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Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

  December 2016

Season Greetings from Cochrane NZ.  Another year has passed and it is time to reflect on some of Cochrane's successes and innovations.

A highlight this year was supporting the launch, by the NZ Council of Medical Colleges, of the New Zealand chapter of the international movement known as Choosing Wisely. Cochrane NZ will continue to support this venture and we wish them every success for this endeavor in 2017.

Cochrane review highlights in 2016 have included:
1) The integration of a 2015 Cochrane review on portion sizes into policy documents and public health practice.
2) The use of modern technology to support patients managing their own healthcare
3) The efficacy of electronic cigarettes.

Cochrane is continuing to work on improving the way we engage with people writing Cochrane reviews.
Covidence is a new software tool for authors of systematic reviews (see below). We also wish to highlight the New Zealanders who have registered titles, protocols and reviews within the last year. Congratulations to all these published authors.

We wish you well for the holiday season and hope you have a safe and relaxing Christmas.
From the team at Cochrane NZ
Dr Vanessa 
Jordan (Cochrane Fellow), Dr Mark Jeffery (Co-director) and Prof Cindy Farquhar (Co-director) .


Choosing Wisely

The New Zealand Chapter of the Choosing Wisely campaign was successfully launched on December 7th, 2016. The launch was attended by Cochrane New Zealand representatives Catherine Marshall and Vanessa Jordan.

Choosing Wisely is new campaign, supported by Cochrane NZ, that encourages health professionals to talk to patients/consumers about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures.

It is health professional-led and is about providing the best quality of care for the patient/consumer.

The campaign is being run by the Council of Medical Colleges, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Health Quality & Safety Commission and Consumer New Zealand. It is supported by many health sector groups.

Choosing Wisely is centred on helping patients/consumers make good choices and focuses on areas where evidence shows that a test, treatment or procedure provides little or no benefit to a patient/consumer and could even cause harm. These are not grey areas where evidence is debatable. Health professionals will be encouraged to discuss the risks and benefits of these tests with patients, so patients/consumers can make an informed choice.

 Choosing Wisely encourages patients/consumers to ask their health professionals these four questions:

  • Do I really need to have this test treatment or procedure?
  • What are the risks?
  • Are there simpler, safer options?
  • What happens if I do nothing?


Choosing Wisely can be found at



The Cochrane Rehabilitation field was launched on December 16th, 2016

We would like to congratulate New Zealander's William Levack and Jean Hay-Smith who were involved in this endeavour. William has been appointed as the Chair of the Review Database and Rehabilitation Professional Representative Committee. William and Jean are hoping to set up a methods/methodology hub for the field based at the Wellington Campus of the University of Otago.

This new Cochrane field aims to serve as a bridge between all the stakeholders involved with rehabilitation and Cochrane. We wish the team at Cochrane Rehabilitation success with this undertaking.



Cochrane Membership scheme

Cochrane Membership is an initiative that seeks to reward those who contribute to Cochrane and also open up Cochrane to newcomers. We are trying to make it easier to get involved with Cochrane in a way that helps the organization, creates new pathways for involvement and better captures all the ways that people contribute to our work. Whilst the status of Members is only attributed to those who have made a substantive contribution, we will be opening up Cochrane to anyone who wishes to become part of the organisation through a ‘Supporter’ status.

Newcomers will initially be supporters, but as they contribute to Cochrane they will potentially reach the threshold for membership and will be given a certain period of membership commensurate with their contribution.

This new membership scheme will hopefully be launched in April 2017 and we hope this will enable more New Zealanders to become involved in Cochrane activities.



