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brainstrust co-founder and Director of Services and Policy, Helen Bulbeck, has been appointed to the Cochrane Consumer Executive

What is the Cochrane Consumer Network?

Cochrane is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with 37,000 contributors from more than 130

countries, united by an interest in evidence-based healthcare. Its mission is to provide accessible, reliable information so people can make informed decisions that lead to better health.

Since 1995, Cochrane’s Consumer Network Executive has provided governance and leadership for the international community of consumers (patients, caregivers, family members and others) who volunteer to help produce and spread Cochrane evidence. The Executive also represents the consumer voice in other areas of Cochrane, including two members of Cochrane’s Council.

So what does this mean for brainstrust?

With Helen in this position, brainstrust is brought closer to the Cochrane community and evidence-based medicine. Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care

  • They investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation
  • They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting
  • They are published online in The Cochrane Library

Each systematic review addresses a clearly formulated question, for example: does earlier diagnosis improve outcomes in people with a brain tumour? 

Currently, all the existing primary research on 8 of the James Lind Alliance topics that meets certain criteria is searched for and collated, and then assessed using stringent guidelines. This will establish whether there is conclusive evidence about a specific treatment (e.g. treatment for brain tumours that recur, interventions to help carers cope, earlier referral to palliative care). The reviews are updated regularly, ensuring that treatment decisions can be based on the most up-to-date and reliable evidence.

In a nutshell, Helen’s role in the Cochrane Consumer Executive means that we can be ahead of the curve and have the latest, most reliable evidence about the topics that most concern our community – so stay tuned.