Minervation

Evidence based healthcare consultancy

Testing Treatments interactive: why we need fair tests of treatments, what they look like and how to get involved

Modern medicine has been hugely successful at reducing the impact of disease and increasing life expectancy.

In spite of this, too much medical decision making is based on insufficient evidence. As a result, doctors and other health professionals have sometimes harmed patients instead of helping them.

Avandia box

Avandia was withdrawn after evidence of adverse events mounted up

As recently as 2010, for example, the diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) was found to have caused serious cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes in spite of being licensed for over 10 years.

How we can prevent these things from happening again is the theme of Testing Treatments interactive (TTi), a family of websites Minervation has produced with an international group of collaborators.

TTi is about how we tell whether one treatment is better than another. In other words, it’s about what constitutes a “fair test” of the effects of treatments.

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Can Journalists and Health Information Professionals ever be friends?

Arm wrestle

“Journalists are all heavy drinking hacks with no idea about healthcare or scientific research. They just want to sell newspapers and further their own careers.”
– Quote from an imaginary Health Information Professional.

“Health Information Professionals are all boring, mousey nobodies who wouldn’t know a good headline if it smacked their bifocals off their face. They just want to push their side of the story and get more money for their organisation.”
– Quote from an imaginary Journalist.

These are clearly extreme versions of the truth, but it’s undeniable that these two professional groups haven’t always got on. Journalists and Health Information Professionals often seem to be at odds over key health issues, but surely if we can build good working relationships we can help each other and dramatically improve the quality of information that gets out to the general public?

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Network to Support Understanding of Health Research #NSUHR

Confused man scratching his headMuch of our work over the last decade has been around producing health information websites that are accessible, usable and reliable, but what does this mean if the audience are the UK general public?

Two key challenges are:

  1. Raising the level of knowledge that the general public have about health research and
  2. Teaching skills to help people become more discerning when they are presented with often exaggerated messages about the benefits of treatments.

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CONSORT Library of good reporting

CONSORT Logo

The CONSORT statement is an evidence-based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting RCTs.

You can now get involved in the effort to improve the quality of research reporting by sending examples of good practice to the CONSORT team.

Minervation has just delivered an add-on to their website that allows users to do just that.  Your examples are reviewed by the team and collated in a new section of the website:  the CONSORT Library.

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