We are happy to announce that the Ministry of Public Health (Vice-ministry of Quality Guarantee) of the Government of the Dominican Republic has subscribed to the Biblioteca Cochrane Plus. This national subscription will provide free open access to all Dominican citizens, approximately ten million people.
Cochrane Reviews provide reliable and unbiased evidence through the identification, assessment, synthesis, and dissemination of research findings. Biblioteca Cochrane Plus houses Spanish translations of more than 7000 systematic reviews, and this access will provide students, practitioners, researchers, and patients with one-click access to this leading resource in evidence-based research.
Hailed as one of the best British novelists writing today, Sarah Moss is our very special literary guest on TRD this week. She joins Ray to explore the intersection between fiction and health, and to talk about the doctors, patients, parents and families she portrays so vividly in her five highly acclaimed novels.
The role of the writer, Sarah says, is to ‘ask hard questions beautifully’. She certainly does this through her own exploration of individual lives and struggles within clearly defined social structures past and present. From the first female doctors to forge careers against incredible odds in the 19th century to the challenges of working mums and stay-at-home dads in the 21st century - the terrain she covers is immense.
Here she talks to Ray about the research and reflection that goes into illuminating both historical and contemporary medical worlds that share common themes and raise critical questions about the way we live today. Her comments on the British National Health Service (the NHS) are timely and heart-felt.
She also shares her thoughts on the diverse origins of her storylines, which include both her personal experiences of early motherhood and her political response to news reports from warzones around the globe.
Sarah’s novels include The Tidal Zone (Granta 2016), Signs for Lost Children (Granta 2015), Bodies of Light (Granta 2014), Night Waking (Granta 2011) and Cold Earth (Granta 2009). She also published a non-fiction book called Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland (Granta 2012), which explores her experiences as a resident of Reykjavik.
Image: courtesy of the University of WarwickWednesday, December 6, 2017
Cochrane’s Iberoamerican Network is delighted to announce the formation of a new Cochrane Centre to enhance health decision-making in Chile.
The Chilean Cochrane Centre is the result of an exciting collaboration between five institutions:
- Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Chile;
- Centro Evidencia UC, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago;
- Centro de Capacitación, Investigación y Gestión para la Salud Basada en Evidencias (CIGES), Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO), Temuco;
- Unidad de Medicina Basada en Evidencia, Departamento de Salud Pública, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso; and,
- Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción.
Cochrane Chile will promote evidence-informed health decision-making by supporting and training new Chilean authors of Cochrane Reviews, as well as working with clinicians, professional associations, policy-makers, patients, and the media to encourage the dissemination and use of Cochrane evidence.
The Cochrane Chile Centre is part of Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health. Cochrane works with collaborators from more than 130 countries and in 14 languages to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Cochrane’s work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.
Cochrane Chile will be co-ordinatedand led by its Director, Gabriel Rada, who will offer methodological support, mentoring, and supervision to the Cochrane Chile Centre. He says this is a hugely exciting opportunity: “The launch of Cochrane Chile is very important, both to Chile and globally. Producing and increasing the dissemination of the best available information on health care is critical for clinicians and patients everywhere in the world.”
The new Centre is part of The Cochrane Iberoamerican Network. Director, Xavier Bonfil added, “It is a wonderful opportunity for Chilean researchers to have more direct contributions in order to produce and disseminate Cochrane knowledge. I believe that this Centre will be a cornerstone to advocate evidence-informed practice in Chile and Cochrane’s formal presence in the country will help spread the mission of Cochrane’s work.”
Cochrane’s CEO Mark Wilson, warmly welcomed today’s news, “I am very proud to welcome a new Cochrane Centre in Chile. The Centre is made up of an outstanding group of collaborators from around the country and I am confident that they will make Cochrane evidence even more accessible and useful for all those who need it in Chile. In 2019 Santiago will host Cochrane’s annual global meeting and this new Centre reflects the confidence we have in Cochrane Chile’s new dynamic team.”
