evidence that they do.

There were quite a lot of studies. We identified 35 randomised trials, with nearly 4000 adult patients, and these found no severe adverse events caused by the devices. Floss was tested most. Its use alongside toothbrushing was compared to toothbrushing alone in 15 trials, to interdental brushes in 9 trials, and to oral irrigators in 5 trials. Floss was also compared to interdental brushes and cleaning sticks, which were made of wood or rubber or elastomer. These devices were also compared with toothbrushing alone and another comparison was between rubber or elastomeric cleaning sticks and interdental brushes.



None of the trials looked at decay on the surfaces between the teeth, and most did not assess periodontitis, a form of severe gum disease. Gingivitis (which includes redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums) and plaque were widely measured but often using different scales. This makes the results difficult to interpret, especially because it’s not known how much difference on these scales actually matters.

Taking all this together, we can conclude that there is low-quality evidence that flossing, interdental brushes, and oral irrigators may reduce gingivitis. There is also very low-quality evidence that interdental brushes, and cleaning sticks made of rubber or elastomer may reduce plaque. When we compared different interdental devices against each other, interdental brushes and oral irrigators seemed to come out better than floss for reducing gingivitis, but this is once again based on low to very low-quality evidence.

In summary, using floss or interdental brushes as well as a toothbrush may reduce gingivitis, plaque or both, more than toothbrushing alone, and interdental brushes may be more effective than floss. But we only have low or even very low certainty in the evidence that underpins these findings, and we don’t know if the effects are large enough to be clinically important. If these shortcomings are to be overcome, future studies need to address some of the problems in the existing studies. Outcomes need to be measured over a longer time period, and studies should include participants with a broader range of levels of baseline gingival inflammation.

The take home message is that, unfortunately, the current evidence can’t really tell us if it is worth using these devices to prevent or control periodontal diseases or tooth decay. However, with their relatively low cost and no evidence of important side effects, you may have little to lose by giving them a try. If nothing else, they might help you to take more care over brushing your teeth – and we do know for sure that that will improve your oral health."

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Video: Cochrane Circulation and Breathing

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 19:26

Cochrane has created eight new Networks of Cochrane Review Groups responsible for the efficient and timely production of high-quality systematic reviews that address the research questions that are most important to decision makers.

In this short film we focus on the Cochrane Circulation and Breathing Network. This film introduces the team, what has happened so far, and the ambition for what is to come.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Cochrane's 30 under 30: Camila Escobar Liquitay

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 15:26

Cochrane is made up of 11,000 members and over 67,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact lparsonson@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Name: Camila Escobar Liquitay
Age: 30
Occupation: Information specialist of Cochrane Argentina - the Cochrane Centre of the University Institute at the Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires
Program: Cochrane Information Specialists' Executive

How did you first hear about Cochrane?
My first approach was by a university colleague who worked in providing information to a group of professionals who developed a Cochrane review. However, the formation of our Cochrane centre in 2015 allowed us to more fully understand all the scope and implications of the organization.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
I started to get involved with Cochrane in 2015, the year in which our centre was formed. I was summoned to join the working group as an information specialist.

I have a degree in Information Management and I have specialized in the biomedical area since I started working in the central library of the university. Recently, we assumed as a Cochrane centre, teaching activities in undergraduate and postgraduate courses that seek the development of informational competencies to generate good practices in the use and management of health information for decision making.

What do you do in Cochrane?
I am currently an Information specialist (IS) of our centre, participating in the development of systematic reviews and methodological work in the area of information.

Since 2018, I have been a member of the Cochrane Information Specialists' (CIS) Executive, whose purpose is to be a facilitator in the communication of the IS community with other Cochrane organizational structures.

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
What I like the most and what I have learnt the most from Cochrane is working with multidisciplinary groups in the construction of information systems in Evidence-based medicine (EBM).

It is stimulating to feel that with our work we can contribute to the generation of information that helps to improve people’s quality of life; also, I enjoy constantly rethinking where we see an opportunity for improvement, both in the communication of medical evidence to the community, mechanics of information retrieval and analysis of results, in the teaching of EBM, etc.

What are your future plans?
My future plans are to continue working as an IS to deepen knowledge in certain methodological aspects of Cochrane and in EBM in general, so that I can get more involved in the development of research related to the search, recovery and analysis of information.

In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
I think that Cochrane should work on strengthening the translation of evidence for non-English speaking countries. I think that this point is fundamental to achieve greater dissemination and use of the evidence produced.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
What I hope from Cochrane is that it can strengthen its networks worldwide and raise awareness of evidence-based medicine in the general public.

I think it is important to gain space, in universities, hospitals, patients, training and research centres, media, etc., to bring the evidence produced by Cochrane into people’s everyday life.

