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  • Experiences of Reframing during Self-Directed Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance: Systematic Review of Qualitative Studies.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: Reframing means changing the way that a person thinks or feels about a weight loss attempt or weight loss maintenance to enhance its experience or facilitate its success. Although participants have described this, it has not been explored in the academic literature. Here, we set out to systematically review qualitative studies to examine the ways in which people use and experience reframing in self-directed weight loss. METHODS: Seven electronic databases were searched to January 2017 for qualitative studies of adults with overweight or obesity attempting to lose weight or maintain weight loss through self-directed behavior change. Studies must have contained some information pertinent to reframing. Thematic synthesis was used to identify descriptive and analytical themes from the available data. RESULTS: We included 23 studies, representing 723 participants. No study focused specifically on reframing. Most studies involved people who had tried to lose weight previously. In the most common examples of reframing, participants spoke of construing previous weight management attempts as "dieting", whereas in current attempts they used reframing to move away from this concept. Participants spoke of finding reframing helpful because it removed the sense of depriving themselves and instead allowed them to construe the food choices as healthful. Likewise, the language of dieting created a sense of temporary effort, while construing this as a way of life allowed continuation of conscious control over energy balance without the feeling of undue effort. In some cases, these changes were bolstered by change in self-identity. CONCLUSIONS: Some people construe deliberate weight loss as a form of deprivation and cognitively reframe to avoid the negative emotions this creates and to prevent relapse. Reframing the dietary regimen as about healthy eating and a new way of life made weight control seem less burdensome for these participants and they felt able to maintain their efforts.

  • Macrophage heterogeneity in the immunopathogenesis of tuberculosis

    16 July 2018

    © 2018 Marakalala, Martinez, Plüddemann and Gordon. Macrophages play a central role in tuberculosis, as the site of primary infection, inducers and effectors of inflammation, innate and adaptive immunity, as well as mediators of tissue destruction and repair. Early descriptions by pathologists have emphasized their morphological heterogeneity in granulomas, followed by delineation of T lymphocyte-dependent activation of anti-mycobacterial resistance. More recently, powerful genetic and molecular tools have become available to describe macrophage cellular properties and their role in host-pathogen interactions. In this review we discuss aspects of macrophage heterogeneity relevant to the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and, conversely, lessons that can be learnt from mycobacterial infection, with regard to the immunobiological functions of macrophages in homeostasis and disease.

