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Counting down to Cochrane’s first ever Virtual #CochraneSantiago - how you can join!

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 16:58

It’s only a few days away - Virtual #CochraneSantiago

Next week is our first Virtual Colloquium and we are delighted to showcase the fabulous work of hundreds of Cochrane contributors.

We look forward to welcoming you Monday 2 December - Friday 6 December and here’s more information on how you can take part and hopefully answer some of your questions:

How do I access Virtual #CochraneSantiago content?

All content will be available on the Colloquium website!  At the top of the home page, there is a menu-tab for each day of the Virtual Colloquium with that day’s theme. On each daily page, you can scroll through to find Special Content (Special and Plenary-style presentations), links to Related Content, highlighted categories of daily Oral Presentations and Posters, and information about how to join the conversation on social media across our SEVEN platforms. Take a look at the content now and check back daily next week.

Do I need to register for the Virtual #CochraneSantiago Colloquium?

No, it’s just about selecting what you want to see and hear. All Virtual Colloquium content is free, open to all, and hosted on the Colloquium website. You will not need to login or need to have a Cochrane ‘account’ to access the content, either. The more global participation, the better!

When will Special Content videos premiere?

Each day, all Special Content videos will premiere at 10:00 Toronto time/12:00 Chilean time/15:00 GMT on YouTube. During the premiering of the video, you can watch on the video’s YouTube page and participate in the live chat happening at the same time. You can go to the daily menu-tabs on the Colloquium website and see what we have planned and even set personal reminders in your YouTube account so that you are notified when they go live. If you are not able to see it at this exact time, no problem, you can watch it any time after it premieres on YouTube or when it’s embedded under the daily menu-tabs on the Colloquium website.

How can I see Colloquium posters and oral presentations?

We have about 180 digital posters and over 100 oral presentations to share with you! Starting on Monday 2 December, all oral presentations will be available here and virtual posters will be available here. You can sort through these pages by abstract category, or scroll through them all! These are also linked on the Colloquium homepage in the Menu “Presentations”, and certain categories of posters and oral presentations will be highlighted for each themed day.

Is there any truly ‘live’ Colloquium content?

Yes! If you are a Cochrane Member, Cochrane’s Annual General Meeting will be held live on Thursday, December 5, from 09:00-10:00 GMT. To register for this live meeting and find out about voting, visit here.

Join the conversation!

As you take part in this unique week of Virtual #CochraneSantiago content, we want to hear from you! We have 40+ International Content Creators who will be actively discussing our content each day and our #CochraneSantiago hashtag will be abuzz on Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. You can also join the YouTube chat for the launch of Special Content videos. Make your voice heard and help make this Virtual Colloquium as interactive as possible. Finally, a survey will be posted on the Colloquium website and social media on the final day, we will collect your feedback so please get involved and share! Our Virtual Colloquium format is a first for Cochrane, and we want to hear what you think!

See you in just a few days….

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Featured Review: Reducing uncertainties in choosing first-line treatment in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 12:50

Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer. It accounts for approximately 2% of all cancers and is still considered incurable. For people with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM), who are unsuitable for a procedure where damaged blood cells are replaced with healthy ones (stem-cell transplant), treatment is usually a multiple drug combination of bortezomib, lenalidomide, or thalidomide, plus melphalan and prednisolone (MP) or dexamethasone (D). Multiple drug combinations are approved for initial anti-myeloma therapy, however, access to these medicines is restricted in many countries worldwide.

The Cochrane Review used network meta-analysis (NMA) to compare the benefits and harms of selected anti-myeloma drugs (bortezomib (V), lenalidomide (R), thalidomide (T)) for transplant-unsuitable NDMM.

The review identified 25 studies involving 11,403 transplant-unsuitable adults with NDMM, and comparing 21 different treatment regimens. It looked at survival, harms and quality of life.

The review concluded that VRDc showed the highest overall survival benefits, compared to MP. RD and TMP also improved OS compared to MP. However, these combinations of drugs also led to more adverse events compared to MP, and led to more people stopping treatment. More trials are needed that look carefully at both harms and quality of life.

The results of this review informed a successful application to the World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Medicines List (EML), which previously had no anti-myeloma medicines included.

The editorial process for this review was managed by the Cochrane Fast-Track Service.

Read the review

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Explore the Virtual #CochraneSantiago Programme now!

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 17:52

All content will be freely available on the Colloquium website and open to the entire Cochrane Community of members and supporters!

Cochrane’s annual flagship event brings together the world’s most influential health researchers, scientists, academics, opinion leaders, clinicians, and patients to promote evidence-informed decision-making. We are getting excited to share and interact with Virtual #CochraneSantiago content starting on Monday 2 December - Friday 6 December!

