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Updated: 9 hours 19 min ago

Governing Board elections November 2018: Announcing the candidates standing

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 16:28

Following a period of nominations, we’re very pleased that 19 candidates are standing for election to the Governing Board in this election. They are listed on elections.cochrane.org and here you can read more about the them, why they’re standing for election, and what they plan to do for Cochrane if elected.

There are four (4) positions available on the Board for this election, which is open to Cochrane Members. Candidates do not have to be a leader of a Cochrane Group and the Board is looking for a diverse and international range of candidates. Voting will open on 22 November 2018 and close on 10 December 2018 (12:00 GMT).

All members as defined by the Membership Terms & Conditions will be entitled to vote in the election. To check your membership status, please see https://join.cochrane.org/your-membership. If you have questions about your status, you can email membership@cochrane.org. Instructions on how to vote will be sent to you on 22 November 2018.

Cochrane places high regard on minimizing bias, promoting access, and enabling wide participation. For these reasons, canvassing for specific candidates is prohibited. It should be noted that:

  • Any Cochrane individual, Group or committee may encourage members to participate in elections without endorsing specific candidates;
  • Cochrane leaders or leadership committees (such as Executives) should not publicly endorse specific candidates.

Questions about any aspects of the elections process, or concerns about a candidate’s eligibility, can be raised with Lucie Binder, Senior Advisor to the CEO (Governance & Management) and Electoral Officer for this election.

Best wishes to all candidates standing!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Podcast: How accurate are diagnostic tools for autism spectrum disorder in preschool children?

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 20:04

There are more than 20 Cochrane Reviews of interventions that might be used in the care of children with autism spectrum disorder. In July 2018, these were added to with an assessment of the accuracy of tests for this condition. Senior author, Katrina Williams from the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne in Australia, tells us what they found in this podcast.

"Doing our review, we wanted to answer the question: How accurate are tools for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder, which I’ll refer to as autism, in preschool children? And we’ve reached the conclusion that they are not accurate enough. This is important because we need to diagnose autism correctly so that children with autism can access timely support and education and children who don’t have autism avoid unnecessary investigations and treatments.

We found relevant evidence for three diagnostic tools: the Autism Diagnostic Inventory, which is a carer interview and is known as the ADI-R; the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale, known as the ADOS, which is based on observing the child while they do structured tasks and the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, or CARS, which combines an interview with un-structured observation. 

The 13 relevant studies were mainly from high income countries and included preschool children with language difficulties, developmental delay, intellectual disability, or a mental health problem, presenting to a clinical service or enrolling in a research study. The studies varied in quality and it’s likely that they appear to be more accurate in making diagnoses in these research studies than they would be in routine practice, which means we need to be cautious about the findings.

The largest amount of evidence was for ADOS, with 12 analyses and a total of more than 1600 children. We found it to be the best for identifying children who have autism, but it was similar to CARS and ADI-R in falsely diagnosing autism. To put this into numbers, the pooled analyses for ADOS gave a summary sensitivity of 0.94, meaning that it identified autism in 94 of every 100 children with it, and a summary specificity of 0.80, meaning that it would diagnose autism in 20 children out of 100 without it. This means that if we used ADOS to examine 100 children, 74 of who truly had autism, it would detect autism correctly in 70 but would also suggest that five of the children without autism actually had it. This makes it especially important to think about two specific settings in which these tools might be used. These are services that assess many children who do not have autism and those looking after children with intellectual disability, because a higher proportion of these children are likely to receive an incorrect diagnosis. 

In thinking about the implications of our findings, it’s important to note that autism tools that are currently considered 'diagnostic' were not designed to make an autism diagnosis and are not sufficient for that. A diagnosis involves consideration of several factors, such as whether behaviours are in keeping with the child’s communication ability and intelligence, and the exclusion of causes that require genetic testing and a detailed understanding of the child’s environment. Also, families need more than diagnoses relating to autism to understand their child’s strengths and challenges and to work with professionals to access the supports and interventions they need. That’s why child health specialists are urging a more dimensional neurodevelopmental approach than the tools we found evidence for when young children are being assessed, and we would encourage such approaches."

