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The NIHR Dissemination Centre selects, summarises and explains important health research funded by the NIHR and others to improve health care decisions.
Find out about the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Dissemination Centre. Learn what we do, how we work and who we are.
Right evidence, better decisions
We are putting good research evidence at the heart of decision making in the NHS, public health and social care.
Our team
The NIHR DC is a collaboration between the Wessex Institute and Bazian. We are a small team of health specialists, writers and experts on engagement.
What are NIHR Signals?
NIHR Signals feature the latest important research from the NIHR and other health research organisations.
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What makes an NIHR Signal?
This infographic reveals the process behind making an NIHR Signal from start to finish.
Email bulletins
If you would like to receive regular updates about new NIHR Signals, Highlights and Themed Reviews via email, join our mailing list.
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Upcoming work
Plans for future highlights and themed reviews from the NIHR Dissemination Centre.
Republishing NIHR Signals
NIHR Signals can be freely republished provided that you follow the conditions set out in this licence.
NIHR Highlights explore health conditions, treatments and issues using NIHR evidence. They feature the findings at a glance, blogs, interviews and more.
Patient Incentives
Highlights the evidence for using incentives to promote healthy behaviours. Vital reading for commissioners and those working in local authorities and public health. Evidence on what patient incentives are effective and whether they work.
Key Messages
Key messages on research into patients incentives
What are financial incentives?
Looking at financial incentives to help make health lifestyle changes.
Do financial incentives work?
A look at a range of financial incentives which show a range of different results
Are financial incentives acceptable?
Financial incentives can evoke strong reactions, both positive and negative.
About the research
Looking at the research used in the NIHR highlight - patient incentives.
Professor Vlaev Blog
Professor Ivo Vlaev, University of Warwick: "It’s widely accepted ...
Management of Labour
This Highlight presents recent evidence on some aspects of the management of labour, including issues around the induction of labour, waterbirth, interpretation of the fetal heart rate, pain management, and position during the second stage of labour with or without an epidural.
The induction of labour
This section looks at a number of studies focusing on the outcomes of women induced.
Evidence from a review comparing the outcomes for the women and their babies of immersion in water during labour.
Interpretation of fetal heart rate
Fetal monitoring in labour wards, comparing computer software with not using this support.
Pain management
A look at studies involving first-time mothers using different methods of pain relief
An in-depth look at the research
This highlight is based upon the following published studies.
Evidence at a glance
Headline features from the studies in this highlight.
Questions to consider for pregnant women and their birth partners and for midwives
Nine ways research could save the NHS money
Nine carefully selected signals that show how NIHR research could help to save the NHS money. This collection covers a range of procedures and treatments that are cost effective for the NHS.
My Signals - Physiotherapy Collection
Four physiotherapists choose the health research that matters to them from our collection of NIHR Signals.
My Signals - Nursing Collection
Nurses Teresa Chinn, Rebecca Harper and Grace Van Den Bergh share their selection of Signals to better inform nursing decisions.
How commissioners use research evidence
NIHR studies have looked at how health service commissioners and managers use research evidence and what research can do to improve uptake of their work.
Evidence at a glance
The NIHR has funded six studies on the use of evidence by commissioners.
What research evidence do health care managers use?
Why are some organisations are better than others at using evidence and what support do they need to do this well?
How do organisations use evidence?
How do organisations like clinical commissioning units draw on evidence and what support they need to do this well?
About the research
More about the research NIHR has funded into how NHS commissioners and managers use research evidence to make decisions.
My Signals - Surgery
Jane Blazeby and Natalie Blencowe, academic surgeons at the University of Bristol, share their selection of Signals to better inform surgical decisions.
My Signals - General practice
Three GPs to tell us which NIHR Signals have most interested them and to explain why they feel the findings are worth sharing.
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Childhood eczema
NIHR research has explored a range of treatments for childhood eczema. This Highlight presents the findings, with blogs from parents and professionals.
Evidence at a glance
NIHR evidence at a glance on various treatments for childhood eczema alongside key questions for patients and families to consider.
How NIHR research fits with NICE Guidance
How does NIHR evidence on childhood eczema fit with current NICE clinical guidelines?
Where can I get advice and how can I get involved?
Sources of advice and support for children and families living with childhood eczema.
An in-depth look at the research
NIHR research findings on treatments for childhood eczema including the use of antibiotics, silk clothing, moisturisers and alternative interventions.
About the evidence and context
Details of the eight NIHR studies on which the NIHR Highlight on childhood eczema was based.
My Signals - Public health
Dr Rupert Suckling, Director of Public Health, explains the role of research evidence in public health, and highlights NIHR Signals of particular interest.
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My Signals - Patients
Four patients tell us why health research featured in NIHR Signals is important to them.
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
NIHR research into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) shows promise for using self-help materials combined with modest levels of support .
Evidence at a glance
The findings of NIHR research into obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) boiled down, alongside practical questions to consider.