Virtual #CochraneSantiago will highlight the overall theme of ‘Embracing Diversity’, with each day having daily themes. During the week, content will be curated here on our Colloquium website. We have created a dedicated page for each day’s content that will include posters, plenary content, bespoke curated materials from long and short oral presentations as well as pre-produced videos posted ‘as live’ on YouTube each day.


We have lots of content to share with you and we invite you to visit the Cochrane Colloquium website daily, join in on conversations on social media using the #CochraneSantiago hashtag, and take part in this unique opportunity to fully embrace the diversity of voices that make up Cochrane’s global community.


Monday 2 December: Equity Matters: Cochrane’s Next Frontier
A welcome from the Local Organizing Committee will begin our Virtual Colloquium and two speakers will highlight the importance of equity in Cochrane evidence. Peter Tugwell will discuss Cochrane’s content strategy on equity, and Beibei Yuan will talk about equity analysis in research. Additionally, two presenters will discuss aspects from the new Cochrane Handbook chapter on equity.

Tuesday 3 December: Stakeholder Diversity
Participants can view a recorded webinar regarding the launch of Cochrane's Dissemination Checklist, and Guidance, enabling them to share Cochrane evidence more effectively for use with diverse stakeholders. We’ll also look at how Cochrane is working with patients and their caregivers.

Wednesday 4 December: Methodological Diversity
Multiple speakers will address the importance, and challenge, of incorporating Methodological diversity into Cochrane. Lisa Bero will discuss the importance of making Cochrane evidence relevant for public health practitioners and policy makers; Adrienne Stevens will discuss rapid reviews and the future of this type of review in Cochrane; and Jane Noyes will discuss what the Cochrane Methods Executive are doing to address the importance of methodological diversity. Participants can also watch a recorded webinar introducing the new Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews, as well as presentations by Miranda Cumpston and James Thomas about aspects of the Handbook. There will also be an introductory presentation on RevMan Web, and Cochrane members are encouraged to try out the new Cochrane PICO search BETA on the Cochrane Library! Finally, starting at 11:00 am GMT on Wednesday, Cochrane Crowd is holding a Virtual #CochraneSantiago Challenge to screen 48,000 records in just 48 hours; learn more and get ready to participate!

Thursday 5 December: Looking back
Marking #ThrowbackThursday, this day is a celebration of the last 25 years of Colloquia and focusing on Cochrane’s diverse community of 11,000 members and 70,000 supporters from 130 countries around the world! The Annual General Meeting will be held live from 09:00 to 10:00 am GMT, and members are reminded to register to attend the online meeting. A slideshow of memories from past Cochrane Colloquia will premiere, and a full line-up of 2019's Award and Prize Winners will be recognized and celebrated.

Friday 6 December: Looking ahead
Today, we will turn our focus to 2020 and the next Cochrane Colloquium in Toronto; a video presenting plans for #CochraneToronto will premier, and ways to contribute to and get involved in Cochrane will be highlighted. We will  introduce of new Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library, Dr. Karla Soares-Weiser, and we'll have the results of the  Cochrane Crowd challenge will end at 11:00 am GMT.

All content will be available for free on the Colloquium website and open to the entire Cochrane Community of members and supporters!

How are you planning on participating? What are you looking forward to the most? Start the conversation today – tell us by using #CochraneSantiago and follow our social media accounts as we get ready for Cochrane’s first-ever Virtual #CochraneSantiago!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

New Cochrane Review assesses different HPV vaccines and vaccine schedules in adolescent girls and boys

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 14:32

New evidence published in the Cochrane Library today provides further information on the benefits and harms of different human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and vaccine schedules in young women and men.

HPV is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract in both women and men globally (WHO 2017). Most people who have sexual contact will be exposed to HPV at some point in their life. In most people, their own immune system will clear the HPV infection.

HPV infection can sometimes persist if the immune system does not clear the virus. Persistent infection with some ‘high-risk’ strains of HPV can lead to the development of cancer. High-risk HPV strains cause almost all cancers of the cervix and anus, and some cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, and head and neck. Other ‘low risk’, HPV strains cause genital warts but do not cause cancer. Development of cancer due to HPV happens gradually, over many years, through a number of pre-cancer stages, called intra-epithelial neoplasia. In the cervix (neck of the womb) these changes are called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). High-grade CIN changes have a 1 in 3 chance of developing into cervical cancer, but many CIN lesions regress and do not develop into cancer. HPV-related cancers accounted for an estimated 4.5% of cancers worldwide in 2012 (de Martel 2017).

Vaccination aims to prevent future HPV infection and the cancers caused by high-risk HPV infection. HPV vaccines are mainly targeted towards adolescent girls because cancer of the cervix is the most common HPV-associated cancer. For the prevention of cervical cancer, the World Health Organization recommends vaccinating girls aged 9-14 years with HPV vaccine using a two-dose schedule (0, 6 months) as the most effective strategy. A three-dose schedule is recommended for older girls ≥15 years of age or for people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or other causes of immunodeficiency (WHO 2017).