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane? Why is this, do you think?
Generational integration is essential for an organization like Cochrane. I think of young people, rather than in terms of age, as a way of confronting ourselves, rethinking and challenging ourselves with models that we have integrated as assumptions.

The integration of younger perspectives allows the strengthening and vitality of any human organization.

Why is this, do you think?
Societies change and evolve, and I believe that young people are the ones who show us these new ways of relating, both in private life and at work. It is impossible to look at the society we are in, without the look of youth.

What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
I think a good way is that we who are already part of the organization can motivate and encourage the work of other young colleagues who have an interest in getting involved in Cochrane. I am convinced that part of our role also implies this.

The ways can be many, for example invite them to meetings or activities organized by our centres, disseminate evidence to people who have an interest in a particular area, contact collaborators to generate new projects, organize dissemination activities for students, promote training activities organized by Cochrane, etc.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Cochrane Library Special Collection: Reducing pain in infants, children, and adolescents

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 13:37

Experiencing pain is common throughout a child’s development, from birth through to adolescence and beyond. This Cochrane Special Collection focuses on reducing pain in infants, children, and adolescents. The Collection highlights the latest evidence for paediatric treatments for acute and chronic pain, to guide practice, policy, and funding. It is important to note that pain research in the paediatric populations is often under-researched and under-funded. To highlight this deficit of evidence for the effectiveness (and any associated adverse events) of an intervention for children, some of the reviews in this Special Collection are ‘empty’ – indicating that there were no studies of children eligible for inclusion.

The Cochrane Reviews in this Special Collection have been published by Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care. The reviews included in the section on pharmacological treatments for chronic pain in children and adolescents have also been included in an overview published in Pain. For further discussion on this topic there is also a related Cochrane Editorial – ‘Clinical management in an evidence vacuum: pharmacological management of children with persistent pain’ and an Evidently Cochrane blog.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Podcast: Antioxidants for male subfertility

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 13:26

As well as strategies that are focused mainly on the woman, interventions to help couples to become pregnant include some to directly help men who are subfertile and those targeting men where the couple has unexplained subfertility. One of the Cochrane Reviews with this focus on men looks at giving them oral supplementation with antioxidants, and new evidence was added to this in March 2019. We asked Rebecca Mackenzie‐Proctor from the Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand to bring us to up-to-date.

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Many cases of male subfertility are thought to be due to the damaging effects of oxidative stress on sperm, with some estimates putting this as high as four in five men. Oxidative stress occurs when cells break down and release reactive oxygen species chemicals. This damages the sperm and its ability to fertilise an egg. One way that has been suggested to overcome it in men with low natural levels of antioxidants, is for them take these as supplements, and our review suggests that this might be helpful. This is similar to our 2017 Cochrane Review studying the effects of antioxidant supplementation for women, which also showed a positive association with increased rates of live birth or clinical pregnancy.

The previous version of this review of antioxidants for men was published in 2014 and this update has allowed us to add in a further 13 studies. This means that we are now evaluating 61 randomised trials, with more than 6000 couples attending fertility clinics. We included trials in which some men took an oral antioxidant supplement, while others were allocated to a control group or to take a different antioxidant; and the list of antioxidants, and substances with antioxidant qualities is long. They include Arginine, carnitines, carotenoids, coenzyme Q10, cysteines, folic acid, magnesium, polyunsaturated fatty acids (known as PUFAs), resveratrol, selenium, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.

We were most interested in the effects on live birth, but also tried to examine the impact on the sperm, pregnancy, miscarriage and adverse effects. However, many of the trials did not report on these outcomes and, even when more than one did so, there was usually too much variation to allow meaningful pooled analyses.

This heterogeneity across the trials, or the lack of relevant data hampered what we were able to do and, for our primary outcome of live births, we were able to use data from 7 trials. These showed a statistically significant benefit for the antioxidant group, based on a total of 124 live births from 750 couples. Eleven trials reported on clinical pregnancy rate and, with 105 clinical pregnancies from approximately 800 couples, our meta-analysis found significantly more pregnancies in the antioxidant group than the control group. There didn’t appear to be any association between the antioxidants used in these trials and any increase in miscarriage rate, but adverse events of miscarriage and other side effects were poorly reported and there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the antioxidant was more harmful than a placebo.

It’s difficult to draw conclusions from the studies that compared different antioxidants head to head without more randomised trials comparing the same pairs of antioxidants. However, the current evidence does not support any antioxidant appeared as more effective than any other on pregnancy rate or on sperm parameters.