  • Nicotine replacement therapy versus control for smoking cessation

    3 July 2018

    © 2018 The Cochrane Collaboration. Background: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aims to temporarily replace much of the nicotine from cigarettes to reduce motivation to smoke and nicotine withdrawal symptoms, thus easing the transition from cigarette smoking to complete abstinence. Objectives: To determine the effectiveness and safety of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), including gum, transdermal patch, intranasal spray and inhaled and oral preparations, for achieving long-term smoking cessation, compared to placebo or 'no NRT' interventions. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group trials register for papers mentioning 'NRT' or any type of nicotine replacement therapy in the title, abstract or keywords. Date of most recent search is July 2017. Selection criteria: Randomized trials in people motivated to quit which compared NRT to placebo or to no treatment. We excluded trials that did not report cessation rates, and those with follow-up of less than six months, except for those in pregnancy (where less than six months, these were excluded from the main analysis). We recorded adverse events from included and excluded studies that compared NRT with placebo. Studies comparing different types, durations, and doses of NRT, and studies comparing NRT to other pharmacotherapies, are covered in separate reviews. Data collection and analysis: Screening, data extraction and 'Risk of bias' assessment followed standard Cochrane methods. The main outcome measure was abstinence from smoking after at least six months of follow-up. We used the most rigorous definition of abstinence for each trial, and biochemically validated rates if available. We calculated the risk ratio (RR) for each study. Where appropriate, we performed meta-analysis using a Mantel-Haenszel fixed-effect model. Main results: We identified 136 studies; 133 with 64,640 participants contributed to the primary comparison between any type of NRT and a placebo or non-NRT control group. The majority of studies were conducted in adults and had similar numbers of men and women. People enrolled in the studies typically smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day at the start of the studies. We judged the evidence to be of high quality; we judged most studies to be at high or unclear risk of bias but restricting the analysis to only those studies at low risk of bias did not significantly alter the result. The RR of abstinence for any form of NRT relative to control was 1.55 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.49 to 1.61). The pooled RRs for each type were 1.49 (95% CI 1.40 to 1.60, 56 trials, 22,581 participants) for nicotine gum; 1.64 (95% CI 1.53 to 1.75, 51 trials, 25,754 participants) for nicotine patch; 1.52 (95% CI 1.32 to 1.74, 8 trials, 4439 participants) for oral tablets/lozenges; 1.90 (95% CI 1.36 to 2.67, 4 trials, 976 participants) for nicotine inhalator; and 2.02 (95% CI 1.49 to 2.73, 4 trials, 887 participants) for nicotine nasal spray. The effects were largely independent of the definition of abstinence, the intensity of additional support provided or the setting in which the NRT was offered. A subset of six trials conducted in pregnant women found a statistically significant benefit of NRT on abstinence close to the time of delivery (RR 1.32, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.69; 2129 participants); in the four trials that followed up participants post-partum the result was no longer statistically significant (RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.86; 1675 participants). Adverse events from using NRT were related to the type of product, and include skin irritation from patches and irritation to the inside of the mouth from gum and tablets. Attempts to quantitatively synthesize the incidence of various adverse effects were hindered by extensive variation in reporting the nature, timing and duration of symptoms. The odds ratio (OR) of chest pains or palpitations for any form of NRT relative to control was 1.88 (95% CI 1.37 to 2.57, 15 included and excluded trials, 11,074 participants). However, chest pains and palpitations were rare in both groups and serious adverse events were extremely rare. Authors' conclusions: There is high-quality evidence that all of the licensed forms of NRT (gum, transdermal patch, nasal spray, inhalator and sublingual tablets/lozenges) can help people who make a quit attempt to increase their chances of successfully stopping smoking. NRTs increase the rate of quitting by 50% to 60%, regardless of setting, and further research is very unlikely to change our confidence in the estimate of the effect. The relative effectiveness of NRT appears to be largely independent of the intensity of additional support provided to the individual. Provision of more intense levels of support, although beneficial in facilitating the likelihood of quitting, is not essential to the success of NRT. NRT often causes minor irritation of the site through which it is administered, and in rare cases can cause non-ischaemic chest pain and palpitations.

  • The clinician impact and financial cost to the NHS of litigation over pregabalin: a cohort study in English primary care.

    3 July 2018

    OBJECTIVES: Following litigation over pregabalin's second-use medical patent for neuropathic pain, National Health Service (NHS) England was required by the court to instruct general practitioners (GPs) to prescribe the branded form (Lyrica) for pain. Pfizer's patent was found invalid in 2015, a ruling subject to ongoing appeals. If the Supreme Court appeal in February 2018, whose judgement is awaited, is unsuccessful, the NHS can seek to reclaim excess prescribing costs. We set out to describe the variation in prescribing of pregabalin as branded Lyrica, geographically and over time; to determine how clinicians responded to the NHS England instruction to GPs; and to model excess costs to the NHS attributable to the legal judgements. SETTING: English primary care. PARTICIPANTS: English general practices. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Variation in prescribing of branded Lyrica across the country before and after the NHS England instruction, by practice and by Clinical Commissioning Group; excess prescribing costs. RESULTS: The proportion of pregabalin prescribed as Lyrica increased from 0.3% over 6 months before the NHS England instruction (September 2014 to February 2015) to 25.7% afterwards (April to September 2015). Although 70% of pregabalin is estimated to be for pain, including neuropathic pain, only 11.6% of practices prescribed Lyrica at this level; the median proportion prescribed as Lyrica was 8.8% (IQR 1.1%-41.9%). If pregabalin had come entirely off patent in September 2015, and Pfizer had not appealed, we estimate the NHS would have spent £502 million less on pregabalin to July 2017. CONCLUSION: NHS England instructions to GPs regarding branded prescription of pregabalin were widely ignored and have created much debate around clinical independence in prescribing. Protecting revenue from 'skinny labels' will pose a challenge. If Pfizer's final appeal on the patent is unsuccessful, the NHS can seek reimbursement of excess pregabalin prescribing costs, potentially £502 million.

