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Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare. 2nd edition

How do we know whether a particular treatment really works? How reliable is the evidence? And how do we ensure that research into medical treatments best meets the needs of patients? These are just a few of the questions addressed in a lively and informative way in Testing Treatments. Brimming with vivid examples, Testing Treatments will inspire both patients and professionals.

Pinter & Martin.

Version: 2011
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Marital therapy for depression

Marital therapy has been suggested as a treatment for couples with a depressed spouse on the basis of the strong association between depressive symptoms and marital distress; the role played by marital negative factors on onset and maintenance of depressive disorders; and the possible buffering effect of interpersonal support and enhanced intimacy on depressive symptoms. Therefore, marital therapy has the two‐fold aim of modifying negative interactional patterns and increasing mutually supportive aspects of couple relationships. This review aimed to provide an overall assessment of the role of marital therapy among psychological treatments for depression. The meta‐analysis showed that there was no evidence to consider marital therapy as more or less effective than individual psychotherapy, either reducing depressive symptoms or the proportion of participants who remained depressed at caseness level (persistence of depression). The absence of a significant difference also held true when only distressed couples were included. However, in comparison to no/minimal treatment, the outcome for depressive symptoms and persistence of depression was better in the marital therapy group. There were no significant differences in the number of dropouts between the marital therapy group than in the individual psychotherapy group, this was also true when only distressed couples were analysed. Marital distress was significantly lower and persistence of marital distress significantly less frequent in the marital therapy group than in the individual treatment group. This effect was enhanced when distressed couples were considered separately. In comparison with drug therapy only data from two studies about dropout rates were available, showing significant relative risk in favour of marital therapy. All the results should be regarded in light of the methodological limitations of the studies, which, in general, are affected by small sample sizes; assessments at the end of treatment or short follow‐up; unclear sample representation; and loss of patients at follow‐up. The mediating role of other variables, such as improvement in marital satisfaction, could not be adequately tested. Although there is no evidence to consider marital therapy as more or less effective than individual psychotherapy or drug therapy for depression, the evidence for improvement in couple relationships due to marital therapy may favour the choice of marital therapy when marital distress is perceived as a major problem. Otherwise, the choice rests on patient preference and availability of specific resources.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Is dance movement therapy an effective treatment for depression? A review of the evidence

Depression affects 350 million people worldwide, impacting on quality of life, work, relationships and physical health. Medication and talking therapies are not always suitable or available. Dance movement therapy (DMT) uses bodily movements to explore and express emotions with groups or individuals. This is the first review of the effectiveness of DMT for depression and will add to the evidence base regarding depression treatments.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Depression (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of depression in adults and children who have cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: December 3, 2014

Involving adults who use mental health services as providers of mental health services to others

Past or present consumers of mental health services can work in partnership with mental health professionals in 'consumer‐provider' roles, when providing mental health services to others. Their roles may include peer support, coaching, advocacy, specialists or peer interviewers, case management or outreach, crisis worker or assertive community treatment worker, or providing social support programmes. Until now, the effects of employing past or present consumers of mental health services, in providing services to adult clients of these services, have not been assessed rigorously.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

The use of the telephone to improve the health of people with HIV infection

The aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of using the telephone to deliver interventions to improve the health of PLHIV compared to standard care. A comprehensive search of various scientific databases and other resources found 11 relevant studies. All of the studies were performed in the United States, and so the results may not apply to other countries, particularly developing countries. Some studies were aimed at any HIV positive person in the area in which the study was carried out, and others focused on specific groups of people, such as young substance using PLHIV, or older PLHIV. There were a lot of differences in the types of telephone interventions used in each study. There was some evidence that telephone interventions can improve medication adherence, reduce risky sexual behaviour, and reduce symptoms of depression in PLHIV. However, there were also a number of studies that suggested that telephone interventions were no more effective than usual care alone. We need more studies conducted in different settings to assess the effectiveness of telephone interventions for improving the health of PLHIV.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Psychological, social and welfare interventions for the psychological health and well‐being of torture survivors

Torture is a widespread problem that can cause lasting and severe physical, psychological, social and welfare problems for survivors. Treatment is offered by various agencies: some provide support in diverse settings from refugee camps to high‐income countries; others support survivors in countries where current or recent repression or armed conflict is known. Resources for these services are scarce, so it is important that they are used to greatest effect to improve the well‐being of torture survivors.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Cigarette Smoking: Health Risks and How to Quit (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about research and guidelines focused on the prevention and cessation of cigarette smoking.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: November 21, 2014

Smart Health Choices: Making Sense of Health Advice

This book aims to help consumers and practitioners develop the skills to assess health advice – and hopefully to make decisions that will improve the quality of their care. For some people, making better-informed decisions could be life saving. We hope that it will be useful if you are struggling to come to terms with an illness or injury, and the best ways of managing it. Or you may simply want to lead a healthier life, and may be wondering how to make sense of the often conflicting flood of health information that deluges us every day, through the media, and from our friends and health practitioners.