Access to treatment and help
NIHR research has looked at how to expand access to treatment and support for people with OCD, including the use of guided self help as an interim measure.
What support is available?
OCD charities and support groups can offer advice, information and help for people with OCD.
Which treatments work best
NIHR research has examined medical and psychological treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
About the research
About NIHR research on OCD support and treatment. How strong is the evidence and how does it fit with current guidelines.
Patient experience of primary care
The GP Patient Survey provides detailed patient experience data for each practice. NIHR research examines what it reveals and how it’s used.
Evidence at a glance
The findings of NIHR research into the GP Patient Survey summarised alongside practical questions for patients, GPs and commissioners to consider.
The survey and the data it generates
The GP Patient Survey has ran each year since 2007. It provides the NHS with consistent and comprehensive data about patients’ experience of GP services.
What do patients really think?
An NIHR study compared patient responses to the GP Patient Survey questionnaire with their actual experience of a consultation with their GP.
Patients’ perception of care varies
NIHR research into the GP Patient Survey revealed certain patient groups reported more negative experiences than others.
Using survey data to improve patient experience
NIHR research examined how data captured in the GP Patient Survey was used by different GP practices to improve patient experience.
About the research
This NIHR Highlight draws on four journal publications derived from the NIHR IMPROVE study looking at the GP Patient Survey.
Options for depression
The NIHR has funded important research on the use of collaborative care and behavioural activation therapy to treat depression.
Evidence at a glance
A number of recent NIHR studies have provided useful new evidence on collaborative care and behavioural activation for depression
What is collaborative care and could it work in the NHS?
Recent research has found patients with depression and anxiety who received collaborative care demonstrated a greater improvement in their symptoms.
Who might benefit from collaborative care?
Evidence suggests collaborative care could be effective for people with depression alone, as well as those with an accompanying chronic physical condition.
Behavioural activation – a simple therapy that could make a difference in depression
NIHR research found behavioural activation was no less effective than the more commonly used CBT in treating depression.
About the research
This NIHR Highlight features findings from five studies on the use of collaborative care and behavioural activation in the treatment of depression.
Pandemic flu
Every few years a strain of flu emerges to which people have little immunity. It can spread quickly and cause a serious pandemic. This highlight discusses two influential projects funded by the NIHR during the last pandemic in 2009.
Evidence at a glance
Findings from NIHR research that took place during the 2009 flu pandemic alongside questions for clinicians and members of the public to consider.
How did vaccines help in the pandemic?
NIHR studies showed that new vaccines, developed for the specific flu strain, were effective in protecting people during the 2009 pandemic.
How does pandemic flu affect pregnant women and their babies?
NIHR research showed that if women caught flu during the 2009 pandemic, their babies were at greater risk of being born prematurely or even stillborn.
What lessons were learned for future research in a pandemic?
Lessons from the last pandemic, in 2009, are still relevant for managing new outbreaks and organising future research.
About the research
This NIHR Highlight draws on five NIHR funded studies that took place during 2009 flu pandemic.
Alternatives to open surgery
The NIHR has funded research to explore alternatives to open surgery for musculoskeletal injuries, ranging from the use of a sling to keyhole surgery.
Evidence at a glance and key questions
The findings of NIHR studies looking at alternatives to open surgery for shoulder juries, upper arm fractures and ankle fractures.
Which treatments work best?
NIHR studies have compared a range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options for different musculoskeletal injuries.
What do the research findings mean for patients?
Patients and healthcare professionals can use research findings to decide how best to treat musculoskeletal conditions.
What are the challenges and where next?
What are the challenges of researching surgery and where is research heading next in this developing field?
About the research
This NIHR Highlight brings together three studies on the use of alternatives to open surgery to treat various musculoskeletal conditions
Supporting carers of people with dementia
NIHR research has explored how best to support and improve the wellbeing of those who care for people with dementia.
Evidence at a glance
The findings of NIHR research into supporting carers of people with dementia alongside practical questions for carers and health professionals to consider.
Improving coping skill for carers
NIHR funded research into a psychological intervention delivered to family carers of people with dementia to reduce their depression and anxiety.
Understanding the hidden needs of carers
NIHR research has looked into managing ‘challenging behaviour’ in people with dementia living in the community and care homes.
What other health problems do people with dementia have and how well are these managed?
NIHR research has looked into the issue of comorbidities for people with dementia, with a particular focus on stroke, diabetes and visual impairment.
How big is the issue of incontinence and what can be done about it?
NIHR research has found there was at least a doubling in the rate of incontinence among people with dementia, compared to those without.
Can exercise help carers and people with dementia?
NIHR research found limited, but promising, evidence to support using exercise to address the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
What support do carers value most to prevent and manage crises?
An online survey of health professionals and carers revealed different perspectives on the causes of dementia crisis and the most helpful kinds of support.
Do case managers help support people with dementia at home?