Three HPV vaccines are currently in use: a bivalent vaccine that is targeted at the two most common high-risk HPV types; a quadrivalent vaccine targeted at four HPV types, and a nonavalent vaccine targeted at nine HPV types. In women, the bivalent and quadrivalent vaccines have been shown to protect against pre-cancer of the cervix caused by the HPV types contained in the vaccine if given before natural infection with HPV (Arbyn 2018).

This Cochrane Review summarizes the results from 20 randomized controlled trials involving 31,940 people conducted across all continents. In most studies, the outcome reported was the production of HPV antibodies by the vaccine recipient’s immune system. HPV antibody responses predict protection against the HPV-related diseases and cancers the vaccines are intended to prevent. Antibody response is often used as a surrogate in HPV vaccine studies because it takes many years for pre-cancer to develop after HPV infection, so it is difficult for studies to follow participants over such long periods of time. Moreover, because trial participants were tested for HPV infection and offered treatment, if HPV-related precancer was found, progression to cervical cancer in this group would be expected to be very low, even without vaccination.

Four studies compared a two-dose vaccine schedule with a three-dose schedule in 2,317 adolescent girls and three studies compared different time intervals between the first two vaccine doses in 2,349 girls and boys. Antibody responses were similar after two-dose and three-dose HPV vaccine schedules in girls. Antibody responses in girls and boys were stronger when the interval between the first two doses of HPV vaccine was longer.

There was evidence from one study of 16 to 26-year old men that the quadrivalent HPV vaccine reduces the incidence of external genital lesions and genital warts compared with a group who did not receive the HPV vaccine.

There was also evidence from a study of 16 to 26-year old women that compared the nonavalent and quadrivalent vaccines that they provide a similar level of protection against cervical, vaginal, and vulval pre-cancerous lesions.

There was evidence from seven studies about HPV vaccines in people living with HIV. HPV antibody responses in children living with HIV were higher after vaccination with either bivalent or quadrivalent vaccine than with a non-HPV control vaccine. These antibody responses against HPV could be maintained up to two years. The evidence about clinical outcomes and harms for HPV vaccines in people with HIV was very limited.

Evidence suggested that up to 90% of males and females who received an HPV vaccine experienced local minor adverse events such as redness, swelling and pain at the injection site. Due to the low rates of serious adverse events in quadrivalent and nonavalent vaccine groups, and the broad definition of these events used in the trials, we cannot really determine the relative safety of different vaccine schedules.

The lead editor of this review and Consultant in Gynaecological Oncology, Musgrove Park Hospital, Somerset, UK, Dr. Jo Morrison said: “We need long-term population-level studies to provide data on the effects of dosing intervals, schedules and vaccines on HPV-related cancers, as well as giving us a more complete picture of rare harms. However, with fewer doses having a similar antibody response, and more extensive evidence from vaccine studies in boys, policy makers are now in a better position to determine how local vaccination programmes can be designed. It would be interesting to see how different schedules and vaccines influence immunisation coverage, but this review, and the studies within it, were not designed to be able to answer that question.”

Read the full review

Full citation: Bergman H, Buckley BS, Villanueva G, Petkovic J, Garritty C, Lutje V, Riveros-Balta AX, Low N, Henschke N. Comparison of different human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine types and dose schedules for prevention of HPV-related disease in females and males. 


WHO 2017
World Health Organization. Human papillomavirus vaccines: WHO position paper, May 2017. Weekly Epidemiological Record 2017;92:241–68.
de Martel 2017
de Martel C, Plummer M, Vignat J, Franceschi S. Worldwide burden of cancer attributable to HPV by site, country and HPV type. International Journal of Cancer 2017;141(4):664–70.
Arbyn 2018
Arbyn M, Xu L, Simoens C, Martin-Hirsch PP. Prophylactic vaccination against human papillomaviruses to prevent cervical cancer and its precursors. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 5. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009069.pub3

Friday, November 22, 2019

Cochrane in Practice - Dentistry

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 03:02

Cochrane does not make clinical recommendations, instead it provides unbiased and high-quality health evidence so that health decisions, policies, and clinical guidelines can be informed by the best available evidence. ‘Cochrane Evidence in Practice’ series collects stories about clinical professionals using Cochrane evidence - the everyday healthcare professional making sure their patients and clients are getting the best care!

Dental Student Nicole's story:

Name: Nicole Meerah Elango
Position: Second Year Dental Student at Peninsula Dental School
Location: England

Cochrane has been an invaluable resource throughout my higher education journey. During my BSc Biomedical Science and MSc Mental Health degrees, Cochrane reviews remained an integral resource which supplemented my academic work, systematic review and meta-analysis.