In summary, antioxidant supplementation in subfertile men appears to improve live birth, clinical pregnancy rate and sperm DNA fragmentation for couples undergoing fertility treatment. But, we still need more good quality data to be sure and more trials that directly compare different antioxidants and different doses.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Video: Cochrane Acute and Emergency Care Network

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:43

Cochrane has created eight new Networks of Cochrane Review Groups responsible for the efficient and timely production of high-quality systematic reviews that address the research questions that are most important to decision makers.

In this short film we focus on the Cochrane Acute and Emergency Care Network. This film introduces the team, what has happened so far, and the ambition for what is to come.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cochrane's 30 under 30: Meisam Abdar Esfahani

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 14:21

Cochrane is made up of 11,000 members and over 67,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact lparsonson@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Name: Meisam Abdar Esfahani (on Twitter @Meisam_esfahani)
Age: 27
Occupation: General Practitioner
Program: Isfahan Student Research Committee, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran

How did you first hear about Cochrane?
To be totally frank, I became familiar with Cochrane after a Cochrane Workshop that was held in my University in 2015 although I had thought "How to search on Medical Databases" and Cochrane was an example of "synthesis" in the pyramid of Evidence Based Medicine. Moreover, Cochrane Library was another title in my curriculum on that workshop.    

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
After that workshop, a professor of gastroenterology gathered three skillful students and made a team. Next, our team registered a title in Upper GI and Pancreatic CRG and published the protocol. This systematic review is ongoing. Since Cochrane Center Iran was established in 2017, I have collaborated with them and translated many Persian articles to English for Cochrane systematic review.

What do you do in Cochrane?
It is my honor that not only am I a Cochrane author and referee for Cochrane systematic reviews, but I also managed a team for translating and collected data from Persian articles for tasks that introduced in Task Exchange website. I also have some activities on Cochrane workshops as a facilitator and recently I have been made a Cochrane trainer. 

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
Cochrane has a strong discipline and people who are involved in Cochrane are polite and have strong credentials. This can be seen in all parts of the Cochrane system from websites that each CRG have, to RevMan, Covidence, Task Exchange, Crowds etc. 

I have learnt from Cochrane how to communicate and get involved with international teams. I have also learnt many scientific facts about methodology from webinars and online courses that were presented by Cochrane Training. 

What are your future plans?
I have three goals; my short-term goal is to participate at the Cochrane Colloquium for the first time. My main goal is to improve my knowledge about Evidence Based Medicine and evidence synthesis in one prestigious university. My more ambitious goal is to be a member of an international guideline panel as a methodologist and specialist.  

In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
In my opinion, Cochrane could invest in young people from LMIC-UMIC’s that are good players and improve its network which will make strong scientists. 

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
I hope Cochrane produces more and more systematic reviews that help for guidelines. I hope the Cochrane network will grow and that every health care provider knows how to use the high quality evidence for their daily usage. 

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane? Why is this, do you think?
I think it can motivate young people to practice more and get involved with international scientific teams. That way, they can improve their skills and become a young EBM scientist in their field of research.  

Why is this, do you think?
In my mind, young people are so ambitious, and they can encourage other Cochrane members to open the door to better places in the world of medical researches. 

What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
Using Cochrane Crowd and Task Exchange can encourage you to select the specific field that you are interested in and help you to get to know the proper pathways for getting involved in Cochrane's work.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Discounts announced for Latin American Colloquium registrants

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 20:19
Special discounts available for group registrations and participants from some Latin American countries

The Cochrane Colloquium is Cochrane’s flagship annual event that is a great opportunity to meet and network with Cochrane contributors and users globally and to learn more about the wide usage of Cochrane evidence in health decision-making at all levels. This year the 26th Cochrane Colloquium will take place in the vibrant city of Santiago, Chile, 22-25 October 2019.

To foster participation of Latin American attendees in the 2019 Cochrane Colloquium, new discounts will be offered to participants from the region. Participants coming from Argentina, Uruguay, and Panama will now receive the LMIC/UMIC rate. Institutions from LMIC/UMIC countries in Latin America will receive progressive discounts for sending groups to the Colloquium (10% discount for 5 or more registrants, 15% discount for 10 or more registrants, and 20% discount for 20 or more registrants).

Additionally, institutions from Chile will receive a 10% discount off the Early Bird registration rate for groups of 5 or more, 20% discount for groups of 10 or more, and 30% discount for groups of 20 or more. Members of the Colegio Médico de Chile will receive 15% off of the Early Bird registration rate.

Participants coming from outside Latin America can access the Early Bird registration rate, which provides an 18% discount over the regular registration rate, until July 25.

