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Share your virtual #CochraneSantiago posters and presentations

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 17:01

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Dear Cochrane community,

Last week the unprecedented situation of civil unrest across Santiago led to the cancellation of the physical gathering of Cochrane's annual Colloquium. Whilst it has caused huge disappointment and inconvenience for hundreds of Colloquium delegates, we have been impressed by the generosity and perseverance to make the most out of this sad situation by our members and supporters.

On behalf of Cochrane and the Local Organizing Committee, I would like to invite those accepted for a poster or oral presentation to present their material virtually. Working with Cochrane Training, we will collect and curate the Colloquium content by topic and host them on our Colloquium website, the week of 2-6 December 2019. In addition, we will also be collecting plenary presentations and workshop materials and more details on these will follow.

Whilst we recognize our virtual meeting can never replace the valuable face-to-face interactions, we feel this week of virtual content it will be a fitting tribute to Cochrane community‘s spirit of resilience and collaboration. We invite the full community of Cochrane members and supporters to engage with virtual #CochraneSantiago from 2-6 December, 2019. Please mark your calendars and look out for more details as we get closer.

The theme of this year’s 26th Colloquium is ‘Embracing Diversity’. We hope that the virtual #CochraneSantiago can help contribute to reaching diverse audiences with diverse evidence needs for diverse health decisions.

With my personal thanks for all your support and best wishes,

Dr. Gabriel Rada
Chair of the Local Organizing Committee
Co-Director of
Cochrane Chile

Here’s how to submit your poster or oral presentation for the virtual Colloquium:

If you were accepted for a poster presentation, your poster and optional audio can be uploaded to the Colloquium website. We will curate the posters by topic and be back in touch with the wider community when posters are available to view.

To upload your poster to the Colloquium website:

  1.  Log in to the Colloquium website
  2. Go to “My submissions"
  3. Click on “Edit” next to your poster abstract
  4. Next to “Poster file” click on “Browse” to select a poster file (preferably a PDF)
  5. Select the poster file from your computer and then click “Upload"
  6. If you wish, you can also share an audio file of you ‘presenting’ your poster. Next to “Poster audio” click on “Browse” to select an audio file, select the audio file from your computer and then click “Upload"
  7. IMPORTANT: When you are finished, click on “save"
  8. The deadline for uploading posters is Friday November 8th

If you had a short or long oral presentation at the Colloquium, there are two options for you to submit this as a screencast (a video file of your slide presentation together with audio of you presenting). You can schedule a time with us to record your presentation online, and we will create a screencast for you. Or, you can record your own screencast of the presentation and share that with us.

We ask that duration be 5 minutes for short oral presentations and 10 minutes for long oral presentations. We will upload screencasts to the Cochrane Training YouTube channel and share these on the Colloquium website, so they will be publicly available.

To book a time with us to record your oral presentation as a screencast:

  1. Go to
  2. Select a suitable half hour presentation slot
  3. You can select more than one slot if you have more than one presentation, but otherwise please select only one suitable slot
  4. If you have more than one presenter, please book one slot and liaise with the other Colloquium colleague
  5. Use the 'Contact the poll creator' field to let us know the title of your presentation(s)
  6. IMPORTANT: Click “continue”, enter your email address and click “send"
  7. The deadline for booking slots is Monday 4th November

To submit your own screencast of your oral presentation:

  1. Go to:
  2. Upload your file. It’s helpful if you name the file with the same title as your presentation with first and last name in brackets afterwards
  3. The deadline for uploading presentations is Friday November 8th

Any questions? If you have any questions or need assistance with sharing your posters or oral presentations, please contact

Monday, October 28, 2019

Podcast: Xpert MTB/RIF and Xpert Ultra for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance in adults

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 13:26

Most Cochrane Reviews look at the effects of interventions on health, but a growing number provide evidence on how to diagnose a disease. In June 2019, one of these, on a test used to detect tuberculosis, was updated. The lead author, David Horne from the University of Washington in Seattle in the USA, sets the scene and tells us what the review found.

Tuberculosis, or TB, causes more deaths than any other infectious disease: 1.6 million people died from it in 2017. Most of these deaths could have been averted with earlier detection. The early diagnosis of TB is also important to prevent disease progression and long-term consequences, alleviate symptoms, and to protect public health by interrupting its transmission.

An important aspect of the global TB epidemic is the threat from drug-resistant TB. Unlike most other infectious diseases, TB treatment requires multiple drugs given for at least 6 months to prevent the emergence of drug-resistance and cure TB. But, some patients’ TB is resistant to the most potent drugs in a standard treatment regimen, rifampicin and isoniazid. Treatment of this multi-drug resistant or MDR-TB takes longer and requires drugs that are much more expensive and toxic than standard therapy. Every year, over half a million people develop MDR-TB or rifampicin-resistant TB; but, in 2017, only one in four of these started appropriate treatment and just over one-half of those were cured.

Culturing TB in the laboratory is the best test for diagnosing TB and is the first step in detecting drug resistance. Unfortunately, though, this complex and slow procedure is not widely available in many resource-constrained settings.

