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About the 2018 Cochrane Colloquium

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 14:59

Find out more about what we have planned for the 2018 Colloquium  in Edinburgh

Cochrane UK is delighted to be hosting the 25th Cochrane Colloquium, at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in Scotland, from 16th to 18th September 2018.

We have given the Colloquium the title ‘Cochrane for all – better evidence for better health decisions’.  This is to emphasize that Cochrane welcomes everyone and recognizes that everything Cochrane does is about and for patients and other health consumers.  The Colloquium in 2018 is an event that is co-designed, co-produced and co-presented with healthcare consumers; an event where everyone’s input is valued equally.

We have been asked about this particular focus. We believe passionately that we all share the same goal: better health for patients, healthcare consumers and the world at large.

The Colloquium will be in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, ‘Auld Reekie’ to the Scots.  With its medieval and classic architecture built on the side of an extinct volcano, and its Castle visible from most corners of the city, Edinburgh is best discovered on foot. Wander the narrow passageways and medieval streets winding down from the Castle to join the New Town, and stroll through the gardens that now flourish where once a moat surrounded the Old Town. If walking isn’t for you, there are bus tours of the sights and the city is well served by public buses and trams. With its blend of old and new, three national art galleries and more bars and restaurants per capita than any other city in the UK, Edinburgh is vibrant and diverse, with much to see and do. If you have a Scottish name, you might even be able to find your clan tartan.

We look forward to welcoming you to Edinburgh!

Martin Burton (Director) and Therese Docherty (Business and Programme Manager)
Cochrane UK

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Recommended Dose podcast - JAMA Internal Medicine's Rita Redberg

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 18:51

This week influential Editor-in-Chief of JAMA Internal Medicine Dr Rita Redberg joins host Ray Moynihan on Cochrane Australia's podcast The Recommended Dose to share a wide ranging conversation on all things health. A Professor at the University of California San Francisco and high profile contributor to The Washington Post and New York Times, Rita is also a practising cardiologist who loves to see patients. She says that ‘being a doctor is really a privilege’.

Together, Ray and Rita canvas many topics including shared decision making between doctors and patients, the tricky territory of medical device approvals, the controversy surrounding both statins and CT scans, and the implications of not including enough women in clinical trials. 

Listen to this episode on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher  or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. 

Find more details and our show notes our podcast page or follow us on twitter  or facebook.

The Recommended Dose is produced by Cochrane Australia and co-published with The BMJ.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cochrane seeks eight NIHR Network Support Fellows - various locations

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 16:02

Specifications:  Two years fixed-term contract
Salary: Competitive 
Location: Flexible

We are looking for eight Network Support Fellows to work with Cochrane’s global Networks.  The key role of the Network Support Fellow is to support the Networks in prioritization, gap analysis, quality and editorial processes, with a particular focus on ensuring that the Networks are positioned to provide maximum support for the NHS. Each Network Support Fellow will work closely with Cochrane Review Groups, the Network Senior Editor and Associate Editor and will have an individual work plan that includes specific objectives that are customized around the network’s development priorities.  This role would suit a highly motivated individual with experience of conducting high-quality systematic reviews and familiarity with Cochrane Systematic Review processes and methods.  The successful candidate will have an understanding of the research context, a focus on quality and enjoy communicating with a wide range of people, contributing to the global effort to produce reliable, accessible healthcare evidence.


Cochrane has created eight new Network Support Fellow roles to support the efficient and timely production of high-quality systematic reviews, that address the research questions most important to patients and decision makers.  There is one role for each Cochrane Network, covering the review production areas of:

These posts are funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).  

Recruitment process

This position is open to anyone who meets the requirements outlined in the job description.  All applications will be reviewed by a committee involving the a Co-ordinating Editor, the host institution and the Cochrane Deputy Editor in Chief who will jointly make the appointments.

Applications for this vacancy are to be made online, please follow the link to the vacancy for each network below. As part of the application process you are required to upload your CV and a covering letter

 To apply please see the job postings below, which will be updated as the jobs are posted by the host institution:
  1. Network Support Fellow for Acute and Emergency Care, forthcoming
  2. Network Support Fellow for Brain, Nerves and Mind; forthcoming
  3. Network Support Fellow for Cancer, forthcoming
  4. Network Supprt Fellow for Children and Families, forthcoming
  5. Network Support Fellow for Cochrane Circulation and Breathing Network, London, UK, closing date 29 July
  6. Network Support Fellow for Long-term Conditions and Ageing 1, forthcoming
  7. Network Support Fellow for Long-term Conditions and Ageing 2, forthcoming
  8. Network Support Fellow for Public Health and Health Systems, forthcoming


Wednesday, July 4, 2018 Category: Jobs

Featured Review: Saline irrigation for allergic rhinitis

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 13:19

A team of review authors from the UK and Thailand worked with the Cochrane ENT Group to evaluate the benefits of nasal saline irrigation in people with allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis is inflammation (swelling and/or irritation) of the inside of the nose caused by allergies and is common in both children and adults. Common causes include grass or tree pollen, mould, dust mites or animal dander (tiny flakes of skin). People with allergic rhinitis experience symptoms (nasal obstruction, runny nose, nasal itching and sneezing) that may affect their quality of life.

