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Updated: 4 hours 27 min ago

Cochrane South Africa seeks Director - Cape Town

9 hours 55 min ago

Permanent position, Cape Town 

Closing Date: 29 July 2016

The South African Medical Research Council (MRC) strives to improve the nation’s health and quality of life through promoting and conducting relevant and responsive health research. Cochrane South Africa (CSA) is an intramural unit at the MRC.  Its mission is to prepare and maintain Cochrane reviews of the effects of health care interventions, and to promote access to, and the use of best evidence in healthcare decision-making within South Africa and the region.

The Director position calls for a senior researcher with international standing, proven leadership skills and the ability to enhance and maintain a centre of excellence that facilitates the generation and dissemination of Cochrane systematic reviews, methodological research and primary research to enhance evidence-informed healthcare and policy.  Applicants should possess the following knowledge, skills and experience:

  • Considerable experience and understanding in the conduct of Cochrane reviews or equivalent systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
  • Experience in health-related research at a senior level, with international standing
  • Extensive experience in the management of projects, staff and budgets, including the development of a multi-year programme of work.
  • Sound knowledge of the health system and disease burden of South Africa and the African region
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, and a passionate champion of ‘evidence-based medicine/practice’.
  • Extensive experience or knowledge of the working of The Cochrane Collaboration, within South Africa and/or internationally.
  • Experience in training others in these methods.
  • Ability to work collaboratively, and to provide leadership.
  • Ability to work with people from a range of backgrounds, including healthcare and methodological specialists.

The post requires that the jobholder have a medical degree with specialist qualifications or a doctorate degree preferably in the health sciences, with a sound knowledge of epidemiology and/ biostatistics, 10 years of experience in the field of health research.  Experience in knowledge translation would be advantageous. The post holder should have a valid driver’s licence and be willing to travel nationally, and internationally.

The MRC offers a total cost-to-company remuneration package will be negotiated in accordance with qualifications and experience. Interested candidates should send their CV, a covering letter outlining experience relevant to the key responsibilities of the post and contact details of three referees to: Mrs Lee-Anne Louw, Human Capital Management Division, MRC, P.O. Box 19070, Tygerberg 7505 or via fax 086 742-8365 or e-mail to More information here:

Please quote the reference number (R951) in the subject line of your email, CV and all other communications. Certified copies of your ID and highest formal qualifications must be submitted with this application. The MRC retains the right not to make an appointment and subscribes to the principles of Employment Equity.

Thursday, July 21, 2016 Category: Jobs

Seoul Colloquium news

Thu, 28/07/2016 - 06:00

Cochrane Colloquia are our annual flagship events, bringing together Cochrane contributors from around the world to discuss, develop and promote Cochrane, and help shape its future.

The 2016 Cochrane Colloquium will be held in Seoul, South Korea from the 23-27 October. For full information regarding the Colloquium, please visit the website.

Key information:

Programme overview:

Registration fees:

Key dates:


Hashtag: #CochraneSeoul

Latest news:Register now and get 16% off standard registration

Registration is open, so make sure you don't miss out on the early ticket prices. Click here to see a full price list. Early ticket prices close on 10th August. Find out more about the plenary sessions and symposia planned.

Plenaries, speakers and symposia:Plenary 1: Overdiagnosis and overtreatment in health care

In this session, the role of evidence-based health care and systematic reviews in limiting overdiagnosis and oversue will be discussed, including realignment of disease definition; quantification and monitoring of overdiagnosis; sensitisation of health professionals and patients; provision of balanced information on risk and benefits intervention; and the implications for Cochrane.


  • Alexandra Barratt, Professor of Public Health, School of Public Health, University of Sydney

  • Rita F. Redberg, Editor, JAMA Internal Medicine. Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of California, San Francisco

  • Jenny Doust, Professor of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University

Plenary 2: Challenges and different approaches to improve the quality, timeliness and usability of Cochrane Reviews

The speakers in the plenary session have been asked to describe their experiences in making challenging decisions regarding the quality and usability of Cochrane reviews. Different perspectives and lively debate will be sought with particular focus on potential initiatives that are being explored and are consistent with the CEU vision for high quality and timely Cochrane Reviews that meets the needs of end-users and informs clinical care and health policy.