As an alternative, in 2010, the World Health Organisation recommended GeneXpert MTB/RIF as a rapid test that can simultaneously detect both TB and rifampicin resistance in sputum and other specimens. It’s designed to be used outside of reference laboratories in settings nearer to patients, such as hospitals and clinics in low-resource settings. The test has been a giant leap forward and called a “game changer” but it struggles if the patient has something called smear-negative pulmonary TB, when their sample contains too few TB bacteria. To try to overcome this limitation, the manufacturer introduced a new version called Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra.
We performed our first systematic review of GeneXpert in 2014 and this update allows us to bring in the more recent studies of both GeneXpert and Xpert Ultra for detecting TB in the lungs and for detecting rifampicin resistance in adults. We now have 95 studies, with 68 that were not previously available for our 2014 review, and data from more than 37,000 people.

Looking first at the detection of TB, we found that GeneXpert’s sensitivity was 85% and its specificity was 98%. This means that it correctly identifies TB in 85 of every hundred people with it, but suggests that TB is present in two in every hundred people without it. The sensitivity of GeneXpert was significantly lower for people with smear-negative pulmonary TB at 67%, compared to 98% in those with smear-positive disease. Similarly, sensitivity was lower in people living with HIV at 81%, compared to 88% for those who were HIV-negative.
The accuracy of GeneXpert was high for the detection of rifampicin resistance: sensitivity was 96% and specificity was 98%.

There is much less evidence for Xpert Ultra. We could include just one study, which compared Xpert Ultra to GeneXpert in over 1400 participants. It found that Xpert Ultra was more sensitive than Gene Xpert, 88% versus 83%, but its specificity was slightly lower, 96% versus 98%.

In summary, GeneXpert is sensitive and specific for the detection of both TB and rifampicin resistance. For TB detection, it has higher sensitivity in people who are smear-positive or HIV-negative. Based on a single study, Xpert Ultra had higher sensitivity and lower specificity for TB detection, but was similar for detecting rifampicin resistance. Therefore, we can conclude that both GeneXpert and Xpert Ultra provide accurate results and can allow rapid initiation of treatment for MDR-TB. However, there is still a need for additional studies of Xpert Ultra in diverse patient populations, including those with a prior history of TB. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Dr. David Tovey awarded Emeritus Editor-in-Chief

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 17:16

At its recent meeting in Santiago, Cochrane’s Governing Board has awarded Dr. David Tovey the title “Emeritus Editor-in-Chief.” This title is given in special recognition of David’s distinguished service as Cochrane’s first Editor-in-Chief of the Cochrane Library, 2009-2019. David stepped down from the role at the end of May 2019 following ten years in the role.

In hearing the news, David passed on his personal thanks to the Governing Board and Cochrane’s Community. He said, “I am extremely honoured to receive this honorary award from the Governing Board. Being Cochrane’s first Editor-in-Chief remains the highlight of my career to date, and I am most grateful for this recognition of my contribution.”

Friday, October 25, 2019

Cochrane advocates for clinical trial transparency at EU Parliament event

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 14:35

Cochrane recently joined policymakers, civil society organizations and academics at the European Parliament for a roundtable event on clinical trial transparency.

Under the European Commission’s Clinical Trial Regulation, which came into force in July 2014, trial sponsors must post summary results within one year of a study ending, or six months for paediatric trials. However, there has been a lack of commitment towards implementation.

The event, which took place on 17 October, called for further action to ensure greater transparency of clinical trial data. It was organized by Health Action International and TranspariMED and hosted by Michèle Rivasi MEP.

The panel discussion also involved representatives from the European Commission, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Transparency International Health Initiative and Prescrire.

Sylvia de Haan, Head of External Affairs & Geographic Groups’ Support, spoke on Cochrane’s behalf, highlighting the value of clinical trial data to systematic reviewers and the fact that, without complete transparency, our reviews will not be able to provide a full view of the evidence.

Karla Soares-Weiser, Cochrane Editor in Chief, said of this issue: “The availability of clinical trial data is essential for Cochrane to produce high quality and relevant systematic reviews. Without this, we risk basing our reviews on partial data and to exaggerate benefits of a health intervention or underestimate its possible harms. Good health care decision making by policymakers as well as patients will be hindered.”

Read the full press release from Health Action International.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Introducing Cochrane’s Dissemination Checklist and Guidance

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 13:32

Knowledge Translation (KT) in Cochrane is delighted to announce the launch of its Dissemination Checklist - a new resource that can improve the quality, consistency and translatability of dissemination products that present findings of a Cochrane intervention review. 

The 18-item Checklist and accompanying guidance is for anyone in Cochrane who produces, or wants to produce, dissemination products or dissemination product templates.  It shares the components of a high-quality dissemination product that you can check against your own product, along with tips and suggestions to use when creating your product, and examples of applying the new Checklist in practice. 

