Cochrane News

E-cigarettes, varenicline and cytisine are the most effective stop-smoking aids, analysis of over 150,000 smokers reveals

10 months 1 week ago

Key Points 

  • Comprehensive study reveals nicotine e-cigarettes, varenicline and cytisine are the stop-smoking aids most likely to help people quit smoking.
  • On average, for every 100 people trying to quit, around 14 are likely to succeed using an e-cigarette, varenicline or cytisine in any given quit attempt. This is compared to 6 in 100 who are likely to quit without using any aids.
  • Dual nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) methods, like combining a patch with gum, may be almost as effective, with approximately 12 in 100 people likely to successfully quit. However, this estimate is less certain than those for the other stop-smoking aids.
  • Using only one form of NRT, such as a patch alone, leads to around 9 in 100 people successfully quitting.
  • The advanced "component network meta-analysis" (CNMA) approach analysed over 300 clinical trials to compare the effectiveness of various cessation methods.
  • Cytisine, a highly effective smoking cessation medicine, is highlighted but is unavailable in most countries, including the UK. Many countries also have supply issues with varenicline currently.

A comprehensive new Cochrane analysis has found that nicotine e-cigarettes, varenicline and cytisine are the most effective options currently available for helping smokers quit long-term (going at least six months without smoking). This is closely followed by using two forms of nicotine replacement therapy at the same time, such as a nicotine patch alongside gum, lozenges or nasal sprays. The research was conducted by a team from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford with colleagues from the University of Leicester.

The study, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, compared the results for different stop-smoking aids that have been used in over 300 clinical trials involving more than 150,000 people. The researchers used a statistical technique to combine data from the studies into a single analysis called “component network meta-analysis” (CNMA). This meant they could compare smoking cessation methods against each other, using both direct comparisons within trials and indirect comparisons across trials. This provided a comprehensive view of the relative effectiveness of each method.

Dr Nicola Lindson, lead author and a Senior Researcher and Lecturer based within Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, emphasised the potential impact of the findings: 

“Our research dives deep into the world of smoking cessation. By pulling together data from hundreds of studies and over 150,000 people, we can see that when people use the medicines licenced for quitting smoking or nicotine e-cigarettes, they are more likely to quit than if they do not use these aids. We have also shown that nicotine e-cigarettes, cytisine, and varenicline appear to help more people quit than other products used to stop smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy appears to be almost as effective, but only when a patch is used alongside another form of nicotine replacement, such as gum or nasal spray.

E-cigarettes were found to help around 14 smokers per 100 quit long-term, compared to 6 in 100 trying to quit without any of the stop-smoking aids studied. The smoking cessation medicines varenicline and cytisine were similarly effective. However, varenicline, a WHO essential medicine, is not currently available in Europe, South America, Japan, and parts of North America due to a manufacturing problem. Cytisine is not currently licensed or marketed in most countries outside of central and Eastern Europe, meaning it is unavailable in most of the world, including the UK and US. This leaves nicotine e-cigarettes and combination nicotine replacement therapies as the two most effective stop-smoking aids available to most people. These work better when people are also receiving behavioural support to quit. 

Using two types of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) together, such as a nicotine patch plus a faster-acting NRT product like gum or lozenges, may be almost as effective as nicotine e-cigarettes, varenicline and cytisine. However, using a single form of NRT, like the patch or gum alone, resulted in fewer additional quitters. The review estimates that around 12 in 100 people using two forms of NRT together will quit successfully, compared to around 9 in 100 people using only one type. The estimate for combined NRT is less certain than those for other stop-smoking aids, as it was calculated from the combined effects of individual NRTs rather than directly from trials of combination therapies. 

Smoking is a significant health concern and cause of death worldwide. However, it is very difficult to quit. There are several products available to help with this, but the relative effectiveness of these methods has long been uncertain. This comprehensive analysis now offers clarity, providing people who smoke, healthcare professionals and policymakers with reliable data to make informed decisions." 

The researchers incorporated key factors like the effectiveness of various interventions and their safety profiles. The study's findings could be vital information to help reshape public health policies and strategies, offering smokers more effective tools to quit for good.

Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, co-author who was based at the University of Oxford during the research and is now Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said: 

"In sifting through extensive data, we've gained valuable insights into effective smoking cessation methods. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death worldwide, and though many people want to quit smoking, it can be hard to do so. Our findings provide clear evidence of the effectiveness of nicotine e-cigarettes and combination nicotine replacement therapies to help people quit smoking. The evidence also is clear on the benefits of medicines cytisine and varenicline, but these may be harder for some people to access at the moment. The best thing someone who smokes can do for their health is to quit smoking, and evidence shows that using varenicline, cytisine, or nicotine e-cigarettes in combination with behavioural support will give them the best chances of successfully doing so."

The review focused exclusively on evaluating the efficacy of a range of smoking cessation methods, aligning with its defined scope and primary research focus. It did not delve into broader aspects of the public health discourse regarding e-cigarettes, such as their usage among non-smokers and adolescents. While the review uncovered no substantial evidence of significant adverse effects, it's important to note that most studies tracked participants for a period ranging from six to twelve months, leaving a gap in data concerning potential long-term consequences.

The massive study concluded that more data on serious side effects and the number of people who stop using a product due to side effects would be beneficial. However, this robust analysis provides strong evidence to inform treatment guidelines and policies aimed at helping smokers quit. 

Lindson N, Theodoulou A, Ordóñez-Mena JM, Fanshawe TR, Sutton AJ, Livingstone-Banks J, Hajizadeh A, Zhu S, Aveyard P, Freeman SC, Agrawal S, Hartmann-Boyce J. Pharmacological and electronic cigarette interventions for smoking cessation in adults: component network meta‐analyses. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2023, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD015226. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD015226.pub2.

 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane seeks Managing Editor - Remote/Flexible

10 months 3 weeks ago

Specifications: 12-Months Fixed Term – Contract
Salary: £42,000 per annum  
Location: UK – Remote/Flexible
Closing date: 13 Sep 2023

Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters around the world. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

Reporting to the Senior Managing Editor and working with members of the Editorial Production and Methods Directorate, the role holder will need to have good awareness of Cochrane guidance for different types of standard and complex systematic reviews (intervention, qualitative, diagnostic test accuracy, prognosis, rapid and overview), plan how they will need to be handled in their team, and work to ensure that deadlines are met. The role holder will also be required to ensure that pilots aimed at innovating the editorial process can be supported as needed.

Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everything we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.  

You can expect: 

  • An opportunity to truly impact health globally  
  • A flexible work environment  
  • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
  • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.
  • The deadline to receive your application is 13th Sep, 2023.
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. 
  • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
Thursday, August 31, 2023 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

Timed intercourse for couples trying to conceive

10 months 3 weeks ago

When it comes to starting a family, timing is everything

A new Cochrane review of methods to increase chances of successful conception suggests that timed intercourse using urine ovulation tests probably improves live birth and pregnancy rates in women under 40 who had been trying to conceive for less than 12 months, compared to intercourse without ovulation prediction.

The Cochrane review, conducted jointly with researchers from University of Oxford, the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, and the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, included seven randomised controlled trials involving 2,464 women or couples who had been trying to conceive.

Each month there is a narrow window for successful conception due to the limited lifespan of the sperm and egg, which begins from around five days before ovulation (egg release) and lasts until several hours afterwards.

The period of a woman’s cycle can be identified by different methods, including urine ovulation tests (dipstick devices that can detect changes in hormones released into the urine, signifying when ovulation will occur), fertility awareness-based methods (FABM) (including calendar tracking, monitoring changes in cervix fluid and body temperature) or identifying when the egg is released on ultrasound. This review aimed to assess the benefits and risks of timed intercourse on pregnancy, live birth, negative effects and quality of life in couples trying to conceive.

The study found that timing intercourse around the fertile period using a urine ovulation test increased the chances of pregnancy and live birth to between 20% to 28%, compared to 18% without using urine ovulation tests. This was specifically in women under 40 trying to conceive for under 12 months.