  • James Thomas, Project Transform, Cochrane. Director of the EPPI-Centre’s Reviews Facility, Department of Health, England

  • Karla Soares-Weiser, Deputy Editor in Chief, Cochrane Library & Cochrane Innovations

  • Marguerite Koster, External Member, Cochrane Steering Group

  • Harriet MacLehose, Senior Editor, Cochrane Library

  • Claire Glenton, Director, Cochrane Norway

Plenary 3: Data transparency: where are we and what can we get?

Pressure to increase transparency of data in clinical research is growing as scientific academies, regulatory agencies, funders and international organisations join the call for more data transparency. In this session, recent issues in the open data movement, data access policies and its impact on health care are discussed. Some examples of the impact of lack of transparency in East Asia will highlighted.


  • Kay Dickersin, Director, Cochrane United States. Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Trials & Evidence Synthesis

  • Byung Joo Park, Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine

  • Lesley Stewart, Director, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York

  • Rintaro Mori, Director, Cochrane Japan. Head of Department National Center for Child Health and Department of Clinical Epidemiology

Annual Cochrane Lecture: Four challenges for EBM and Cochrane’s future

Since the term evidence based medicine (EBM) was coined over 20 years ago it has had a remarkable global influence. But EBM is not a static set of concepts, set in stone tablets in the 1990s; it is a young and evolving discipline. The fundamental concept of systematic reviews – providing a periodic summary of all controlled trials to aid clinical care – may have changed little since the birth of Cochrane. However, how to best provide and apply these in practice continues to develop.

In this year’s Cochrane Lecture, Paul Glasziou will propose four areas requiring renewed or ongoing attention:

  1. Improve dialogue between “evidologists” and clinicians
  2. Treatment is the patient’s decision: support and promote shared decision making
  3. Take non-drug interventions as seriously as pharmaceuticals
  4. Sustain investment in automating evidence synthesis 


  • Paul Glasziou, Professor, Evidence-Based Medicine at Bond University; Chair, International Society for Evidence-Based Health Care

#CochraneTech Symposium: The new ecosystem for evidence synthesis

Cochrane’s technological innovations are set to transform the way evidence for health is created and used. Join us at the #CochraneTech Symposium in Seoul to discover first-hand the emerging Cochrane ecosystem for evidence synthesis.

We’re preparing an exciting morning of talks and discussion centred around how Cochrane is using its technology to help both prepare systematic reviews more efficiently but also better deliver outputs to our end-users. The #CochraneTech Symposium is the premier event for those interested in the application and integration of existing and emerging technologies in the production of Cochrane systematic reviews and evidence synthesis in health care.

Since the inaugural #CochraneTech Symposium in Québec City in 2013 several ambitious technological strategies have been pursued by Cochrane, and we welcome you to join us in exploring this new ecosystem for evidence synthesis.

Methods Symposium: Living Systematic Reviews: Methods, Opportunities and Challenges

Living systematic reviews, as online summaries of healthcare research that are updated as new research becomes available, offer exciting possibilities in the new evidence ecosystem. Momentum is building around the living systematic review concept: a number of approaches are being piloted and Cochrane is at the forefront of these efforts. Living systematic reviews differ from traditional systematic reviews in several ways that have important implications for review methods and processes, affecting authors, editors and publishers. 

At this interactive symposium, we will explore what living systematic reviews actually are and their implications for Cochrane. Participants will hear from those who have been piloting living systematic review methods and will be invited to contribute their expertise as we explore the implications of LSRs for review methods and review production processes, plus the enablers within Cochrane to support their introduction.

Knowledge Translation (KT) Symposium

In 2016 Cochrane is embarking on the development of a Knowledge Translation (KT) Strategy, which will inform, facilitate and coordinate KT activities within Cochrane. We hope this strategy will scope knowledge translation activities for Cochrane, build on the Strategy to 2020 goals and provide a framework and co-ordination to support those who are undertaking knowledge translation activities in Cochrane. This framework will guide our knowledge translation work and ensure quality of outputs. We hope to establish mechanisms for better coordination of knowledge translation work within Cochrane so that organisational learning in this area flows through Cochrane.