 

Monday, November 19, 2018

New research finds omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of premature birth

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 17:16

A new Cochrane Review published today has found that increasing the intake of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) during pregnancy reduces the risk of premature births.

Premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under 5 years old worldwide, accounting for close to one million deaths annually. Premature babies are at higher risk of a range of long-term conditions including visual impairment, developmental delay and learning difficulties.

‘We know premature birth is a critical global health issue, with an estimated 15 million babies born too early each year,’ explains Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth lead author Associate Professor Philippa Middleton.

‘While the length of most pregnancies is between 38 and 42 weeks, premature babies are those born before the 37 week mark – and the earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk of death or poor health.’

The author team took a close look at long-chain omega-3 fats and their role in reducing the risk of premature births – particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements. They looked at 70 randomised trials and found that for pregnant women, increasing the daily intake of long-chain omega-3s:

  • lowers the risk of having a premature baby (less than 37 weeks) by 11% (from 134 per 1000 to 119 per 1000 births
  • lowers the risk of having an early premature baby (less than 34 weeks) by 42% (from 46 per 1000 to 27 per 1000 births)
  • reduces the risk of having a small baby (less than 2500g) by 10%

‘There are not many options for preventing premature birth, so these findings are very important for pregnant women, babies and the health professionals who care for them,’ Philippa says. ‘We don’t yet fully understand the causes of premature labour, so predicting and preventing early birth has always been a challenge. This is one of the reasons omega-3 supplementation in pregnancy is of such great interest to researchers around the world.’

The Cochrane review published today was first undertaken back in 2006, and concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to support the routine use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy. Over a decade on, this updated review concludes that there’s high quality evidence for omega-3 supplementation being an effective strategy for preventing preterm birth.

‘Many pregnant women around the world are already taking omega-3 supplements by personal choice rather than as a result of advice from health professionals,’ Philippa says. ‘It’s worth noting though that many supplements currently on the market don’t contain the optimal dose or type of omega-3 for preventing premature birth. Our review found the optimum dose was a daily supplement containing between 500 and 1000 milligrams (mg) of long-chain omega-3 fats (containing at least 500mg of DHA) starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy.’

‘Ultimately we hope this review will make a real contribution to the evidence base we need to reduce premature births, which continue to be one of the most pressing and intractable maternal and child health problems in every country around the world.’

A team from SAHMRI, including Cochrane researchers from the omega-3 review, have used the findings from this review to develop resources and information about omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant women and health professionals that can be accessed online at www.sahmriresearch.org/omega3.

Citation: Middleton P, Gomersall JC, Gould JF, Shepherd E, Olsen SF, Makrides M. Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 11 . Art. No.: CD003402. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003402.pub3

Media contacts:

Shauna Hurley
Communications and Media Manager
Cochrane Australia
Email: shauna.hurley@monash.edu
Phone: 0400 018 570

Katie Abbotts
External Communications and Media Officer
Cochrane 
Email: kabbotts@cochrane.org or pressoffice@cochrane.org
Phone: 44 7810 504380

 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

TaskExchange: a new hub for Cochrane Consumers

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 16:54

Are you interested in volunteering for Cochrane? TaskExchange is Cochrane’s new hub to help you find ways in which you can contribute. Would you be interested in finding out more? We are holding two webinars for consumers and patients, carers and other non-scientists who may be interested in being involved in producing Cochrane evidence.

The webinars have been co-organised on behalf of the Cochrane Consumer Network by members of Cochrane's Membership, Learning and Support team, and the team behind Cochrane’s TaskExchange platform.

Dr Emily Steele, the TaskExchange Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager, will introduce TaskExchange and show potential consumer volunteers how to use the platform to find projects that suit their interests and skills. The session will include a live demonstration and Q & A, and will be hosted by Cochrane’s Consumer Engagement Officer, Richard Morley.

This webinar will be held on two separate dates to cover global time zones.

Monday 3rd December 21:00 UTC [check the time in your time zone]
Wednesday 5th December 09:00 UTC [check the time in your time zone]

Find out more and sign up here.