Nasal saline irrigation (also known as nasal douche, wash or lavage) is a procedure that rinses the nasal cavity with saline (salt water) solutions. How saline works is not fully understood but it is probably through making the mucus (snot) thinner, making it easier to remove and also removing some of the allergens from the nose that cause irritation. Nasal saline irrigation can be performed with sprays, pumps or squirt bottles. Although saline irrigation is thought to be safe there have been reports of epistaxis (nosebleeds) and irritation or discomfort in the nose and ears. This therapy is available without prescription and can be used alone or as an add-on to other pharmacological treatment for allergic rhinitis, such as intranasal (in the nose) steroids and oral antihistamines).

Co-author of the review, Anna Schilder said, “The overall quality of evidence from this review was either low or very low because the studies were on the whole very small and measured the same outcome in various ways. Since saline irrigation could provide a cheap, safe and acceptable alternative to intranasal steroids and antihistamines we feel further high-quality studies are needed.”

The review included 14 studies with a total of 747 participants (260 adults; 487 children). With key results as follows:

Nasal saline irrigation compared with no saline irrigation

Nasal saline irrigation may have benefits in both adults and children in relieving the symptoms of allergic rhinitis compared to no saline irrigation and it is unlikely to be associated with adverse effects. It is not possible to tell from this review whether there is a difference between the different volumes and concentrations of saline solution.

Adding nasal saline irrigation onto 'pharmacological' allergic rhinitis treatment

It is uncertain whether adding nasal saline irrigation to pharmacological treatment (intranasal steroids or oral antihistamines) helps to improve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis compared to using pharmacological treatments alone. The use of nasal saline irrigation is unlikely to be associated with adverse effects.

Nasal saline irrigation compared to 'pharmacological' allergic rhinitis treatment

There is not enough evidence to know whether nasal saline irrigation is better, worse or the same as using intranasal steroids. No studies reporting the outcomes we were interested in compared nasal saline irrigation with oral antihistamines.

Dr Martin Burton, joint coordinating editor of the Cochrane ENT Group and an ear nose and throat doctor said in his Evidently Cochrane blog,   “Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal (hay fever) or perennial (year-round allergies to things like house-dust mites); the symptoms can make people miserable.  Many patients use steroid nasal sprays to help with their symptoms.  Although the use of these is widespread, and the chance of having unpleasant side-effects is very low, many people would like to know if there is something a bit more natural that they can use, either instead of the steroids or in addition to them.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Announcing the winners of the Rosamund Snow Prize

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 15:37

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Rosamund Snow Prize. This prize will enable two people aged under 30 with experience as health service users to join other healthcare consumers*, researchers and health professionals at Cochrane’s global conference (the Cochrane Colloquium), which takes place on 16th - 18th September 2018 in Edinburgh.

The Rosamund Snow Prize

Rosamund Snow (1971-2017) will be remembered by many for her work to champion patients’ involvement in healthcare. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her teens, Rosamund was later asked to help a consultant at her outpatient clinic investigate its high ‘did not attend’ rate; she explains what she found in this talk. Urging her audience to involve patients in service quality improvement, Rosamund said: “All you have to do is ask us. And we can turn your bag full of question marks into a lightbulb moment.”

At the time of her death, Rosamund’s work included helping to develop patient involvement in curriculum design and teaching communication skills to medical students in Oxford, and championing the increased involvement of patients at the BMJ, where she was Patient Editor. 

Rosamund’s mother, Mary Snow, has established a prize in Rosamund’s name to enable two people aged under 30, with experience as health service users and an interest in evidence-based medical research, to attend the Cochrane Colloquium 2018.

Rosamund was one of the first people involved in consultations about the possibility of involving patients and other healthcare consumers extensively in this conference and suggested that it should be a PatientsIncluded event; co-designed, co-produced and co-presented by healthcare consumers, where everyone’s input is valued equally.  You can read more about that here.

It is with pleasure that we announce the Prize recipients:

Emma Cartwright (@emmacartwrigh1)

"My name is Emma and I am so excited to be one of the recipients of the Rosamund Snow prize. 

At the age of 4 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and during the last 24 years of living with the condition I have regularly engaged with many different parts of the health service. As part of my Diabetes management I see a Diabetes consultant at least once a year, have regular contact with Diabetes Specialist Nurses and my GP to help me manage my Diabetes.