 For more information on updated registration rates and discounts, please visit:  https://colloquium2019.cochrane.org/registration-fees

Don’t miss out on the exciting Scientific Programme at the 2019 Cochrane Colloquium! Learn more about the Programme here: https://colloquium2019.cochrane.org/news/2019-cochrane-colloquium-scientific-programme

Friday, June 21, 2019

2018 Journal Impact Factor for Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews is 7.755

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 16:16

The 2018 Journal Citation Report  has just been released by Clarivate Analytics, and we are delighted to announce that Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) Journal Impact Factor is now 7.755. This is an increase on the 2017 Journal Impact Factor, which was 6.754.

This means that, in 2018, a Cochrane Review was cited on average, once every 8 minutes!

The CDSR Journal Impact Factor is calculated by taking the total number of citations in a given year to all Cochrane Reviews published in the past 2 years and dividing that number by the total number of Reviews published in the past 2 years. It is a useful metric for measuring the strength of a journal by how often it its publications are cited in scholarly articles.

Some highlights of the CDSR 2018 Journal Impact Factor include:

  • The CDSR is ranked 11 of the 160 journals in the Medicine, General & Internal category
  • The CDSR received 67,607 cites in the 2018 Journal Impact Factor period, compared with 62,332 in 2017
  • The 5-Year Journal Impact Factor is 7.949 compared to 7.669 in 2017

Cochrane’s Editor in Chief, Karla Soares-Weiser, commented: “I am delighted to see a rise in Impact Factor for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. We are pleased to see a rise in total citations to now over 67 thousand and the five year impact factor is consistently strong. All of these data demonstrate the usage and impact of Cochrane reviews, and reflect enormous credit on our many thousands of contributors and groups.”

The main Journal Impact Factor report and the Cochrane Review Group reports will be delivered in August 2019.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Updated European Consensus Guidelines on Respiratory Distress Syndrome in preterm babies cites 39 Cochrane Reviews

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 15:23

Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a breathing disorder caused by immature lungs that affects preterm babies, particularly those born more than 6 weeks before their due date. RDS is a one of the most significant causes of sickness and death for preterm babies.

The European Consensus Guidelines on the Management of Respiratory Distress Syndrome have just been updated by a European panel of experienced neonatologists and a perinatal obstetrician, and have been endorsed by the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR). The guidelines are underpinned by evidence from 39 Cochrane Reviews: 32 from Cochrane Neonatal and 7 from Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth.

These Cochrane Reviews inform a broad set of interventions related to the prevention and treatment of RDS, ranging from antenatal care to how we use breathing machines or drugs, such as surfactant.

Cochrane Neonatal prepares systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for preventing and treating neonatal diseases or problems, particularly for infants born preterm or with low birth weight.

Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth prepares and maintains Cochrane systematic reviews of interventions that relate to pregnancy and childbirth, and up to 30 days following childbirth, as well as lactation.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Featured Review: Nutritional interventions for preventing stunting in children living in urban slums

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 14:06

UN‐Habitat estimates that there are at least one billion people living in urban slums, that is, places in cities without adequate access to health care, clean water, and sanitation. One consequence of an inadequate diet is growth stunting, that is, very short stature for age. Stunting is associated with greater susceptibility to infection, cognitive (memory and thinking skills) and behavioral problems, and lower adult work performance and earnings.  Nutritional interventions to improve infant and young children's growth have not been comprehensively or systematically assessed within urban slums.

This Cochrane review included 15 studies involving 9261 children less than five years old and 3664 pregnant women. About 73% of children were less than one year old.

The interventions studied ranged and included maternal education; nutrient supplementation of mothers, infants, and children; improving nutrition systems; or a combination of these but not dietary modification.

The reliability of the studies was very low to moderate overall because studies were not designed to cope with research problems linked to urban slum communities, such as high mobility and high loss of participants to follow‐up. This meant that the effectiveness of the intervention could not be properly assessed at later dates.

The authors concluded that the nutritional interventions reviewed had the potential to decrease stunting, based on evidence from outside of slum contexts; however, there was no evidence of an effect of the interventions included in this review as the evidence was considered as very low‐ to moderate‐certainty.

More evidence is needed of the effects of multi‐sectorial interventions, tackling the immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition at the individual, household and community levels , as well as the effects of 'up‐stream' practices and policies of governmental, non‐governmental organisations, and the business sector on nutrition‐related outcomes such as stunting.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Cochrane ENT seeks Systematic Reviewer - Oxford, UK or flexible location

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 17:46

Specifications: Full- or part-time (minimum of 2 days/week); fixed-term (12 months from start date)
Salary: £32,236 - £39,609 (pro rata for part-time)
Application Closing Date: 24th July 2019 (12.00 noon BST); interviews 5 August 2019

We are looking for an experienced Systematic Reviewer to work with our Cochrane ENT team, based at Cochrane UK in Oxford. The main purpose of the role is to assist in the prioritisation of ENT topics and facilitate the completion of high-priority systematic reviews. The post-holder will also support the Cochrane ENT editorial team and authors with methodological advice.