You can also sign up and start using TaskExchange right now!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Four major policy issues for Cochrane: recent correspondence with the Governing Board

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 15:32

A group of Cochrane members recently submitted a letter to the Board detailing “four major policy issues for Cochrane”.

You’re invited to read their letter and the Board’s response.

To learn more about the Cochrane Council, the organization’s representative body for Cochrane members, please visit the resources on Cochrane Community: https://community.cochrane.org/organizational-info/people/cochrane-council

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Podcast: Bedside examination tests to detect beforehand adults who are likely to be difficult to intubate

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 20:18

Patients who require general anaesthesia or ventilation to help them breathe while in intensive care, need a clear airway. This is usually achieved by inserting a tube to help air reach their lungs and a new Cochrane Review from May 2018 examines the evidence for different tests to help doctors assess how difficult this might be for patients with no immediately obvious problems with their breathing. We asked one of the authors, Jasmin Arrich from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, to tell us what they found.

"Placing a tube into the patient’s airway, or tracheal intubation, is the best way to ensure that their airway stays clear and that air can get into their lungs during general anaesthesia, or when they need ventilation or oxygenation for other reasons. Before intubation, it’s common practice to determine if the patient has a difficult airway, which is a potentially life-threatening situation because they will not be able to breathe, and will quickly die.

There are several bedside airway examination tests to help doctors to anticipate possible difficulties before intubation and such tests are used every day by clinicians all across the world. However, there is little information about which test is most useful and we have investigated this further by reviewing the validity of different tests for detecting a difficult airway in patients with no apparent airway abnormalities.

We found no less than 133 eligible studies involving more than 840,000 patients on four continents. Most of the studies included patients undergoing elective surgery, and, overall, the evidence was of moderate to high quality. All studies focused on the assessment of predictors that would indicate if a patient was likely to have difficult face mask ventilation, laryngoscopy or intubation. 

When we pooled the results, we found high variability among the tests. The upper lip bite test for diagnosing difficult laryngoscopy provided a summary sensitivity of 67%, which was higher than any of the other tests. However, this suggests that even this, the most sensitive test in the studies we reviewed, correctly identifies the presence of a problem only two-thirds of the time. The modified Mallampati test had the highest sensitivity for detecting difficult tracheal intubation, but its summary sensitivity of 51% means that it fails to identify the problem in nearly half the patients for whom it will be difficult to insert the tube.

In summary, bedside airway examination tests for detecting a difficult airway are intended as screening tests and are expected to miss only very few patients with a potential problem. They are recommended in airway management guidelines around the world, but we have found that they often fail to meet their goal and that most are little better than simply flipping a coin to decide if the patient has a difficult airway. On the other hand, the tests were consistently better at showing that a patient did not have a difficult airway when there really did not have one, but this is of little relevance in this context. In conclusion, therefore, standard bedside airway examination tests for difficult airways in patients with no apparent airway abnormalities do not appear to be good screening tests, and we urge great caution in their use and interpretation."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Featured Review: Improving the implementation of health-promoting policies and practices in workplaces

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 09:44

Implementation strategies are meant to improve the adoption and integration of evidence-based health interventions into routine policies and practices within specific settings. 

This review examined whether using these strategies improved the implementation of policies and practices in the workplace promoting:

  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Weight control
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Prevention of risky alcohol consumption

The review authors also wanted to know if these strategies changed employees' health behaviours, caused any unintended effects, and were good value for money.

Workplaces are a good setting for programmes that aim to improve health-related behaviours like diet, physical activity and tobacco use, as adults spend a long time at work each day. However, these kinds of workplace-based interventions are often poorly implemented, limiting their potential impact on employee health. Identifying strategies that are effective in improving the implementation of workplace-based interventions has the potential to increase their impact on chronic disease prevention. Examples may include a workplace healthy catering policy, employee gym membership subsidies, or tobacco control policies.

The review authors found six eligible studies, mostly in the USA with workplaces focused in the manufacturing, industrial, and services-based sectors. 

