Cochrane News

Subscribe to Cochrane News feed
Updated: 3 hours 19 min ago

Featured Review: Does cleaning venous leg ulcers help them to heal?

Mon, 03/15/2021 - 14:12
Monday, March 15, 2021

Special Collection: Brain tumour diagnosis and management

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 20:17

Cochrane Library Special Collections provide a round-up of up-to-date Cochrane evidence on a specific topic. This Special Collection provides evidence in several key clinical priority areas for brain tumour research. The reviews in this Collection provide evidence towards clinical priority areas for research, and their funding, and therefore, are important for consumers, clinicians, healthcare providers and funders.

Topics include:

  • Diagnosing brain tumours quickly, safely, and accurately
  • Risk-sharing in decision making for brain tumours
  • Best treatment when decisions are difficult

 When asked about the new Special Collection, Helen Bulbeck, Director of policy and services at brainstrust said, "We’re excited by the launch of this neuro-oncology collection. It reflects true collaboration between the Cochrane Organisation, the James Lind Alliance, the National Institute of Health Research, the National Cancer Research Institute and, most importantly, people who are living with brain cancer. This is transforming the neuro-oncology clinical research landscape."

A patient with glioblastoma at recurrence commented, "When you’re living with a brain tumour, there’s never a right and wrong decision. So these reviews are vital for people living with a brain tumour. I know, on my own brain tumour pathway, that there have been times when I have been so conflicted about which decision to make. I feel well; should I or shouldn’t I have a scan? Should I delay or start treatment? Should I just get on with living my life? So evidence around risk taking that helps you make the choice that is right for you, which you can share with your clinical team, is a gift. I wish more people knew about these reviews. I will talk about them with my doctors."

A caregiver of an elderly parent with a glioblastoma noted, "I think using patient advocacy resources has become more important since lockdown because MDTs and other cancer centre resources are so stretched. Sometimes you need to get all you can without the help of the medical community who are dealing as best they can with more urgent cases and themselves often in the front line of coronavirus! Finding these brain tumour Cochrane evidence reviews has helped my family and plugged a gap."

A special Evidently blog post for people living with a brain tumour, healthcare practitioners and anyone with an interest in brain tumours has been posted. In it,  Helen Bulbeck, Cochrane consumer representative and director of policy and services for brainstrust, looks at the latest Cochrane evidence on brain tumours and reflects on what this special collection means for the brain tumour community and why collaboration has been key to the success of this work.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Jimmy Volmink recognized for his “exceptional lifelong contribution to medical research and public health"

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 20:08

Professor James "Jimmy" Volmink, the founding Director of the South African Cochrane Centre, was recognized for his exceptional lifelong contributions to medical research and public health with the Presidential Award from The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

SAMRCed host its 7th SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards with a ceremony of a small outdoor gathering of attendees following COVID-19 protocols at the organisation’s Head Office in Cape Town and an online audience. You can watch the awards ceremony and Jimmy's acceptance speech in this video:

Jimmy reflects on reflects his personal and professional journey in this 'Recommended Dose' podcast. His current role at Stellenbosch - one of South Africa’s most pre-eminent universities - is itself a striking testament to the kind of change he has witnessed, worked towards and continues to advocate for. When he applied to study at Stellenbosch back in the 1980s, Jimmy was turned down because he was black. Almost four decades later, he holds the prestigious position of Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences at that very same university. Here, Jimmy shares with Ray how this and many other formative experiences have led to his lifelong, unwavering commitment to support and mentor new generations of students in South Africa and to keep on 'banging the drum about inequality' to affect real change.

Please join us in offering Professor Volmink congratulations on this honour and best wishes for the future.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Cochrane seeks Managing Editor

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 11:28

Specifications: Full Time (Fixed Term/Consultancy role)
Salary: circa £40,000 per annum
Location: Flexible
Application Closing Date:  24 March 2021

Cochrane has established a centrally-resourced Editorial Service to support the efficient and timely publication of high-quality systematic reviews in the Cochrane Library. The reviews that are published through the Central Editorial Service address some of the research questions considered to be the most important to decision makers.

The Central Editorial Service will also be instrumental in running a pilot of approaches to increase editorial efficiency and integrity within Cochrane. The Managing Editor role will play a key role in operationalising this pilot.

Reporting to the Executive Editor of the Central Editorial Service, the Managing Editor will manage the editorial process of protocols and reviews submitted to the Central Editorial Service. The role-holder should be alert to the demands of delivering high-quality review content for publication in a timely fashion, and work to ensure that deadlines can be met.   