Hammersmith Press.

Version: 2008

Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics

The goal of this book is to help you better understand health information by teaching you about the numbers behind the messages—the medical statistics on which the claims are based. The book will also familiarize you with risk charts, which are designed to help you put your health concerns in perspective. By learning to understand the numbers and knowing what questions to ask, you’ll be able to see through the hype and find the credible information—if any—that remains.

University of California Press.

Version: 2008
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Telephone support for women during pregnancy and up to six weeks after the birth

Telephone support may be of benefit to women with particular problems during pregnancy and in the first six weeks after the birth of the baby but it is not clear which interventions may be helpful, which are ineffective, and which may be harmful.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Managing Care for Adults With Long-term Medical Illnesses: A Review of the Research

This summary will cover: What case management is and for whom it might be helpful What researchers have found about case management for people with long-term medical illnesses

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: August 30, 2013

Keeping Children at a Healthy Weight: A Review of the Research on Ways To Avoid Becoming Overweight or Obese

This summary will cover: How to know if your child is at a healthy weight What body mass index (BMI) is and what BMI percentiles are What health problems being overweight or obese could cause in a child What might lead to a child becoming overweight or obese What can be done at home, in school, and in the community to help keep children from becoming overweight or obese What researchers have found about things that can be done at home, at school, and in the community

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: September 19, 2013

Individual or group antenatal education for childbirth or parenthood, or both

Benefits of antenatal education for childbirth, and the best educational approaches to use, remain unclear.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2011

Dance/movement therapy for cancer patients

Cancer may result in extensive emotional, physical and social suffering. Current cancer care increasingly incorporates psychosocial interventions to improve quality of life. Creative arts therapies such as dance/movement, music, art and drama therapy have been used to aid care and recovery. Following medical therapies, which can be invasive, people with cancer use dance/movement therapy to learn to accept and reconnect with their bodies, build new self‐confidence, enhance self‐expression, address feelings of isolation, depression, anger, fear and distrust and strengthen personal resources. It has also been used to improve range of arm motion and to reduce arm circumference after mastectomy or lumpectomy. For this review, studies were considered only if dance/movement therapy was provided by a formally trained dance/movement therapist or by trainees in a formal program.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Advocacy interventions to help women who experience intimate partner abuse

After searching the world literature for randomised controlled trials evaluating advocacy programmes for abused women, we found ten trials, involving 1,527 women. The studies comparing advocacy with "usual care" were conducted in a variety of settings both within and outside of healthcare. Participants were recruited from diverse ethnic populations and across a wide age range (15‐61 years), but many had a relatively deprived socioeconomic status. Most were experiencing current, often severe, abuse. All of the interventions sought to empower the women by helping them to achieve their goals. They differed in: duration (from 30 minutes to 80 hours), the outcomes reported, and the length of time the women were followed up.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

The involvement of paraprofessionals for anxiety and depressive disorders

The established mental health care system does not have the resources to meet the increasing need for care of those with anxiety and depressive disorders. This review investigated the effectiveness of any kind of psychological treatment conducted by paraprofessionals.The few studies found did not allow conclusions about the effect of paraprofessionals compared to professionals in the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders. Pooling data from three studies, involving women only, indicated a significant effect for paraprofessionals compared to no treatment. The evidence so far may justify the development and evaluation of programs incorporating paraprofessionals in treatment programs for anxiety and depressive disorders.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Delirium (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about delirium as a complication of cancer or its treatment. Supportive care and pharmacologic approaches to the management of delirium are discussed.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: December 12, 2013

Pediatric Supportive Care (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the unique issues that arise for children during their treatment for cancer, after the completion of treatment, and as adult survivors of cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: January 22, 2015

Grief, Bereavement, and Coping With Loss (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed report about grief, bereavement, and feelings of loss in survivors of someone who has died of cancer. Grief in children is also discussed.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: March 6, 2013

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