- For more information on the work of Cochrane Chile, please visit the Cochrane Chile website
- Read this Press Release in Spanish (View PDF)
Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health. Cochrane produces reviews which study all of the best available evidence generated through research and make it easier to inform decisions about health. These are called systematic reviews. Cochrane is a not-for profit organization with collaborators from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Our work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.
If you are a journalist or member of the press and wish to receive news alerts before their online publication or if you wish to arrange an interview with an author, please contact the Cochrane press office: email@example.comThursday, December 7, 2017
Psychiatrist and would-be international DJ Prathap Tharyan joins Ray from his home in India this week to explore a fascinating fraction of his work, life, and philosophy.
Prathap’s wide-ranging agenda reflects a decidedly down-to-earth and original take on understanding and improving the human condition. Be it tending to victims of the Boxing Day tsunami, ensuring humanistic care for the homeless, or working with Wikipedia to get better health information to millions around the globe – people and evidence are always at the very centre of his many and varied activities.
Prathap is a leading advocate for evidence-based approaches in Asia, and his work with people in the midst of humanitarian crises has consistently shown that good intentions are no substitute for good evidence.Monday, November 27, 2017
Many people after having a stroke have difficulty moving, thinking, and sensing. This often results in problems with everyday activities such as writing, walking, and driving. Virtual reality and interactive video gaming therapy involves using computer-based programs designed to simulate real-life objects and events. This may have some advantages over traditional therapy approaches as they can give people an opportunity to practice everyday activities that are not or cannot be practiced within the hospital environment and patients may spend more time in therapy as the activity might be more motivating.
A team of Cochrane authors based in Australia, Canada, and United States worked with Cochrane Stroke to determine the efficacy of virtual reality compared with an alternative intervention or no intervention on upper limb function and activity and on gait and balance, global motor function, cognitive function, activity limitation, participation restriction, quality of life, and adverse events. 72 studies involving 2470 people after stroke were included.
This Cochrane Review found that the use of virtual reality and interactive video gaming was not more beneficial than conventional therapy approaches in improving upper limb function but may be beneficial in improving upper limb function and activities of daily living function when used as an adjunct to usual care (to increase overall therapy time). There was insufficient evidence to reach conclusions about the effect of virtual reality and interactive video gaming on gait speed, balance, participation, or quality of life. There was a trend suggesting that higher dose (more than 15 hours of total intervention) was preferable as were customised virtual reality programs; however, these findings were not statistically significant.
“Virtual reality is a rising popular trend that extends into clinical settings, including stroke rehabilitation,” says Kate Laver from the Department of Rehabilitation, Aged and Extended Cae at the Flinders University in Australia and the lead author of the Cochrane Review. “We first published this Cochrane Review in 2011 and then updated it in 2015. This latest update adds 35 more studies to the evidence base, almost doubling the previously included number of studies. Clinicians who currently have access to virtual reality programs should be reassured that their use as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program appears reasonable, taking into account the patient's goals, abilities, and preferences.”
Feature Review: What factors influence the provision of care by skilled birth attendants in low- and middle-income countries?
New Cochrane evidence synthesis highlights the many factors that influence the care provided by skilled birth attendants
In low- and middle-income countries, many mothers still die during childbirth. Women are encouraged to give birth in health facilities rather than at home so they can receive care from skilled birth attendants. A skilled birth attendant is a health worker such as a midwife, doctor, or nurse who is trained to manage a normal pregnancy and childbirth, and refer the mother and newborn when complications arise.
A team of Cochrane authors based in Norway, South Africa,and Uganda worked with Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care to identify factors that can influence skilled birth attendant’s ability to provide quality maternity care. 31 qualitative studies conducted in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were included that explored the views, experiences, andbehaviours of skilled birth attendants. Participants were skilled birth attendants including doctors, midwives, nurses, auxiliary nurses and their managers. The search covered studies published before November 2016
This Cochrane evidence synthesis found that many factors influence the care that skilled birth attendants can provide to mothers during childbirth. Factors include access to training and supervision; staff numbers and workloads; salaries and living conditions; and access to well-equipped,well-organisedhealthcare facilities with water, electricity, and transport. Other factors that may play a role include the existence of teamwork and of trust, collaboration, and communication between health workers and with mothers. Skilled birth attendants reported many problems tied to these factors.