Lead author Professor Luke Wolfenden said,

“The findings of the review do not provide clear evidence regarding the impact of implementation strategies on workplace health-promoting policy and practice implementation or on employee health behaviours. Further research is required to meet the need to develop the implementation evidence base, ensuring policies, practices and programs designed to improve employee health are applied and can yield their intended benefits.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Cochrane Classmate webinar: 20 Nov 2018

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 17:23

Cochrane Classmate could change how evidence production is taught in classrooms around the world.

 Brought to you by the Cochrane Crowd team, Classmate is a trainers’ toolkit that allows you to create exciting, interactive tasks that help your students learn about evidence production. It is easy to use, and its first release is now available free of charge to anyone interested. Join the growing number of teachers and trainers using this innovative online learning environment.

This webinar will introduce you to Classmate, including how to create a learning activity, invite students to that activity, and monitor their progress.  You’ll see the modules currently available on Classmate and hear about others launching soon.

Tuesday 20th November 12.30-1.30pm GMT

Learn more at classmate.cochrane.org/

 

Support for Project Transform was provided by Cochrane and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (APP1114605). The contents of the published material are solely the responsibility of the Administering Institution, a Participating Institution or individual authors and do not reflect the views of the NHMRC.

 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Vivli seeks Program Assistant – Boston, MA, USA

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 15:22

 

Vivli, the Center for Global Clinical Research, is seeking a seasoned Program Assistant to assist with the day-to-day organizational coordination, user support and communications. The position is full-time, ideally based in the Boston area, with the ability to work remotely several days a week. Individual must be a self-starter, experienced and able to work independently in a fast-paced start-up environment.

For more information, please see the full job advertisement.

Thursday, November 8, 2018 Category: Jobs

Prematurity Awareness Month

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 20:17

Prematurity Awareness Month is observed every November, with World Prematurity Day on 17 November, to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of preterm babies and their families worldwide. An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year and more than one million of them do not survive their early birth.

Our review groups Cochrane Neonatal and Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth prepare and disseminate evidence-based, regularly updated systematic reviews. The scope of Cochrane Neonatal work covers all randomized controlled trials of interventions involving the baby during the first month after birth. Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth covers systematic reviews of interventions that relate to pregnancy and childbirth, and up to 30 days following childbirth, as well as lactation.

Highlighted Resources

 

Monday, November 5, 2018

World Diabetes Day

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 19:32

14 November is World Diabetes Day, which is an annual campaign increase awareness of the disease

World Diabetes Day, on the 14th November every year. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2018 is The Family and Diabetes. The aim is to raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected, as well as promoting the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.

The Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders group's main area of work is the evaluation of the effects of health-care interventions relevant to the prevention, treatment or management, and rehabilitation of metabolic, nutritional and endocrine disorders, a scope which covers diabetes. They primarily focus on systematic reviews which evaluate patient-important outcomes measures.

To celebrate World Diabetes Day, we have collated a selection of some recent reviews:

Reviews soon to be published:

Monday, November 12, 2018

30 Under 30: Sarah Tanveer

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 18:46

Cochrane is made up of 11,000 members and over 35,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of a new series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact kabbotts@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

 

Name: Sarah Tanveer
Age: 25 
Occupation: Clinical Trials Management Research Specialist at the National Institute of Health 
Program: Graduate student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore, MD). I am completing a Master of Arts in Public Health Biology and a certificate in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

Tell us about your background?
I have a strong interest in clinical trial methodology, pharmacoepidemiology, and evidence synthesis with a specific aim of improving evidence-based health care for patients with neurological conditions, such as migraine and headache disorders. 

What do you do in Cochrane? 
I am a Cochrane Citizen Scientist, member of Students for Best Evidence, and a peer-reviewer for Cochrane migraine systematic reviews.

How did you first hear about Cochrane? 
I first heard about Cochrane as an Intern at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).  During my time there, I read many systematic reviews and was impressed at the rigor and methods used within Cochrane reviews. 

