My father, in the closing weeks of his life, was asked by a hospital doctor “how many glasses of water have you drunk today?” His answer? “I haven’t drunk a glass of water for about 35 years and I don’t intend to start now!” That was his choice, as were his choices to give up beef products for fear of BSE but to carry on his 80-a-day smoking habit.
We make health choices every day
We’re making health decisions all the time. About what we eat and drink and the exercise we do (or don’t do). How we respond to invitations for health checks, vaccinations and screening tests. When we sit down with a health professional and need to weigh up our Something done with the aim of improving health or relieving suffering. For example, medicines, surgery, psychological and physical therapies, diet and exercise changes. More options.
We make choices based on all sorts of factors, but it often comes down to a bit of reading (probably things we can get hold of and whizz through quickly and easily – thanks social media!) and talking to people. Our priorities and values will play their part. Then there’s evidence from clinical research, which can inform our choices or perhaps raise questions we can put to those helping us manage our health. This is where Cochrane can help.
Making evidence quick and easy
Evidence for Everyday Health Choices (#EEHealthChoices) is our new series for anyone wanting trustworthy health evidence to help them make choices. This information can be hard to access. We’ll do lots of the work for you, giving you short summaries and letting you know where you can find out more if you want to. This isn’t a new approach for us, but creating a specific series for everyday health choices should make it quicker and easier for you to find what you need. We’ve done the same for nurses and midwives, with an ongoing series for each.
The core of Evidence for Everyday Health Choices will be blogs and blogshots, images with key information and a link to where you can read more. You can find our blogshots on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and on our Cochrane UK website, where you can download and share them. We’ll include guest blogs and invite people for whom the evidence is relevant to comment on it and share their experiences.
We’re launching the series with a week of daily blogs, starting on Monday.
Here’s what we’ve got lined up:
Fifteen year old Liv Chapman does some straight talking about the problem of teeth moving after orthodontic braces come off and looks at the latest evidence on retainers. Can research help with a choice about those? Read it here.
You can find out the latest on whether children with grommets need to keep their ears protected from water, from ear surgeon and Cochrane UK’s Director, Martin Burton, who looks at new Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question (e.g. is paracetamol effective and safe for treating back pain?). The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. More on this here.
Watch our new film, in which our Senior Fellow in General Practice, Lynda Ware, talks about the history of evidence-based medicine, how to make everyday health choices and the real evidence behind the headlines.
Pelvic physiotherapist and comedian Elaine Miller tells us what we need to know about constipation (it turns out we’ve been sitting on the loo all wrong!).
With that champion of accessibility Eddie Izzard starting his amazing attempt at running 27 marathons on consecutive days in a challenge for Sport Relief, we finish the week with a round-up of Cochrane evidence on running-related soft-tissue injury and muscle soreness.
Look out for our new blogshots too. As well as coming to Evidently Cochrane and our social media accounts, you can go to this page on our Cochrane UK website, where links to all next week’s posts will be added as we publish them.
Helping you decide what’s best for you
We hope that Evidence for Everyday Health Choices will help, by giving you trustworthy information about health evidence, with some food for thought from others with relevant experience. We’ll also look out for good resources to alert you to. A really great site is Healthtalk.org, where you can find reliable information and support for a range of health issues. The site includes short films in which people share their experiences of many different health conditions and treatments.
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Evidence for Everyday Health Choices: for you and yours by Sarah Chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://uk.cochrane.org/news/evidence-everyday-health-choices-launch. Images are not available for reproduction as they have been purchased from istock.com for Evidently Cochrane.