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  • Study protocol: A multi-centre, double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel group, phase II trial (RIDD) to determine the efficacy of intra-nodular injection of anti-TNF to control disease progression in early Dupuytren's disease, with an embedded dose response study.

    18 January 2018

    Dupuytren's disease is a common fibrotic condition of the hand affecting 4% of the population and causes the fingers to curl irreversibly into the palm. It has a strong familial tendency, there is no approved treatment for early stage disease, and patients with established digital contractures are most commonly treated by surgery. This is associated with prolonged recovery, and less invasive techniques have high recurrence rates.The myofibroblasts, the cells responsible for the excessive matrix deposition and contraction, are aggregated in nodules. Using excised diseased and control human tissue, we found that immune cells interspersed amongst the myofibroblasts secrete cytokines. Of these, only tumour necrosis factor (TNF) promoted the development of myofibroblasts. The clinically approved anti-TNF agents led to inhibition of the myofibroblast phenotype in vitro. This clinical trial is designed to assess the efficacy of the anti-TNF agent adalimumab on participants with early disease. The first part is a dose-ranging study where nodules of participants already scheduled for surgery will be injected with either placebo (saline) or varying doses of adalimumab. The excised tissue will then be analysed for markers of myofibroblast activity.The second part of the study will recruit participants with early stage disease. They will be randomised 1: 1 to receive either adalimumab or placebo at 3 month intervals over 1 year and will then be followed for a further 6 months. Outcome measures will include nodule hardness, size and disease progression. The trial will also determine the cost-effectiveness of adalimumb treatment for this group of participants.

  • Interventions for preventing silent cerebral infarcts in people with sickle cell disease.

    20 December 2017

    BACKGROUND: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the commonest severe monogenic disorders in the world, due to the inheritance of two abnormal haemoglobin (beta globin) genes. SCD can cause severe pain, significant end-organ damage, pulmonary complications, and premature death. Silent cerebral infarcts are the commonest neurological complication in children and probably adults with SCD. Silent cerebral infarcts also affect academic performance, increase cognitive deficits and may lower intelligence quotient. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of interventions to reduce or prevent silent cerebral infarcts in people with SCD. SEARCH METHODS: We searched for relevant trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980), and ongoing trial databases; all searches current to 19 September 2016. We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group Trials Register: 06 October 2016. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials comparing interventions to prevent silent cerebral infarcts in people with SCD. There were no restrictions by outcomes examined, language or publication status. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard Cochrane methodological procedures. MAIN RESULTS: We included five trials (660 children or adolescents) published between 1998 and 2016. Four of the five trials were terminated early. The vast majority of participants had the haemoglobin (Hb)SS form of SCD. One trial focused on preventing silent cerebral infarcts or stroke; three trials were for primary stroke prevention and one trial dealt with secondary stroke prevention.Three trials compared the use of regular long-term red blood cell transfusions to standard care. Two of these trials included children with no previous long-term transfusions: one in children with normal transcranial doppler (TCD) velocities; and one in children with abnormal TCD velocities. The third trial included children and adolescents on long-term transfusion.Two trials compared the drug hydroxyurea and phlebotomy to long-term transfusions and iron chelation therapy: one in primary prevention (children), and one in secondary prevention (children and adolescents).The quality of the evidence was moderate to very low across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology. This was due to trials being at high risk of bias because they were unblinded; indirectness (available evidence was only for children with HbSS); and imprecise outcome estimates. Long-term red blood cell transfusions versus standard care Children with no previous long-term transfusions and higher risk of stroke (abnormal TCD velocities or previous history of silent cerebral infarcts) Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with abnormal TCD velocities, risk ratio (RR) 0.11 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 0.86) (one trial, 124 participants, low-quality evidence); but make little or no difference to the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts on magnetic resonance imaging and normal or conditional TCDs, RR 0.70 (95% CI 0.23 to 2.13) (one trial, 196 participants, low-quality evidence).No deaths were reported in either trial.Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of: acute chest syndrome, RR 0.24 (95% CI 0.12 to 0.49) (two trials, 326 participants, low-quality evidence); and painful crisis, RR 0.63 (95% CI 0.42 to 0.95) (two trials, 326 participants, low-quality evidence); and probably reduces the incidence of clinical stroke, RR 0.12 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.49) (two trials, 326 participants, moderate-quality evidence).Long-term red blood cell transfusions may improve quality of life in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts (difference estimate -0.54; 95% confidence interval -0.92 to -0.17; one trial; 166 participants), but may have no effect on cognitive function (least squares means: 1.7, 95% CI -1.1 to 4.4) (one trial, 166 participants, low-quality evidence). Transfusions continued versus transfusions halted: children and adolescents with normalised TCD velocities (79 participants; one trial)Continuing red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts, RR 0.29 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.97 (low-quality evidence).We are very uncertain whether continuing red blood cell transfusions has any effect on all-cause mortality, Peto odds ratio (OR) 8.00 (95% CI 0.16 to 404.12); or clinical stroke, RR 0.22 (95% CI 0.01 to 4.35) (very low-quality evidence).The trial did not report: comparative numbers for SCD-related adverse events; quality of life; or cognitive function. Hydroxyurea and phlebotomy versus transfusions and chelation Primary prevention, children (121 participants; one trial)We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: silent cerebral infarcts (no infarcts); all-cause mortality (no deaths); risk of stroke (no strokes); or SCD-related complications, RR 1.52 (95% CI 0.58 to 4.02) (very low-quality evidence). Secondary prevention, children and adolescents with a history of stroke (133 participants; one trial)We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: silent cerebral infarcts, Peto OR 7.28 (95% CI 0.14 to 366.91); all-cause mortality, Peto OR 1.02 (95%CI 0.06 to 16.41); or clinical stroke, RR 14.78 (95% CI 0.86 to 253.66) (very low-quality evidence).Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may increase the risk of SCD-related complications, RR 3.10 (95% CI 1.42 to 6.75) (low-quality evidence).Neither trial reported on quality of life or cognitive function. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We identified no trials for preventing silent cerebral infarcts in adults, or in children who do not have HbSS SCD.Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with abnormal TCD velocities, but may have little or no effect on children with normal TCD velocities. In children who are at higher risk of stroke and have not had previous long-term transfusions, long-term red blood cell transfusions probably reduce the risk of stroke, and other SCD-related complications (acute chest syndrome and painful crises).In children and adolescents at high risk of stroke whose TCD velocities have normalised, continuing red blood cell transfusions may reduce the risk of silent cerebral infarcts. No treatment duration threshold has been established for stopping transfusions.Switching to hydroxyurea with phlebotomy may increase the risk of silent cerebral infarcts and SCD-related serious adverse events in secondary stroke prevention.All other evidence in this review is of very low-quality.