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

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here
  • The deadline to receive your application is by 24 March 2021
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. Note that we will assess applications as they are received, and therefore may fill the post before the deadline
  • Interviews to be held on: 8 and 9 April 2021
Thursday, March 11, 2021 Category: Jobs

Visual Abstract: Ivabradine as adjuvant treatment for chronic heart failure

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 10:27
Thursday, March 11, 2021

Cochrane in 2021: an opportunity to reunite with colleagues

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 20:21

​It is with pleasure that we invite our global community of staff, members and supporters to join us for a virtual meeting on Monday 22 March 2021. Register for this event

This is a free online event open to everyone in Cochrane that will give our members the opportunity to hear updates and about key organizational priorities for 2021 and beyond.

 The session will be presented live twice 09:00-11:00 (check in your local time) and 17:00-19:00 GMT (check your local time) via Cochrane’s virtual events online platform, Hopin. Short presentations from Cochrane’s leadership will be pre-recorded and made available via email and our Community website during the week commencing 15th March. Alongside the pre-recorded material, you will be given the opportunity to submit any questions that you have in advance so that they can be addressed on the day.

A virtual meeting of the Governing Board and Senior Management Team. We look forward to meeting with you March 22!

The two-hour format will include a live question and answer session with the majority of time dedicated to smaller, interactive groups allowing our Cochrane colleagues and friends to connect and reunite, and share their work and experiences from the last 12 months. There will be no formal live presentations. 

Free registration is now open via Hopin – register today! Please note that you will need to sign up to Hopin before you can register for the event. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please contact

This special event will not replace Cochrane’s virtual Governance meetings; we now plan to hold these online on Monday 17th - Wednesday 19th May 2021, inclusive.

We know that COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on all of us in 2021 with so many disruptions to our home and work lives. We hope you, your families and colleagues are well and safe and we look forward to seeing many of you again, albeit virtually, on March 22. 

With our best wishes, 

Catherine Marshall and Tracey Howe
Co-chairs of the Governing Board                   

Mark Wilson
Chief Executive Officer                          

Karla Soares-Weiser

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Cochrane Library Editorial - Contested effects and chaotic policies: the 2020 story of (hydroxy) chloroquine for treating COVID-19

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 19:48

During the past 12 months chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been touted as cures for COVID-19 and introduced into Covid-19 treatment protocols. This has led to increases in demand, leaving some rheumatoid arthritis and lupus patients deprived of effective treatments.

A newly published Cochrane Library Editorial explores the story of the assessment of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine efficacy and the lessons learnt. 

This Editorial publishes alongside the recently published review published in the Cochrane Library  that concludes that hydroxychloroquine  has no clinical benefit in treating COVID-19 in hospitalised patients.

View larger sized visual abstract

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Special Collection - Best of the Cochrane Library: 2020 in review

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 15:41

The annual 'Best of the Cochrane Library' Special Collection showcases Cochrane content published in various formats.

What were the most accessed Cochrane Reviews of 2020? The most accessed Cochrane Editorials or Podcasts?  Find out in a Special Collection, now available on the Cochrane Library website.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Featured Review: Stopping smoking is linked to improved mental health

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 09:08

Evidence published in the Cochrane Library today will reassure people who want to stop smoking that quitting for at least 6 weeks may improve their mental wellbeing, by reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. People’s social relationships are unlikely to suffer if they stop smoking. 

Smoking is the world's leading cause of preventable illness and death. One in every two people who smoke will die of a smoking-related disease unless they quit. Some people believe that smoking helps reduce stress and other mental health symptoms, and that quitting smoking might make their mental health problems worse. People who smoke may also worry that stopping smoking will have a negative impact on their social lives and friendships.

The review found that people who stopped smoking for at least 6 weeks experienced less depression, anxiety, and stress than people who continued to smoke. People who quit also experienced more positive feelings and better psychological wellbeing.  Giving up smoking did not have an impact on the quality of people’s social relationships and it is possible that stopping smoking may be associated with a small improvement in social wellbeing.

The review summarises evidence from 102 observational studies involving over 169,500 people. The review authors combined the results from 63 of these studies that measured changes in mental health symptoms in people who stopped smoking with changes occurring in people who continued to smoke. They also combined results from 10 studies that measured how many people developed a mental health disorder during the study. The studies involved a wide range of people, including people with mental health conditions and people with long-term physical illnesses. The length of time the studies followed people varied, with the shortest being 6 weeks, but some studies followed people for up to 6 years. The certainty of the evidence ranged from very low to moderate.

The lead author of this Cochrane Review, Dr Gemma Taylor from the Addiction & Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, said, “We found stopping smoking was associated with small to moderate improvements in mood. The benefits of smoking cessation on mood seem to be similar in a range of people, and most crucially, there is no reason to fear that people with mental health conditions will experience a worsening of their health if they stop smoking. Our confidence in the precise size of the benefit is limited due to the way the studies were designed and future studies that can overcome those challenges will greatly strengthen the evidence about the impacts of smoking cessation on mental health.”

