'Exacerbation' has for many years been the preferred term for worsening asthma in the peer-reviewed literature and in national and international guidelines. However, there is a recent trend to move away from this somewhat cumbersome word in favour of terms that may be more widely understood and more easily remembered by patients, the public, and professionals alike. Ensuring we have a common language for describing worsening asthma is especially important in a condition for which there is strong evidence that self-management education improves health outcomes.
Since the birth of systematic reviews, technology has been an integral part of efforts to understand health evidence. In recent years a combination of increasing frustration with the limitations of current systematic review technologies, an awareness of the impact technological developments have had in other fields, and promising results of recent innovations have led to an increasing focus on the opportunities afforded by emerging technologies. These will be discussed at the forthcoming second #CochraneTech Symposium.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness. The story of the availability of two drugs that can treat this condition, bevacizumab (Avastin) and ranibizumab (Lucentis), is complex and evolving. The story also highlights the crucial role of independent research in producing relevant evidence for decision-makers on the safety and effectiveness of affordable health interventions. A recent Cochrane Review is a good example of a timely and rapidly conducted systematic review to support regulatory bodies efficiently allocate resources for access to cost-effective treatments.
Authors of Cochrane Reviews are also sometimes authors of trials eligible for inclusion in the Cochrane Review. This dual authorship is clearly a competing interest. This editorial unpacks the dilemma of dual authorship, examines the extent of the problem with existing reviews, and comments on the current Cochrane editorial policy on dual authorship and its implementation.
Motivational interviewing is a counselling technique based on a collaborative conversation that explores and resolves ambivalence. A recent Cochrane Review summarises the current state of knowledge regarding the use of motivational interviewing for alcohol misuse in adults up to 25 years old. The review authors conclude that there no substantive, meaningful benefits, and discuss how this review shows the importance of seeing results not in terms of conventional thresholds of statistical significance, but more crucially in terms of clinical relevance of the effect sizes on key outcome measures.