You will be working closely with the Cochrane ENT editorial team and the main duties of the post will include: leading scoping reviews to prioritise reviews in key ENT topic areas and devising template protocols, including core outcome measures; co-authoring Cochrane ENT protocols and reviews, usually as lead author; commenting editorially as a methods adviser on draft protocols and reviews.

You will have a MSc in a relevant area or a higher degree, plus a first degree in a health-related discipline or equivalent experience. You will have experience in conducting high-quality systematic reviews, including familiarity with Cochrane guidance and standards for the design, conduct and reporting of systematic reviews (e.g. MECIR and GRADE). Completion of at least one Cochrane review or systematic review for a guideline producer is desirable.

This full-time post is available immediately and is fixed-term for 12 months in the first instance. We would be willing to consider applications for part-time hours (minimum 2 days per week) and we are also willing to discuss remote working options.

For further information: please contact Jenny Bellorini, Managing Editor: jenny.bellorini@nds.ox.ac.uk
Deadline for applications: 24 July 2019 (12 noon BST) Interviews to be held on: 5 August 2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 Category: Jobs

2019 Cochrane Colloquium Scientific Programme

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 19:35

Cochrane is proud announce final scientific programme for the Santiago Colloquium, October 22-25, 2019.

The Cochrane Colloquium, Cochrane’s flagship annual event, will highlight this year’s theme of ‘Embracing Diversity’.

Cochrane Chile is proud to announce that the 2019 Cochrane Colloquium scientific program is finalized! This year’s scientific program is highly focused on the over-arching Colloquium theme, ‘Embracing Diversity’, which will be carried out through plenaries from global speakers, special sessions, oral presentations, and workshops.

Plenary sessions will address the importance of evidence regarding equity, how Cochrane evidence can be used by diverse stakeholders, and the growing methodological diversity within Cochrane as a global organization. A Cochrane Lecture will review thoughts on the diversity of choices Cochrane faces as part of its future.

There will be nine 90-minute special sessions presented throughout the scientific program. These sessions, chosen for their innovative content and relevance to the Colloquium audience, will range from discussion of important methodological advances with the launch of the new Cochrane Handbook, to the use of evidence in decision-making in Chile and with policy-makers from Latin America; from engaging non-financial conflicts of interest to welcoming Spanish-speaking newcomers and mentoring of non-English-speaking authors; from using evidence to assist consumers with making informed health choices to technological search tools that could integrate with the Cochrane ecosystem.

The Colloquium’s concurrent sessions will experience a presentation of myriad oral presentations and workshops. Hard work undertaken over recent months by the abstract and workshop committees have resulted in acceptance of 565 Abstracts and 63 workshops as part of the main Colloquium program. Representing truly, diverse content, presentations will include authors from around the world and topics spanning 17 abstract categories and 19 workshop categories. Sessions will be scheduled over the next few months, and sign-ups will be available starting in early October.

Gabriel Rada, Director of Cochrane Chile and chair of the 2019 Cochrane Colloquium, says this year’s scientific programme is particularly strong: “We are proud to have such a complete and high-quality scientific programme, with presenters that are all leaders in the topics they will speak about. We believe that it addresses diversity in all its dimensions and complexity, and the challenge of truly embracing it. We are pleased to bring back the traditional Cochrane Lecture with Andy Oxman. Andy is not only a key player in the origins and evolution of evidence-based medicine, systematic reviews, the GRADE method and the Cochrane Collaboration, but also has a strong connection with Chile and Latin America, as part of his work aimed at low- and middle-income countries. It will be an excellent and exciting Colloquium.”

Join us for this year’s globally diverse scientific program!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Podcast: Improving the implementation of school-based policies and practices to improve student health

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 18:24

Alongside learning about mathematics, history, languages and many other things, schools are a recommended setting for interventions to improve health. However, it can be difficult to implement these interventions and, in November 2017, Luke Wolfenden of the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia and colleagues published their new Cochrane Review looking into how this might be done. Luke tells us what they found in this podcast.

 Although there are a variety of school-based interventions that improve the diet, physical activity and weight status of school students or reduce their risk of harmful alcohol or tobacco use, their implementation in schools is not routine. Broadly, therefore, our objective was to review strategies that might be used to improve the implementation of school-based interventions which target student diet, activity, obesity, tobacco or alcohol use. Unfortunately, we’ve found that the current evidence base is weak for such an important topic.