Covidence is a web-based software platform that streamlines the production of systematic reviews, including Cochrane Reviews. Covidence has been selected by Cochrane to support authors conducting standard Cochrane intervention reviews. It has been designed to support more efficient production of systematic reviews. Once you have completed your data extraction in Covidence you can export your data directly into RevMan to complete your review. If you are a registered Cochrane author you can start using Covidence now for free at
The steps in Cochrane Reviews supported by Covidence are
  • Citation screening 
  • Full text review
  • Risk of Bias assessment
  • Extraction of study characteristics and other study data
  • Export of data into RevMan
Key features of Covidence are 
  • Support for duplicated, independent processes, including at citation screening, full text review, risk of bias and data extraction
  • Resolution of discrepancies and agreement on final consensus data 
  • Import of citations from a range of reference management software products and de-duplication of study citations with manual override
  • Storage of full text study reports 
  • Automatic population of risk of bias tables with text selected in full text reports
  • Simple export of data into relevant RevMan tables or spreadsheets



Cochrane reviews in the Media

Portion size and policy - from publication to informing policy

The Cochrane Review,'Portion, package or tableware size for changing selection and consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco' published in September 2015 from the Cochrane Public Health Group found significant evidence that people consume more food or non-alcoholic drinks when offered larger sized portions or when they use larger items of tableware.

Since then, for over a year now, the evidence from this Cochrane Review has been one of the most important and most cited public health stories of 2015.

The review has received extremely high levels of media and public interest, and during the last 12 months has informed Public Health England’s report on sugar reduction continuing to influence the public and policy debate on tackling obesity. Read more 


Technology actively supporting patients to manage their own healthcare

A new Cochrane Review, summarizing data from 132 trials of automated telephone systems in preventing and managing long-term health conditions, concludes that they probably have the potential to play an important role in the delivery of health care.  However, further research is needed to understand more about their acceptability and costs.Read more.

Can electronic cigarettes help people stop smoking?

A new Cochrane Review, combined results from two studies, involving 662 people. This review showed that using an EC containing nicotine increased the chances of stopping smoking in the long term compared to using an EC without nicotine. They could not determine if EC was better than a nicotine patch in helping people stop smoking, because the number of participants in the study was too low. More studies are needed to evaluate this effect. The most commonly reported adverse effects were irritation of the mouth and throat. The long-term safety of ECs is unknown. Read more.
Cochrane New Zealand Activities


This year Cochrane New Zealand held two workshops, one in Christchurch and the other in Auckland, with 40 people attending in total. The feedback from participants was very positive about the knowledge they gained. Participants were also pleased with the opportunity provided to meet other Cochrane authors. At the workshop, attendees present the topic for their Cochrane review and then receive feedback from the facilitators as well as the other attendees. These sessions help to clarify the exact research question that is being pursued and is seen as a valuable session by all who attended. If you are interested in attending one of these two day sessions please feel free to contact Cochrane NZ and register your interest.
In addition to the standard Cochrane authoring workshops Vanessa Jordan once again was invited to travel to Fudan Medical School in Shanghai, to help prospective Chinese authors to prepare Cochrane reviews. This workshop was challenging as well as very rewarding to teach. Participants were very positive in their feedback and hopefully we will continue to strengthen ties between our two countries.

New Zealand Contribution to the Cochrane Library

Currently there are 547 New Zealanders with a registered interest in the Cochrane Collaboration. New Zealanders are currently authoring 4 titles, 43 protocols and 396 reviews. The number of New Zealanders involved in the collaboration remains strong but we are expecting to see more New Zealanders involved with the arrival of the new Cochrane membership scheme in 2017, see above.  

New Cochrane reviews for 2016  with New Zealand authors

Pre-emptive correction for haemodialysis arteriovenous access stenosis
NZ Author: Suetonia Palmer

Blood biomarkers for the non-invasive diagnosis of endometriosis
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar, Vanessa Jordan and Lucy Prentice
Different intensities of glycaemic control for women with gestational diabetes mellitus
NZ Author: Ruth Martis, Julie Brown, Jane Alsweiler, Tineke Crawford and Caroline Crowther
Endometrial biomarkers for the non-invasive diagnosis of endometriosis
NZ Author: Gupta Devashana, Laura Miller and Lucy Prentice
Regimens of fetal surveillance of suspected large-for-gestational-age fetuses for improving health outcomes
NZ Authors: Graham Parry, Katherine Culliney, Julie Brown and Caroline Crowther