The Checklist is an output of Theme Two of Cochrane’s KT Framework, ‘Packaging and Push’ - a programme of implementation work to ensure that the users of Cochrane’s evidence can receive and act on our reviews and products. Effective dissemination of our evidence is a critically important part of our knowledge translation activities to ensure our review content is available to all people in a format and style they can interpret and use.

Starting in January 2020, we will deliver a wide range of opportunities to help people apply the checklist and disseminate their Cochrane evidence. More details will follow on how you can participate in our webinar series, new learning resources, and training opportunities.

We have also recently updated our Cochrane Training webpages on How to Share Cochrane Evidence.  On these pages, you will find information on:

To find out more about the Checklist, join us for an introductory webinar on October 31st 13:00-14:00.

You can register here

For more information on KT in Cochrane

Friday, October 25, 2019

Cochrane seeks Research Assistant in Evidence Synthesis (disease control) - Liverpool, UK

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 10:56
Job type: Fixed-term for 1 yearWorking hours: Full time, 80% FTE considered on requestSalary: £29,176
Location: Liverpool, UKApplication deadline: 24 November 2019, 23:45

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine's department of Clinical Sciences has an exciting opportunity for a Research Assistant to join the team working as part of the “Research, Evidence and Development Initiative” (READ-It)

LSTM’S Centre for Evidence Synthesis in Global Health leads developments in evidence synthesis for tropical medicine and global health. In the 1990s, we helped establish Cochrane. We now run the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG), with over 150 Cochrane reviews and 600 authors throughout the world; we work closely with the World Health Organization and co-ordinate a global evidence ecosystem, with active partner programmes in South Africa, India and Sri Lanka.

As part of this, we are recruiting staff as part of a six year “Research, Evidence and Development Initiative” (READ-It) programme. The successful applicant will be part of this process and join the teams in the existing and new review portfolio, which will include working with the team to complete an ongoing Cochrane review on insecticide residual spraying for malaria. Our priorities are developing rapidly, and we are seeking to engage the successful applicant in a second high-priority area commensurate with their areas of interest.  For example, some topics under consideration include rapid diagnostic tests in malaria; triple therapy in filariasis; self-testing for HIV; and counselling after stillbirths. There are also a variety of methodological projects related to Cochrane including review updating and non-financial conflicts of interest; and formal evaluation of ease of access in LMICS to the Cochrane Library. Overall, we aim for a mixed portfolio to provide a broad exposure to evidence informed science.

The successful candidate will have a Masters that includes training in interpreting statistical and quantitative data; ideally you will also hold a postgraduate qualification in epidemiology or related quantitative topic. You will have experience in biomedical or social science research in low and middle-income countries and have the ability to critically appraise medical literature at postgraduate level.

You need to have completed a systematic review or an applied research project.  Additionally, you must possess evidence of critical insight into priority policy questions in international health relevant to infectious diseases.

If you have authored a Cochrane review, have experience of using GRADE, or have a track record in published research, it will be an added advantage to your application.

Take a look at our website where you will find annual reports of our work and learn more about the CIDG team.  Any further informal inquiries, please contact

This job is unlikely to attract a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (formerly a work permit).  Applications from candidates who require Tier 2 immigration status to work in the UK may not be considered if there are a sufficient number of other suitable candidates.  To apply for a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship, employers need to demonstrate that they are unable to recruit a resident worker before recruiting an individual overseas.  For further information, please visit:

We believe that this post will not be suitable for individuals on Tier 5 visas as these posts are not considered to be supernumerary to the organisation. For further details, please visit the UKVI website:

LSTM actively promotes Equal Opportunities and Safeguarding Policies

To apply online click HERE

Please note: Early application is encouraged as we will review applications throughout the advertising period and reserve the right to close the advert early

Friday, October 25, 2019 Category: Jobs

The Recommended Dose podcast: David Tovey Editor in Chief, Cochrane Library

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:21

Editor in Chief, Cochrane Library

After ten years at the helm of the Cochrane Library, Dr David Tovey recently stepped down as Editor-in-Chief. This week he joins Ray to reflect on Cochrane’s past, present and future and share some of the challenges and rewards of leading one of the world’s largest and most trusted health research networks.

Listen to Recommended Dose podcasts on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher  or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. 

Find more details and our show notes the podcast page or follow on twitter  or facebook.

The Recommended Dose is produced by Cochrane Australia and co-published with The BMJ.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Recommended Dose podcast: Liam Mannix, National Science Editor, The Age

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:14

National Science Editor, The Age

Our latest series kicks off with Australia’s multi-award-winning health and science reporter, Liam Mannix. He joins Ray to share his insights into the role and impact of evidence, advocacy and investigative reporting in today’s ever-changing media landscape.

Listen to Recommended Dose podcasts on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher  or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. 

Find more details and our show notes the podcast page or follow on twitter  or facebook.

The Recommended Dose is produced by Cochrane Australia and co-published with The BMJ.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Cochrane Santiago message from the Cochrane Board

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 20:03

At the close of its meeting today, Cochrane’s Governing Board extended its grateful thanks to Gabriel Rada, the Local Organizing Team at Cochrane Chile, Cochrane Iberoamerica, and support from Cochrane’s Central Executive Team for their outstanding work in preparing for the 2019 Santiago Colloquium.