I have always had an interest in understanding why we behave in the way we do especially in regards to our health. This interest has led me into health behaviours research and I am currently working as a Research Assistant at the University of Oxford. I have also been involved in setting up peer support projects to help young people with Diabetes manage and live with the condition.

I am really pleased to be a recipient of the Rosamund Snow prize as I am excited to have the opportunity to meet with healthcare professionals and researchers to better understand how they decide what areas to focus on in their research and how their research questions are developed. I am keen to explore with them how patients can be involved in these decisions and also in supporting to conduct and implement research. I am also interested in investigating how research can be communicated in a way that patients can engage with and learn from.

I hope that by attending this colloquium, I can advise healthcare professionals and researchers of ways in which a wider group of patients can be involved in research and health service design using social media, support groups and charity events. I also hope to be able to share the work presented at the conference with patient groups and start the conversation on how patients, who are not currently involved in supporting research/service re-design, can become involved to ensure their voices are also heard."

 Jess Rees (@jessrees_)

"I’m Jess, a nursing student at the University of Birmingham. I will be attending the Cochrane Colloquium in Edinburgh as a grateful recipient of the Rosamund Snow Prize. As a health service user, personally I have been receiving long term primary healthcare for minor conditions. In my experience, evidence for and against my treatment decisions aren’t often discussed explicitly in consultations. I would like to see more patients feeling empowered to ask questions about their care in line with current evidence and to be made aware of research opportunities. From my nursing placements, patients are often willing to partake in research but they are unsure of their subsequent contribution in the creation of improved best evidence. Cochrane have worked hard to promote ‘Patients Included’ and I feel very passionate about supporting this initiative. The Colloquium is a brilliant networking event and I am so pleased to be attending for the educational benefit I can obtain and share with my peers.  

I have more experience in the health service as a relative of a user. My grandparents have complex medical histories and I have supported them throughout their care. Their experience has involved chronic issues being misdiagnosed or incorrectly treated which has been challenging for them in the face of limited evidence. I’m interested in research in a personal and professional capacity as a service user, student and a future nurse. I aim to use this opportunity to discuss research with a wider community and make it more accessible to all. I have seen first-hand the work of research nurses in hospitals throughout the West Midlands and I have taken part in research myself when practising on my clinical placements. I know how valuable and innovative research can be to healthcare when utilised effectively and by all.  I am active on Twitter (@jessrees_) and I hope to use this platform to help share key messages from the Colloquium."

We very much look forward to welcoming Emma and Jess to Edinburgh in September. We have invited them to participate in the Colloquium as Citizen Reporters. This could involve them reporting in whatever formats appeal – social media, blogs, interviews, photos or film, drawings – or maybe something else. Over the coming weeks, we will work with Emma and Jess  to find something that suits their skills and interests. In the meantime, join in the conversation on Twitter ahead of the event using #CochraneForAll

*Cochrane uses the term ‘consumer’ to include patients (or people with personal experience of a health condition), health and social care service users, care-givers and family members who are involved with someone with a health condition, and people who represent (or advocate for) patients and carers. You might be interested in this Evidently Cochrane blog on the language used to talk about patients/consumers.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2017 Journal Impact Factor for Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews rises to 6.754

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 15:42

The 2017 Journal Citation Report (JCR) has been released by Clarivate Analytics, and we are delighted to announce that Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) Journal Impact Factor is now 6.754.

This is a significant increase on the 2016 Journal Impact Factor, which was 6.264.

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 two 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 2017 Journal Impact Factor include:

  • The CDSR is ranked 12 of the 154 journals in the Medicine, General & Internal category
  • The CDSR received 62,332 cites in the 2017 Journal Impact Factor period, compared with 57,740 in 2016
  • The five-year Journal Impact Factor is 7.669 compared to 7.084 in 2016.

Cochrane’s Editor in Chief, David Tovey, commented: “I am delighted to see a further rise in Impact Factor for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. There is also a pleasing increase in total citations, and the five year impact factor is strong. All of these data demonstrate the usage and impact of our reviews, and reflect enormous credit on our contributors and groups.”

More information is available here on how the CDSR Journal Impact Factor is calculated.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Cochrane takes its mission of promoting evidence-informed health decision-making to the UK Parliament

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 15:29

This week Cochrane was given the opportunity to speak as part of the UK’s first ever Evidence Week at the Houses of Parliament in London, UK.

The initiative, led by Sense About Science, bought together MPs, peers, parliamentarians and others interested in science and health to talk about why health evidence is important and matters to global decision-makers.  It aimed to highlight the role of the House of Commons Library and share insights into the work of Parliament in seeking and scrutinizing the value of evidence for making better healthcare decisions. 

Cochrane joined Sense about Science, the House of Commons Library, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and House of Commons Science and Technology Committee as well as partners SAGE Publishing in arranging a week of events and briefings.

As part of the week of briefings, Dr Lynda Ware, Senior Fellow in General Practice at Cochrane UK, presented to wide-ranging delegates on how Cochrane uses high-quality, relevant, synthesized research evidence to help make informed decisions about health care. 