Tatjana Gibbons, a DPhil researcher at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health and lead author on the study, said: ‘‘Many couples find it difficult to achieve a pregnancy, which can lead to concerns about their fertility.'

The finding that a simple and easily available urine test can increase a couple’s chance of successful conception is quite exciting because it can empower couples with more control over their fertility journey and could potentially reduce the need for infertility investigations and treatments."

 

Professor Christian M Becker of Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health said: "The high threshold of evidence required in a Cochrane review makes even this moderate quality evidence for the effectiveness of urine ovulation tests quite impressive, as well as surprising considering how long they have been available for."

However, the researchers cautioned that because many of the studies were funded by the manufacturers of the urine ovulation test, the results should be interpreted with caution.

They also found that there was insufficient evidence to conclude the effect of the other methods in the study, including timed intercourse on clinical pregnancy (ultrasound-confirmed pregnancy), the use of FABM in timed intercourse compared to intercourse without ovulation prediction.

Gibbons T, Reavey J, Georgiou EX, Becker CM. Timed intercourse for couples trying to conceive. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2023, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD011345. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011345.pub3. 

Friday, September 15, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Podcast - Conversations with Cochrane

10 months 3 weeks ago

The Cochrane Early Career Professionals group aims to provide its members opportunities to enhance their knowledge, skills, and expertise by providing a platform for international networking with early career professionals or other members in the Cochrane community. They aim to focus on the development of leadership skills for the early career members of the Cochrane community and encourage the active involvement of the Early Career Professionals in shaping the mission and vision of the Cochrane community.

The team of Cochrane Early Career Professionals will be chatting with senior researchers and members of Cochrane on a podcast called 'Conversations with Cochrane'. Through the podcast episodes, you can learn about citizen science, issues around open-access, elements of review production, methods used in evidence synthesis, and how to get involved in Cochrane. 

"At Cochrane, nurturing aspiring minds and supporting professionals embarking on their career journey is part of the work we do. Our commitment is evident through initiatives like the Cochrane US Mentorship,  Cochrane International Mobility,  the student pathway to Cochrane Membership, and the Cochrane Early Career Professionals Network.

The podcast from the Early Career Professionals network is a great addition and we're looking forward to all the insight conversations to come - and that everyone can be a part of that!" 

- Rachel Klabunde, Interim Head of Membership, Learning and Support 

 

"We are really excited to introduce Cochrane ECP’s first podcast 'Conversations with Cochrane'! There are many ways in which early career professionals can get involved in Cochrane and develop leadership skills to support a scientific research career – follow our podcast and stay tuned for news and exciting opportunities!"

- Dr Elpida Vounzoulaki, Podcast Host and Chair of the Cochrane ECP group

'Conversations with Cochrane' is available in your favourite podcast app and on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music. 

Below is a listing of current episodes. 

An introduction to the Conversations with Cochrane podcast from current and future leadership of the Cochrane Early Career Professionals Network by Drs. Elpida Vounzoulaki, Santiago Castiello, and Neal Christopher. Listen as we introduce the aims and scope of this series. 

Monday, August 28, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Celebrating 30 years of Cochrane

10 months 3 weeks ago

Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and health enthusiasts is celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2023.

In 1987, the year before Archie Cochrane died, he referred to a systematic review of randomized controlled trials of care during pregnancy and childbirth as "a real milestone in the history of randomized trials and in the evaluation of care", and suggested that other specialties should copy the methods used. His encouragement, and the endorsement of his views by others, led to the opening of the first Cochrane Centre in Oxford, UK in 1992 and the founding of The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993.

Cochrane has released a new video to celebrate our 30 year anniversary, featuring interviews with key collaborators past and present.



At the #CochraneLondon Colloquium, Karla Soares-Weiser and Jimmy Volmink engaged in a thought-provoking discussion with Iain Chalmers, Muir Gray,  Jini Hetherington, and others. They explored the origins and inspirations behind the founding of Cochrane. View the PDF Slides.



We have also curated a collection of Cochrane Reviews that exemplify the enduring mission and innovative approaches taken by our organization. This Special Collection underscores the future of Cochrane, built upon its rich history of methodological diversity and unwavering dedication to meeting user needs.

