Intended for healthcare professionals

NIHR Alerts

The BMJ is partnering with the NIHR Dissemination (CED) to bring readers a selection of NIHR Alerts. Hundreds of NIHR-funded research papers are published every month; frontline health and care professionals cannot possibly read them all. The CED filters the research, selecting studies with novel findings, and implications for practice. These studies are reviewed by health professionals, patient and public representatives and the editorial group. Plain language summaries of these studies, NIHR Alerts, are published on the NIHR Evidence website. These summaries of important NIHR research aim to promote the use of research and bring applicable findings to the attention of decision-makers, health and social care professionals, patients and members of the public. You can read more about the BMJ and NIHR Alerts collaboration here. All authors of NIHR signals adhere to The BMJ’s enhanced criteria for conflicts of interest for education article authors.

Read the latest NIHR Alerts here:

The NIHR Editorial group members are:

Candace Imison, Associate Director of Evidence and Dissemination, NIHR CED.
Candace oversees the NIHR CED’s dissemination and knowledge mobilisation activity. She has extensive experience in developing health policy, most recently as Director of Policy at the Nuffield Trust and previously as Deputy Director of Policy at The King’s Fund. She has researched and published on workforce, future health care trends and service reconfiguration. Candace has senior management experience at board level for NHS providers, commissioners and regulators.

Christian Mallen, NIHR Professor of General Practice and Head of Keele Medical School.
Christian gained a degree in medicine from Nottingham University before undertaking speciality training in general practice. He has worked as a clinical academic at Keele University for 20 years, leading programmes of research on rheumatology, mental health, multimorbidity and global health. He is currently Head of Keele Medical School and Director of the NIHR School for Primary Care Research.

Shona Haining, Head of Research and Evidence, North of England Commissioning Support Unit.
Shona is highly skilled in the design, delivery and implementation of research in the healthcare sector. She completed her PhD in Biochemistry at University of Sheffield and holds qualifications in Management Studies, Health Economics and Public Sector Commissioning. Shona has in-depth knowledge of health systems, process, and challenges specifically within commissioning and primary care. She has been a co-investigator on an array of NIHR projects as well as leading on evaluation projects across many transformation areas for NHS England.

Lindsay Bearne, Professor of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation at Kingston and St George’s, University of London.
Lindsay is a registered physiotherapist and has a background in physical activity, rehabilitation and self-management research. Her current research focuses on the consequences of long-term conditions (rheumatic, musculoskeletal and vascular disease), rehabilitation, and the translation of evidence into practice. Alongside this, Lindsay is a Senior Research Fellow in Knowledge Mobilisation at NIHR CED.

David Baghurst, Director of Research Programmes, NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) and Director, NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI).
David’s teams manage a portfolio of NIHR Research Programmes, Units and Schools and facilitate collaboration across the NIHR Infrastructure including Biomedical Research Centres and Applied Research Collaborations. David has more than 25 years’ experience in management of technology transfer and innovation in the life science and healthcare sectors.

Jemma Kwint, Senior Research Fellow, NIHR CED.
Jemma leads on NIHR Evidence’s Themed Reviews, which bring together recent research on topics of strategic importance for the UK health and social care system. She has a background in postdoctoral medical research embedded in an NHS setting and extensive experience of working within the NIHR. Prior to joining CED, Jemma worked for 10 years identifying and prioritising research topics for NIHR commissioning.

Helen Saul, Editor-in-Chief, NIHR Evidence.
Helen gained a BA in medical science from Cambridge University before training in medical journalism with the GP newspaper, Pulse. In a long freelance career, she reported on medicine and science for Sky News, BBC Radio Four and BBC World Service. She was a regular contributor to national newspapers and magazines, including New Scientist, and was news editor of European Journal of Cancer for many years.

Deniz Gursul, Research Dissemination Officer, NIHR CED.
Deniz holds a DPhil in neonatal pain and brain imaging from University of Oxford, and gained experience in medical writing before joining CED. She is involved in the selection of papers for Alerts and Themed Reviews, and ensures the scientific accuracy of products on NIHR Evidence.