  • UK medical students' attitudes towards their future careers and general practice: a cross-sectional survey and qualitative analysis of an Oxford cohort.

    16 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: Against the background of the recruitment crisis in general practice, we aimed to determine what United Kingdom (UK) medical students value in their future careers, how they perceive careers in general practice (GP) and what influences them. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey of 280 final and penultimate year medical students at the University of Oxford, with questions relating to career choices, factors of importance when choosing a career and attitudes towards general practice as a career. Quantitative methods included cluster analysis, chi squared tests of independence and logistic regression analysis. Qualitative data were analysed thematically using the Framework method. RESULTS: Response rate was 89% (280/315). 40% of participants said that general practice was an attractive or very attractive career option. Respondents valued job satisfaction, work-life balance and close relationships with patients. However, fewer than 20% of respondents agreed that community-based working was important to them and many (often citing particular GPs they had observed) felt that general practice as currently structured may not be satisfying or fulfilling because of high workload, financial pressures and externally imposed directives. 63% perceived GPs to have lower status than hospital specialties and 49% thought the overall culture of their medical school had negatively influenced their views towards general practice. Some respondents considered that general practice would not be intellectually challenging or compatible with a research career; some appeared to have had limited exposure to academic primary care. CONCLUSIONS: With the caveat that this was a sample from a single medical school, medical students may be put off careers in general practice by three main things: low perceived value of community-based working and low status of general practice (linked to a prevailing medical school culture); observing the pressures under which GPs currently work; and lack of exposure to academic role models and primary care-based research opportunities. To improve recruitment of the next generation of GPs, medical schools must provide high quality placements in general practice, expose students to academic role models and highlight to policymakers the links between the current pressures in UK general practice and the recruitment crisis.

  • Clinical trials and the drive to material standardisation: 'Extending the rails' or reinventing the wheel?

    16 July 2018

    There have long been calls from within both industry and academic groups to reduce the bureaucratisation of clinical trials and make them more 'sensible', with the focus on approvals and guidelines. Here, I focus on the mundane environments of a multi-centre clinical trial to ask how 'sensible' it is to standardise trials at the level of material objects. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in the UK, South Africa and Vietnam, I present three vignettes of material standardisation. While acknowledging some positive effects, I argue that standardising in this way may be antithetical to sustainable and relevant clinical research. Three dimensions of this are discussed: 1) the external validity of evidence from pragmatic trials 2) the gap between experimentation and implementation and 3) long-term site capacity to conduct research. Drawing on the literature on 'situated standardisation', the paper concludes by suggesting a greater acknowledgement of the need for trials not only to be 'sensible' but also 'situated'.

  • EBM DataLab

    25 April 2017

  • Cancer Research

    26 June 2012

  • Heart Failure

    26 June 2012

    Our research focuses on heart failure in primary care. We explore the burden of heart failure in primary care populations and the impact on patients. We have a particular interest in heart failure diagnosis and screening in primary care settings.

  • Stroke Prevention and Atrial Fibrillation

    26 June 2012

    Reducing the risk of stroke is vital to improving the health of older people. We research ‘funny turns’ that are a warning sign of stroke (termed ‘transient ischaemic attacks’) and the detection and treatment of major risk factors for stroke - high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation.

  • Primary Care for the Developing World

    26 June 2012

    Our aim is to support the provision of high quality primary health care in countries with limited economic resources, undertaking research and policy development in collaboration with academic institutions, NGOs and government agencies.

  • Monitoring and Diagnosis (MaDOx)

    26 June 2012

    Our aim is to improve monitoring and diagnostics used in primary care and community settings.

  • Infectious Diseases Research Group

    26 June 2012

    We investigate infectious diseases in primary care to find out how we can identify patients with serious infection in primary care, and more effective ways of diagnosing and treating patients with common infections.

  • Medical Statistics Group

    26 June 2012

    Our aim is to support clinical research in primary care and to advance the way we answer clinical questions using statistics to improve healthcare worldwide.

  • Paediatric Research Group

    26 June 2012

    We carry out research to find ways for parents and healthcare professionals to diagnose serious illness in children as early as possible and to manage common childhood illness in the most appropriate way.