NIHR research showed some evidence that case management led to better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers - but the picture was mixed.
About the research
This NIHR highlight draws on the findings of five NIHR studies in the area of supporting carers of people with dementia.
Cognitive therapies for depression
NIHR research has explored using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to treat depression.
Evidence at a glance
Three NIHR studies have provided useful evidence on different aspects of talking therapies for depression.
Is computerised CBT effective for mild to moderate depression?
An NIHR study evaluated the effectiveness of two commonly used computerised CBT packages for people with depression.
What treatments help for depression that hasn’t responded to medication?
NIHR research found CBT used alongside antidepressants was effective for people with depression who hadn’t responded to medication alone.
Which treatments might help avoid depression relapse?
An NIHR study found mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be a viable alternative to antidepressants in preventing relapse into depression.
About the research
This Highlight is based on findings from four NIHR-funded studies within the area of cognitive therapies for depression.
Obesity in men
NIHR research has examined what motivates men to lose weight and what kind of weight-loss programmes work for men.
What motivates men to lose weight?
NIHR research has explored what might motivate obese or overweight men to consider joining a weight-loss programme.
Components of a successful weight-loss programme for men
NIHR research examined the components of a successful weight loss programs aimed at overweight and obese men: Football Fans in Training (FFIT).
About the evidence and context
This highlight discussed two studies funded by the NIHR into weight-loss programmes aimed at obese or overweight men.
Themed Reviews
NIHR Themed Reviews bring together important health research evidence funded by the National institute for Health Research around a particular theme.
Moving Matters - Interventions to Increase Physical Activity
Physical activity is important for physical and mental wellbeing and keeping socially connected. This themed review, Moving Matters, brings together more than 50 published and ongoing studies funded by the NIHR on ways to increase physical activity in everyday life.
Study Summaries and Referencing
Study 1: Determinants of change in physical activity in ...
Staffing on Wards - Making decisions about healthcare staffing
Themed Review on Staffing on Wards: Making decisions about healthcare staffing, improving effectiveness and supporting staff to care well.
Study Summaries and References
Help at Home - Use of assistive technology for older people
Research is exploring how to help older people to live independently with the help of assistive technology, ranging from remote monitoring systems to better designed homes and neighborhoods.
Moving Forward - Physiotherapy for Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing
Moving Forward brings together NIHR research on physiotherapy for musculoskeletal conditions.
Forward Thinking - Support for people with severe mental illness
Forward Thinking brings together NIHR research on supporting people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.
Comprehensive Care - Older people with frailty in hospital
Comprehensive Care brings together important NIHR research evidence on caring for older people living with frailty in hospital.
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Advancing Care - Research with care homes
Advancing Care brings together NIHR research on improving the health and care of care home residents, highlighting ongoing research and new approaches.
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Roads to Recovery - Organisation and quality of stroke services
Roads to Recovery brings together NIHR research evidence that has played an important role in transforming stroke services and improving outcomes.
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Better Beginnings - Improving health for pregnancy
A healthy pregnancy helps a child to get the best possible start in life. Better Beginnings – Health for Pregnancy covers NIHR research into health and wellbeing before, during and soon after pregnancy.
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On the Level - Evidence for action on type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition and big public health challenge. This themed review features over 50 studies that follow the patient pathway, from prevention through to management of the disease.
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Care at the Scene - Research for ambulance services
Care at the Scene brings together 10 years of NIHR research evidence on urgent and emergency care, focused on the ambulance service.
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Better Endings - Right care, right place, right time
Better Endings draws together published and ongoing NIHR research into end of life and palliative care services, helping decision makers provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
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Get involved
Get involved in the NIHR Dissemination Centre. Support health research dissemination by promoting our work, becoming a rater or writing for us.
You decide what we share. Become a rater to help us decide which health research studies are summarised and shared as NIHR Signals.
Rater sign up form
Sign up to become a rater. Complete this form to specify which research abstracts are most relevant to your areas of interest and expertise.
Rater guidance
New to rating research abstracts for the NIHR Dissemination Centre? This guidance will help you to provide useful, insightful ratings.
Example ratings
Here are some examples of abstract ratings the editorial board has found useful when deciding which studies to summarise and share as NIHR Signals.
Advisory Group
The NIHR Dissemination Centre Advisory Group provides advice on the effective dissemination of relevant, important health research.
Advisory Group Opportunities
The NIHR Dissemination Centre is seeking new Advisory Group members to help support and guide the centre's work.
Payment to public contributors
Public contributors to the NIHR Dissemination Centre can be eligible to receive payment for the work they do. Find out more.
Materials and resources
You can help us to raise awareness about the importance of using the best available research evidence to inform decision-making in health and social care.
Contact the NIHR Dissemination Centre. Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Please email us or use the contact form supplied.
Read the latest blogs from the NIHR Dissemination Centre, with the views of NHS staff, patients, health care researchers and others.

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