“This synthesis highlights the everyday realities of a health worker, working in sometimes difficult circumstances in a low or middle-income countrysetting,while trying to provide care for mothers and babies,” says Susan Munabi-Babigumira, the lead author of the Cochrane evidence synthesis. “More needs to be done to address the human resource and health system infrastructural challenges that prevent health workers based at health facilities in low- and middle- income country settings from providing good quality maternity care. This synthesis is also relevant for an international audience since it addresses the need to build resilient health systems to improve health outcomes. We hope the findings in this review can be used to design strategies to improve the quality of care for mothers and theirbabies,and improve health services in general.”
Hours: Part time (0.5 FTE)
Basis: Fixed term contract for 12 months
Closing Date: 15th January 2018
Interview Date: TBC
The School of Medicine at the University of Central Lancashire wishes to appoint two Senior Research Assistants to support the research and knowledge transfer activities of Dr Morris Gordon. The main research interests of Dr Morris Gordon are systematic review and evidence synthesis, in post clinical and educational contexts. The post holder will undertake Cochrane systematic reviews as part of an NIHR funded project under the direction of Dr Gordon.
With experience of systematic review work and specific Cochrane experience, you will have knowledge and understanding of the work of Cochrane Collaboration and the nature of systematic reviews.
You will have postgraduate training in an appropriate field to at least Masters level, including epidemiology, public health and medical specialities. A PhD or Professional Doctorate qualification are not essential requirements, but would be desirable.
You must possess excellent communication skills; have an ability to work within a multidisciplinary team and show initiative and innovation. With a professional and flexible approach, you will have a commitment to the missions and values of the University.
Informal enquiries are welcomed - please contact Morris Gordon, Head of Professionalism and Careers, via email in the first instance firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants need to meet all essential criteria on the person specification to be considered for interview. This position is based in Preston.
Please apply online via www.uclan.ac.uk/jobs or by contacting Human Resources on 01772 892324 and quoting the reference number. CVs will not be considered unless accompanied by a completed application form.Monday, November 20, 2017 Category: Jobs
Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, Bond University, Robina, Queensland, Australia;
and part-time General Practitioner
Paul Glasziou (aka The Surfing Professor) joins Ray this week to share insights from his stellar career as both a family doctor in Brisbane and a global evidence guru at Oxford and Bond Universities. He explores big picture health issues like overdiagnosis, overtreatment and the implications of genomic testing, alongside important questions for our everyday health - like how you can find and use evidence and put it to good use when visiting or choosing your own doctor or specialist.
At one point Ray braves a chilly Gold Coast beach at the crack of dawn to find Paul and his close colleague/best surfing buddy Professor Chris Del Mar catching waves, spotting whales and agreeing that fun is actually a surprisingly essential part of serious research work.
Specifications: Full Time
Location: any Western Europe location considered; Copenhagen, Denmark preferred
Application Closing Date: Friday 15 December 2017
This is a challenging and interesting opportunity for a junior developer to contribute to a non-profit organisation with a social mission to improve health care for everyone.
Job description: You will be based in Cochrane’s Informatics and Knowledge Management Team, and you will work in the team responsible for web applications and web services for Cochrane systematic review production software. These tools are central to Cochrane’s new review production ecosystem, linking several applications from Cochrane and partners.
Requirements: The candidate should have demonstrable software development experience and knowledge, and is expected to quickly master new languages, frameworks, and tools. We are looking for a thorough, organised and collaborative team member who will contribute to good practice standards and strive for quality. We expect you to contribute primarily to software development, but also to solution design and quality assurance, especially unit testing.
About Cochrane: 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.
Applying: If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to email@example.com with “Junior Software Developer” in the subject line. The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples. List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.
For further information, please download the full job description.
The 2018 Cochrane Colloquium will be held in Edinburgh at the International Conference Centre in Scotland from 16-18 September 2018. It will be hosted by Cochrane UK.