I believe that Cochrane produces world-class research based on recent, high-quality evidence. The structured, comprehensive reviews have been instrumental to my clinical education whilst studying BDS Dental Surgery. Remaining up-to-date on the latest, high-quality evidence is essential to developing into a well-rounded dentist and the Cochrane Library has allowed me to do so. I encourage my fellow students to remain updated with the Cochrane Library to ensure we make informed evidence-based treatment decisions with our patients.  

At present, I am contributing to a Cochrane review update. I have also created a research series on Social Media which aims to educate the public and other students about high-quality evidence-based treatment and resources such as The Cochrane Library (see here and here). Feel free to follow and get in touch with me on Instagram: @nicolestudiesteeth

Cochrane does not make clinical recommendations. ‘Cochrane Evidence in Practice’ series collects stories about clinical professionals using Cochrane evidence. Would you  like to add your story of using Cochrane evidence? Please contact to share your story. 



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Common Mental Disorders partnership with the Mental Health Foundation

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 19:17

Cochrane Common Mental Disorders works in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation. This partnership helps Cochrane to produce evidence that is relevant to people with everyday lived experience of common mental disorders. Our work with the Mental Health Foundation enables us to better understand what matters to people and to improve the ways we involve people with lived experience in what we are doing. Together we aim to put trusted evidence at the heart of health care decisions for people with common mental disorders.

In June 2019 this partnership was officially launched by hosting an afternoon of debate and discussion at the British Library. Watch a short video about this day below:

You can also watch the Mental Elf live stream of the panel discussion '#MHResearchAndMe Mental health research: What’s in it for us?' here


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Cochrane Indonesia’s 2019 Symposium

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 16:55

Cochrane Indonesia hosted it’s Symposium on 11-17 November 2019, in conjunction with the 2nd International Conference on Clinical Epidemiology.  The theme of the Cochrane Indonesia Symposium was ‘The Role of Evidence Synthesis on Clinical and Health Policy Decisions Making.’ They hosted several workshops and many international speakers including ones from Cochrane Australia, Cochrane Thailand, Cochrane Malaysia, KEMENRISDIKTI, INCLEN, and Universiteit Antwerpen Belgium.  The symposium aimed to provide an international multidisciplinary platform for discussion and debate among health care providers, policy makers, academics, and researchers on contemporary strategies and issues in evidence-informed health care and policy formulation.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

David Sackett Prize awarded to Sir Iain Chalmers

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 14:48

Dr David Sackett was an originator of clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine. He contributed extensively to the development of research methods through his books and published articles, as well as through education and lectures at McMaster and around the world. Notably he turned clinical research into a scientifically sound and practical multidisciplinary “team sport,” and has changed for the better the quality of healthcare research and clinical practice. David was the first chair of the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group in 1993.

This year, the GIMBE Foundation established an award in memory of David, which was presented at The Ecosystem of Evidence conference in November.

The first edition of the prestigious award was assigned to Sir Iain Chalmers by the organisers for;

  • Leading to the development of the Cochrane Collaboration
  • Launching the James Lind Initiative to help people to recognise untrustworthy claims about the effects of treatments
  • His flourishing scientific production: more than 500 papers in peer reviewed journals in the Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC) field
  • His influential books
  • His courage, shared with Paul Glasziou, in pointing out research waste as a barrier to EBHC
  • Being a maverick: an unusual mix of biting British humour, insatiable intellectual curiosity, and Oxfordian self-composure


In a speech of thanks Sir Iain referred to Sackett’s inspired and inspiring leadership of the Evidence-Based Medicine movement, his invaluable contribution as the first chair of the Cochrane Collaboration, and his precious contributions to the James Lind Library.

A summary of the achievements of Sir Iain Chalmers, recognized by the David Sackett Prize is shown here

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Join Cochrane Crowd for the Cochrane Colloquium Challenge 2019!

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 14:50

Cochrane Crowd are running a citation screening challenge to coincide with the Virtual Cochrane Santiago Colloquium! Help Cochrane Crowd reach 48,000 classifications in 48 hours and be amongst the first to try out the all new, shiny CINAHL task! Details on this and how to join in below.

When is it running?
Start: Wednesday 4th December at 11:00 am GMT
Finish: Friday 6th December at 11:00am GMT
You can check what time that is for you here

How much time do I have to commit?
Of course, we’d love you to do the whole 48 hours! Just kidding. Any contribution is welcomed, whether it be a few five-minute grabs or a more focused effort (so you better make sure you have some screening snacks to hand to keep those energy levels up).

Sounds good so far. But I’m new to Cochrane Crowd. What is it all about?
Your best bet is to watch our 2-minute video introduction here.