The Board and Senior Management Team share Cochrane Chile’s huge disappointment that it was necessary to cancel the Colloquium however all were in agreement that this was the most appropriate decision in the wake of the ongoing civil unrest in Santiago.

They have also been inspired to see the best of Cochrane’s collaborative spirit demonstrated by the organizing teams and every Cochrane member and supporter who came to Chile under these most difficult circumstances.

 We send our best wishes to the staff of Cochrane Chile and hope for a peaceful resolution to the current political situation.  

Cochrane’s Governing Board

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Cochrane seeks - Business Analyst (Maternity Cover), Fixed Term, up to 12 months

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 14:32

Specifications: Fixed Term, up to 12 months
Salary: £35,000
Location: London
Application Closing Date: 11th November 2019 at Midnight GMT

This role is an exciting opportunity to use your experience as a Business Analyst to make a difference in the field of health care research. 

As the Business Analyst (BA) you will gather, analyse, validate and document business requirements using workshops, interviews, document analysis, site visits, user cases, business analysis, workflow analysis and observations, ensuring they are sufficiently detailed, reviewed, signed off, and kept up-to-date and are fully traceable. You will create and manage functional specifications and help identify and validate appropriate solutions, to support business objectives.

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:

  • Experience of working with Agile software development methodologies.
  • Experience evaluating information gathered from multiple sources, reconciling conflicts, and translating high-level requirements from the customer into detailed tasks for the technical team.
  • In-depth knowledge of feature definition, technical analysis, and software development processes, and a drive to help improve the Cochrane Library’s processes through constructive criticism and a willingness to implement process changes.
  • Ability to assess project requirements and understand processes for gathering, validating and documenting.
  • Excellent written English.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to interact professionally with executives, managers, and subject matter experts.
  • A highly organised, logical and object-oriented approach to the work with ability to work to deadlines and prioritise competing activities.
  • Able to work efficiently and effectively with a geographically-dispersed department and organization.

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 with “Business Analyst” 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 from here
  • Deadline for applications: 11th November 2019 (12 midnight GMT)
  • Interviews to be held on: (TBC)
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 Category: Jobs

A message of thanks from Dr. Gabriel Rada and the Local Organizing Committee

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 13:58

An unprecedented situation of civil unrest across Santiago has led to the cancellation of Cochrane's annual flagship event, this year’s 26th Colloquium. Chair of the Local Organizing Committee and Co-Director of Cochrane Chile, Gabriel Rada, expresses his thanks for everyone’s support this week.

Dear friends,

At this very instant, as chair of the Local Organizing Committee, I should be inaugurating the 26th Cochrane Colloquium here in Santiago. 

However, as you already know, an unprecedented situation of civil unrest across Santiago and the rest of the country, gave us no option but to cancel Cochrane's annual flagship event.

Even though it was an extremely painful decision, we are convinced it was the right one and taken at the right time.

I want to thank the Governing Board and the Central Executive Team for their unquestioning vote of confidence when we recommended cancellation as the only possible course of action. The safety of all delegates, both physical and emotional, and the empathy with the sad situation all Chileans are currently living have been the drivers of all the decisions made, even when there were many other things at stake.

I want to thank all the people that worked so hard in organizing this event: the Local Organizing Committee, the Scientific Committee, and the Central Executive Team. I also want to thank all the participants. We recognize the enormous effort behind each presentation, workshop, oral session or poster.

Marcela Cortés, Rachel Klabunde, Sabrina Khamissa, Julio Villanueva, Gabriel Rada
Not pictured: Eva Madrid, Pamela Serón, Jana Stojanova, Luis Ortiz

During the coming weeks, we will put in place a virtual space for you to share your presentations or posters, so you can share your work. Please do, and help us make this year's Colloquium into a truly unique experience.

The theme of this Colloquium was ‘Embracing diversity’. In my inaugural speech, I was going to draw a parallel between the diverse geography and composition of the society of this country, and the challenges that diversity imposes to Cochrane, the scientific community in general, and society. 

I was going to expose how far we are from addressing the challenges that inequities and diversity bring, specifically in the context of information overload, conflict of interests and structural problems that lead to massive research waste. Our chance to keep providing reliable evidence for decision-making to everyone, especially to those most in need, are critically endangered.

It is paradoxical that the same problem we wanted to address is the one that underlies the crisis in Chile that impeded us to celebrate our Colloquium. 

However, we can also consider it a reminder of the urgency of the matter. We are working to provide reliable evidence, useful to everybody, everywhere in the world. If we do not act now, if we do not address diversity and inequality now, then it might be too late.

To all those in Santiago, I wish you safe travels home. And we look forward to showing all your extraordinary work here in the coming weeks.

Dr. Gabriel Rada


Our Local Organizing Committee are working on plans to digitalize some of the key Colloquium content that was planned for the week, and more information about how this will be implemented will be shared here soon.

