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Feature BMJ Group Awards

Research Paper of the Year: Simple interventions that save lives

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 28 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1202
  1. Trish Groves, deputy editor
  1. 1BMJ, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  1. tgroves{at}

This year’s judges have to choose between three randomised controlled trials, each of which finds that a relatively simple intervention could save many lives. The research topics ranged from screening for colorectal cancer and reducing bleeding in injured patients to treating malaria in children (see box).

Research questions of the shortlisted papers

  • Does one-off screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy for 55 to 64 year olds cut the incidence of colorectal cancer and related mortality over 11 years?

  • Does a short, low cost, course of tranexamic acid reduce adults’ mortality from bleeding within a month of severe injury?

  • For African children in hospital with severe falciparum malaria, does parenteral artesunate save more lives than parenteral quinine?

Elizabeth Loder (clinical research editor) and I looked separately at all 150 or so nominated papers and then met to discuss our choices. We hadn’t planned to shortlist only trials: there were plenty of great papers whose research questions were appropriately and robustly answered with observational study designs. But, in the end, we were clear that these …

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