The sorts of thing that might be done when a health promoting intervention is introduced into a school include training, audit and feedback or incentives. We looked for randomized and non-randomized trials that had assessed the impact of these and other strategies on how well the health promoting intervention was implemented. The strategies could target policies and practices in the school environment such as changes to cafeteria offerings, or the school curriculum itself, such as the introduction of physical education lessons.

We included 27 trials, most of which were from the USA. Nineteen of the trials were randomised and all reported multi-component implementation strategies. The most common of which were educational meetings, educational outreach visits, and educational materials. The main focus was on policies or programs targeting healthy eating or physical activity interventions, and none of the included trials sought to improve the implementation of interventions to influence alcohol consumption.

Among 13 trials reporting change in the proportion of schools or school staff implementing a targeted policy or practice, the average improvements achieved by the strategies ranged just under 10% to nearly 70%. Whereas, among the seven trials that reported the percentage of a practice, program or policy that had been implemented, we found a drop of 8% for one up to an increase of 43% for another. 

Turning to the actual effect on health outcomes, we found only very low certainty evidence. The impact on student health behaviour or weight status were mixed and there was also mixed, low certainty evidence for their effects on health behaviours of the school staff. 

In summary, there’s no clear evidence at the moment on the impact of implementation strategies on getting health-promoting policy and practice initiatives into schools or on the health behaviours or weight status of the students. This leaves an important gap and further research is required to develop the implementation evidence base, so that policies, practices and programs designed to improve student health can be applied and can yield their intended benefits.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Cochrane's 30 under 30: Aqsa Iqbal

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 11:01

Cochrane is made up of 11,000 members and over 67,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact lparsonson@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Name: Aqsa Iqbal
Age: 28
Occupation: MD and researcher
Program: Research Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago

How did you first hear about Cochrane?
I have always been interested in learning about systematic reviews so that I can help improving evidence-based medicine. A few years ago, in order to learn systematic reviews, I started searching the best sources for systematic reviews. I came across the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions which is an excellent resource for systematic reviews.

Cochrane is helping me in my systematic review studies by proving me access to Covidence, which is an efficient tool for conducting systematic review studies. Cochrane improved my knowledge about evidence-based medicine and qualified me to conduct different studies around the globe.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
Being an MD, I have always been interested in practicing evidence-based medicine. Last year, I started systematic reviews with Universities in China and Iran. I was inspired by different programs Cochrane have started to support evidence-based medicine. I decided to get involved with different programs in Cochrane to support their mission.

What do you do in Cochrane?
I am a Cochrane citizen scientist, a peer- reviewer and a have recently signed up as a member of student for best practice.

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
I enjoy participating in identifying reports of randomized trials and helping other researchers with their studies. Participating as a citizen scientist in Cochrane Crowd serves my desire to improve and expedite medical research. It is fulfilling to assist researchers in finding answers important questions regarding treatment.

What are your future plans?
My future plans are to keep contributing to the different field of medicine, expedite and improve evidence-based medicine and reduce sufferings of people. I would also like to get more involved with more Cochrane programs.

In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
One thing that Cochrane could improve is to increase its visibility especially how people can contribute and learn. If more videos and free courses became available on how to conduct systematic review and meta-analysis that would be helpful.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
Cochrane should increase its global involvement especially in low and middle income countries. During my medical school, I did not know about Cochrane and its incredible services. If I knew about Cochrane earlier, I would have learnt and contributed to Cochrane in a much better way.

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane? Why is this, do you think?
It is very important that young people should get involved with Cochrane. Involvement with Cochrane will train them to learn to produce high quality research right from the beginning of their career.

Cochrane provides excellent resources, community and guidance to learn to produce high quality research. 

What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
Young people should start thinking about getting involved in research at the early part of their career. Start from screening studies as Cochrane citizen scientist. Training provided by Cochrane is very informative. They should also reach out to local Cochrane centers as well as community for guidance and mentorship.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Cochrane's 30 under 30: Ahmad Sofi Mahmudi

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 10:28

Cochrane is made up of 11,000 members and over 67,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact lparsonson@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Name: Ahmad Sofi Mahmudi (on Twitter: @AhmadSofiM)
Age: 25
Occupation: Dental Student at SBMU
Program: Translation Manager at Cochrane Iran

How did you first hear about Cochrane?
When I was in the second semester in college, one of our lecturers in dental school introduced Cochrane as a reliable source of evidence. That said, I must admit I did not fully appreciate what Cochrane does and provide.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
Two years ago, I started a project named “Dahaan” (meaning Mouth in Persian). Dentistry in Iran is primarily carried out privately. There was a clearly a lack of organized effort from the dental community to the public. We were a group of enthusiastic students who spotted this and decided to fill in the void by providing evidence-informed oral health material. Our first major project was the translation of Public Health England evidence based toolkit titled “Delivering better oral health.” Once I engaged in this project, I become aware that Cochrane systematic reviews have been frequently used and cited across this toolkit. This was an enlightening moment which intrigued us to look into Cochrane Oral Health systematic reviews. We were particularly keen on translating plain language summaries. Two months later, I came across an advertisement by Cochrane Iran inviting volunteers. Luckily, I was given a chance to be part of the Cochrane community by Dr Mesgarpour who serves as the co-director of Cochrane Iran.