Monday, October 2, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane seeks Executive Assistant to Editor in Chief

11 months ago

Specifications: Permanent – Full Time
Salary:  £27,070 per Annum  
Location: (Remote – Flexible) Candidates anywhere from the world will be considered; however, Cochrane’s Central Executive Team is only able to offer consultancy contracts outside these countries.
Directorate: EPM
Closing date: 06 September 2023
 
Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters around the world. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into four directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

To provide an efficient and responsive administrative, organisational, and logistical service to the Editor in Chief (EiC) and the leadership team of the Evidence Production & Methods Directorate (EPM). Support operational activities of the directorate, including management of the Editorial Board.
       
Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everyting we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.  

You can expect: 

  • An opportunity to truly impact health globally  
  • A flexible work environment  
  • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
  • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here
  • The deadline to receive your application is 6th Sep, 2023.
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. 
  • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
Wednesday, August 23, 2023 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

Jordi Pardo Pardo announced as new Cochrane Governing Board interim Chair

11 months ago

Cochrane appoints new Governing Board interim Chair, Jordi Pardo Pardo and says farewell to two outgoing Trustees, Catherine Marshall and Tracey Howe

Cochrane is an international non-profit network, which sets the gold standard for synthesizing health research findings  to facilitate evidence-based health care.  Cochrane Reviews, found in the Cochrane Library, are up-to-date, follow a rigorous scientific methodology, and are free from commercial conflicts of interest. Health professionals, patients, and policy makers trust Cochrane Reviews for their healthcare decision-making. Cochrane works with researchers, health professionals, patients, policy makers, and media representatives from around the world to make Cochrane Reviews relevant and usable.

Cochrane's Governing Board is responsible for setting Cochrane's strategic direction and overseeing the work of the Chief Executive Officer, Editor in Chief, and Central Executive Team.

Cochrane’s Governing Board has appointed Jordi Pardo Pardo as new interim Chair. He will be taking over from Catherine Marshall and Tracey Howe who have been serving as Co-Chairs of the Board. Catherine's maximum four-year term will conclude in September 2023, and Tracey, whose term was set to end September 2024, has decided to step down this September due to personal circumstances.

Jordi Pardo Pardo, a longstanding member of the Board, former Managing Editor of Cochrane Musculoskeletal and current senior advisor with the Health Equity Thematic Network, will be taking over as interim Chair, effective from 5th September 2023. His appointment was made by the Governing Board during their May meeting. Jordi will serve in this role for a period of up to one year while a permanent Chair is recruited. The Governance and Nomination Committee will oversee the recruitment process and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

Jordi’s tenure with Cochrane dates back to 1997 when he joined the Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre and contributed to the expansion of the Iberoamerican network. He has been part of the Lung Cancer group, the Equity Methods Group, Cochrane Canada and Cochrane Musculoskeletal, before joining the newly created Equity Thematic Network.

"I'm humbled by the opportunity to expand on the work that Tracey and Catherine have led to transform our organization. As we navigate into a new structure, I’m excited to explore the opportunities that a move to open access could bring to Cochrane and the world. I’m looking forward to working with our talented community to grow our reach and impact.”

- Jordi Pardo Pardo

Catherine Spencer, Cochrane CEO, extended a warm welcome to Jordi as interim Chair observing: “Jordi Pardo Pardo has an excellent understanding of both the workings of the Governing Board and the purpose of Cochrane. His appointment is welcomed by the Central Executive Team to ensure continuity as Catherine Marshall and Tracey Howe’s time comes to a close.”

She further expressed sincere gratitude to Catherine and Tracey for their unwavering dedication, leadership and invaluable contributions to Cochrane while wishing them all the best in their future endeavours.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane seeks Head of Editorial Policy and Research Integrity - remote

11 months ago

Specifications: Permanent – Full Time
Salary:  £60,000 per Annum (1.0 FTE)
Location: Remote – UK Based
Closing date: 04 September 2023

Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters around the world. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into four directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

The Head of Editorial Policy and Research Integrity is responsible for Cochrane’s editorial policies and research integrity and methods standards. They will ensure Cochrane’s review production processes and systems support efficient and trusted review production, with a focus on improving author experience. This role involves editorial and operational leadership, working closely with colleagues across the Evidence Production & Methods and Publishing and Technology directorates to ensure Cochrane’s product development aligns with its strategic priorities.   

Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everything we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.  

You can expect: 

  • An opportunity to truly impact health globally  
  • A flexible work environment  
  • A comprehensive on boarding experiences
  • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

How to apply

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here
  • The deadline to receive your application is 04th Sep, 2023.
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. 
  • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
Monday, August 21, 2023 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

Empowering Informed Choices: Cochrane China's innovative Knowledge Dissemination Competition

11 months 1 week ago

In healthcare, evidence-based information serves as the cornerstone of informed decision-making. Yet, the true impact of this knowledge lies in its accessibility and comprehensibility. Recognizing this, Cochrane China is running it's third annual competition that hopes to boost public interest in Cochrane reviews and fosters inventive pathways for sharing knowledge.

At the forefront of this endeavour is the Centre for Evidence-based Chinese Medicine at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, a Cochrane China Network Affiliate that acts at the Translation and Dissemination Working Group. This Working Group, in collaboration with the Centre for Evidence-based Chinese Medicine of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, the Cochrane China Network Affiliate acts as the Translation and Dissemination Working Group. This working group is jointly hosting the competition with the Center for Evidence-Based and Translational Medicine at Wuhan University, the Second School of Clinical Medicine at Wuhan University, and the dedicated members of the Cochrane China community.

Cochrane defines knowledge translation (KT) as the process of supporting the use of health evidence from our high-quality, trusted Cochrane reviews by those who need it to make health decisions. KT helps to make Cochrane evidence accessible and useful to everybody while advocating for evidence-informed health care.




We welcome you to submit a KT piece to this competition! 

Simplified Chinese:
Submissions need to be in Simplified Chinese. If you start in a different language, you can always translate it. It is helpful if one person in your team can communicate in Simplified Chinese as most communication by organizations around the competition will be in this language. 
Open to all:
All ages and geographical locations are welcome to enter.
Get creative: A wide range of creative formats is welcome;  past winners include pictures, written work, and videos. Some previous examples include this stop-motion video and these infographics.
Unite together: Participants can choose to submit their work either as individuals or as part of a team, allowing for diverse and collaborative contributions.
Deadline: The deadline for submissions is 30 August 2023. 
Winners: Winning submissions will be featured on the WeChat public website and the BUCM Essential Perspectives on Evidence-Based Medicine video channel. There are also branded prizes to be won!
Get in touch: Find out more information or  ask questions at ebmvolunteer@163.com

Join the WeChat account for more information: 

Monday, August 21, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Engage in conversations with living 'books' at #CochraneLondon's Library of People

11 months 1 week ago

Cochrane UK is gearing up to host the much-anticipated Cochrane Colloquium at London's Queen Elizabeth II Centre (QEII) from September 4th to 6th, 2023. The event promises an enriching experience, combining learning, networking, and fun. The countdown has begun, but there is still time to register!  

On Wednesday, September 6th, during the lunch break, join us for the #CochraneLondon Library of People. This event offers a unique opportunity to engage in conversations with human 'books,' who possess rich life experiences to share. This informal and enjoyable setup offers a refreshing way to connect with others and gain fresh viewpoints.

At the Library of People, you can "borrow" individuals as if they were open books, delving into their narratives and have conversations about subjects that intrigue you. These interactions will take place within small groups, enabling meaningful discussions. Each "book" will come with a list of suggested questions to facilitate the conversation's outset. 

The Cochrane Book Club members will be your "Librarians," guiding you in the selection and discovery of your ideal "book". You'll encounter a rich variety of "books," representing diverse nationalities, various career stages, roles within the Cochrane community, and personal passions.

Mentee to Mentor - crossing continents Omolola Alade 

15,000km southeast of home (Ibadan, Nigeria) I was first introduced to evidence synthesis during a graduate course on Epidemiology at the University of Sydney, Australia. I struggled with homesickness, but distracted myself by interpreting forest plots and critical appraisals of systematic reviews.