Samantha Cassidy, Science Writer NIHR Evidence.
Samantha holds a Masters in neuroscience from King's College London and has worked for various medical publishers both as an editor and a project manager. She writes NIHR Alerts and aims to communicate scientific findings in a meaningful way to different audiences.

Sarah Deria, Editorial Assistant, NIHR CED.
Sarah holds a Masters in Global Public Health and Policy from Queen Mary University, London. She carries out an initial screen of all NIHR-funded papers to select those which meet our criteria. Sarah works as part of the team to prepare Alerts and to engage professional organisations and patient support groups with the research findings.

Victoria Bartle, Member of the Public
Victoria has been involved in Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) work since leaving employment in 2016 due to multiple long term health conditions (MLTC). She is an NIHR research champion, a co-applicant on the research collaborative ADMISSION, and the PPI representative for the NIHR MLTC Translational Research Collaboration. She was recently appointed to the North East and Yorkshire Research for Patient Benefit funding committee.

Mashkura Begum, Member of the Public
Mashkura has worked in the voluntary and public sector for 20 years. She currently works on community development, engagement and asset-based regeneration for a housing association in the West Midlands. She holds a law degree and is Chair of trustees at a women’s development organisation, Saathi House. Mashkura is a Director of the social enterprise, Communities Engage and Thrive (CET) which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of disadvantaged communities.

The BMJ and the NIHR previously collaborated on a series of articles called NIHR Signals. You can access the archive of NIHR Signals here:

Pedometers can help people get more active as part of an exercise programme
Computerised speech and language therapy can help people with aphasia find words following a stroke
Online patient feedback is positive, but not used effectively
Tranexamic acid is safe to use following mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury
Group cognitive behavioural courses may reduce fatigue from rheumatoid arthritis
Twenty miles per hour speed zones reduce the danger to pedestrians and cyclists
Losing weight following diagnosis of type 2 diabetes boosts chance of remission
Planned earlier delivery for late pre-eclampsia may be better for mothers
Clinicians prescribe antibiotics for childhood respiratory tract infection based on assessment, rather than parental expectation
Keyhole hysterectomy is effective for women with heavy menstrual bleeding
More than 50% of hip replacements seem to last 25 years
More than 80% of total knee replacements can last for 25 years
Partial knee replacement could be first choice for some patients with osteoarthritis
C reactive protein testing in general practice safely reduces antibiotic use for flare-ups of COPD
Levetiracetam is a useful alternative to phenytoin for epileptic seizures in children
Routine use of progesterone does not prevent miscarriage
Antimicrobial central venous catheters do not reduce infections in pre-term babies
Telephone or internet delivered talking therapy can alleviate irritable bowel symptoms
National quality improvement programmes need time and resources to have an impact
Cardiac rehabilitation for heart failure can improve quality of life and fitness
Whole body MRI is effective for identifying metastatic disease in colorectal cancer patients
Smartphones can improve adherence rates for TB treatment
Antiretroviral treatment can reduce the risk of HIV transmission between male partners to ‘zero’
Laser eye procedure is safe and effective as an early treatment for glaucoma
A traditional hip implant is as effective as newer types for people over 65
Setting goals can help people with early stage dementia improve function
E-cigarettes helped more smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapy
Does fluoxetine improve recovery after stroke?
Can treating vitamin D deficiency reduce exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?
Patient centred care for multimorbidity improves patient experience, but quality of life is unchanged
Negative pressure dressings are no better than standard dressings for open fractures
Adrenaline can restart the heart, but is no good for the brain
Repeat thyroid function tests for healthy older people are not needed
People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations prefer early discharge, then treatment at home
Lifestyle changes may be more important than drugs for mild hypertension
New airway device as good as tracheal tube insertion for out-of-hospital resuscitation