Dr Lynda Ware commented: “We are bombarded by health claims and it is difficult to make sense of them all. It is hard to filter out the fake and misleading from those that are true and evidence-based. As a global organization providing the very best analysis of research evidence available, Cochrane can help us find our way through this information to make informed decisions about health care.”

Attendees to Dr Ware’s talk came from government departments, independent fact checking organizations, press officers working in science communications as well as researchers looking at how evidence can help tackle some of the big social problems of our time  - homelessness and an aging population. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My OCD story: evidence-based medicine to the rescue!

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 14:55

Karen Morley blogs about her experience of seeking help for her Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and how finding and using Cochrane evidence was a turning point. This blog post was originally published on Evidently Cochrane.

Without knowing what it was, I had experienced episodes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) since I was an adolescent, usually when I was particularly stressed. But it was when I was caring full time for my mother, who had multiple conditions including dementia, that I had an unusually distressing episode of contamination-related OCD. When I took to the internet I was amazed to discover that the obsessive checking, washing and acute, abnormal anxiety were symptoms of an illness with a name – and to recognize other symptoms from my past that I now realised were related to it.

I read everything I could find…

I read everything I could find. I knew I should be careful about my sources, but I read fairly indiscriminately from forums, charity websites and a variety of health websites – some sensible, others less so – and that was a mistake.

I had a vague sense of stigma about mental illness and particularly about medication, so I was interested in talking therapies, especially Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). What could I expect if I tried it? Unfortunately there were some out-of-date posts in which people described nightmare experiences: someone who had allegedly to sit for two hours with his hands in a toilet; a specialist who made his patients ‘contaminate’ everything in their house including their bedsheets; a popular self-help book with an example of an ERP goal of touching the toilet bowl without washing your hands, then all the ‘clean’ areas in your house, and then preparing a meal! The mere thought of this made my anxiety soar.

Seeking help for OCD

Nevertheless, since the OCD and anxiety were becoming increasingly hard to tolerate and making my carer’s role difficult, with the ongoing and patient support of my brother I made a ten minute appointment with my GP. I told her I thought my OCD was situational and that I understood it was usual to try a talking therapy before medication. I don’t recall that we had much discussion about this, though we did talk about respite care, something I knew my mother would hate. The GP gave me the contact details of the local Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service and told me to refer myself.

It was a difficult telephone conversation that I had to arrange at a time my mother would not overhear. I described my situation, my symptoms, my feelings, my fears of CBT/ERP, I cried and I felt ashamed. The call handler talked to her supervisor and we agreed that I should try counseling first. The waiting list would be shorter at my GP’s surgery, she said; she would write a letter and I should contact them. They told me that it would take at least six months to get an appointment.

Things didn’t improve

Unsurprisingly, things didn’t improve. My Carer Support Worker arranged for some funding for private counselling: I had to find someone from an online approved register. The support of this kind, sympathetic woman was only of limited relevance, largely because my OCD was quite severe. Unfortunately she didn’t challenge my fear of psychological treatment, saying she felt CBT/ERP seemed ‘cruel’ and when I talked about medication, told me an anecdote about her sister who hadn’t tolerated it well. After ten sessions I called it off. I talked again with my brother and with a friend who had taken fluoxetine and was currently on citalopram. At the time there were confusing debates in the press and social media about the effectiveness of these anti-depressants, some of which denied their effectiveness and suggested tackling the perceived causes of depression and anxiety.

I wanted to see the evidence and know how good it was

And then I searched in the Cochrane Library. I knew what I found there would be evidence based, free from vested interest, recent and reliable.

That was what I needed. I wanted to see the evidence and know how good it was. I wanted to escape the confusion, the emotion (my own included), the forum postings and anecdotes.

I found two Cochrane Reviews:

Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) versus placebo for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Psychological treatments versus treatment as usual for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

They told me all the SSRIs in the study were known to be more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms in the short term. So they did work. The effect was described as modest but any improvement would be welcome. There might be unpleasant side effects, which was a worry, but the risk of common side effects for fluoxetine was close to placebo.

Psychological treatments derived from Cognitive/Behavioural models were more effective than ‘treatment as usual’. So they worked, too, although a subgroup analysis suggested that people with more severe symptoms might not benefit as much. Antidepressants, not psychological therapies, were usually the first line of treatment. That was a relief: I had somehow come to think I had a moral duty to slog through a psychological therapy and that taking antidepressants was a sign of weakness, but clearly that was nonsense. ERP was collaborative and the treatment was negotiated with the patient – so no-one was going to make me prepare food after touching the toilet if I didn’t want to – and really, who would?

The second review also referred to this one:

Behavioural and cognitive behavioural therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents.