What do you do in Cochrane?
Currently, I am a member of Cochrane and the manager of volunteer translators group of Cochrane Iran. We translate a variety of texts and podcasts.

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
Before joining the dental school, I was passionate about programming. I would describe myself a GNU/Linux enthusiast. The GNU/Linux is a category of operating systems that has its own community and culture. In that community, everyone is ready to help others. This is something I appreciated and enjoyed. When I became a member of the Cochrane family, I realized that there is a similar culture in the Cochrane community. Cochrane members were willing to help each other in every aspect of the research process. In the end, everyone benefits from the result of the research. In the last two years, I have learnt a lot on how to conduct high-quality research and the criteria for evaluating the researches.

What are your future plans?
Alongside working as a dentist and treating patients, I wish to pursue my postgraduate studies health sciences. That being said, I will continue my collaboration with Cochrane as this has allowed me to view dentistry and health sciences in a different way.

In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
I think we need to make sure that our outputs are easy to understand. Also, we need to actively engage an advocate for conducting high quality randomised controlled trials. There are many unanswered questions in healthcare, so there are lots of opportunities for improvement.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
I hope that Cochrane will answer many more questions in health.

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane? Why is this, do you think?
Cochrane, like all other communities, thrives on engaging younger people. I think this should be a high priority for Cochrane.

Every project and organisation needs new and young people to continue their desired pathway. Therefore, Cochrane needs new people and new ideas every moment. Besides, young people could benefit from the Cochrane community and learn a lot from excellent scientists.

What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
Please give it a go. Explore Cochrane and enjoy science.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Video: Cochrane Public Health and Health Systems

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 19:35

Cochrane has created eight new Networks of Cochrane Review Groups  responsible for the efficient and timely production of high-quality systematic reviews that address the research questions that are most important to decision makers.

In this short film we focus on the Cochrane Public Health and Health Systems Network. This film introduces the team, what has happened so far, and the ambition for what is to come.

 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cochrane’s Neurological Sciences Field launches 2019 Summer School for young physicians and trainees interested in cerebrovascular diseases

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 17:52

 

Together with support from the Umbria Region Health Authority, Perugia, Italy, Cochrane’s Neurological Sciences Field is organizing a four-day Summer School 10-13 September 2019.

The residential course targeted to young physicians and trainees interested in cerebrovascular diseases, aims to present, discuss and appraise key methodological issues encountered in clinical practice with examples in vascular neurology.


Participants will learn to what extent and how methodology sustains clinical practice and the decisions that can be made accordingly, using cerebrovascular diseases as an example.

Discussions on evidence-based medicine (EBM), elements of statistics, and what is needed to appraise evidence will be conducted so that participants will be encouraged to promote clinical EBM research and systematic reviews in their professional activity to manage uncertainty.

After successful completion of the course, participants will bridge the research-practice gap in a context of evidence-based education through:

  1.  knowing when and how to screen for particular conditions;
  2. having an understanding of how to appraise the evidence from trials and systematic reviews
  3. knowing how to read a Cochrane Summary of Findings Table;
  4. understanding useful elements about statistics;
  5. knowing the current debate on the meaning and role of EBM.

If you are a practitioner, neurologist, healthcare worker, researcher, guideline developer or policy-makers who wants to get more involved in Cochrane methodology and stroke medicine, find out more information and register here: https://neurosciences.cochrane.org/summer-school-2019 or contact Kathryn Mahan, Coordinator, Cochrane Neurological Sciences Field, kmahan@regione.umbria.it

 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Cochrane launches Knowledge Translation mentorship programme

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 17:29

Would you like to develop your skills and experience in knowledge translation? Would you like to become a Cochrane leader and mentor of the future?

Cochrane defines Knowledge Translation (KT) as the process of supporting the use of health evidence from our high quality, trusted Cochrane systematic reviews by those who need it to make health decisions.

In order to develop and build on our existing KT implementation work and to encourage sharing of good practice, we’re excited to announce the launch of our first Knowledge Translation mentorship initiative.