Cochrane’s annual colloquia is a truly international event, attracting up to 1300 delegates from across the world. It’s a great opportunity for delegates and organizations attending, to network and learn more about the latest in evidence-based practice.
The theme for 2018 is:
Cochrane for all: Better evidence for better health decisions
This will be a Colloquium for everyone. It will welcome newcomers to Cochrane from all parts of the world and from all backgrounds. One of the key aims is to increase the involvement of patients, carers and family members (healthcare consumers) in our work. As such, the Colloquium 2018 will be a Patients Included event that is co-designed, co-produced and co-presented by healthcare consumers and where everyone’s input is valued equally.
The Colloquium 2018 will focus on the key goals of Cochrane’s Strategy to 2020, looking through the eyes of healthcare consumers and in partnership with them:
- Producing evidence
- Making evidence accessible
- Advocating for evidence
- Effective and sustainable organization
Below is the sponsor and exhibition brochure, that lays out the options available, including advertising and stipend opportunities. This is an exciting moment to be part of Cochrane and its mission.
If you would like to discuss the opportunities available, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.orgTuesday, November 14, 2017
On October 26 2017, the independent and non-profit Cochrane Germany Foundation (Cochrane Deutschland Stiftung, CDS) was officially established with an office in Freiburg. The German Federal Ministry of Health will support the foundation with an amount of up to one Million Euro annually to ensure that the activities of Cochrane Germany can pursue permanently.
On November 9, the German Minister of Health said:
“We need independent research that persistently and scientifically questions study results and that provides us with reliable information about the best-possible treatment methods. That is why I called on the Federation to support the activities of Cochrane Germany in a sustainable manner with the formation of the Cochrane Germany Foundation.”
With the establishment of the foundation, a twenty year period of project-based funding comes to an end for Cochrane Germany. Stable and regular funding will enable the foundation to generate and implement information based on Cochrane Evidence steadily, to engage with relevant stakeholders and user groups more easily, to expand training programs and contribute to methodological enhancements for systematic reviews. The knowledge that Cochrane generates constitutes an essential information source on the effectiveness of therapies and diagnostic methods in the field of medicine and facilitates decision-making for evidence-informed health care in the best-possible manner.
Director of the foundation is Prof. Gerd Antes (scientific director) and Dr. Britta Lang (managing director). The academic partner of the foundation remains the central facility “Evidence in Medicine” of the Freiburg University Medical Centre, directed by PD Dr. Jörg Meerpohl and Prof. Dr. Gerd Antes.
Posts: Community Support Officers and Senior Community Support Officer
Specifications: Full time/part time. Multiple positions. Permanent contract (subject to probationary period and location). Secondments welcome.
Closing date for applications: Friday, 8th December 2017
Experienced and friendly support staff are invited to be part of Cochrane’s new Community Support team. This team will present a friendly, supportive and efficient point of contact for the Cochrane community, responding to queries covering a broad range of areas including software (e.g. Archie, RevMan), membership, training, websites, sales, review production and research. The Community Support team are the day-to-day face of the team answering the majority of queries and escalating complex enquiries appropriately.
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.
This team sits within the Learning and Support department, which strives to provide outstanding, inclusive learning and support programmes that effectively enhance the skills, knowledge and experience of current and potential contributors, enable high quality participation in diverse Cochrane activities, and enable the effective implementation of Cochrane policies and procedures.
Team members will have the opportunity to collaborate in the setup and design of this coordinated service.The roles
Community Support Officers:
With a commitment to providing excellent support and service to our community, you will act as the act as the first line of contact for support enquiries from the Cochrane community and escalating queries to subject matter experts as required.
Salary: Up to £30,000 dependant on skills and experience.
FTE: Multiple positions up to 1.4 FTE in total.
Position description: Click here
Senior Community Support Officer:
With experience providing support or training to Cochrane contributors, you will act as an expert responder to more complex queries relating to review production, software and methods.
Salary: Up to £35,000 dependant on skills and experience, or negotiable on secondment.