I knew I should be wary of this because my eighteenth birthday has long gone. But the study said OCD was similar in children and adults. I was interested in the finding that neither medication nor BT/CBT was superior but there was evidence that medication and BT/CBT combined produced better outcomes than medication alone. It looked as if I was going to have to tackle the Exposure and Response Prevention.

It gave me a feeling of control

I made up my mind to be pro-active, grasp the nettle and discuss treatment with my GP. It gave me a feeling of control I hadn’t had before.

Unable to get a quick appointment with my GP, I asked for the duty doctor to phone me and advise me. I was lucky: psychiatry was his specialism and he was extremely sympathetic, bypassing reception and making me an appointment at his clinic. He asked me what I already knew about OCD and its treatment. ‘I’ve read a couple of Cochrane Reviews,’ I said, casually. I was unprepared for the response. He perked up instantly and looked twice as energetic. It might have been a coincidence – he was an excellent doctor – but for the first time ever I experienced shared decision-making. It was tremendous. I felt like a partner in the consultation. He showed me where I could find information online. We discussed the potential benefits and risks of medication – it was customary to begin with fluoxetine – the dosage, the side effects, what we would do if I couldn’t tolerate the treatment. He turned his computer screen towards me so I could share the information and talked me through things as he looked them up. We discussed my circumstances, too, and what positive steps could be taken to help my mother and me.

Cochrane was a turning point for me

Then he asked me, ‘Do you think you’re depressed?’ I was surprised. I knew I was anxious. But as I went through a list of depressive symptoms, I realised I was. He already thought so, of course, but he didn’t tell me: he asked me. He was listening to me. I felt valued; I could be active and exercise control, which I found particularly encouraging in my situation. This persisted through subsequent appointments when we discussed whether and when to increase the dosage. I made another call to IAPT to ask for CBT/ERP and (after several months) had some therapy via telephone: I felt much braver once the medication had begun to take effect. And yes, the whole process was negotiated and graded.

If I hadn’t taken this route – if I had carried on with counseling – I am sure I would have had to give up my caring role, and I wouldn’t be recovering now. Cochrane was a turning point for me, and I am utterly convinced of the value of evidence based medicine.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try it for yourself.

Join in the conversation on Twitter with @CochraneUK or leave a comment on the Evidently Cochrane blog postfor Karen.

References can be found here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 Category: The difference we make

The Recommended Dose with Ray Moynihan – series 2 podcast kicks off this week with one of the most influential scientists on the planet

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 13:50

Series two of The Recommended Dose kicks off this week with polymath and poet, Dr John Ioannidis. Recognised by The Atlantic as one the most influential scientists alive today, he’s a global authority on genetics, medical research and the nature of scientific inquiry itself – among many other things.

A professor at Stanford University, John has authored close to 1,000 academic papers and served on the editorial boards of 30 of the world's top journals. He is best known for seriously challenging the status quo. His trailblazing 2005 paper Why Most Published Research Findings Are False has been viewed over 2.5 million times and is the most cited article in the history of PLoS Medicine. In it, he argues that much medical research is biased, overblown or simply wrong. Here, he talks to Ray about the far-reaching implications of these findings for people both inside and outside the world of health.

While most closely associated with exploring cutting-edge conundrums across science, genomics and even economics, John is also something of a humanist. He’d be right at home with the philosophers of ancient Greece, seeking as he does to find answers to the big questions of the day in science and medicine, as well as in nature and narratives. 

A voracious reader himself, John has a lifelong love of ‘swimming in books’ and has penned seven literary works of his own in Greek – two of which have been nominated for prestigious literary prizes. And fittingly, he finds inspiration for his myriad of multi-disciplinary pursuits on Antipaxi, one of Greece’s most beautiful and secluded islands. 

He shares some of his distinctive logic, reason - and even a little of his poetry - on this very special episode of The Recommended Dose.

You’ll find the episode on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.

Visit for our show notes and a full transcript of the show, or follow us on twitter or facebook.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Featured Review: Workplace interventions for reducing time spent sitting at work

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 18:58

Health effects of sit-stand desks and interventions aimed to reduce sitting at work are still unproven.

Millions of people worldwide sit at a desk all day, and over recent years this has led to increased levels of physical inactivity in the work place. Health experts have warned that long periods of sitting can increase the risk of heart disease and obesity. There are a number of different approaches to reduce the amount of time we spend sitting down while at work. One option that is increasing in popularity is the sit-stand desk. These are desks that are designed to allow you to work at your desk sitting down or standing up.

A team of Cochrane Work researchers updated a systematic review that looked at the effects of different strategies to encourage people to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting at work. They looked at 34 studies with a total of 3,397 participants from high income studies. This was an increase from 20 studies when they last updated the Cochrane Review in 2016. They included evidence from both randomized and non-randomized studies.

