Dietary risk factors are among the leading contributors to the global burden of disease. Recognizing the need for nutrition policies and interventions to tackle such risk factors, 2016 to 2025 is the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition. Cochrane has a strong track record of producing systematic reviews of the evidence supporting nutrition policies and interventions. This call to action focuses on how Cochrane could reshape evidence synthesis and use for nutrition policy. The recent establishment of a Cochrane Nutrition Field provides an opportunity to progress this call to action.
Cardiovascular disease is the single greatest threat to global health. Could fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) of drugs play a larger role in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular events? Advocates of the ‘polypill’ have proposed that FDCs might be prescribed to everyone over the age of 55, and a cheap FDC might be particularly useful for secondary prevention of cardiovascular events in low- and middle-income countries. A new Cochrane Review looks at the evidence for cardiovascular FDCs, finding that they do improve cardiovascular outcomes, but not as much as was hoped. Questions remain about the dosing, combination with other therapies, incentives for manufacturers, and the willingness and ability of health systems to support FDC therapy.
Authored by Tusting and colleagues, a new Cochrane review published in the August 2013 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, looks at the effectiveness of larval source management for malaria control. The publication of this review is timely, but it is disappointing to learn that there continues to be a lack of robust evidence on the impact of larval source management on parasite prevalence and malaria incidence. Until there is more compelling evidence, larval control should continue to be viewed as a supplementary measure for malaria control in carefully selected settings. Promoting the widespread use of larval source management in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa would be premature.
Following several major heatwaves in Europe and the USA, there has been an increased interest in health protection measures to reduce the impacts of such extreme weather events on human health. Heatwaves are also an issue for mass gatherings and heatwave planning has been incorporated into the preparation for the Olympics this month.