FTE: 0.2 FTE (1 day per week)
Position description: Click here
These roles will be accountable to the Learning and Support Manager, and responsible for providing high quality support services in collaboration with team members and subject matter experts.Term of appointment and recruitment process
This position is open to anyone who meets the requirements described above. We welcome flexible working arrangements and applications from candidates wishing to undertake this role as a part-time secondment from their employer. Our main office is in London, UK, but strong applicants in other locations will be considered.
The appointment process will consider the need for all aspects of diversity, including those of gender, age, experience, language and geographical location.
To apply please send a letter, Curriculum Vitae, and letter of support to email@example.com by Friday 8th December 2017.Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Category: Jobs
Professor of Epidemiology, Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, South Africa & Founding Director of Cochrane South Africa
Professor Jimmy Volmink joins Ray to trace an extraordinary personal and professional journey that defied the odds. From his childhood with little educational opportunity in apartheid South Africa to a stellar international research career, he shares the critical moments, chance meetings and inspiring influences that have shaped his life and work.
Jimmy's journey reflects the incredible social, political and human rights struggles of twentieth-century South Africa. 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.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, England's Chief Medical Officer, recently warned that the world could face a "post-antibiotic apocalypse.” She urged that, unless action is taken to halt the practices that have allowed antibiotic resistance to spread and ways are found to develop new types of antibiotics, we could return to the days when simple wounds, infections or routine operations, are life-threatening.
To mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13th-19th November, we are highlighting Cochrane evidence which supports decision-making in the appropriate use of antibiotics.
Press Release: Shared decision making and antibiotic use for acute respiratory infections in primary care (read in Spanish).
The World Health Organization's latest breastfeeding guideline, Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services, has been published. This guideline provides global, evidence-informed recommendations on protection, promotion, and support of optimal breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services, as a public health intervention. It features evidence from 16 Cochrane Reviews; 7 Reviews from Cochrane Neonatal and 9 from Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth.View the WHO guideline and view the evidence included.
- Enabling breastfeeding for mothers and babies - a Cochrane Special Collection - also in Croatian and Spanish.
- "New Cochrane Library Breastfeeding Special Collection" - Cochrane Australia news round-up and interview with author Christine East
- "Breastfeeding: evidence on effecting support and enablers for mothers and their babies" - blog post from author Christine East
- "Yummy, yummy in my tummy, getting big with milk from mummy. Getting preterm babies feeding orally - a roundup of current evidence." - Evidently Cochrane blog
- "Exclusive breastfeeding or extra food and fluids: evidence and practice - Evidently Cochrane blog.
- "New Lancet Breastfeeding Series is a call to action" - Evidently Cochrane blog.
- Podcast: Support for breastfeeding mothers
- "Support programs help moms extend breastfeeding time" - Reuters article
Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group seeks part-time Information Specialist (Manchester, UK)
Closing Date: 16/11/2017
Duration: 1 December 2017 until 31 March 2020
Hours Per Week: 0.6 FTE
Salary: £31,604 to £38,833 pro rata per annum according to experience
Location: Oxford Road, Manchester
The Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group wishes to recruit a part-time Information Specialist. We are looking for a dynamic and enthusiastic individual with excellent communication skills to support the production of systematic reviews in the field of orthopaedic trauma.
You will be a graduate with a strong health information background. A qualification in librarianship, information science or equivalent experience is essential. Experience of designing and conducting online literature searches of databases such as MEDLINE, good computer literacy and a sound knowledge of medical terminology and systematic reviews are also essential.
You will have excellent interpersonal, time management and organisational skills and be able to work with considerable autonomy to regular deadlines.
Cochrane Austria, Cochrane Russia, and Cochrane Sweden joined forces to deliver a truly International Cochrane event on evidence-based medicine, held in Kazan at the end of October. The successful workshop took place over two days and focused on review production software. It marked the third Cochrane workshop held in Russia to date.
The Vice Rector for Innovation, Andrey Artemyev, officially opened the workshop and gave a warm welcome to participants on behalf of the Rector of Kazan Federal University, Ilshat Gafurov.