Although sit-stand desks are popular, their potential health benefits are very uncertain. The researchers found very low-quality evidence that people who used sit-stand desks sat between 84  to 116 minutes less, compared to when they used conventional desks during the working day. Sit-stand desks also reduced total sitting time, both at work and outside work, and the durations of sitting episodes that last 30 minutes or longer. Standing more did not produce harmful effects in the studies, such as musculoskeletal pain, varicose veins, or a decrease in productivity.

Other interventions aimed at reducing inactivity, such as taking a walk during breaks and using treadmill desks had insufficient evidence to draw conclusions. The researchers found a number of limitations in the included studies that reduced their confidence in the validity and applicability of the results from the trials. The quality of evidence was low for most of the interventions looked at, mainly because the studies were poorly designed and recruited small numbers of participants.

The study’s lead author, Nipun Shrestha from the  Institute for Health and Sport (IHES), Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, commented: “This Cochrane Review shows that, at the moment, there is uncertainty over how big an impact sit-stand desks can make on reducing the time spent sitting at work in the short term. There is also low-quality evidence of modest benefits for other types of interventions. Given the popularity of sit-stand desks in particular, we think that people who are considering investing in sit-stand desks and the other interventions covered in this review should be aware of the limitations of the current evidence base in demonstrating health benefits. We need further research to assess the effectiveness of different types of interventions for reducing sitting time in workplaces in both the short and long term. The evidence base would be improved with larger studies, longer follow-up and research from low income countries.”

Co-author Jos Verbeek, from the Cochrane Work Review Group, Kuopio, Finland, said, “It is important that workers who sit at a desk all day take an interest in maintaining and improving their well-being, both at work and at home. However, at present there is not enough high-quality evidence available to determine whether spending more time standing at work can repair the harms of a sedentary lifestyle. Standing instead of sitting hardly increases energy expenditure, so we should not expect a sit-stand desk to help in losing weight. It’s important that workers and employers are aware of this, so that they can make more informed decisions.”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Announcing the appointment of Marguerite Koster as Governing Board Co-Chair

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 15:54

Cochrane’s Governing Board is delighted to announce it has appointed Marguerite Koster as its new Co-Chair, taking over from Cindy Farquhar, who finishes her term in September 2018.

Marguerite is a Senior Manager at Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest not-for-profit health plans in the U.S., serving 12.2 million members. She oversees the efforts of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group’s Evidence-Based Medicine Services Unit within Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Region, which provides medical care to 4.5 million members.

She joined Cochrane’s Governing Board in 2016 as one of its first externally appointed members following its transition from a Steering Group, and has since played an active role as a Cochrane Trustee, serving as Treasurer; Chair of the Finance, Audit & Investment Subcommittee; and a member of the Remuneration Subcommittee, and the Cochrane/G-I-N Partnership Advisory Group. In addition, Marguerite brings valuable experience to the Board in clinical practice guideline development, health technology assessment, knowledge translation and evidence-based implementation.

From September she will work alongside fellow Co-Chair, Martin Burton. The Board extends its congratulations to Marguerite, and thanks to Cindy Farquhar for four years of outstanding service as Co-Chair.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Collaborating with WHO for evidence-informed nutrition guidelines

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 18:42

The World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD) develops evidence-informed guidance on effective actions to address all forms of malnutrition; establishes standards and harmonizes methodologies; and increases public awareness about the WHO policy recommendations.  WHO is Cochrane's largest external partner and we have been collaborating with  them to prioritize and produce systematic reviews that contribute to their nutrition-related guidelines.
WHO has recently released a document that outlines their continuous quality improvements. This document includes information about the work conducted with Cochrane, including producing or updating systematic reviews for guidelines, training, and providing access to selected reviews. Various Cochrane Review Groups, as well as Cochrane Nutrition continue to contribute to this successful collaboration.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

World Continence Week

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 14:32

World Continence Week 2018 is held between 18-24 June and is a global initiative run by the World Federation of Incontinence Patients (WFIP), with the approval of the International Continence Society (ICS). The vision is to help improve health, wellness and quality of life for those with continence issues, and to further establish awareness of bladder weakness, pelvic pain and other conditions that impact on the lives of patients and carers.

Cochrane Incontinence works with authors to prepare, maintain and disseminate systematic reviews of the effectiveness of interventions for incontinence, including prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The scope of these reviews touches on a wide variety of continence issues, including urinary and faecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, the use of urinary catheters, post-operative urinary retention and night-time and daytime wetting in children.

Below are a variety of Cochrane resources related to World Continence Week.

Highlighted Cochrane reviews:

Electrical stimulation with non-implanted devices for stress urinary incontinence in women.

Pelvic floor muscle training for prevention and treatment or urinary and faecal incontinence in antenatal and postnatal women.

Podcast: How effective are pelvic floor muscle exercises undertaken during pregnancy or after birth for preventing or treating incontinence?

Washout policies in long-term indwelling urinary catheterisation in adults.