Several years later, this time 10,000km northwest of home, having mastered homesickness, I became a mentee of the US Cochrane network. Working with mentors moved me from my distant, hesitant interest to being an active contributor to evidence synthesis. Now I am leading a research project, with seven other mentees, on equity considerations in mentoring programs for evidence synthesis.

Back home in Nigeria, I am part of an inaugural collaborative initiative between my faculty and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research to conduct several systematic reviews on oral health. I am also a mentor to the next generation of oral health researchers in evidence synthesis, mentoring three researchers in the first cohort of the National Oral Health for Development programme of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research. So, as you can see I have gone from mentee to mentor as I have travelled the world.

 

Translating best evidence to support disaster settings - Evidence Aid (born in Cochrane in 2004) Claire Allen

Like many others I sat transfixed by the dreadful events which unfolded on 26 December 2004 in the wake of the Indian ocean earthquake and tsunami. Like many others, I had no idea what we as a society, or indeed Cochrane (which I’d worked with since 1997), could do, apart from giving money. Thankfully Mike Clarke who was Chair of the Board of Trustees in Cochrane and other colleagues had the inspired idea that as an organisation, Cochrane was perfectly placed to provide robust information to help those who were supporting the relief effort in making their decisions. And, boom, Evidence Aid was born. I jumped ship from Cochrane to Evidence Aid formally in 2014. From then, Evidence Aid became an independent charity, working with many organisations such as Save the Children, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and we were at the forefront of the information provision when the recent Covid pandemic hit the world, starting our efforts in February 2020, before lockdowns were started.

 

My experience as an early career professional and Cochrane Ana Beatriz Pizarro

I am a 25-year-old early career registered nurse hailing from a small town in the north of Colombia. As a first-generation college student, I take immense pride in being the youngest editorial board member representing The Early Career Professionals Group. My passion for evidence-based healthcare is reflected in my extensive work, having published over 30 systematic reviews.

My primary goal is to improve lives in the Global South through multidisciplinary approaches, understanding specific health-disease problems, their impact, and potential applications in public health.

Beyond my professional pursuits, diverse interests add colour to my life, including singing, playing the ukulele, watching films, and finding joy in going to the beach and outdoor running.

I believe in the power of stories and have experienced their impact firsthand in my life. As a 'book' in the #CochraneLondon Library of People, I am eager to engage in conversations and share my life experiences, professional insights, and personal interests.

What have Hogwarts and Sherlock Holmes got to do with teaching EBM? Maria Björklund

I am a librarian at Cochrane Sweden who loves to read. Fantasy and detective stories are my favourite genres and I always enjoy how libraries and librarians are represented in fantasy and detective fiction!  I also am drawn in by how a mystery unfolds and you pick up clues and evidence (of course!) along the way and try to solve the crime or mystery yourself while reading.

I teach evidence-based medicine and refer to Sherlock Holmes and fictional libraries (like Hogwarts) when I am helping students understand evidence-based medicine and systematic data retrieval - it is a successful and engaging tactic.

 So, my reading preferences are sometimes also reflected in my professional work, and I think it is a nice way of engaging students in evidence- based medicine.

 A life-changing treatment decision: hope, fear and a bit of evidence? Sarah Chapman

I’ve had progressive hearing loss throughout my adult life and had got to the point where I was struggling to hear, despite hearing aids. In 2021, I was offered a potentially life-changing treatment, a cochlear implant. This would involve surgery and an irreversible process in which the ‘normal’ mechanism of hearing would be destroyed. People meeting the criteria for a cochlear implant are likely to benefit, but outcomes aren’t guaranteed and whether, how much, and in what ways I would benefit were uncertain. I learned first-hand that how we make treatment decisions in our real, messy lives doesn’t necessarily fit the neat models we see when we read about evidence-based decision-making.