In this symposium we will be presenting the current draft of Cochrane’s KT strategy. There will be brief presentations on the work around the strategy, an opportunity for discussion and input into further development of the strategy and the implementation plans accompanying it and what it will mean for knowledge translation in Cochrane.

Looking forward to seeing you in Seoul in October!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Society for Research Synthesis Methodology presents awards to Cochrane contributors

Wed, 27/07/2016 - 21:08

Tianjing Li and Julian Higgins recognized for their important contributions.

The Society for Research Synthesis Methodology supports and promotes the development and use of innovative and robust methods of research synthesis. At their 2016 Annual Meeting, held in Florence, Italy from 11-13 July, the Society recognized the important contributions of two Cochrane contributors.

The inaugural Early Career Award was given to Tianjing Li. This award recognizes young investigators of outstanding potential, promise, and accomplishment in the field of research synthesis methodology. Li is Associate Director of Cochrane United States, Co-Convenor of the Cochrane Comparing Multiple Interventions Methods Group and the Priority Setting Methods Group, and Senior Methodologist of the Cochrane Eyes and Vision. She is also Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "I am greatly honoured to receive the inaugural early career award from a distinguished society formed by researchers who I have long admired and respected," say Li. "I look forward to new collaborations and innovations that will fulfill the promise of the award." Kay Dickersin, Cochrane US Director stated, "All of us at Cochrane United States and well beyond are enormously proud of Tianjing receiving this well-deserved honor.  Her unselfish contributions to systematic review methodology, teaching, and service to the research community are greatly valued by all, as is the contagious spirit of fun that she brings to all she does."

Jessica Gurevitch, outgoing SRSM President, presenting award to Tianjing Li.

The Ingram Olkin Award was presented to Julian Higgins. This award recognizes an individual who has made distinguished lifetime achievement in research synthesis methodology, and represents the highest honour bestowed by the Society. Higgins' primary affiliation is the University of Bristol; he is also involved in many Cochrane Groups, including acting as the Co-Editor of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and Co-Convenor of the Cochrane Comparing Multiple Interventions Methods Group. "It is an immense honour to receive this award, although sad to be receiving it shortly after Prof Olkin passed away earlier this year,” says Higgins. “My research contributions have all been highly collaborative, and the award really deserves to be shared among the many generous and brilliant people I have been fortunate to work with over the last 24 years."

Kay Dickersin, incoming SRSM President, presenting award to Julian Higgins.

Congratulations to Tianjing Li and Julian Higgins and to the Cochrane Groups they represent for this great honour!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Suite of Cochrane Reviews on chronic rhinosinusitis

Tue, 26/07/2016 - 19:03

Authors working with the Cochrane ENT Group recently published six reviews which look at the evidence around different treatment options for chronic rhinosinusitis.

Chronic rhinosinusitis is a common condition that is defined as inflammation of the nose and paranasal sinuses (a group of air-filled spaces behind the nose, eyes, and cheeks). Patients with chronic rhinosinusitis experience at least two or more of the following symptoms for at least 12 weeks: blocked nose, discharge from their nose or runny nose, pain or pressure in their face and/or a reduced sense of smell (hyposmia). Some people will also have nasal polyps, which are grape-like swellings of the normal nasal lining inside the nasal passage and sinuses.

Listen to a podcast that talks about the findings of all six reviews.

Saline irrigation

Saline irrigation for chronic rhinosinusitis

Oral steroids alone

Short-term oral corticosteroids compared with no treatment or other treatments for chronic rhinosinusitis

Oral steroids added

Short-course oral steroids as an adjunct therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis


Systemic and topical antibiotics for chronic rhinosinusitis

Different types of intranasal steroids

Different types of intranasal steroids for chronic rhinosinusitis

Intranasal steroids

Intranasal steroids versus placebo or no intervention for chronic rhinosinusitis

Visit the Cochrane ENT website

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cochrane in the news: July 2016

Thu, 21/07/2016 - 06:00

A round-up of selected recent media coverage citing, discussing, and presenting health evidence - updated throughout the month

"When and how to update systematic reviews: consensus and checklist": BMJ paper from a team of Cochrane-affiliated contributors outlines issues relevant to making decisions about updating reviews, and provides a  framework to support the decision-making process.