What is the new CINAHL task?
For this challenge we want you to help identify possible reports of randomised trials (RCTs) that we have retrieved from a source called CINAHL. We haven’t identified RCTs from this source before. CINAHL is THE source for nursing and allied health professional research.

If I join in, what will I be doing?
Your mission for this challenge is to assess those records from CINAHL and decide whether you think they are describing a randomised trial or not. There will be a brief training module to complete if you haven’t done this kind of task before task before. Once identified, these studies go into a central register where health researchers and practitioners can access them.

Will there be prizes?
Of course! We’re glad you asked! Yes, prizes will go to the top three contributors. What are the prizes, you ask? A snazzy (limited edition!) T-shirt and a highly readable book – it’ll be like Christmas come early!

How do I sign up for the challenge?
There is no need to sign up for the challenge per se. You can just head to Cochrane Crowd anytime during the 48 hours of the challenge and get cracking!  If you’ve not been to Cochrane Crowd before, then you can sign up here.

Sounds fun, can I tell all my friends about it and get them to join in?
Yes please! We want as many as possible to join us. Feel free to share this page (share buttons below).

Is there a Twitter hashtag?
Sure is, we’ll be keeping in touch with #ColloquiumChallenge2019

How can I find out more?
You can email Emily and Anna from Cochrane Crowd at And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Join our virtual #CochraneSantiago, 2 - 6 December 2019…here’s how you can participate

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 02:14

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We are delighted to announce our plans for Cochrane’s Virtual #CochraneSantiago which will be held online from 2-6 December 2019 and open to ALL Cochrane members and supporters.

Cochrane’s annual flagship event brings together the world’s most influential health researchers, scientists, academics, opinion leaders, clinicians, and patients to promote evidence-informed decision-making.

Whilst the recent, unprecedented situation of civil unrest across Santiago led to the cancellation of our face-to face Colloquium this year, with the support of so many contributors, we are pleased to welcome the full community to participate in Cochrane’s first, virtual #CochraneSantiago Colloquium.  Whilst we recognize our virtual meeting can never replace what we would have achieved together in-person in Chile, we believe that this unique week of content will be a fitting tribute to recognizing the extraordinary efforts of hundreds of contributors and Cochrane community‘s spirit of resilience and collaboration.

Virtual #CochraneSantiago will highlight the theme of ‘Embracing Diversity’. During the week of 2-6 December, content will be curated on our Colloquium website. We have created a dedicated page for each day’s content that will include posters, plenary content, bespoke curated materials from long and short oral presentations as well as pre-produced videos posted ‘as live’ on YouTube each day. In addition, we will provide ways you can interact with our daily content including discussion questions and social media conversations; and, we look forward to hearing from you on the wide-ranging discussions happening on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using #CochraneSantiago, with Cochrane’s Content Creators helping to lead these conversations across our web platforms.

The Virtual Colloquium is an open invitation to all - whether you registered and were planning to travel to Santiago or not! More details on the final programme schedule and how you can get involved each day will be posted here soon.

We look forward to welcoming you and hope it’ll be a unique opportunity to fully embrace the diversity of voices that make up Cochrane’s global community.

Hold the date now - Monday 2- Friday 6 December 2019 for virtual #CochraneSantiago!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cochrane supports AllTrials report on UK clinical trial transparency used as a basis for parliament evidence session

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:11

Cochrane recently supported an AllTrials report updating the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on rates of clinical trial reporting among universities and NHS trusts.

The report, which used data from the EU Trials Tracker, updated the Committee on progress since it wrote to UK universities and NHS trusts in January 2019 urging them to fulfil their reporting requirement within six months.

Under the European Commission’s Clinical Trial Regulation, trial sponsors must post summary results to the EU Clinical Trials Register within one year of a study ending, or six months for paediatric trials.

Figures from the report show an overall improvement in the publishing of results for UK university- and NHS trust-sponsored trials – rising from 48.1% in January 2019 to 63.9% in October 2019. However, while some sponsors went from 0% to 100% during this period, 33 NHS trusts and 6 universities had 0% of their trial results posted.

The Committee used the report as a basis for an evidence session at Parliament which took place on 29 October. Stakeholders, including universities, NHS trusts and regulators, were questioned about reporting rates, and there was discussion about the action that needs to be taken to achieve 100% compliance in the UK.
Cochrane Editor in Chief, Dr Karla Soares-Weiser, said:

“At Cochrane, we rely on the availability of clinical trial data to produce high-quality and relevant systematic reviews. We welcome this effort among UK-based non-commercial clinical trial sponsors to improve reporting rates – though there is still clearly much more to be done for all sponsors to meet their full ethical obligations and achieve 100% compliance.

Given that this issue goes far beyond the UK, we think it’s time for similar coordinated action on clinical trial transparency in other countries. We encourage researchers, healthcare professionals, patients and members of the public to get involved and to hold clinical trial sponsors to account on their reporting rates.”