Vapocoolants (cold spray) for pain treatment during intravenous cannulation
NZ Author: Stuart Dalziel, Rebecca Griffith, Vanessa Jordan and Peter Reed
Psychological and educational interventions for subfertile men and women
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar
Transvaginal mesh or grafts compared with native tissue repair for vaginal prolapse
NZ Author: Jane Marjoribanks

Imaging modalities for the non-invasive diagnosis of endometriosis
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar and Lucy Prentice

Oral dextrose gel for the treatment of hypoglycaemia in newborn infants
NZ Author: Jane Harding, Philip Weston, Deborah Harris, Malcolm Battin, Julie Brown, Joanne Hegarty, and Caroline Crowther
Endometrial injury for pregnancy following sexual intercourse or intrauterine insemination
NZ Author: Sarah Lensen, Gabriella Templer and Cindy Farquhar
Combination of the non-invasive tests for the diagnosis of endometriosis
NZ Author: Lucy Prentice and Cindy Farquhar

Bioidentical hormones for women with vasomotor symptoms
NZ Authors: Jane Marjoribanks

Endothelin receptor antagonists for persistent pulmonary hypertension in term and late preterm infants
NZ Author: Kiran More
Interventions for men and women with their first episode of genital herpes
NZ Author: Rachel Heslop, Helen Roberts, Dearlie Flowers and Vanessa Jordan

Dietary supplementation with myo-inositol in women during pregnancy for treating gestational diabetes
NZ Author: Julie Brown, Tineke Crawford, Jane Alsweiler and Caroline Crowther

Surgery for women with apical vaginal prolapse
NZ Author: Julie Brown

Updated Cochrane reviews for 2016  with New Zealand authors

Antidepressants for treating depression in adults with end-stage kidney disease treated with dialysis
NZ Author: Suetonia Palmer and Kannaiyan Rabindranath

Cleavage stage versus blastocyst stage embryo transfer in assisted reproductive technology
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar and Deborah Blake

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), third-wave CBT and interpersonal therapy (IPT) based interventions for preventing depression in children and adolescents
NZ Author: Juliet Bir and Sally Merry

Dietary supplements for dysmenorrhoea
NZ Author: Julie Brown, Joanna Barnes, Vahid Seyfoddin and Jane Marjoribanks

Different intensities of glycaemic control for pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes
NZ Author: Caroline Crowther

Follow-up strategies for patients treated for non-metastatic colorectal cancer
NZ Authors: Mark Jeffery, Brigid Hickey and Phil Hider

Fraction size in radiation therapy for breast conservation in early breast cancer
NZ Authors: Brigid Hickey, Melissa James, Phil Hider and Mark Jeffery

Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonists for assisted reproductive technology
NZ Author: Reuben Ayeleke, Julie Brown and Wai Sun Lam

High-dose chemotherapy and autologous bone marrow or stem cell transplantation versus conventional chemotherapy for women with early poor prognosis breast cancer
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar, Jane Marjoribanks and Anne Lethaby

Intra-uterine insemination for unexplained subfertility
NZ Author: Reuben Ayeleke

Local oestrogen for vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women
NZ Author: Helen Roberts, Anne Lethaby and Reuben Ayeleke

Mobile phone-based interventions for smoking cessation
NZ Author: Robyn Whittaker and Chris Bullen 

Multi-nutrient fortification of human milk for preterm infants
NZ Author: Jane Harding

Recombinant versus urinary human chorionic gonadotrophin for final oocyte maturation triggering in IVF and ICSI cycles
NZ Author: Wai Sun Lam

Stents for the prevention of pancreatic fistula following pancreaticoduodenectomy
NZ Author: Maxim Petrov

Surgery for women with anterior compartment prolapse
NZ Author: Julie Brown

Surgery versus medical therapy for heavy menstrual bleeding
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar, Jane Marjoribanks and Anne Lethaby

Ultrasound versus 'clinical touch' for catheter guidance during embryo transfer in women
NZ Author: Julie Brown and Karen Buckingham

