The year in review: Evidently Cochrane in 2016

So here it is (or nearly) Merry Christmas! But before we look to the future, it’s time for a quick look back over the past year on the blog. We’ve published 140 of them in 2016! Here are a few highlights.


Our star this year is a blog on paracetamol, written by Cochrane author and pain researcher, Andrew Moore. Paracetamol: widely used and largely ineffective has been viewed almost 70,000 times and shared far more than any other. He asks, “how does paracetamol stack up against what people with low back pain want? A Cochrane review is unequivocal – it doesn’t work.”

Selection box

No unicorn
Here’s Martin – where’s the unicorn?

The blogs that were most read and shared after this one were my blog on Antibiotics and antiseptics for wounds: evidence and ignorance, highlighting an area where there is a lack of reliable evidence to guide practice; a blog jointly written with midwife Alys Einion on Induction of labour for fetal macrosomia, offering a view from the frontline on the latest evidence; and Cochrane UK Director Martin Burton’s blog An invisible unicorn has been grazing in my office for a month…Prove me wrong.  I think Martin proved wrong the notion that long titles doom a blog to obscurity, but then unicorns, like kittens, are just made for social media aren’t they?


Recently I’ve been turning my attention to the importance of unwrapping things, particularly in relation to established practices that aren’t questioned. They should be! When you unwrap them, it becomes apparent that we are doing things to people for which there is no reliable evidence. This blog prompted some interesting conversation and reflection, not least on what practitioners might do when faced with an evidence gap, as nurses Teresa and Shannon discuss here.

fairy lights Lights

At another time of year, this might be lightbulbs but, either way, in September we launched an occasional blog series ‘Understanding Evidence’, in partnership with Students 4 Best Evidence, which we hope will promote the understanding and use of evidence. Blogs so far have included Iain Chalmers asking Should the Cochrane logo be accompanied by a health warning? and most recently Matt Oxman Teaching kids to assess goopy health claims through the wonderful Informed Health Choices project. We also added two new ‘Evidence for Everyday’ series, Evidence for Everyday Health Choices and Evidence for Everyday Allied Health, after the successful launch of these ongoing blog series for nurses and midwives a year ago.

Guests (& family)

children dancing by Christmas tree This year we’ve been delighted to welcome a growing number of guest bloggers to Evidently Cochrane, either blogging solo or offering expertise and experience to bring our evidence summaries alongside real world situations – something we hugely value and hope you do too.

Our guests included practitioners, such as physiotherapist Fran Toye, whose thought-provoking blog Can qualitative research improve patient care? has been much shared (and has a picture of a baby gorilla – must come close to a unicorn, surely?) and patients, like Julie Wood, reflecting on the evidence on yoga and asthma and her own experience.

From the home team, we’ve had great blogs from Martin Burton and Selena Ryan-Vig; our Senior Fellows in General Practice, Lynda Ware and Richard Lehman, and from Cochrane trainees David Roberts and Anna Sutherland. Lynda will be back in January with the latest on relieving cold symptoms and the trainees have passed the baton to paediatrician Faro – look out for some blogs from her next year!


I hope you’ll excuse me here for straying outside the blog for a moment. Pictures are, of course, great on social media and our blogshots continue to be popular. It’s a quick way for us to share evidence and a quick way for you to see it. For those with more time (and, let’s face it, inclination – hello information specialists!), we always share them with a link to the review, or sometimes to a blog about it. A favourite blogshot, sharing important, practice-changing Cochrane evidence is this one:


Out with the old, in with the new

The blogshot above is still one of our most shared, a year on from the lively tweetchat we had about it with the #wenurses community (you can catch up with that in this blog). Despite the evidence, and the guidelines, being clear that peripheral venous catheters should only be removed when clinically indicated, policy and practice aren’t always following, with routine replacement being the norm in some areas. Nurses like @CraigBradleyF1 are working hard to make sure that where this is the case it’s out with the old policy, and not necessarily the old catheter!

Nutcracker dolls New toy

We’ve found something new to play with this month, and it’s meant we can now make simple video versions of our blogshots. More like slides than video really, but we’ve dubbed them ‘vlogshots’ nonetheless (‘slogshots’ would sound too much like hard work). Like the blogshots, as well as sharing them on our social media platforms, we’re putting them on our Tumblr archive, where you can view and download them.


A quick reminder that our blogs, blogshots and vlogshots are updated when the reviews are updated, so the content remains current.


Elder female with eye patch eating bread after cataract surgery Stock photos, oh dear – this is a minefield, and I have to go through a lot of turkeys before I find something that is credible and appropriate. We do have some laughs though at the worst of them. I will spare you the one of the ‘doctor’ delivering a woman of a pineapple (hard to imagine in what context this image would be useful) but will share with you this recent find. Who knew that there was a market for a picture of ‘elder female with eye patch eating bread after cataract surgery’; she must have misheard the instructions as she is clearly eating an eye patch…

Thank you letters

Big thanks to all our bloggers, readers, sharers and supporters from all the team here.

Merry Christmas everybody!



The year in review: Evidently Cochrane in 2016 by Sarah Chapman

is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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