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Recommended Dose podcast: Dr Arnav Agarwal, recently graduated doctor

Wed, 11/06/2019 - 14:52

Recently graduated doctor

This week, Dr Arnav Agarwal joins Ray to share the perspective and experiences of a young, recently graduated doctor working in a busy, metropolitan hospital. Despite the long shifts and demanding environment, Arnav makes time and space to reflect on work, life and mortality through his thought-provoking poetry and volunteer work.

Listen to Recommended Dose podcasts on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher  or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. 

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

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Podcast: Methods to help people quit smoking

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:22

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 are brief, allowing everyone from healthcare professionals to patients and families to hear the latest Cochrane evidence in under five minutes. Here we have curated three recent Cochrane podcasts on the subject of quitting smoking.

Podcast: What is the best way to use nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking?

Nicotine replacement therapy has been used to help people stop smoking for more than 20 years, and a large and growing body of research has tested it. To help cope with this, some of the related Cochrane Reviews have been divided up and in April 2019 the evidence on different doses, durations and modes of delivery was updated into a new review. Here’s one of the authors, Samantha Chepkin from Cochrane UK to tell us what they found.

Podcast: Can rewards help smokers to quit in the long term?

Smoking is still the biggest cause of preventable death worldwide and there are more than 50 Cochrane Reviews of the effects of interventions to help people quit. One of these, on the use of incentives, which was last published in 2015 was updated in July 2019. We asked the new lead author, Caitlin Notley, from the University of East Anglia in the UK to bring us up to date with the evidence.

Read the Cochrane Featured Review

Podcast: Does motivational interviewing help people to quit smoking?

Smoking remains a substantial public health problem around the world and the search for effective ways to help people stop is ongoing, with more than 50 Cochrane Reviews providing evidence on a wide variety of interventions. One of these reviews, on motivational interviewing, was updated in July 2019 and the lead author, Nicola Lindson from the University of Oxford in the UK brings us up to date in this podcast.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Introducing Karla Soares-Weiser, Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 12:02

Dr. Karla Soares-Weiser became the new Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library in June. Karla replaced Dr. David Tovey, who stepped down from the role at the end of May following ten years of distinguished service.

Learn more about Karla's story and her journey through Cochrane since 1995 in the video below;

Karla Soares-Weiser was born in Brazil and now lives in Israel. She is a trained psychiatrist, holds a Master's degree in epidemiology, and a Ph.D. in evidence-based healthcare from the University of São Paulo. She has been working in evidence-based health care since 1997 and is an author of over 60 Systematic Reviews, including 33 Cochrane Reviews. She has held numerous positions in Cochrane Groups, including as a Visiting Fellow at the IberoAmerican and UK Cochrane Centres, where she provided training in systematic review production. Outside Cochrane she has held Assistant Professor posts in Brazil and Israel, and established her own consultancy business providing evidence synthesis services to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations. She was instrumental in the development of Cochrane Response, the organization’s evidence consultancy service; and in 2015 was appointed Cochrane's first Deputy Editor in Chief. Since 2016 she has been leading the transformation programme of Cochrane Review Groups into Networks, and in 2017 became Acting Editor in Chief for four months during David Tovey’s leave on health grounds.

Following her appointment, Karla reiterated her vision for the Cochrane Library: “to improve health care decision making by consistently publishing timely, high priority, high-quality reviews responding to the needs of our end-users. I am committed to working with the Cochrane community to achieve this vision, strengthening diversity, and striving for an excellent author experience.”

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Recommended Dose with Marion Nestle, one of the world's most powerful foodies

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 11:30

Professor Marion Nestle

This week, Ray ventures into the notoriously complex field of nutrition with special guest, Professor Marion Nestle. Named by Forbes as one of the world's most powerful foodies, Marion’s stellar career spans five decades of research, teaching, advocacy work and the publication of countless prize-winning books.

Listen to Recommended Dose podcasts on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher  or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. 

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

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

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Cochrane Review on Saturated fats included in a report published by Public Health England

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 10:58

A report on Saturated Fats and Health by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has recently been published by Public Health England using evidence from the Cochrane Heart Group review, Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease.

The report from Public Health England considers the relationship between saturated fats, health outcomes and risk factors for non-communicable diseases in the general UK population.

Dr Saverio Stranges, author of this Cochrane Review explains,

“There is good evidence supporting the notion that reduction of saturated fat intake is likely to produce beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors and clinical events, although the findings on mortality outcomes are less consistent. In addition, the current trial evidence suggests that replacing the energy from saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat should be considered as an effective strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk, whereas replacement with carbohydrate or proteins is unlikely to produce any cardiovascular benefit.

The current trial evidence, although not perfect and conclusive, is strongly suggestive of potential cardiovascular benefits from saturated fat reduction and relative increase in unsaturated fats.