The theme of the workshop was 'Cochrane systematic reviews: from protocol to review - logistics and challenges' and aimed to equip participants with knowledge and practical skills with regard to using Cochrane review production software Review Manager (RevMan).
Workshop participants had the opportunity to learn and actively interact with tutors on the most important issues of systematic literature search, selecting studies, data extraction, risk of bias assessment, meta-analysis, assessment of heterogeneity and quality of evidence, and use of supporting software (Covidence and RevMan).
The workshop was a huge success and marked the new level of joint collaborative work of Cochrane and Kazan Federal University, following the recent visit of Cochrane CEO Mark Wilson to Kazan and signing the partnership agreement with the Rector of the University Ilshat Gafurov.
We warmly thank our Cochrane tutors:
- Dr Gerald Gartlehner, Director of Cochrane Austria, DepartmentforEvidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Danube University Krems (Krems, Austria).
- Barbara Nussbaumer-Streit, Associate Director of Cochrane Austria, DepartmentforEvidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Danube University Krems (Krems, Austria).
- Dr Matteo Bruschettini, Director of Cochrane Sweden, Senior Consultant Neonatologist, Department of Paediatrics, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital (Lund, Sweden)
And all our participants, who were very active, inspiring, smart and stimulating representing 9 regions of the Russian Federation (Kazan, Kalinigrad, Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, Perm, Samara, St'Petersburg, Uliyanovsk, and Ufa), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Columbia.Media coverage
There are currently many different types or schools of yoga, each with a different emphasis on and approach to practice. It is widely thought that some of these yoga practices may help treat or prevent physical or mental illnesses, and improve the overall quality of life. There is therefore a need for information on the potential health benefits and harms of yoga.
The Cochrane Library Special Collection of systematic reviews on yoga focuses on reviews evaluating the effectiveness of yoga for improving physical or mental symptoms and quality of life in a range of health conditions. It has been developed to bring the best available evidence on the health-related effects of yoga to the attention of the general public, patients, health professionals, and other decision makers, and to inform choices on the use of yoga to improve health and well-being. This Special Collection has been collated by L Susan Wieland of the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field, with reviews from the following Cochrane groups - Cochrane Airways, Cochrane Back and Neck; Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma; Cochrane Breast Cancer; Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group; Cochrane Epilepsy; Cochrane Haematological Malignancies; Cochrane Heart; and Cochrane Schizophrenia.
The Special Collection covers:
- Musculoskeletal conditions
- Health of older people and improving balance
- Pulmonary conditions
- Cardiovascular disease
- Mental health
- Neurological conditions
- Child health
Lisa Bero, a former Co-Chair of the Cochrane Governing Board, says public will increasingly demand less wining and dining, more independence from health professionals
Global authority on research integrity and industry bias in science Professor Lisa Bero has called for greater recognition of industry influence in science, following last week’s revelations that Australian nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists are receiving millions of dollars in payments from pharmaceutical companies.
‘All around the world this is a problem because physicians and other health professionals to some extent have this expectation that they are wined and dined and it's part of becoming a health professional,’ she told Australian podcast The Recommended Dose with Ray Moynihan.
‘There really needs to be a way to change the culture and I think this is going to come from consumers and people who understand that this is not acceptable.’
‘So the next step after disclosure will really be to minimize dependence on these industry payments. I think that's hard for some groups that may be totally dependent on industry so one way is to find alternative sources of funding, but a second issue that needs to be addressed is whether this funding is actually needed. So, for example, is all that money that is going to buy fancy lunches or a cruise on the harbour - is that really necessary? Or if it's being spent on glossy brochures that only promote one product - is that really necessary?’
In a wide-ranging interview, Professor Bero highlights the tangible ways conflicts of interest can influence the decision-making of individual doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, as well as the bigger picture agenda and outcomes in health, climate change, and nutrition research.
In a striking example, Professor Bero tells The Recommended Dose how her own nutrition research into how private companies influence public health outcomes in areas such as obesity was found to be being secretly ‘monitored’ by Coca-Cola, as uncovered by The Sydney Morning Herald late last year.