KT mentoring in Cochrane is described as a structured, sustained relationship between two colleagues, in which the person more experienced in a specific area of knowledge translation (mentor) uses their knowledge, experience and understanding to support the development of specific KT practices that will be used in a mentee’s daily Cochrane work.


We are looking for mentees across Cochrane and mentors from Cochrane or beyond who will work collaboratively and confidentially on a 1:1 basis to discuss specifics of a KT activity or project, learning and development needs. A mentor will be paired with a mentee to provide advice and guidance based on their knowledge and experiences in an agreed specific area of KT. They will aim to help to increase the mentee’s awareness of issues involved in delivering KT and to support in exploring solutions to outcomes the mentee wants to achieve. They will also be able to offer the mentee additional tools or resources to support learning.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Do you want a role in leading Cochrane to 2020 and beyond?

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 14:21

Nominations are now open for Co-Chair of the Cochrane Governing Board – we welcome you to apply!

The deadline for receiving nominations is the end of the day on Sunday 30 June in any time zone.

The Board has two Co-Chairs, to share workload, utilize complementary skills and experience, and permit continuity through the Co-Chairs stepping down at different times. The new Co-Chair will work alongside current Co-Chair Martin Burton and replace Marguerite Koster, who is stepping down as Co-Chair at the end of her current term but will remain on the Board as a member.

The Co-Chairs are accountable to the Board, and to the members of the organization. They are expected to have leadership skills, to be fully consultative, to have vision, to be adept at dealing with people, to be able to solve problems and resolve conflicts effectively, to communicate well, and to be able to represent Cochrane in a variety of different settings.  

Members of the Governing Board have responsibilities both as trustees under UK charity law and as directors under UK company law. All Board members must adhere to the Governing Board Charter and to the Code of Conduct for Trustees.

Eligibility
Anyone who holds, or has held, a leadership position within Cochrane is eligible to apply for the position of Co-Chair. Experience of membership of the Governing Board is advantageous but not essential. Anyone appointed Co-Chair that is not already a Board member becomes a member upon their appointment.

Responsibilities

Co-Chairs agree upon an appropriate division of responsibilities, which include:

  • Chairing Board meetings and various Board sub-committees;
  • Chairing Cochrane’s Annual General Meeting;
  • Facilitating strategic planning by the Board;
  • Advising and guiding the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Editor in Chief and the Central Executive Team in working towards delivery of Cochrane’s strategy;
  • Serving as official spokesperson(s) for Cochrane and the Board, with the authority to delegate this responsibility to others;
  • Responding to issues raised by members of the organization, outside the remits of the CEO and the Editor in Chief;
  • Conducting the performance appraisal of the CEO.

Time commitment

There is a need for a minimum of eight hours per week for the Co-Chairs combined, but with an expectation that a combined total of up to 30 hours per week might sometimes be needed (not including the full-time requirements at the times of the two face-to-face Board meetings per year).

This year, the new Co-Chair must be available to travel to Santiago, Chile for the Board’s meeting 19-21 October 2019, and stay on to attend the Colloquium, to at least 23 October 2019.

Term of office

The Co-Chairs hold office for two years. They may continue to hold office for a further two-year term with the approval of the Board. The term of the new Co-Chair will begin on 1 September 2019.

How to nominate

The Board appoints the Co-Chairs. Candidates should be nominated by three Cochrane Members as defined by the Membership Terms & Conditions, including a current member of the Board.

Current Board members may only nominate one candidate each and a serving Co-Chair is not permitted to provide a Letter of Support for a fellow Board member standing for a Co-Chair appointment.

Candidates standing for appointment must submit their nomination by email to Lucie Binder, by the specified deadline below, including:

  1. A completed Co-Chair Candidate Statement which includes a declaration of conflicts of interest (including direct and indirect conflicts, and professional relationships to other members of the Board, and other boards they may sit on).
  2. Letters of Support from three Cochrane members acting as 'nominators' for the candidate, including one current member of the Board, supplying the following information:
    • Name and role in Cochrane of the person writing the Letter of Support.
    • Statement about the capacity in which they know the nominee, why they consider the nominee to be an appropriate candidate in the light of the Co-Chair job description as set out in this policy and the extent to which they think the nominee has the necessary attributes.

For more information, please refer to the Board electoral and appointment procedure on the Cochrane Community website or contact Lucie Binder (lbinder@cochrane.org), Senior Advisor to the CEO (Governance & Management).

Important dates

Nominations openThursday 6 June 2019Deadline for nominationsSunday 30 June 2019Results announcedFrom Thursday 11 July 2019 (following the Governing Board’s decision)

    
    
    

 

 

Friday, June 7, 2019 Category: Jobs

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