Vitamin A supplementation to prevent mortality and short- and long-term morbidity in very low birth weight infants
NZ Author: Brian Darlow and P Graham 

New Cochrane protocols for 2016 with New Zealand authors

Insulin for the treatment of women with gestational diabetes
NZ Author: Julie Brown, Kathryn Williamson, Caroline Crowther and Michelle Downie
Antenatal and intrapartum interventions for preventing cerebral palsy: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews
NZ Author: Caroline Crowther
Dietary supplementation with myo-inositol in women during pregnancy for treating gestational diabetes
NZ author: Julie Brown, Tineke Crawford, Jane Alsweiler and Caroline Crowther
Interventions for the prevention of OHSS in ART cycles: an overview of Cochrane reviews
NZ Author: Julie Brown and Cindy Farquhar
Parent-mediated interventions to promote communication and language development in children with Down syndrome aged between birth and six years
NZ Author: Anne van Bysterveldt
Antenatal corticosteroids for fetal lung maturation: an overview of Cochrane reviews
NZ Author: Julie Brown, Emma McGoldrick, Christopher McKinlay and Caroline Crowther
Oral dextrose gel for the prevention of hypoglycaemia in newborn infants
NZ Author: Jane Harding, Joanne Hegarty, Caroline Crowther, Julie Brown and Jane Alsweiler

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) for fibromyalgia in adults
NZ Author: Peter Herbison
Cariprazine versus placebo for schizophrenia
NZ Author: Adib Essali
Exercise for pregnant women with gestational diabetes for improving maternal and fetal outcomes
NZ Author: Julie Brown
Temperature of embryo culture for assisted reproduction
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar
Taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages for reducing their consumption and preventing obesity or other adverse health outcomes
NZ author: Frank Pega

Taxation of unprocessed sugar or sugar-added foods for reducing their consumption and preventing obesity or other adverse health outcomes
NZ Author: Frank Pega
Treatments for women with gestational diabetes mellitus: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews
NZ Author: Ruth Martis, Julie Brown, Jane Alsweiler, Michelle Downie and Caroline Crowther

Inositol for subfertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome
NZ Author: Marian Showell, Rebecca Mackenzie-Proctor, Vanessa Jordan, Ruth Hodgson, Julie Brown and Cindy Farquhar
Interventions for preventing gestational diabetes mellitus: an overview of Cochrane Reviews
NZ Author: Julie Brown, Stephen Brown and Caroline Crowther

Neonatal interventions for preventing cerebral palsy: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews
NZ Author: Caroline Crowther
Taxation of the fat content of foods for reducing their consumption and preventing obesity or other adverse health outcomes
NZ author: Frank Pega

New Cochrane titles for 2016 with New Zealand authors

NSAIDs for cancer-related pain in children and adolescents
NZ Author: Brian Anderson
NSAIDs for chronic non-cancer pain in children and adolescents
NZ Author: Brian Anderson
Paracetamol/acetaminophen for chronic non-cancer pain in children and adolescents

NZ Author: Brian Anderson

GM-CSF (granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor) supplementation in culture media for subfertile women undergoing ART
NZ Author: Cindy Farquhar
Risperidone (oral forms) for people with schizophrenia
NZ Author: Adib Essali

Individualised gonadotropin dose selection using markers of ovarian reserve for women undergoing IVF/ICSI
NZ Author: Sarah Lensen, 

Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system for endometrial hyperplasia
NZ Author: Michelle Wise, Catherine Coop and Charlotte Farrant


Cochrane, together with four other leading organizations in the production and dissemination of evidence for decision making in the global health, social, and economic policy and practice sectors - proudly announces the first ‘Global Evidence Summit’ in Cape Town, South Africa from 12-16 September 2017. Save the date.
Cochrane NZ is running a Literature review and basic meta-analysis skills course as part of the public health summer school. This will be held in the computer lab at the University of Otago, Wellington and will cover the key steps around conducting a literature review and then a meta-analysis. Please visit the website for more information and to register.
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