 "This clever graph shows which health supplements work - and which don't": SBS News Australia discusses the popularity of 'natural' supplements and profiles Information is Beautiful's "Snake Oil Supplements?" infographic.

A new Cochrane review on Yoga for Asthma was mentioned in the latest print edition of MindFood magazine this month. The review found yoga may have a beneficial effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, but effects on lung function and medication use are uncertain.




Cochrane evidence on ‘endometrial scratch’ technique to increase fertility rates was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference and picked up by many media outlets, including this story from UK’s The Telegraph.




Director of Cochrane Norway, Claire Glenton, explains to the nursing journal Sykepleien what Cochrane evidence is and how nurses can benefit from it (article in Norwegian).






Cochrane evidence on stretching to prevent or reduce muscle soreness after exercise has been used to debunk running myths in a recent article from The Guardian. Stretching before and after a run may not be as vital as some believe.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Cochrane Library - iPad edition

Tue, 19/07/2016 - 09:39

The Cochrane Library iPad edition presents the latest Cochrane evidence in a convenient mobile format. Monthly issues feature Cochrane Reviews selected by the Editor in Chief and abridged to optimize the iPad reading experience.

Use the Cochrane Library iPad app to easily access abstracts, read selected reviews, and view full-page Summary of Findings tables. With access to a range of topics each month, create reading lists tailored to your own interests. All content in the app is free, and new issues will download regularly to your Newsstand.

Download the app from iTunes, or contact to receive iPad edition announcements via e-mail or for technical support.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cochrane Neuromuscular seeks part-time Assistant Managing Editor - London, UK

Wed, 13/07/2016 - 21:42

Contract: Until 31 March 2017
Hours: Part Time 22.5 hours per week
Location:  National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), London, UK
Salary: £26,290 to £34,154
Closing: 1 August 2016

Cochrane Neuromuscular is seeking a part-time (22.5 hours) Assistant Managing Editor. The post is fixed term to 31 March 2017, but may be extended if funding is confirmed.

This is an opportunity for someone to support the day-to-day activities of the group and assist in the production of Cochrane systematic reviews in neuromuscular disease (conditions that affect the peripheral nerves, muscles or neuromuscular junction). The group is based in London and hosted by University College London NHS Hospitals Trust.

The Assistant Managing Editor carries out editorial processes involved in preparing and publishing Cochrane systematic reviews and provides administrative assistance to support the review group and its activities. Key tasks are answering authors’ queries and providing information; checking submitted manuscripts for completeness and responses to editorial comments; tracking the progress of systematic reviews and updating workflows; managing contact information; updating the group’s website and helping to produce a newsletter; managing the process of peer review; and liaising between authors, editors and reviewers as necessary. The role also includes representing the Cochrane review group when required, and there may be occasional travel.

For further details and to apply:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 Category: Jobs

Vitamins while pregnant: healthy or unnecessary?

Tue, 12/07/2016 - 21:32

A recent article in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin on the BMJ states that other than folic acid and vitamin D, there is limited evidence of the benefits of the often expensive prenatal multivitamins. This story has been picked up by many media outlets including BBC News, CBC News, and The Japan Times.  

The conclusions are in line with what Cochrane evidence has shown. Below we provide links to our related evidence and summaries of the findings.

Read this in Russian.

Vitamin C supplements in pregnancy

Abstract, Full Review

Vitamin E supplements in pregnancy

Abstract, Full Review

Folic Acid Supplements to prevent birth defects

Abstract, Full Review

Nutritional advice in multiple pregnancies

Abstract, Full Review

Other related resources: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cochrane Podcasts

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 06:00

Cochrane podcasts deliver the latest Cochrane evidence in an easy to access audio format, allowing you to stay up to date on newly published reviews wherever you are.

Each Cochrane podcast offers a short summary of a recent Cochrane review from the authors themselves. They have been recorded in 33 languages and are brief, allowing everyone from healthcare professionals to patients and families to hear the latest Cochrane evidence in under five minutes.