  • Development of a core outcome set for disease modification trials in mild to moderate dementia: a systematic review, patient and public consultation and consensus recommendations.

    18 January 2018

    BACKGROUND: There is currently no disease-modifying treatment available to halt or delay the progression of the disease pathology in dementia. An agreed core set of the best-available and most appropriate outcomes for disease modification would facilitate the design of trials and ensure consistency across disease modification trials, as well as making results comparable and meta-analysable in future trials. OBJECTIVES: To agree a set of core outcomes for disease modification trials for mild to moderate dementia with the UK dementia research community and patient and public involvement (PPI). DATA SOURCES: We included disease modification trials with quantitative outcomes of efficacy from (1) references from related systematic reviews in workstream 1; (2) searches of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group study register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, EMBASE, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature and PsycINFO on 11 December 2015, and clinical trial registries [International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) and] on 22 and 29 January 2016; and (3) hand-searches of reference lists of relevant systematic reviews from database searches. REVIEW METHODS: The project consisted of four workstreams. (1) We obtained related core outcome sets and work from co-applicants. (2) We systematically reviewed published and ongoing disease modification trials to identify the outcomes used in different domains. We extracted outcomes used in each trial, recording how many used each outcome and with how many participants. We divided outcomes into the domains measured and searched for validation data. (3) We consulted with PPI participants about recommended outcomes. (4) We presented all the synthesised information at a conference attended by the wider body of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) dementia researchers to reach consensus on a core set of outcomes. RESULTS: We included 149 papers from the 22,918 papers screened, referring to 125 individual trials. Eighty-one outcomes were used across trials, including 72 scales [31 cognitive, 12 activities of daily living (ADLs), 10 global, 16 neuropsychiatric and three quality of life] and nine biological techniques. We consulted with 18 people for PPI. The conference decided that only cognition and biological markers are core measures of disease modification. Cognition should be measured by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) or the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale - Cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog), and brain changes through structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a subset of participants. All other domains are important but not core. We recommend using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory for neuropsychiatric symptoms: the Disability Assessment for Dementia for ADLs, the Dementia Quality of Life Measure for quality of life and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale to measure dementia globally. LIMITATIONS: Most of the trials included participants with Alzheimer's disease, so recommendations may not apply to other types of dementia. We did not conduct economic analyses. The PPI consultation was limited to members of the Alzheimer's Society Research Network. CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive outcomes and biological markers form the core outcome set for future disease modification trials, measured by the MMSE or ADAS-Cog, and structural MRI in a subset of participants. FUTURE WORK: We envisage that the core set may be superseded in the future, particularly for other types of dementia. There is a need to develop an algorithm to compare scores on the MMSE and ADAS-Cog. STUDY REGISTRATION: The project was registered with Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials [ (accessed 7 April 2016)]. The systematic review protocol is registered as PROSPERO CRD42015027346. FUNDING: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

  • Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a multifaceted podiatry intervention for falls prevention in older people: a multicentre cohort randomised controlled trial (the REducing Falls with ORthoses and a Multifaceted podiatry intervention trial).

    9 January 2018

    BACKGROUND: Falls are a serious cause of morbidity and cost to individuals and society. Evidence suggests that foot problems and inappropriate footwear may increase the risk of falling. Podiatric interventions could help reduce falls; however, there is limited evidence regarding their clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. OBJECTIVES: To determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a multifaceted podiatry intervention for preventing falls in community-dwelling older people at risk of falling, relative to usual care. DESIGN: A pragmatic, multicentred, cohort randomised controlled trial with an economic evaluation and qualitative study. SETTING: Nine NHS trusts in the UK and one site in Ireland. PARTICIPANTS: In total, 1010 participants aged ≥ 65 years were randomised (intervention, n = 493; usual care, n = 517) via a secure, remote service. Blinding was not possible. INTERVENTIONS: All participants received a falls prevention leaflet and routine care from their podiatrist and general practitioner. The intervention also consisted of footwear advice, footwear provision if required, foot orthoses and foot- and ankle-strengthening exercises. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was the incidence rate of falls per participant in the 12 months following randomisation. The secondary outcomes included the proportion of fallers and multiple fallers, time to first fall, fear of falling, fracture rate, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and cost-effectiveness. RESULTS: The primary analysis consisted of 484 (98.2%) intervention and 507 (98.1%) usual-care participants. There was a non-statistically significant reduction in the incidence rate of falls in the intervention group [adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73 to 1.05; p = 0.16]. The proportion of participants experiencing a fall was lower (50% vs. 55%, adjusted odds ratio 0.78, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.00; p = 0.05). No differences were observed in key secondary outcomes. No serious, unexpected and related adverse events were reported. The intervention costs £252.17 more per participant (95% CI -£69.48 to £589.38) than usual care, was marginally more beneficial in terms of HRQoL measured via the EuroQoL-5 Dimensions [mean quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) difference 0.0129, 95% CI -0.0050 to 0.0314 QALYs] and had a 65% probability of being cost-effective at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence threshold of £30,000 per QALY gained. The intervention was generally acceptable to podiatrists and trial participants. LIMITATIONS: Owing to the difficulty in calculating a sample size for a count outcome, the sample size was based on detecting a difference in the proportion of participants experiencing at least one fall, and not the primary outcome. We are therefore unable to confirm if the trial was sufficiently powered for the primary outcome. The findings are not generalisable to patients who are not receiving podiatry care. CONCLUSIONS: The intervention was safe and potentially effective. Although the primary outcome measure did not reach significance, a lower fall rate was observed in the intervention group. The reduction in the proportion of older adults who experienced a fall was of borderline statistical significance. The economic evaluation suggests that the intervention could be cost-effective. FUTURE WORK: Further research could examine whether or not the intervention could be delivered in group sessions, by physiotherapists, or in high-risk patients. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN68240461. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 21, No. 24. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

  • Insulin use and Excess Fracture Risk in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Propensity-Matched cohort analysis.