If you have specific concerns and questions today, you can email us at; or phone (or WhatsApp) these support lines: +44 7539 997-549 / +44 7984 421-980.

Our best wishes,
Local Organizing Committee

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Important Update: Colloquium Cancelled

Sun, 10/20/2019 - 14:50

Dear Colloquium delegates,

* Latest Update: Sunday 20 October - 17:00 - There is a curfew 19:00 to 06:00 this evening in Santiago

Sunday 20 October: Update – 11:00 – COLLOQUIUM IS CANCELLED

Due to the worsening situation of civil unrest across the city of Santiago, the decision has been taken to cancel this year’s Cochrane Colloquium.

 The situation in the city centre has deteriorated in the last 24 hours and remains volatile and uncertain: a curfew is in place, there is extremely limited public transportation and there are reports of a two-day national strike beginning on Monday.

 The safety and security of all Colloquium delegates is our highest priority. For this reason, we believe cancelling this year’s annual event is the most appropriate decision.

 The Colloquium in its entirety has been cancelled, this includes all pre and post-Colloquium events, workshops, meetings, social events and the Gala dinner.

 Clearly, these are challenging times and we would like to provide delegates in Santiago, or in transit to the city, with the following advice:

  • If you have arrived, please stay near to your hotel, ask your hotel reception for any advice regarding facilities in the local area, opening times of supermarkets and shops, and public transport updates.  Please ensure you are aware of daily curfews and stay safe.
  • If you are currently traveling to Santiago, or in transit, we can report that the airport is open but understandably busier than normal. We advise that you make your way to your accommodation using the official transfer operator, DELFOS. You will find them in the main concourse section at Exit Four after leaving baggage claim. In addition, there are members of the local organizing team wearing Cochrane T-shirts at the airport offering advice and support during the day.
  • If you already in Santiago, please send us a short email with information about your accommodation (hotel, Air BnB, etc.) and your contact details (mobile phone number) so that we can have a better understanding of which delegates have arrived and where they are staying.

 The situation is fast-changing and we are uncertain as to how events will develop. However, hotels and some shops are open, Uber and taxi providers are operating across the city during the day. We recommend that you stay close to your accommodation and seek the advice of local staff.

 We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will provide regular updates.

 If you have specific concerns and questions today, you can email us at; or phone (or WhatsApp) these support lines: +44 7539 997-549 / +44 7984 421-980.

 Our Local Organizing Committee are responding to all enquiries.

 We are sorry to have had to cancel our annual flagship event, and recognize the huge disappointment and inconvenience that this will cause. Nevertheless, we are convinced that for the safety and wellbeing of everyone this is the right decision. 

Gabriel Rada                    Mark Wilson      Martin Burton                   Catherine Marshall                       
Cochrane Chile                CEO                       Co-Chair                             Co-Chair    

Sunday, October 20, 2019

2019 Cochrane-REWARD Prize winners announced

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 14:23

We are pleased to announce the winners – one first place and two runners-up – of this year’s Cochrane-REWARD Prize. The Cochrane-REWARD Prize recognizes successful local or pilot initiatives that have potential to reduce research waste globally if scaled up. Cochrane has funded the prize annually since it began in 2017.

The prize ceremony took place on Wednesday 9 October at the International Clinical Trials Methodology Conference in Brighton, UK. Dr Joan Marsh, Deputy Editor of The Lancet Psychiatry and member of the prize committee, was there to hand out the prizes. During the conference, each recipient also had the opportunity to present about their initiative in a session dedicated to research waste.

First prize: Trial Forge
This year’s first prize went to Trial Forge, an initiative established in 2015 to address evidence gaps in how randomized trials are designed – and, in doing so, improve trial efficiency.

So far, Trial Forge has focused on:

  • Raising awareness of the lack of evidence for optimal trial processes,
  • Prioritization of unanswered research questions in recruitment and retention,
  • Establishing Studies Within A Trial (SWATs) as a central method for generating evidence about more effective trial processes.

Trial Forge is a collaboration coordinated from the Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen – with Trial Forge Centres in the UK and Switzerland, and plans to expand this network. Outreach to the research community, both face-to-face and via webinars, is at the core of the project.

Key successes to date include working with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to introduce a funding stream for SWATs in their health technology assessment programme and being a leading partner in PROMETHEUS, which funds around 30 recruitment and retention SWATS.

With regards prioritization, Trial Forge was a major partner in two James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships, on recruitment and retention of participants, resulting in lists of key unanswered research questions for each topic.

Work is also underway on trial site selection – a list of ‘red flags’ for poor trial recruitment has been developed and is being tested. The goal is to help trial teams predict the likelihood of recruitment success and risk manage potential problems.

The prize committee was very impressed with Trial Forge, deeming it to be an initiative with great potential to improve efficiency in trials when scaled up. Professor Shaun Treweek, who is leading Trial Forge at the University of Aberdeen, accepted the prize on behalf of the initiative.

Joint second prize: MASK
The Meta-Analysis of SKewed data (MASK) collaboration received joint second prize. Professor Christopher Weir accepted the prize on behalf of the project team.