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

Whether you listen in your office, on your daily commute or even in the bath, Cochrane podcasts offer a quick and easy way to keep up with the latest evidence from the Cochrane Library.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cochrane Priority Reviews List: July 2016 Update

Wed, 06/07/2016 - 20:49

Cochrane-wide prioritisation remains an important project and has been included in the Strategy to 2020 Targets for 2016. Over 100 priority reviews have been published since the project began.

The July 2016 revision of the Cochrane Priority Reviews List includes new titles from the Acute Respiratory Infections, Consumers & Communications, Dementia & Cognitive Improvement, Kidney & Transplant, Metabolic & Endocrine Disorders, Skin, Tobacco Addiction, Upper Gastrointestinal & Pancreatic Diseases, and Vascular Groups.

If you would like to contribute in any way to our goal of delivering the reviews through to publication, please contact the Editor in Chief, David Tovey (  Please be aware that all titles in the priority list have author teams in place, except for those mentioned above and any others that have been specifically highlighted.

Download the Cochrane Priority Review list for 2016 (July revision)

Ruth Foxlee, Information Specialist, Cochrane Editorial Unit
David Tovey, Editor in Chief, The Cochrane Library, and Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Monday, June 27, 2016

Featured Review: Oral paracetamol for treatment of acute episodic tension-type headache in adults

Mon, 04/07/2016 - 18:01

Cochrane evidence indicates that only 10% of people with tension-type headaches experience benefit from taking oral paracetamol

Tension-type headache affects about one person in five worldwide. People with frequent, or acute episodic, tension-type headache have between two and 14 headaches every month. Tension-type headache stops people concentrating and working properly. When headaches do occur, they get better over time, even without treatment.

Paracetamol (also known by its alternative generic name acetaminophen, and sold under multiple brand names worldwide, including Tylenol®, Calpol®, and Panadol®) is a commonly used painkiller, available without prescription in most parts of the world. The usual dose is 1000 mg, usually in two tablets taken by mouth.

A team of Cochrane authors based in the United Kingdom worked with Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care to assess the usefulness and safety of a single dose of paracetamol for the treatment of frequent tension-type headaches in adults. The review includes 23 studies with 8,079 participants who were 18 years or older with frequent tension-type headache, and with moderate or severe pain at the start of treatment. About 6,000 participants were involved in comparisons between paracetamol 1000 mg and placebo.

The International Headache Society recommends the outcome of being pain-free two hours after taking a medicine as a standard measurement. The outcome of being pain-free or having only mild pain at two hours was reported by 59 in 100 people taking paracetamol 1000 mg, and in 49 out of 100 people taking placebo. This means that only 10 in 100 or 10% of people benefited because of paracetamol 1000 mg.

About 10 in 100 people taking paracetamol 1000 mg reported having a side effect, which was the same as with placebo (9 in 100 people) (high quality evidence). Most side effects were mild or moderate in intensity, and none were serious.

“Many headache suffers take Tylenol or paracetamol for relief. This Cochrane Review shows that there may only be a small benefit from a single dose of paracetamol 1000 mg to those with frequent tension-type headaches,” said Andrew Moore, one of the authors of the Cochrane Review. “Of course, paracetamol is not harmless when taken in large doses or over long periods of time. These results are important for two reasons. One is that they form part of a series of reviews into frequent tension-type headaches, hopefully to identify more efficient treatments. The other is to improve the way clinical trials are done in future to provide more relevant information about treating this common and often disabling condition.  

Read the full Cochrane Review (summary available in Croatian)

Visit the Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Group website

Other Cochrane Reviews on frequent tension-type headaches:

Related Resources:

Monday, July 4, 2016

Eye drug safety: the impact of a Cochrane Review comparing two treatments for macular degeneration

Fri, 01/07/2016 - 03:01

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

The fourth video in the Cochrane Making a Difference series focuses on the Cochrane Review 'Systemic safety of bevacizumab versus ranibizumab for neovascular age-related macular degeneration', published in September 2014 from the Cochrane Eyes & Vision Group. The review found that the systemic safety of bevacizumab for macular degeneration appears to be similar to that of ranibizumab - an important consideration given that bevacizumab is considerably less expensive than ranibizumab.