This evidence is reflected in the report from Public Health England.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Cochrane’s Colloquium’s Gala Dinner food donated to local charity in Santiago

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 13:45

Due to widespread violence and civil unrest in Santiago, Chile, this year’s Cochrane’s Colloquium was cancelled on Sunday 20 October 2019.

Our annual event would have featured a four-day wide-reaching scientific programme entitled ‘Embracing Diversity’ as well as a Gala Dinner open to all delegates on Thursday 24th October. Due to the cancellation, we are delighted to announce that all the pre-ordered food including catering provisions for a three-course Gala dinner has been donated to a local charity in Santiago.

Over the last few days, members from Cochrane Chile our Local Organizing Committee have been in contact with Movidos x Chile, a local, collaborative network of civil society organizations that focuses on coordinated action in response to humanitarian emergencies and disasters. Through this network, Cochrane Chile was connected with Corporación la Esperanza, who have successfully taken all the food from the Colloquium venue, CasaPiedra, for distribution to local good causes.

Corporación la Esperanza operates multiple drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in Santiago free of charge to low-income patients and families, as well as running prevention programmes and public policy advocacy.

Through their work, they provide much-needed food supplies to approximately 100 people every day and recently they have had difficulty receiving new provisions due to the ongoing social unrest across Chile.

On receiving the supplies, they have expressed their heart-felt thanks and gratitude to all Cochrane delegates, members and supporters for this generous donation.

With our very best wishes,

Cochrane Chile and Santiago Colloquium’s Local Organizing Teams

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Share your virtual #CochraneSantiago posters and presentations

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 17:01

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Dear Cochrane community,

Last week the unprecedented situation of civil unrest across Santiago led to the cancellation of the physical gathering of Cochrane's annual Colloquium. Whilst it has caused huge disappointment and inconvenience for hundreds of Colloquium delegates, we have been impressed by the generosity and perseverance to make the most out of this sad situation by our members and supporters.

On behalf of Cochrane and the Local Organizing Committee, I would like to invite those accepted for a poster or oral presentation to present their material virtually. Working with Cochrane Training, we will collect and curate the Colloquium content by topic and host them on our Colloquium website, the week of 2-6 December 2019. In addition, we will also be collecting plenary presentations and workshop materials and more details on these will follow.

Whilst we recognize our virtual meeting can never replace the valuable face-to-face interactions, we feel this week of virtual content it will be a fitting tribute to Cochrane community‘s spirit of resilience and collaboration. We invite the full community of Cochrane members and supporters to engage with virtual #CochraneSantiago from 2-6 December, 2019. Please mark your calendars and look out for more details as we get closer.

The theme of this year’s 26th Colloquium is ‘Embracing Diversity’. We hope that the virtual #CochraneSantiago can help contribute to reaching diverse audiences with diverse evidence needs for diverse health decisions.

With my personal thanks for all your support and best wishes,

Dr. Gabriel Rada
Chair of the Local Organizing Committee
Co-Director of
Cochrane Chile

Here’s how to submit your poster or oral presentation for the virtual Colloquium:

If you were accepted for a poster presentation, your poster and optional audio can be uploaded to the Colloquium website. We will curate the posters by topic and be back in touch with the wider community when posters are available to view.

To upload your poster to the Colloquium website:

  1.  Log in to the Colloquium website
  2. Go to “My submissions"
  3. Click on “Edit” next to your poster abstract
  4. Next to “Poster file” click on “Browse” to select a poster file (preferably a PDF)
  5. Select the poster file from your computer and then click “Upload"
  6. If you wish, you can also share an audio file of you ‘presenting’ your poster. Next to “Poster audio” click on “Browse” to select an audio file, select the audio file from your computer and then click “Upload"
  7. IMPORTANT: When you are finished, click on “save"
  8. The deadline for uploading posters is Friday November 8th

If you had a short or long oral presentation at the Colloquium, there are two options for you to submit this as a screencast (a video file of your slide presentation together with audio of you presenting). You can schedule a time with us to record your presentation online, and we will create a screencast for you. Or, you can record your own screencast of the presentation and share that with us.

We ask that duration be 5 minutes for short oral presentations and 10 minutes for long oral presentations. We will upload screencasts to the Cochrane Training YouTube channel and share these on the Colloquium website, so they will be publicly available.