I chose to get involved with Cochrane because of the opportunities available to learn more about evidence synthesis and the process by which high quality information is made accessible to consumers. I look forward to future opportunities to stay engaged with the organization.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? 
I first became involved with Cochrane after I submitted a video for a trainee completion. Students were asked to submit a video explaining a concept within evidence-based practice or research. I took a course in comparative effectiveness research (CER) as a graduate student and thought it would be helpful for my fellow “visual learners” to learn about the PICO (Patient, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome) Framework in a video format! 

What has been most rewarding with working with Cochrane?  What do you enjoy about working for Cochrane? 
It has been incredibly rewarding to learn from my peers and other researchers involved with Cochrane. I am constantly inspired by the innovative and impactful work that is being done in the field to improve evidence-based research. 

What are your future plans? 
My future plans are to continue to work in the field of neurological disorders while combining my passion for evidence-based medicine. I look forward to applying to doctoral programs to receive advance training after I complete my master degree. 

What one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
If I could change one thing about Cochrane, it would be to increase mentorship opportunities and professional development activities/ workshops at Cochrane annual meetings for students. I would also advocate for additional funding to allow more students to attend the colloquium.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future? 
I hope that Cochrane continues to expand opportunities for students to be engaged with the organization. Moreover, I am looking forward to learning more about Knowledge Translation (KT) projects that Cochrane is undertaking to make findings from systematic reviews more accessible for patients and non-researchers interested in evidence-based findings from health care research. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Cochrane prioritisation project informs NIHR tobacco research funding

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 16:01

In 2016 the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group carried out a priority setting project (CTAG taps), funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research in the UK. Drawing on the opinions and experiences of members of the public, health professionals, healthcare commissioners, researchers, guideline developers and funders a clear message emerged- that there are still many unanswered research questions in the areas of tobacco use prevention, harm reduction and cessation. Now the NIHR have put out a large funding call, across a number of its funding streams, for research in these areas. The NIHR cite the findings of CTAG taps as a clear driver for this call. CTAG taps resulted in eight tobacco related priority research categories, with corresponding questions, and four overarching priority themes.

 The NIHR have drawn on these outputs and discussed them with their stakeholders to come up with a commissioning brief for researchers who would like to apply to the funding call. They are particularly interested in research projects in the following areas:

  • Addressing inequalities resulting from tobacco use
  • Delivery of smoking cessation support in the UK National Health Service
  • Quitting tobacco during pregnancy
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • The tobacco control system
  •  Quit attempt triggers
  • Preventing tobacco use in young people

The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group are delighted to see the results of their priority setting project used in this way. Dr Nicola Lindson (University of Oxford), Managing Editor for the group and lead investigator on CTAG taps, said ‘One of the goals of the exercise was to set our own priorities for coming years; but we were hopeful that we could disseminate the results widely enough that the wider community would also benefit. It is great to see that we achieved this. We really hope that it will drive much needed research and ultimately contribute to public health’.

Resources

Friday, November 2, 2018

Humanitarian Evidence Week

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 15:25

Evidence Aid uses knowledge from systematic reviews to provide reliable, up-to-date evidence on interventions that might be considered in the context of natural disasters and other major healthcare emergencies. It was established after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004, with input from several members of Cochrane, Cochrane groups, and other individuals and became an independent charity in 2015. 

For the second year Evidence Aid has organised Humanitarian Evidence Week in collaboration with The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, to promote a more evidence-based approach. Webinars, blogs, debates, and other activities are offered across the week of 18-24 November, 2018. 

Ben Heaven Taylor, CEO of Evidence Aid said, “In 2017 we bought together over 20 organisations to promote their initiatives and views on the generation, use and dissemination of evidence. It was a great success and we are building on what we learned for 2018 with more events, some which are taking place outside of the UK, including in the USA and Australia. We have a strong timeline of events across the week including involvement from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Red Cross, Save the Children, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine and the Karolinska Institutet.”

Across the year Evidence Aid publishes special collections bringing together collections of evidence from systematic reviews, working with partners such as Cochrane, Action Against Hunger, MSF, Save the Children (to name but a few) and other contributors on issues relevant to natural disasters and other global healthcare emergencies. Recent joint Cochrane-Evidence Aid special collections include:

Evidence Aid also publishes collections with other partners, on topics such as: Windstorms, Zika, and Ebola.