Since then this Cochrane Review has had a significant impact. Author Lorenzo Moja, based at the University of Milan, tells the story so far…

Friday, July 1, 2016

2015 Impact Factor released for Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Thu, 30/06/2016 - 12:54

The 2015 Journal Citation Report (JCR) has been released by Thomson ISI and effective July 2016 the impact factor for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is 6.103. This is an increase on the 2014 impact factor, which was 6.035.

Some highlights of the 2015 impact factor include:

  • The CDSR is ranked 12th of the 152 journals in the Medicine, General & Internal category
  • The 5-year impact factor is 6.665, an increase on the 2014 5-Year Impact Factor of 6.536
  • The CDSR received 11,523 cites in the 2015 Impact Factor period, compared with 11,932 for the 2014 Impact Factor calculation.

As in previous years, Wiley will compile the main impact factor report and the Cochrane Review Group reports based on the impact factor data along with additional impact data for individual reviews. The reports will be circulated in August 2016.  Wiley also plans to run a webinar specifically for Cochrane Groups to provide an overview of the bibliometric data available for the CDSR and to answer any queries have regarding the calculation and interpretation of the impact factor and associated metrics. To register interest in attending the webinar, or for any further information, please email Gavin Stewart and include any questions or areas of interest.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cochrane in the news: June 2016

Wed, 29/06/2016 - 13:31

A round-up of selected recent media coverage citing, discussing, and presenting health evidence - updated throughout the month

"Publication of reviews synthesizing child health evidence (PORSCHE): a survey of authors to identify factors associated with publication in Cochrane and non-Cochrane sources": article in the journal Systematic Reviews presents research by a team of Cochrane authors into decisions around preparation and publication of child-relevant systematic reviews.

"Cochrane continues to seek stable funding": an article in CMAJ discusses Cochrane Canada's current funding situation and prospects for the future.

"The importance of getting evidence into health service decision making": Cochrane Editor in Chief David Tovey writes on BMJ Blogs: "Evidence should be at the heart of health service decision making and where it is not, we should not be surprised when mistakes are made and resources used sub-optimally."

"Health journalism has a serious evidence problem. Here’s a plan to save it." Health journalist Julia Belluz writes for Vox on the problem of "headline whiplash [in] health news" and offers suggestions on how health journalists "need help making sense of research, and in turn, [need to help] readers (who include patients, policymakers, and doctors) to do the same."

"To control your weight, eat more — of the right foods": an article in the Washington Post discussing strategies for weight management cites recent Cochrane Review examining portion sizes and consumption, recommends monitoring portion sizes.

Prince’s Death a ‘Sign of the Times’”: a recent Huffington Post blog examining the dangers of opioid prescription and dependence cites Cochrane evidence indicating that “opioids are less effective at relieving acute pain than a combination of over-the-counter ibuprofen and acetaminophen”.

An interview with Ben Goldacre”: New Zealand blog community Public Address recently featured an interview with Ben Goldacre, where he discussed his role as a researcher and science communicator and how the medical community engages with the public: “In the 21st century, the fact is that society doesn’t run on trust and authority any more, it runs on evidence and open public discussion.”

Larger Wine Glasses May Lead People to Drink More, Study Shows”: a story in Nutrition Insight cites a recent Cochrane Review examining portion sizes and consumption, and describes new research into alcohol consumption and glass size.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cochrane announces funding support for 10 new Cochrane Reviews

Mon, 27/06/2016 - 09:07

The Cochrane Editorial Unit is pleased to announce the 10 successful titles from the second Cochrane Review Support Programme (CRSP) funding round.

  1. Delayed antibiotics for respiratory infections (Acute Respiratory Infections Group)
  2. Bisphosphonates and other bone agents for breast cancer (Breast Cancer Group)
  3. Psychological therapies for the treatment of mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries affected by humanitarian crises (Common Mental Disorders Group)
  4. Drug eluting stents versus bare metal stents for acute coronary syndrome (Heart Group)
  5. Withdrawal of antihypertensive drugs in older people (Hypertension Group)
  6. Pharmacotherapy for hypertension in adults aged 18 to 59 years (Hypertension Group)
  7. Interventions for preventing obesity in children (Public Health Group)
  8. Taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages for reducing their consumption and preventing obesity or other adverse health outcomes (Public Health Group)
  9. Interventions for treating depression after stroke (Stroke Group)
  10. Interventions to prevent occupational noise-induced hearing loss (Work Group)