    20 December 2017

    Despite normal to high bone mineral density, patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) have an increased fracture risk. T2DM medications could partially account for this excess risk. The aim of this study was to assess the association between insulin use and bone fracture risk in T2DM patients. A population-based matched cohort study based on a primary care records database validated for research use (Catalonia, Spain) was performed. Propensity score (PS) for insulin use was calculated using logistic regression including predefined predictors of fractures. A total of 2,979 insulin users and 14,895 non-users were observed for a median of 1.42 and 4.58 years respectively. Major fracture rates were 11.2/1,000 person-years for insulin users, compared with 8.3/1,000 among non-users. Matched models confirmed a significant association, with an adjusted subhazard ratio (adj SHR) of 1.38 [95% CI 1.06 to 1.80] for major fractures. No differences between types of insulin or different regimens were found. Estimated number needed to harm (fracture) was 82 (95% CI 32 to 416). Insulin use appears to be associated with a 38% excess fracture risk among T2DM patients in the early stages of the disease. Fracture risk should be included among the considerations to initiate insulin treatment.

  • Fracture during oral bisphosphonate therapy is associated with deteriorated bone material strength index.

    6 December 2017

    BACKGROUND: Some patients experience fractures while receiving oral bisphosphonates (BPs) treatment. Clinical risk factors, advanced bone density loss, and microarchitecture deterioration have been associated with such fractures but bone tissue properties other than bone mineral density (BMD) have not been assessed. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study of postmenopausal women on bisphosphonates for at least 4years with good adherence to treatment, 21 patients with incident fractures were compared with 18 treated patients without new fractures. Demographic and clinical variables, BMD, laboratory tests, and bone material strength index (BMSi) assessed by impact microindentation at the tibial diaphysis were recorded for all participants. RESULTS: Clinical and laboratory results did not differ between patients taking BPs with incident fractures and those without new fractures. However, BMSi was significantly lower (mean±SD) in those who fractured (73.76±6.49) than in no-fracture patients (81.64±6.26; p=0.001). Lumbar spine (LS) BMD was also lower in fractured patients (p=0.03). Adjusted models including age, body mass index, years on BP treatment, and LS-BMD confirmed an increase in fracture risk per BMSi standard deviation decrease: adjusted OR 23.5 [95% CI 2.16 to 255.66], p=0.01. ROC analyses showed an area under the curve of 0.82 (95% CI 0.68 to 0.95) for BMSi, higher than that for BMD at any location, which ranged from 0.64 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.82) for femoral neck (FN) BMD to 0.71 (95% CI 0.55 to 0.87) for LS-BMD. CONCLUSIONS: Patients who fracture while receiving BPs treatment have worse BMSi scores than BP-treated patients without fractures. The potential for BMSi to provide an additional osteoporosis treatment target should be explored.

  • Clinical and cost-effectiveness of progressive exercise compared with best practice advice, with or without corticosteroid injection, for the treatment of rotator cuff disorders: protocol for a 2x2 factorial randomised controlled trial (the GRASP trial).

    12 December 2017

    INTRODUCTION: Shoulder pain is very common, with around 70% of cases due to disorders of the rotator cuff. Despite widespread provision of physiotherapy, there is uncertainty about which type of exercise and delivery mechanisms are associated with best outcomes. There is also uncertainty around the long-term benefits and harms of corticosteroid injection therapy, which is often used in addition to physiotherapy. The Getting it Right: Addressing Shoulder Pain trial will assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of individually tailored, progressive exercise compared with best practice advice, with or without corticosteroid injection, in adults with a rotator cuff disorder. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We are conducting a large multicentre randomised controlled trial (2×2 factorial design). We will recruit adults ≥18 years with a new episode of shoulder pain attributable to a rotator cuff disorder as per British Elbow and Shoulder Society guidelines, not currently receiving physiotherapy or being considered for surgery, from at least eight UK National Health Service primary care-based musculoskeletal and related physiotherapy services. Participants (n=704) will be randomised (centralised computer-generated 1:1:1:1 allocation ratio) to one of four interventions: (1) progressive exercise (≤6 physiotherapy sessions); (2) best practice advice (one physiotherapy session); (3) corticosteroid injection then progressive exercise (≤6 sessions) or (4) corticosteroid injection then best practice advice (one session). The primary outcome is the mean difference in Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) total score at 12 months. Secondary outcomes are: pain and function SPADI subdomains; health-related quality of life (Five-Level version of the EuroQol EQ-5D-5L); sleep disturbance; return to activity; global impression of change; health resource use; out-of-pocket expenses; work disability. A parallel within-trial economic evaluation will be conducted. The primary analysis will be intention to treat. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Research Ethics Committee approval (REC: 16/SC/0508) has been obtained. Results of the main trial and secondary outcomes will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN16539266; EudraCT number: 2016-002991-28.