 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Dr. Christian Osadnik wins Monash University 2018 Faculty Early Career Research prize for Cochrane Review

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 15:13

Recently Dr. Christian Osadnik from the Department of Physiotherapy, School of Primary and Allied Health Care won the Monash University Jenny Keating Early Career Researcher Publication Prize for Nursing and Allied Health. It was presented by Professor Ross Coppell, Deputy Dean and Director of Research in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University in recognition of Dr. Osadnik’s work on the Cochrane Review, ‘Non-invasive ventilation for the management of acute hypercapnic respiratory failure due to exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’. Dr. Osadnik is an Editor within Cochrane Airways and the Co-ordinator for Cochrane Airways Australia.

“I am very proud to receive this award, particularly as a physiotherapist leading this work into the practice of respiratory medical care, and thank my co-authors for their crucial teamwork to update this important Cochrane review, “ said Dr. Osadnik of the honour. “People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease commonly experience acute exacerbations of their airways disease necessitating hospital care for respiratory distress. Our work offers confirmatory evidence to support the use of non-invasive ventilation as a life-saving intervention for these patients and casts ethical doubts on the design of future studies comprising ‘no-treatment’ control groups in this field. Funds from this award will contribute to an extension of my group’s research seeking to further improve healthcare delivery to optimise patients’ recovery from this debilitating condition.”

The Cochrane community extends a warm congratulations to Dr. Osadnik on recognition of this impressive achievement.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Vivli to use Cochrane vocabulary to power Vivli’s search

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 10:19

Cochrane and Vivli formalise partnership aimed at accelerating global medical research

Cochrane and Vivli are pleased to announce their partnership aimed at helping health researchers move faster toward new treatments and cures. The first phase of the partnership has been to work together to use the Cochrane ontology to power the Vivli search. Clinical trials included or cited on the Vivli platform are annotated using the Cochrane PICO ontology and vocabulary.  

Vivli is a non-profit organization that promotes clinical trial data sharing via a platform designed to serve all elements of the international research community. Cochrane members were invited to try out the Vivli beta website prior to its launch in July. 

 “This partnership will make it easier to discover and access clinical trial data on the Vivli platform,” said Julie Wood, Vivli’s Director of Strategy and Operations. “Cochrane’s ontology will improve discoverability of data on the Vivli platform and advance quality research. We hope this relationship will continue to grow as we work to make it easier for Cochrane researchers to access clinical trial data. This new partnership will further promote Cochrane’s mission of promoting evidence-informed health decision-making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence.”

Chris Mavergames, Head of Informatics & Technology (IT) Services said, “Cochrane is delighted to be working with Vivli to improve access to clinical trial data, and to put our pioneering work in Linked Data into practice for the benefit of the research community worldwide.”

The Vivli platform helps researchers worldwide to discover, share and analyze data from clinical trials, regardless of who sponsored the research or where the research took place.

About Vivli

Vivli is a non-profit organization working to advance human health through the insights and discoveries gained by sharing and analyzing data. It is home to an independent global data-sharing and analytics platform which serves all elements of the international research community. The platform includes a data repository, in-depth search engine and cloud-based analytics, and harmonizes governance, policy and processes to make sharing data easier. Vivli acts as a neutral broker between data contributor and data user and the wider data sharing community. For more information, visit www.vivli.org and follow us on Twitter @VivliCenter.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cochrane's multi-language project

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 20:48

Only about 6% of the world are native English speakers while 75% don’t speak English at all. Clearly English alone isn’t enough when it comes to making evidence accessible to our target audience: the entire world.

This is why translation teams and geographical centres play a key role in Cochrane’s knowledge translation strategy. During the 25th Cochrane Colloquium in Edinburgh some of the members of the Cochrane Community shared with us their goals and achievements in different language settings.