We received 23 applications from 16 Groups. To evaluate the applications we convened an international assessment panel comprising nine Cochrane contributors and consumers of Cochrane Reviews, who generously shared their time and expertise:

Dr Urbà González, Unit of Dermatology, CLĺNICA GO&FER, Barcelona, Spain

Prof Sally Green, Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Dr Devan Kansagara MD, MCR, Associate Professor of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Director, Evidence-based Synthesis Program, Portland VA Medical Center & Staff Physician, Portland VA Medical Center

Dr Richard Lehman, Hightown Surgery, Oxford, UK

Prof Ashraf F Nabhan, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

Dr Mbah P Okwen, Centre for the Development of Best Practices in Health, Yaoundé Central Hospital, Yaoundé, Cameroon

Dr Sera Tort, Cochrane Editorial Unit, London, UK

Dr David Tovey, Editor in Chief, the Cochrane Library, Cochrane Editorial Unit, London, UK

Dr Jorge Zepeda, Secretary of Health of Florianópolis, Brazil / University of Leeds, UK

The panel members assessed the applications according to the criteria outlined in the application form and gave each review an overall score out of 10. The maximum possible score for each review was 90 (10 points x 9 assessors) and we set our funding cut-off at 60+.

The next funding round will open in September 2016 and will be advertised via the usual Cochrane communication channels.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Featured Review: Fortification of staple foods with zinc for improving zinc status and health outcomes

Fri, 24/06/2016 - 18:10

New Cochrane evidence indicates that effects of adding zinc to staple foods are unclear

Low levels of zinc, or zinc deficiency, is a common problem in children and women living in low- and middle-income countries. Cereal-based foods and legumes are rich in dietary fibre and phytates, which reduce absorption of zinc from the intestine. As people in low-income households derive majority of their nutritional intake from only these foods, they are more likely to develop zinc deficiency. Adding zinc to common staple foods, alone or in combination with other vitamins and minerals, has been proposed as an intervention to increase intake of zinc.

A team of Cochrane authors based in India, Canada, and Switzerland worked with Cochrane Public Health to evaluate the effects of fortification of staple foods with zinc on blood zinc levels and health-related outcomes in the general population above two years of age. The review includes eight studies with a total of 709 participants. Seven of the included studies were from middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, where zinc deficiency is likely to be a public health problem.

Analyses suggest that fortification of foods with zinc may have a marginal increase in serum zinc levels, which is an indicator of zinc status. If zinc is added to food in combination with other micronutrients, it may make little or no difference. Effects of fortification of foods with zinc on other outcomes including zinc deficiency, children’s growth, cognition, work capacity of adults, or on haematological indicators, are unknown.

“Zinc deficiency is a significant public health problem. Zinc is vital for the normal functioning of the reproductive immune and gastrointestinal systems,” said Dheeraj Shah, the lead author of the Cochrane Review. “Fortification programmes play a major role in increasing dietary uptake of some vitamins and minerals lacking in populations, especially given the low cost and long-term sustainability. Unfortunately, the practice of many countries of implementing mandatory fortification of cereal flours with zinc in combination with other micronutrients may not be the best strategy to combat zinc deficiency in these populations. The World Health Organization is going to take the findings of this Cochrane Review into consideration in their future guidelines. We hope upcoming studies will investigate the feasibility of adding zinc to other foods, such as edible oils, sugars, and beverages.”

Read the full Cochrane Review

Visit the Cochrane Public Health website

Friday, June 24, 2016

Making Cochrane Crowd's work go further

Thu, 23/06/2016 - 05:39

We are delighted to announce that the work of Cochrane Crowd, Cochrane’s new citizen science platform, is going open access.

Cochrane Crowd, launched in May 2016, is a global community made up of volunteers who are helping to identify the research needed to support informed decision-making about healthcare treatments.

Cochrane Crowd has already identified thousands of reports of randomized controlled trials eligible for Cochrane’s Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), helping Cochrane Review authors around the world to find the evidence they need for their reviews.