MASK aimed to develop effective methods for handling continuous outcome measures in evidence synthesis. While the project case study focused on trials of rehabilitation interventions for stroke, the methods identified by MASK are generic and could be applied to any situation where a mean or standard deviation summary statistic of a continuous outcome is missing.

Continuous outcome measures include those related to quality of life, which are of high importance to patients and carers, but can be difficult to include in meta-analysis due to skewed distributions. This may mean that information is excluded from the evidence synthesis, leaving potential for bias or reduced accuracy.

First, authors of Cochrane Reviews on stroke rehabilitation interventions were surveyed to assess the scale of the issue. The team then did a systematic review of methodology literature to identify potential new methods. The most promising methods were applied to individual patient data from a stroke rehabilitation systematic review to test them for accuracy and ease of use, and results were disseminated to the systematic review community through a variety of channels. Several Cochrane Review author teams have since applied the recommendations in their reviews.

Joint second prize: received the other joint second prize, and Dr Mira van der Naald of UMC Utrecht accepted the prize on behalf of the project. is an online database where researchers can register their animal studies, upload protocols and link to publications and data sources. While clinical trials now have multiple registration platforms the preclinical field has had no means to register studies; fills the gap.

To avoid unnecessary duplication of animal studies and optimize design of new trials, the platform can be searched at the start of a new study for an overview of registered trials and to find contact details for researchers working on comparable projects. The registration form also prompts users to consider whether they are minimizing risk of bias.

Currently, most efforts are going towards raising awareness of the database and encouraging more researchers to register and upload their protocols. The team is engaging a wide group of stakeholders on preregistration, including policymakers in the Netherlands, funders, journals, animal welfare bodies, scientific societies and academic institutions.

Cochrane-REWARD prize in 2020
In reviewing this year’s submissions, the Cochrane-REWARD prize committee noted that, now in its third year, nominations continued to be diverse (both geographically and in terms of approach) and innovative. The three prize recipients are just a few examples of the interesting and promising initiatives currently underway to reduce waste in research.

We look forward to continuing the prize next year; and encourage the initiatives not previously at an advanced enough stage to consider submitting a nomination in 2020. A formal call for nominations will be issued early next year.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cochrane seeks Learning and Support Officer - Flexible location

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 14:02

Specifications: 1 FTE or we will consider applicants who would want to work flexibly up to full-time
Salary: c£43,000
Location: Flexible
Application Closing Date: 11th November 2019

Cochrane is the world’s most respected producer of high-quality health evidence to inform decision-making by healthcare practitioners, patients and carers, researchers and policymakers. Our global independent network of over 11,000 members and 68,000 supporters analyze and summarize the best evidence from research and publish it in the Cochrane Library ( Cochrane is passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere by helping them to make informed choices about healthcare issues and we have been doing this for 25 years.

The Learning and Support Officer is a new role and will has an important part to play in delivering our overall mission.  The primary focus for the job holder will be to assess how best to meet the induction, training and support needs of Cochrane’s Group Staff community and then deliver against that assessment.  As such, the jobholder will be at the heart of the organisation and will need to establish effective working relationships with our full range of highly intelligent and motivated professionals, winning their confidence.  The Learning and Support Officer will also be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Cochrane Information Specialist (CIS) and Managing Editor (ME) Support Teams, who provide direct support to our wider community of experts.

The role is based within the People Services team which is responsible for all elements of people management in Cochrane, and so the role holder will benefit from working alongside Human Resources and Learning professionals as well as our Community Support Team. 

Key Tasks:

  • Producing role specific inductions and ongoing training
  • Scoping and delivering professional development that builds competence and confidence
  • Designing and implementing interventions to engage, recognise and motivate our staff community
  • Management support to the Group Staff Community

The successful candidate will also have:

  • Experience of developing learning materials
  • Experience in delivering training or support
  • Experience of organising training events and workshops both virtually and face to face.
  • Line management experience
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills; a courteous, professional manner; and the ability to maintain excellent working relationships with Cochrane’s diverse international contributor groups, including Cochrane Groups, staff, trainers, methodological & content experts and others.
  • Excellent English-language communication skills (both verbal and written), including experience in communicating technical content, tailoring standard communications to individual requirements, and working with people from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Experience in working collaboratively within complex organisations, including diverse and geographically dispersed staff, collaborator and stakeholder groups.
  • Self-motivated and results-oriented, with excellent organisation and time management skills, including the ability to work to deadlines as part of an interdependent team.
  • Willingness to commit 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 with "Learning and Support Officer" 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 from here
  • Deadline for applications: 11 November 2019 (12 midnight GMT)
  • Interviews to be held on: 21 November 2019


Thursday, October 17, 2019 Category: Jobs

Cochrane seeks Administration Assistant - Full time, London based

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:55

Specifications: Full Time, Permanent
Salary: c£25,000
Location: London
Application Closing Date: 4th November 2019

Cochrane is the world’s most respected producer of high-quality health evidence to inform decision-making by healthcare practitioners, patients and carers, researchers and policymakers. Our global independent network of over 11,000 members and 68,000 supporters analyze and summarize the best evidence from research and publish it in the Cochrane Library ( Cochrane is passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere by helping them to make informed choices about healthcare issues and we have been doing this for 25 years.