Dr Gemma Taylor continued, “Many people who smoke are concerned that quitting could disrupt their social networks, and lead to feelings of loneliness. People can be reassured that stopping smoking does not seem to have a negative impact on social quality of life. People may also be concerned that quitting is stressful. The evidence shows that stress is reduced in people who stop smoking and that there are likely longer-term benefits for peoples’ mental health.”

A team of researchers from the Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Oxford, and New York University  worked together to produce this review.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Cochrane seeks Contracts Officer (maternity cover)

Thu, 03/04/2021 - 15:54

Specifications: Full Time fixed term contract
Salary: up to £35,000
Location: London with flexibility to work from home up to 3 days a week
Application Closing Date: 15 March 2021

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world.  This role is an exciting opportunity to use your experience as a legal administrator to make a difference in the field of health care research.  

The successful candidate will support the Senior Contracts Specialist in delivering an effective contracts management service to the Central Executive Team, by:

  • Managing and maintaining a contracts database
  • Proof-reading final drafts of agreements
  • Executing contracts
  • Populating templates
  • Drafting (with support).
  • Legal research.

The successful candidate will have:


  • Degree in law or significant experience in contracts management
  • Previous experience of providing administrative support to a solicitor/contracts team
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience of, or an interest in, learning about contracts drafting and negotiation in the research/healthcare sector
  • Experience of skim-reading contracts/reports
  • Previous demonstrable experience of database management
  • Ability to work methodically and accurately
  • Ability to work independently and use initiative/self-starter
  • A pro-active approach to problem-solving
  • Awareness of handling confidential and sensitive information
  • Intermediate level IT skills, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Be confident in assimilating new computer programmes and systems.
  • Strong organization and prioritization skills - a flexible approach with the ability to respond quickly to issues as they arise
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to maintain a diplomatic, measured approach at all times.

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

How to apply
For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.  The deadline to receive your application is by 15 March 2021.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. Note that we will assess applications as they are received, and therefore may fill the post before the deadline.

  • Deadline for applications: 15 March 2021 (12 midnight GMT)
  • Interviews to be held on: w/c 22 March 2021 (TBC)
Thursday, March 4, 2021 Category: Jobs

Cochrane International Mobility - Carolina Severiche Mena

Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:22

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

Getting involved in Cochrane’s work means becoming part of a global community. The Cochrane International Mobility programme connects successful applicants with a placement in a host Cochrane Group, learning more about the production, use, and knowledge translation of Cochrane reviews. The prgramme offers opportunities for learning and training not only for participants but also for host staff.

In this series, we profile those that have participated in the Cochrane International Mobility Program and learn more about their experiences.

Name: Carolina Severiche Mena
International Mobility location: Cochrane Croatia

How did you first learn about Cochrane?
I have been a Cochrane member since 2019. I became interested in Cochrane because I was impressed by its commitment to making high-quality medical information accessible to people worldwide. That motivated me to volunteer my time and support its mission.

What was your experience with Cochrane International Mobility?
Participating in CIM has been very rewarding. It has helped me develop professional skills and increase my knowledge of research methodologies. I also had the opportunity to complete Cochrane Interactive Training. All these tasks have been carried out remotely, given COVID-19.

What are you doing now in relation to your Cochrane International Mobility experience?
Currently, I am preparing my first systemic review about peripheral artery disease and patient-centered outcomes. In the future, I plan to continue collaborating with Cochrane on cardiovascular disease and patient-centered care initiatives. Meanwhile, I am attending online webinars hosted by Cochrane to refine my technical knowledge.

Do you have any words of advice to anyone conserving a Cochrane International Mobility experience?
I highly recommend this experience to medical professionals or students who want to increase their research methodology skills and systematic review knowledge.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Special Collection - Chronic suppurative otitis media: effectiveness of non-surgical treatments

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 20:26

Supported by Cochrane Ear ,Nose and Throat a new Cochrane Library Special Collection curates the latest Cochrane evidence on non-surgical treatments for chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). 

CSOM is estimated to have a global incidence of 31 million episodes per year, disproportionately affecting people at socio-economic disadvantage. Many people who are affected by CSOM do not have good access to modern primary healthcare, let alone specialised ear, nose and throat care. Given this evidence need, Cochrane ENT have prioritized the production of systematic reviews on non-surgical treatments for CSOM. This up-to-date evidence is in this Cochrane Library Special Collection.