As part of Cochrane’s commitment to improving the knowledge base and being transparent about the data going into systematic reviews, the plan now is to make the crowd’s data about trial identification available and accessible to everyone. The open access data will be stored in a data repository, accessible via Cochrane Crowd and regularly updated.

We hope to implement this new and exciting phase of Cochrane Crowd by August 2016.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cochrane seeks Online Learning and Support Officer - Flexible location

Wed, 22/06/2016 - 19:23

Specifications: Full Time
£32,000 - £40,000
Flexible Location
Application Closing Date:
29 July 2016

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

Our work is 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.

This exciting position of Online Learning Support Officer is an opportunity for a candidate with expertise in design and development of engaging online learning resources, together with an ambition to make a difference in the field of health care research, to join Cochrane’s Learning and Support Department and help us deliver our Training and Professional Development Strategy.

 You will be working with a wide range of international content contributors across Cochrane and beyond, bringing a talent for instructional design to develop engaging new online resources for the Cochrane Training website.  The role is also an excellent opportunity to contribute to Cochrane as we implement pioneering new technologies for efficient and effective production of systematic review and other research methodologies. 

You’ll be familiar with technical and pedagogical approaches to developing accessible online learning, and able to turn your expertise to a range of tasks from managing webinar and virtual classroom programmes, page design, editing of text and other multimedia content, to planning of user testing to assure quality architecture and usability.

You will work with our Informatics and Knowledge Management team on implementing new technology products, as well as support implementation and management of a new Learning Record Store and its integration with our forthcoming membership scheme.

The ideal candidate will bring experience of design and production of online learning resources, and web editing, including related software and systems.  An excellent communicator and collaborator, you are able to use your interpersonal and written skills to translate complex technical research material into exceptional learning resources.  An understanding of Cochrane specifically and health research more generally is an advantage, but not essential.

 The majority of Cochrane Central Executive staff are located in London, UK, however flexible location is possible for the right candidate.

 The full job description is available here.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to with “Online Learning and Support Officer” 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 July 2016 (12 midnight GMT)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Category: Jobs

Cochrane Steering Group announces appointment of third external member

Wed, 22/06/2016 - 04:28

Cochrane is delighted to announce the appointment of its third external member of the Cochrane Steering Group (CSG): Dr. Michael Makanga, MBChB, MSc, PhD, FRCP Edin.

The CSG has undertaken these appointments within its existing powers to co-opt external members as required, and potentially as the first step in Cochrane’s proposed re-structure of the CSG into the Cochrane Board. The governance re-structure is undergoing consultation with the Cochrane community during 2016, and Cochrane Groups will have the final vote on the proposal at the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 October, during the Cochrane Colloquium in Seoul, South Korea. For more information on this project, please see the Governance re-structure project pages on our Community site.

Michael Makanga is currently the Executive Director of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). He is a Ugandan physician with 25 years of professional experience working on health and poverty-related diseases in sub‐Saharan Africa, which includes over 20 years of work experience on medical product development and clinical regulatory activities. He holds a Medical Degree from Makerere University, Uganda, a Master’s Degree from the University of Liverpool, and a PhD in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.

Before joining EDCTP Michael was first in clinical practice and academia, and later clinical research where he served as Head of Regulatory Clinical Trials Facility and Outpatient Clinic at the Kenya Medical Research Institute –Wellcome Trust Collaborative Centre, Kilifi, Kenya, under the auspices of the Universities of Liverpool and Oxford.

He joined EDCTP in 2004, where he has held various management positions, including the appointment as Director of South‐South Cooperation and Head of EDCTP Africa Office in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2008. During his 12 years at EDCTP, Michael has built up significant experience in global health, research for health capacity development, quality assurance, project management and evaluation, health and research management, as well as diplomacy and engagement with policy makers, health and regulatory authorities in sub‐Saharan Africa and Europe. In addition, he has served on various scientific and policy advisory boards for international product development and philanthropic organizations, along with pharmaceutical companies involved in developing medicinal products for poverty related and neglected diseases.

Michael will join the Cochrane Steering Group with immediate effect. His appointment, along with two other recently-appointed CSG members, Marguerite Koster and Catherine Marshall, will also be subject to confirmation by Cochrane members at the 2016 AGM.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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Mon, 20/06/2016 - 19:28

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Monday, June 20, 2016