We are looking for someone with excellent administration skills to join our Editorial and Methods department as Administration Assistant. The successful candidate will be a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world. 

Key Tasks:

  • Diary management for senior EMD team members.
  • Assisting the EMD Project Support Officer in providing administrative support to the EMD including:
  • Maintaining the Cochrane Priority Review List
  • Maintaining several excel databases
  • Providing administrative support to the EMD centralized editorial service
  • Organising in-person and online meetings or teleconferences, including co-ordinating agendas, circulating papers, organising refreshments and taking minutes
  • Assisting with the production of power point presentations and other materials for use at meetings
  • Management of EMD mailing lists and EMD general enquires inbox
  • Providing support to and cover for other administrative staff as and when required in order to ensure continuity of service
  • Undertaking other duties as necessary

The successful candidate will also have:

  • Previous experience of providing administrative support to a team
  • Experience in complex scheduling and diary management
  • Intermediate level IT skills, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Strong organization and prioritization skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Professional telephone manner
  • Ability to work methodically and accurately
  • A flexible approach with the ability to respond quickly to issues as they arise
  • A pro-active approach to problem-solving
  • Awareness of handling confidential and sensitive information

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 with "Administration 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 from here
  • Deadline for applications: 4 November 2019 (12 midnight GMT)
  • Interviews to be held on: week commencing 11 November 2019


Thursday, October 17, 2019 Category: Jobs

What are the effects of fluoxetine treatment in overweight or obese adults?

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 08:35

Fluoxetine is a medicine used for the treatment of depression, which reduces appetite as a side effect. Therefore, it is suspected that fluoxetine could be used as a treatment for overweight or obese people. In this group of people administration of fluoxetine means an off-label treatment which means it is not licensed for treating obesity.

The authors identified 19 randomised controlled trials (clinical studies where people are randomly put into one of two or more treatment groups) evaluating mainly women receiving different doses of fluoxetine. A total of 1280 overweight or obese participants received fluoxetine and 936 participants received mainly placebo or another anti-obesity medication. The participants in the included studies were followed up for periods varying between three weeks and one year.

For our main comparison group — fluoxetine compared with placebo — and for all fluoxetine doses there was a 2.7 kg weight loss in favour of fluoxetine. The authors are uncertain, however, if an additional study would show a benefit for fluoxetine again. A total of 399 out of 627 participants (63.6%) receiving fluoxetine compared with 352 out of 626 participants (56.2%) receiving placebo experienced a side effect. Dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, insomnia and nausea were observed approximately twice as often after fluoxetine compared to placebo. A total of 15 out of 197 participants (7.6%) receiving fluoxetine compared with 12 out of 196 participants (6.1%) receiving placebo experienced depression.

Lead author Alejandro Gonzalez Garay said, “The overall certainty of the evidence was low or very low, mainly because of the small number of studies per outcome measurement and the small number of participants.  Low certainty evidence suggests that off-label fluoxetine may decrease weight compared with placebo. However, low-certainty evidence also suggests an increase for dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, insomnia and nausea following fluoxetine treatment and nausea following fluoxetine treatment.”

Monday, October 21, 2019

Practical details for the Colloquium

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 09:56

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Colloquium in a few days! Here is some practical information to make your arrival easier.

If you are registered for the Colloquium, you should have received the Colloquium Joining Instructions email last week, and another copy is coming.

For information about transportation from the airport, transport in Santiago, currency, plugs, and more useful travel information, visit this page.

The Colloquium venue, CasaPiedra, is located in the Vitacura neighborhood of Santiago. More venue information can be found here. The CasaPiedra floor plan can be found here.


The registration desk is located at the main entrance to CasaPiedra and will be open at the times indicated below:

Pre-Colloquium workshop, symposia and meeting registration desk:
Monday 21st October – 08:00-18:00

Main Colloquium registration and enquiries desk:
Tuesday 22nd October – 07:00-17:30
Wednesday 23rd October – 07:00-19:00
Thursday 24th October – 07:00-17:30
Friday 25th October – 07:00-14:00

All delegates should collect their badge and conference materials on arrival. Your badge should be worn at all times during the Colloquium and social events.

If you would like to explore Santiago, recommendations for places to visit, see, eat, and drink can be found here.

The Colloquium App has now been launched! To download it, search for “CochraneColloquiumSantiago” in the Apple or Android app stores.

Finally, don’t forget that sign-up is available for Colloquium sessions! Visit here to see the Full schedule and sign up today.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Santiago!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Try the new Cochrane PICO search BETA on the Cochrane Library

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 17:40

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Cochrane is excited to announce the beta release of a powerful and easy-to-use new discovery tool for finding reviews on the Cochrane Library.

Released to coincide with the Santiago Cochrane Colloquium, Cochrane PICO search BETA can help you find the most relevant Cochrane evidence to answer your research or clinical question.