Yoga for treatment of urinary incontinence in women (protocol).

Take a look at these Evidently Cochrane blog posts featuring Cochrane Incontinence evidence:Brief Economic Commentaries added to eight Cochrane Incontinence reviews

Brief Economic Commentaries (BECs) have been added to eight existing Cochrane Incontinence reviews. The reviews all focus on different surgical approaches to stress urinary incontinence in women, and a full list of these reviews can be viewed here.

Find out more about how the BECs were incorporated into the evidence in a blog by Patricia Aluko via the Cochrane Economics Methods website here.

Find all of Cochrane Incontinence’s reviews on the Cochrane Library.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Cochrane seeks Senior Office Administrator - London, UK

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 14:53

Specifications: Full Time
Salary: Up to £35,000
Location: London, UK
Application Closing Date: 29/06/2018

About Cochrane
Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

The role
This role is a varied and exciting opportunity to use your experience in administration, facilities and office management, to support colleagues in making a difference in the field of health care research. 

The Senior Office Administrator will provide high-level administrative support to the Central Executive Team (with offices in London, Freiburg and Copenhagen), with focused support for the Head of Finance and Core Services alongside facilities support for the London office.

The Senior Office Administrator will act as the first point of contact at Cochrane’s London Office. S/he will also provide administrative support for the Senior Contracts Specialist, and other project-specific support. S/he will liaise with the landlord and managing agents, and provide facilities management, ensuring that the best value is obtained for all office expenditure.

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts both within and external to the organisation. The successful candidate will also have:

  • Previous senior administration or office/facilities management experience.
  • Excellent typing skills - speed and accuracy essential.
  • Excellent IT skills, including MS Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Ability to prioritise and manage own workload amid conflicting demands and busy work periods.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Confident in problem solving and using initiative.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Ability to communicate confidently with people at all levels.
  • Proven ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines.
  • Ability to exercise discretion and diplomacy in dealing with confidential or sensitive matters.
  • Attention to detail/accuracy.
  • Adaptability.

Previous experience within the healthcare sector would be useful.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement with ‘Senior Office Administrator’ in the subject line to .  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities, and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.

For further information, please see the full job description.

Deadline for applications: 29/06/2018 (12 midnight GMT)

Friday, June 15, 2018 Category: Jobs

Cochrane Epilepsy seeks PhD Student - Europe

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 18:39

In this PhD, Individual Participant Data will be collected from eligible RCTs of add-on treatment in patients with refractory epilepsy. Statistical issues for the analysis of these trials will be explored and a network meta-analysis undertaken using the most efficient and statistically reliable methods. It is anticipated that the characteristics of trials and their participants will have changed over time due to the changing global nature of epilepsy research, the widening population of available AEDs, and changes in the classification and management of epilepsy. Patients within, and across, trials will also differ in the adjunctive AEDs taken alongside the experimental add-on AED or placebo. Such differences are likely to impact upon the underlying assumptions made in a network meta-analysis and the value of having IPD to thoroughly explore such issues will be fully exploited. The research would be completed with support from the Cochrane Epilepsy Group.

  • You should have, or expect to hold an MSc in Statistics or relevant discipline.
  • For European/UK Students only.
  • The English Language Requirement for EU Students is an IELTS score of 6.5 with no band score lower than 5.5.
  • The studentship would be funded for three years at Home/EU rate, with a RCUK Stipend of 14,553 per annum.

The research would be completed with support from the Cochrane Epilepsy Group. Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Read the full description and apply.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 Category: Jobs

Cochrane Training Resources in Russian

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 18:21

Cochrane Training is pleased to announce that Cochrane Review production training materials are now available in Russian.

The materials cover essential aspects of a Cochrane Review production based on the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. The training materials, translated into Russian, consist of records of fourteen Cochrane standard training modules. These modules include subjects and topics required to guide a learner or evidence-user, new to Cochrane, through the steps of a Cochrane intervention Review production; starting from defining a review question to understanding and reporting biases, analysing non-standard data and exploring heterogeneity.  

They will be especially helpful to medical and pharmacy students as well as their teachers by facilitating their way in an increasingly advancing field of health evidence synthesis.

It’s hoped that they will be instrumental in creating learning opportunities for health professionals and practitioners across Russia, contributing largely to Cochrane’s work in knowledge translation within Russian-speaking settings by creating a culture of systematic approach to search for evidence, critical appraisal and evidence synthesis, and ultimately defining research agenda.

These freely available Cochrane training materials will promote Cochrane’s mission of promoting evidence-informed health decision-making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence.

Find out more here: Cochrane Training Resources in Russian.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cochrane seeks Project Manager - London, UK

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:50

Specifications: Full Time
Application Closing Date:
06 July 2018

This role is an exciting opportunity to support the Editorial and Methods Department (EMD), Cochrane Library Product Manager and other Central Executive Teams in delivering on high priority projects: by developing an agreed framework for project management and reporting, supporting colleagues to manage their projects efficiently and transparently, and to provide project management services to the highest priority EMD projects, including the implementation of the Cochrane Library roadmap.