 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cochrane seeks Finance Assistant - London, UK

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 16:18

Specifications: Full Time 37.5 hours per week
Salary: £25,000 - £28,000 DOE
Location: London
Benefits: 27 days annual leave plus bank holidays, 6% employer pension contributions & Cycle to work
Application Closing Date: 9 November 2018

We have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic, confident, motivated and committed individual looking to work within a progressive, dynamic and exceptional Finance team and make a difference in the field of health care research.

The successful candidate will receive a completive salary with an excellent benefits package, working for a fantastic charity based in Central London.

The Finance Assistant will maintain the sales and purchase ledgers for Cochrane, Collaboration Trading and Cochrane Innovations, including processing expenses for CET members, facilitating payments and reconciling bank statements.

Key Tasks:

Purchase Ledger

  • Process all purchase ledger items including supplier invoices in line with standard operating procedures
  •  Reconcile all supplier statements on a monthly basis.
  • Produce aged creditor reports for review
  • Input payment runs to the bank and overseas payment provider.
  • Post payment run information into Xero.
  • Complete bank reconciliations in Xero for Cochrane, Collaboration Trading and Cochrane Innovations.
  • Work with the Finance Officer to ensure monthly reconciliations are completed efficiently and accurately
  • Respond in a timely manner to all invoice queries ensuring high levels of service are maintained to all parts of Cochrane.

Concur and Expenses

  • Support the Finance Officer in processing expense claims received within Concur, checking transfer to Xero and coding is correct when downloade
  • Respond in a timely manner to all expense queries ensuring high levels of service are maintained to all parts of Cochrane.

Sales Ledger

  • Process sales invoices for customers and enter into Xero
  • Produce and send statements
  • Follow up unpaid invoices with customers

Other

  • Provide support to the Finance Officers
  • Ensure all Finance filing and record keeping is up to date and easily accessible both electronically and in hard copy form
  • Support the Finance team during the annual audit process
  • Support the Finance team during the annual budgeting process
  • Support the development of the Finance function, implementing standard operating procedures alongside improvements to controls making full use of IT wherever possible.
  • Ensure compliance of all financial matters with that of statutory bodies and relevant regulations by integrated in standard operating procedures.

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world.  The successful candidate will also have:

  • Demonstrable experience in all aspects of purchase ledger
  • Confident IT user with experience in various programmes including intermediate Microsoft Excel skills
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to build relationships across the team and organisation
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines
  • Analytical problem solving skills and a practical approach to dealing with day-to-day issues
  • Ability to communicate clearly with non-finance employees about financial matters
  • Commitment to Cochrane’s mission and values

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to recruitment@cochrane.org with “Finance Assistant” in the subject line.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities, and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.

For further information, please download the full job description.
Deadline for applications: 9 November 2018 (12 midnight GMT)
Interviews to be held on: (TBC)

Friday, October 26, 2018 Category: Jobs

Invitation to stand for election to the Governing Board

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 15:00

Cochrane’s Governing Board is seeking to elect 4 new members

We are looking for candidates with a passion for Cochrane, a belief in its power to improve healthcare decision making worldwide, and the ability to support the management of the organization.

Cochrane is an international organization and a registered charity in the UK, and members of the Governing Board from around the world are ‘Trustees’ of the charity. The Trustees carry ultimate responsibility for Cochrane and this is a critically important role.

The Board works as a team, including members with complementary skills and backgrounds. Candidates standing for election must be Cochrane Members but do not have to be a leader of a Cochrane Group. We are looking for a diverse and international range of candidates, and welcome nominations from people with the skills required to fulfil the responsibilities of a Trustee.

In this election, we are especially seeking candidates who have one or more of the following areas of expertise, in order to complement those of existing Board members:

  • Charity Governance (in any charitable organization around the world)
  • Organizational Finance and Resource Management
  • People Management (often called ‘Human Resources’ in English) and Organizational Development
  • Knowledge of the importance of Consumer involvement in Evidence Production and Health Policy
  • Advocating for Evidence
  • Widening Access, Participation, Reach and Impact of research 
  • Fundraising and Development

This is an exciting opportunity to join the team providing strategic oversight to Cochrane, making sure the organization’s work is effective and innovative, and that it delivers on its mission to promote evidence-informed health decision making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence.