What is the Cochrane PICO search BETA?

With Cochrane PICO search BETA, you can search over 4,500 Cochrane intervention reviews published since 2015 by

  • Population (or Patient or Problem) What are the characteristics of the patient or population – for example condition?
  •  Intervention What is the intervention under consideration for this patient or population – for example a drug or surgical intervention?
  • Comparison What is the alternative to the intervention ­– for example a different drug or a placebo?
  • Outcome What are the relevant outcomes – for example quality of life or adverse events?
How does Cochrane PICO search BETA  work?

Cochrane's Information Specialists and other experts have described the “PICO” components in our reviews using controlled vocabulary terms.

PICO search BETA allows you to use these PICO terms to find the reviews most relevant to your healthcare question. In particular, it allows you to find reviews in which a term is used as a Population, Intervention, Comparison, or Outcome specifically. For example, the term "Diabetes Mellitus" is cited in Cochrane Reviews in some cases as a Population term, and in some other cases as an Outcome term. PICO search BETA  allows you to search specifically on the PICO context that's of interest to you.

PICO search BETA in the Cochrane Library

To find the evidence you need with PICO search BETA  on the Cochrane Library, you can:

  • View PICO vocabulary terms by selecting to Show PICOs BETA in the Cochrane Library search results.
  • Build searches with PICO vocabulary terms in the Cochrane Library Advanced Search by using the new PICO search BETA tab. See
Why use PICO search BETA

Use PICO search BETA to:

  • Find reviews that answer your questions FAST
  • Discover the full range of:
    • Interventions assessed for a population
    • Populations associated with an intervention
    • Outcomes evaluated for an intervention
  • Learn about new topic areas by exploring PICO terms
  • Develop search skills by building PICO questions
  • Release the full potential of Cochrane Reviews
PICO search BETA is a trial initiative

Cochrane PICO search BETA  is made available in the Cochrane Library as a pre-release for large-scale testing. Our aim is to learn from this Beta to prioritize future developments and enhancements of PICO search.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Podcast: Screening for malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer)

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 11:01

Malignant melanoma, which can be fatal, is increasingly common and there is debate about whether it should join the list of cancers that are screened for. A new Cochrane Review from June 2019 looks at the current evidence and we asked one of the authors, Minna Johansson from Cochrane Sweden, to tell us what they found.

In thinking about screening for cancers such as malignant melanoma, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of screened people cannot benefit from the screening because they will never develop the disease. When healthcare systems invite asymptomatic people to a screening intervention that they have not asked for, it leads to ethical considerations that differ from those in regular health care; we need to know that we do not cause more harm than good - and requirements for the certainty of the evidence are even greater than usual.

At the moment, Germany is the only country in the world with a national screening programme to detect malignant melanoma, but in many other countries, opportunistic screening is widespread. We wanted to find out whether screening is effective at reducing the adverse health impacts of melanoma and whether it has any harms.

Screening has the potential to reduce deaths from melanoma through earlier detection but potential harms could arise if people without symptoms are found to have melanomas and other skin lesions that would never have caused problems if they had remained undetected. They may then receive unnecessary surgery, or experience psychological stress. There is also a risk that financial and human resources used for screening could be better used on other interventions with a stronger evidence base and a better balance between benefits and harms.
We reviewed the evidence for the benefits and harms of organised screening for malignant melanoma compared with no screening. We looked for all types of screening, including skin self‐examination or examination by a health professional, of any person not suspected of having malignant melanoma. We included people thought to have a high risk of developing malignant melanoma but not those known to previously have had melanoma.

We found two randomised trials that met our inclusion criteria, but neither reported data on the important outcomes we wanted to investigate. This leaves us with insufficient evidence to quantify the benefits and harms of screening for malignant melanoma, and means that current screening practices for melanoma do not live up to the required evidence standards of organisations such as the WHO and the UK National Screening Committee, which specifically highlight the importance of solid evidence for both benefits and harms prior to implementation of a screening programme.

In summary, our review shows that adult general population screening for malignant melanoma is not supported or refuted by evidence from randomised trials and therefore does not fulfil well-established screening criteria. Yet screening for malignant melanoma is currently practised in many countries in a more or less organised form. A robust randomised trial is highly desirable to enable people to weigh potential harms against potential benefits, both to make sure that a screening programme will not cause more harm than good and to ensure that, if it does have important potential benefits, it is not dismissed inappropriately.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Science Vs. Podcast features Cochrane evidence on 'Exercise: Fat Buster or Belly Flop?' episode

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 10:34

Lots of people hit the gym to shed unwanted pounds, but they don’t always see results on the scale.

Obesity expert Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, psychiatrist Dr. Gary Cooney, neuroscientist Prof. Wendy Suzuki, and urologist Dr. Stacey Kenfield tackle the power of exercise and why you should bother. Best quote of the podcast: 'We here at Science Vs we LOVE cochrane reviews…we do Jazzercise to them!!'

Selected references:

More information on the podcast:

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Thursday, October 24, 2019