‘I wasn't at all surprised that Coca-Cola, once they realized my research agenda included nutrition, would be monitoring my work as well,’ she says. ‘I'm not worried about it because I've been working in this area for over 20 years and have put up with a lot of scrutiny and unpleasant comments from industry and it hasn't really changed what I do.’
‘But I can definitely see how for junior investigators this could have a chilling effect on their work, and that did concern me. So one of the things I do is to really encourage them…to look on the bright side. What it really does is make your research stronger because you know that people will be looking at it very carefully.’ Which clearly they are.
Professor Bero also shares her thoughts on leaving California to become a fully-fledged, ocean-swimming Sydneysider, who finds daily inspiration in the story of Charles Perkins – the first Aboriginal graduate of The University of Sydney. She also reflects on her role as Co-Chair of Cochrane and highlights the importance of health evidence that’s free from conflicts of interest or commercial influence of any kind.
- Watch Lisa Bero on ABC News last week: Big Pharma paying nurses and allied health professionals millions
- Big pharma funding biases drug trials in favour of a sponsor’s product: review, The Sydney Morning Herald
- Drug companies pay doctors, nurses $9.5 million in six months for advice, event attendance, The Canberra Times
- How food companies can sneak bias into scientific research - Lisa Bero in The Conversation
- Sydney University study claims industry funding leads to bias in artificial sweetener research, The Sydney Morning Herald
- Big food and big nutrition lies, The Sydney Morning Herald
- Lisa Bero takes up residence, Cochrane Australia News
- The latest Cochrane Review on Industry sponsorship and research outcome was published in February this year and includes 27 new studies and provides definitive evidence that pharmaceutical industry funding of drug studies biases results and conclusions to look favourable towards the drug of the sponsor.
- Lisa and Ray, who are occasional collaborators, are both co-authors on this recent study of more than 100 000 industry-funded winning and dining events for health professionals
Cochrane is an independent, not-for-profit organisation made up of 37,000 contributors from 130 countries. We work together to make the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful and accessible for individuals, organizations, and governments around the world.
Cochrane produces trusted health information in the form of systematic reviews that are free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Our evidence underpins and informs the daily decisions of clinicians, patients and carers, researchers, policymakers, and funding bodies. Our work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high-quality, trusted information.
Cochrane Australia is an active part of this collaborative network, with over 3,000 local researchers, clinicians and patient advocates who synthesize and analyze the latest health research. Our contributors can be found in all corners of the continent, from Darwin to Hobart, from Perth to Brisbane, and most places in between. The Cochrane Australia centre is located in Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in Melbourne.
Cochrane Australia is funded by the Australian Government through the NHMRC. The NHMRC also funds a national subscription to the Cochrane Library, ensuring all Australians have free access to the best in trusted health evidence.
Ray is a man with many hats... Currently a Senior Research Fellow at Bond University’s Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, and an NHMRC Early Career Fellow, he is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and author. Ray spent plenty of time as a producer at the ABC’s flagship investigative TV program Four Corners, as a reporter at the ABC TV’s 7:30 Report and as a presenter on Radio National. He’s written four books on the business of medicine, including Selling Sickness, which has been translated into 12 languages.
He is also a former Harkness fellow at Harvard University, has been a columnist with the BMJ and the Medical Journal of Australia, and has also had original research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, PLOS Medicine and the BMJ - to name a few. Regularly interviewed by media globally, and invited to speak around the world, Ray has a long-time interest in the evidence-informed approach and the work of Cochrane.Friday, November 3, 2017
Closing date for applications: Sunday 12 November 2016
Edge Hill University is looking for an experienced Senior Research Associate to work on an integrative, mixed-methods systematic review on respite care and short breaks for young adults with complex health conditions funded by the National Institute for Health Research. You will work with a team from Edge Hill University, University of Bangor, and Lancaster University.
For complete information on the position and how to apply, please see the full job posting.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 Category: Jobs