To book a time with us to record your oral presentation as a screencast:

  1. Go to
  2. Select a suitable half hour presentation slot
  3. You can select more than one slot if you have more than one presentation, but otherwise please select only one suitable slot
  4. If you have more than one presenter, please book one slot and liaise with the other Colloquium colleague
  5. Use the 'Contact the poll creator' field to let us know the title of your presentation(s)
  6. IMPORTANT: Click “continue”, enter your email address and click “send"
  7. The deadline for booking slots is Monday 4th November

To submit your own screencast of your oral presentation:

  1. Go to:
  2. Upload your file. It’s helpful if you name the file with the same title as your presentation with first and last name in brackets afterwards
  3. The deadline for uploading presentations is Friday November 8th

Any questions? If you have any questions or need assistance with sharing your posters or oral presentations, please contact

Monday, October 28, 2019

Podcast: Xpert MTB/RIF and Xpert Ultra for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance in adults

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 13:26

Most Cochrane Reviews look at the effects of interventions on health, but a growing number provide evidence on how to diagnose a disease. In June 2019, one of these, on a test used to detect tuberculosis, was updated. The lead author, David Horne from the University of Washington in Seattle in the USA, sets the scene and tells us what the review found.

Tuberculosis, or TB, causes more deaths than any other infectious disease: 1.6 million people died from it in 2017. Most of these deaths could have been averted with earlier detection. The early diagnosis of TB is also important to prevent disease progression and long-term consequences, alleviate symptoms, and to protect public health by interrupting its transmission.

An important aspect of the global TB epidemic is the threat from drug-resistant TB. Unlike most other infectious diseases, TB treatment requires multiple drugs given for at least 6 months to prevent the emergence of drug-resistance and cure TB. But, some patients’ TB is resistant to the most potent drugs in a standard treatment regimen, rifampicin and isoniazid. Treatment of this multi-drug resistant or MDR-TB takes longer and requires drugs that are much more expensive and toxic than standard therapy. Every year, over half a million people develop MDR-TB or rifampicin-resistant TB; but, in 2017, only one in four of these started appropriate treatment and just over one-half of those were cured.

Culturing TB in the laboratory is the best test for diagnosing TB and is the first step in detecting drug resistance. Unfortunately, though, this complex and slow procedure is not widely available in many resource-constrained settings.

As an alternative, in 2010, the World Health Organisation recommended GeneXpert MTB/RIF as a rapid test that can simultaneously detect both TB and rifampicin resistance in sputum and other specimens. It’s designed to be used outside of reference laboratories in settings nearer to patients, such as hospitals and clinics in low-resource settings. The test has been a giant leap forward and called a “game changer” but it struggles if the patient has something called smear-negative pulmonary TB, when their sample contains too few TB bacteria. To try to overcome this limitation, the manufacturer introduced a new version called Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra.
We performed our first systematic review of GeneXpert in 2014 and this update allows us to bring in the more recent studies of both GeneXpert and Xpert Ultra for detecting TB in the lungs and for detecting rifampicin resistance in adults. We now have 95 studies, with 68 that were not previously available for our 2014 review, and data from more than 37,000 people.

Looking first at the detection of TB, we found that GeneXpert’s sensitivity was 85% and its specificity was 98%. This means that it correctly identifies TB in 85 of every hundred people with it, but suggests that TB is present in two in every hundred people without it. The sensitivity of GeneXpert was significantly lower for people with smear-negative pulmonary TB at 67%, compared to 98% in those with smear-positive disease. Similarly, sensitivity was lower in people living with HIV at 81%, compared to 88% for those who were HIV-negative.
The accuracy of GeneXpert was high for the detection of rifampicin resistance: sensitivity was 96% and specificity was 98%.

There is much less evidence for Xpert Ultra. We could include just one study, which compared Xpert Ultra to GeneXpert in over 1400 participants. It found that Xpert Ultra was more sensitive than Gene Xpert, 88% versus 83%, but its specificity was slightly lower, 96% versus 98%.

In summary, GeneXpert is sensitive and specific for the detection of both TB and rifampicin resistance. For TB detection, it has higher sensitivity in people who are smear-positive or HIV-negative. Based on a single study, Xpert Ultra had higher sensitivity and lower specificity for TB detection, but was similar for detecting rifampicin resistance. Therefore, we can conclude that both GeneXpert and Xpert Ultra provide accurate results and can allow rapid initiation of treatment for MDR-TB. However, there is still a need for additional studies of Xpert Ultra in diverse patient populations, including those with a prior history of TB. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Dr. David Tovey awarded Emeritus Editor-in-Chief

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 17:16

At its recent meeting in Santiago, Cochrane’s Governing Board has awarded Dr. David Tovey the title “Emeritus Editor-in-Chief.” This title is given in special recognition of David’s distinguished service as Cochrane’s first Editor-in-Chief of the Cochrane Library, 2009-2019. David stepped down from the role at the end of May 2019 following ten years in the role.

In hearing the news, David passed on his personal thanks to the Governing Board and Cochrane’s Community. He said, “I am extremely honoured to receive this honorary award from the Governing Board. Being Cochrane’s first Editor-in-Chief remains the highlight of my career to date, and I am most grateful for this recognition of my contribution.”

Friday, October 25, 2019