Wikipedia: the world largest encyclopaedia - friend or foe? Jennifer Dawson

Communicating and sharing high-quality and reliable evidence informed information is a passion of mine. I have been working with Cochrane as our Wikipedian-in-Residence since 2016. The viewership of medical articles on English-language Wikipedia alone surpasses 2 billion page views per year and there are about 40,000 articles that relate to human health. 

In 2021, viewership of the main Wikipedia COVID-19-related article was over 500,000 views a month, far more than most of the other sources of information on the internet. Medical content is also available in over 280 languages. 

When I tell colleagues in my field that I help improve medical articles on Wikipedia, I usually get all sorts of interesting questions (and sometimes funny looks)! Why should we be considering Wikipedia? Do you recommend Wikipedia as a resource for people with questions about their health? How hard is it to edit Wikipedia? Many people in medical and evidence-based medicine fields find Wikipedia very frustrating. They are not wrong! There are many, many, articles that need improving and many that share incorrect, missing, or outdated information. It can be hard to jump in as a new editor and navigate conflict of interest and work with a very keen volunteer community of often anonymous editors. Rather than dismiss the ‘World’s Largest Encyclopedia’, why not learn more and potentially help improve what people are accessing!

Careless comms costs lives: battling misinformation on statins Harry Dayantis

 

There are few scientific topics as needlessly controversial as statins. These cholesterol-lowering drugs are prescribed to millions of people worldwide and have underdone countless trials evaluating their benefits and risks. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that they reduce the risk of heart disease. So why do people get so worked up about them, and why do I care?

I care because my father died of a sudden heart attack overnight when I was at university. He was 49 years old and held national records for long-distance running. The post-mortem revealed that he had heart disease, and he might still be alive today if he’d been diagnosed and treated with statins. The risk has a significant genetic component, and I now take statins myself.

I’ve been involved in communicating many research papers on statins over the past decade, at UCL and Oxford University. I’ve worked with cardiologists and researchers to share the real evidence on statins in an often hostile media environment. It’s important that benefits and harms are communicated accurately so that people can make informed decisions; there is evidence that media scare stories have prevented many people from taking statins, potentially costing thousands of lives.

Accessibility at conferences shouldn’t just be a tick box Emily Messina

Attending or presenting at conferences is often an essential aspect of academic careers. We can share research and network, but let’s be honest, how many of us are mentally exhausted just planning to attend a conference, let alone after its over? Despite the fact that many of us, around 20%, are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, disabled, and/or neurodivergent, we continue to leave accessibility as an afterthought. We strain to read slides or posters with tiny print, struggle with noise and sensory overload in crowded poster halls, forced to spend energy hunting for accessible paths through the conference space, and miss information that is only presented orally. Aren’t we tired of bare knuckling our way through conferences? Without creating content that's accessible, how can we have our science received, understood, and (importantly) acted on. So, let’s talk, share our experiences, and we can learn from each other better ways to improve accessibility and share our research more effectively.

Storytelling to break down boundaries Wanjiru Mwangi

Step into my world of communications and let me take you on an exciting journey about storytelling and the boundaries it breaks. Since time immemorial, storytelling has been a fundamental part of human connection. And in research, it has helped transcend the rigid confines of data and facts, transforming them into narratives that resonate with human emotions and experiences. Not by distorting truths or oversimplifying the complexities of research, but by transforming the most complex ideas into accessible information for those who truly need or yearn to grasp it. As you read through this, try and imagine the power of a personal story, a memory that resonates deeply, or a song that touches your heart. These diverse mediums of storytelling can foster deeper connections between researchers and their audience, leading to a more informed and enlightened public. So come chat with me, Wanjiru, a communications expert in both internal and external communications.

 Don't miss out on this exhilarating opportunity to engage with living stories. No pre-registration for Colloquium attendees is required; simply join us on the event day!

Library of People: Connecting Through Stories
Wednesday, September 6th
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Level 1, Pickwick

In addition to this Library of People event, we invite you to bring used books to Level 1 throughout the event. There will be a free book exchange table where you can pick up your next great read! 

Find out more about the Colloquium:

Get in touch: colloquium@cochrane.org

Thursday, August 17, 2023
Muriah Umoquit
Checked
21 hours 17 minutes ago
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