Friday, March 5, 2021

COVID-19 and its cardiovascular effects: a systematic review of prevalence studies

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 19:42

In this short interview, Prof. John GF Cleland, senior author of this recently published Cochrane review, tells us about what this review found regarding the type of heart and blood vessel problems that complicate COVID-19 infections.

Tell us about this review.

This review first  focuses on cardiovascular problems pre-existing the development of COVID, usually in cases that were severe enough to require hospitalization. We know that older people are more likely to have cardiovascular disease and to be admitted with severe COVID. We are only looking at associations. It is unclear whether cardiovascular disease or age was the key driving factor, because the two problems are so interconnected. It is possible that after adjusting for age, cardiovascular problems are similarly common in people with and without COVID.

The review then goes on to assess the risk of cardiovascular complications, highlighting which are the most common (unexpectedly, this was atrial fibrillation). The review does not investigate which treatments might effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications.

What bought brought you to this topic?

The Cochrane Team put out a request to the British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Collaboration for help with reviewing the risk factors associated with developing or being hospitalized with COVID, and the consequences of hospitalization. We answered that call. We knew that many people infected by COVID-19 have few or no symptoms. However, COVID-19 can make the blood ‘sticky’, clogging up both small blood vessels (capillaries) and large ones, which may cause heart attacks, strokes or blood clots in the legs or lungs. These can be fatal. We wanted to find out, in cases of confirmed or suspected COVID-19:

  • what are the most common pre-existing heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems (for example, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity); and
  • what are the most common complications affecting the heart and blood vessels (for example, irregular heartbeat, blood clots, heart failure and stroke)  in different setting (in the community, care homes or in hospital).

What can the evidence tell us?

We found that high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are very common in people hospitalised with COVID-19 and are associated with an increased risk of death. More than one-third of patients with COVID-19 had a history of high blood pressure and about one in every five had diabetes or were obese. Many had all three of these problems. Many people also had more advanced disease including an irregular heart beat or coronary heart disease (both about one in ten), stroke or heart failure (both about one in twenty). 

The most common new complication (in addition to pre-existing problems) after being hospitalized with COVID-19 is an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation; 8.5%). Blood clots in the legs (6.1%) or lungs (4.3%), and heart failure (6.8%) were also common, but the reported rates may be underestimated because the studies did not always carry out appropriate investigations. Heart attacks (1.7%) and strokes (1.2%) were reported less often. Blood tests also often suggested heart damage or stress.

These results show what the clinical teams looking after patients with COVID should watch out for. Clinical teams are already aware of the risk of blood clots but may be less aware of the risk of developing atrial fibrillation or heart failure. Also, heart failure may be difficult to diagnose in a patient with COVID, so great care and attention is required not to miss this treatable diagnosis. 

What’s next?

The studies focused on people in hospital, with severe COVID-19, so the results do not apply to people who had milder COVID-19 who were not hospitalized. The studies were very different from each other and did not always report the results in the same way or use the most reliable methods. Older patients are at greater risk of having pre-existing problems, being hospitalized with COVID and having severe complications. This needs to be taken into account when assessing the risks. Accordingly, some uncertainty exists about how to apply our results to new patients with COVID. Analysis including more high-quality studies will increase the precision of risk-estimates overall, for specific subgroups (eg: older patients) and specific settings (eg: severe COVID managed in hospital compared to milder cases managed in the community). Our results also suggest additional potential therapeutic targets, such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure, that have not been the focus of trials so far.

We plan to update this review. However, in future, we will focus only on higher-quality evidence to increase the strength of our findings.  

We also plan to compare the risk of cardiovascular complications with COVID-19 with that observed in large series of other severe respiratory infections in hospitalised patients.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Cochrane Circulation and Breathing Network seeks Cochrane Systematic Review Fellow - London, UK

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 17:19

Location of position: London, UK
Hours: Full Time
Salary: (inclusive of London allowance)£36,028 - £43,533 per annum
Closing date: 2 April 2021

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

Cochrane Circulation and Breathing Network is seeking a Cochrane Systematic Review Fellow (Network Support Fellow) to support the aims and objectives of the Network. 

Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Systematic review support for NICE and its guidelines bodies relevant to the Network area in order to ensure the timely delivery of required systematic reviews.
  • Quality support for systematic reviews produced within the Network, including the use of triage and screening tools to accelerate the editorial process.
  • Helping to co-ordinate training in the use of above tools.
  • Editorial and author support for selected high- priority reviews.
  • Support for introduction of new methods.
  • Support for dissemination efforts and knowledge translation

View the full job description and apply before 2 April 2021. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 Category: Jobs

The effect of walking on blood pressure control

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 16:05
Tuesday, March 2, 2021