In line with the usual requirements for UK charity Trustees, these are voluntary, unpaid roles. Each year you will need to commit to attending at least three face-to-face meetings at different locations internationally, and at least two teleconferences. You will be expected to be a member of one or more Board Sub-Committees. Your expenses will be paid to attend meetings. The term of appointment is three years, from December 2018 to December 2021. In 2019, you should be available to travel to London, UK, 19-20 January; Krakow, Poland, 1-5 April; and Santiago, Chile, 22-25 October.

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday 14 November 2018. To find out how to stand for election, please visit elections.cochrane.org.

With best wishes,

Cochrane Governing Board

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dr Matthew Page on winning the 2018 Bill Silverman Prize

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:47

Cochrane Australia Research Fellow and Co-Convenor of the Cochrane Bias Methods Group Matthew Page recently took out this year’s Bill Silverman Prize, which recognises and celebrates the role of constructive criticism of Cochrane and its work. Here we catch up with Matthew about who and what inspired him to research and publish his prize-winning paper on common statistical flaws in systematic reviews. (Originally posted on the Cochrane Australia website)

Just under a decade ago, Matthew Page was a newcomer to Cochrane. Attending his first Colloquium in Singapore in 2009, he watched Dr David Moher take out the Bill Silverman Prize and as a result, first discovered methodological research. ‘You could say that was  kind of a lightbulb moment that led to all my future research interests,’ Matthew says. ‘I listened to David at the Colloquium and immediately went home, read his paper and realised there’s a whole community out there, a whole field that’s actually all about trying to improve research. Since then, David has become my mentor/methodological hero and we’ve been working together on all kinds of fascinating areas. So it seems really fitting to receive this award for a paper I worked on with both David and the late Doug Altman – another extremely inspiring and brilliant statistician who’s influenced my thinking about methods and meta-analysis.’ 

‘This particular paper was actually Doug’s brainchild. He - like Bill Silverman himself - often bemoaned the poor quality of published medical research. He strongly believed self-criticism can help drive progress, which is what this award is all about,’ Matthew explains. ‘Following a paper we published on reporting quality of systematic reviews in PLOS Medicine in 2016, Doug guided us to conduct this comprehensive analysis of the misuse of statistics in systematic reviews. We looked at a range of different statistical methods which could be used in systematic reviews and assessed whether they were applied and interpreted correctly in 32 Cochrane and 78 non-Cochrane reviews. Using a 61-item checklist, we discovered that there were common flaws in many Cochrane and non-Cochrane reviews. Our findings suggest many areas where Cochrane review authors can lift their game.’ 

‘By identifying these flaws, we can gain a much better idea of which statistical methods need checking in submitted Cochrane reviews. We’re hoping to address the issues we identify by developing a checklist that can be used by editors to evaluate the statistics in submitted Cochrane reviews. Once errors are spotted, these can be fed back to the review authors and corrected, which we hope will ultimately lead to higher quality reviews. You could say that these findings probably confirm suspicions that the involvement of statisticians on review teams can really help to address a lot of methodological shortcomings.’

‘So for me personally it was great to be able to identify and address areas for improvement in the future and ultimately receive the honour of this award for doing so,’ Matthew concludes. ‘I think the prize is also further recognition of Doug Altman’s phenomenal contribution to Cochrane and evidence-based medicine. And it also gave us yet another reason to celebrate David Moher, whose work was recognised in a half day symposium at the Colloquium this year. We are both looking forward to doing further work in this area to help authors and editors wrangling with all sorts of methodological questions and approaches.’   

For more on Matthew’s work into systematic review methods, read his interview with Cochrane Senior Editor Toby Lasserson on Assessing the current state of systematic reviews, his Epidemiology and Reporting Characteristics of Systematic Reviews of Biomedical Research: A Cross-Sectional Study in PLOS Medicine or follow him on twitter @mjpages

Top Image: Prof David Henry (left) presents Matthew with this year's Bill Silverman Prize at the Cochrane Colloquium in Edinburgh

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pages