The Project Manager will lead on the transformation in relation to managing projects within Cochrane and act as the first point to contact for project management enquiries for Cochrane staff, offering support and guidance for project management methods, tools and processes.

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world.  The successful candidate will also have:

  • Proven strategic planning, project management and organisational skills; and the ability to coordinate the work of teams and individuals, ensuring the quality and timeliness of outputs
  • Experience of managing projects, change management and risk management
  • Experience of agile project management methodology
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (spoken, written and presentational) and a collaborative management style
  • High level of technological competence, including the ability to evaluate and use project management software
  • Proven ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Experience of strategic planning and budgeting

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

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

For further information, please see the full job description.

Deadline for applications: 06 July 2018 (12 midnight GMT)

Interviews to be held on: TBC

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 Category: Jobs

Australian guideline developers join forces to advance Living Evidence

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 16:57

This news item was orginally posted on Cochrane Australia website.

A new report published heralds an exciting development for evidence-based health care in Australia, with the promise of near real-time incorporation of research into evidence-based guideline recommendations now a step closer to reality. 

The Living Evidence for Australian Health Care report details the outcomes of forum hosted by Cochrane Australia last month which brought together leading experts in evidence synthesis and guideline development across several of Australia’s most pressing chronic diseases to explore opportunities for advancing ‘Living’ models of systematic review and guideline production.

Over the last five years, Cochrane and a number of Australian and international partners have developed the foundations of the Living Evidence model of evidence synthesis and dissemination. This world-leading approach harnesses innovations in data systems, machine learning and citizen science to enable near real-time updating of systematic reviews, evidence-based guideline recommendations and other evidence products. Importantly, the Living Evidence model fast-tracks evidence synthesis without compromising the rigorous, gold standard methods for systematic review that are needed to provide trustworthy recommendations about what works best in health based on the all of the evidence generated to date.

In what represents a world-first effort, leaders from stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and musculoskeletal conditions agreed to work together to drive the development of Living Evidence in Australia, with a shared commitment to achieving the best health outcomes for Australians by enabling consumers, health care providers and governments to access and use the best available evidence based on up-to-the minute research.

Cochrane’s Lead for Evidence Systems, Associate Professor Julian Elliott said 'For far too long, the time lag between publication of a new clinical trial and the incorporation of those results into evidence-based recommendations has been measured in years. We now have the opportunity to reduce that to weeks. We are tremendously excited to be working with such an innovative and committed consortium of partners who really are at the forefront of global development in Living Evidence.'

For more information about the Living Evidence Consortium initiative, please contact:

A/Prof Julian Elliott, Lead, Evidence Systems, Cochrane

Rhiannon Tate, Program Lead, Evidence Innovation, Cochrane Australia

Early work to develop and test the suite of technical tools and streamlined processes that underpin the Living Evidence model was enabled through Project Transform funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Cochrane Game Changer Initiative.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Cochrane seeks Editor, COI Revision Project - Flexible location

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 13:45

Specifications: 1.0 FTE, Fixed Term (9 months)
Salary: Competitive
Location: Flexible
Application Closing Date: 29/6/18

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

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

Job Description:
The successful candidate will oversee the revision of Cochrane’s current financial conflict of interest policy and the development of a non-financial conflict of interest policy.  The job will include supporting a literature review of the impact of conflict of interest on systematic review results, convening a management team, running a consultation process, analysing responses and developing a feasible and appropriate policy. Successful conclusion of the project will be that policies presented to the Cochrane Governing Board are approved and implemented.

Requirements: The ideal candidate will have an understanding of Cochrane and its role within evidence synthesis and the potential of conflicting interests (financial and non-financial) to undermine the quality and impact of systematic reviews. Familiarity with how conflict of interest is managed in related organisations (e.g. scientific journals, guidelines bodies) is essential, along with  experience of survey design and analysis and conducting semi-structured interviews.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to with “Editor (COI revision project)” in the subject line.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.

Deadline for applications: 29/06/2018 (12 midnight GMT)

Monday, June 11, 2018 Category: Jobs

Improved learning with Cochrane Training website

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 14:03

Cochrane is pleased to announce that we have re-launched with a new design – making the learning resources you need easier to find and use.

All resources are available through new curated collections built around themes or topics. The website highlights the numerous different ways that you can learn with Cochrane - online course, brief individual learning modules, webinars, or searching our database of upcoming workshops and events. You’ll also be able to find out about latest updates, upcoming learning events, and our newest resources.

What to learn about Cochrane and evidence based medicine? Take a look at Cochrane Training today – most of the resources are available free of charge for everyone!

Thursday, June 7, 2018