Acute middle ear infections: Useful facts for parents
Did you know that acute middle ear infections are one of the most common illnesses in babies and toddlers? Most children will have at least one middle ear infection by the age of three. Parents can read about the symptoms, causes and course of this illness in our overview (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/overview.520.en.html) .
Treating middle ear infections: What really matters
When children have a middle ear infection, they usually have earache and a fever. Relieving these symptoms is the main goal of treatment. The drugs acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen can be used for this purpose in children, and are available without a prescription. Read our fact sheet to find out what a “wait-and-see” approach is, what you can expect from home remedies like onion packs, and when it is important to seek medical advice. “Treatment” fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/treatment-fact-sheet.1088.en.html)
Preventing otitis media: Things that might help
“How can we stop it from happening again?” – This is what many parents ask themselves if their child keeps getting middle ear infections. There are a few things you can do that might lower the risk a little. Our fact sheet describes six of them. But there is no one thing that will work for everyone. “Prevention” fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/prevention-fact-sheet.524.en.html)
Antibiotics only help in young children if they have particular symptoms
Middle ear infections usually clear up on their own within two to three days. Serious complications are very rare. So why give a child antibiotics and risk the side effects? According to recent research, antibiotics do not always help, but they do help in children who have certain kinds of symptoms. Research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/research-summary.389.en.html)
Ear tubes only improve hearing in the short term
Middle ear infections can lead to glue ear, also known as otitis media with effusion. This is where fluid builds up behind the eardrum, in the tympanic cavity. Sometimes the fluid stays there for quite a long time, and that can affect the child’s hearing. If glue ear becomes chronic, ear tubes (grommets) are sometimes used to let the fluid drain from the ear. This operation can improve hearing in the short term. But it is usually not necessary. Research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/chronic-otitis-media-with-effusion-are-ear-tubes-an-appropriate.387.en.html)
Recent information on new drugs
Safety warning: Telaprevir (Incivo) for chronic hepatitis C. More (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/more.807.en.html)
Quitting smoking: Do nicotine patches and gum work?
The chances of quitting smoking with the help of nicotine replacement products are not bad. Using several products at the same time appears to increase the chances. Read our research summary to find out more about recent research on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and the possible side effects. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.220.en.html)
Knowing how: The main facts about quitting smoking
Web-based smoking cessation programs and nicotine patches are two things that can help people kick the habit. Various other interventions can be tried out too. People who would like to quit smoking will find a few ideas here. At a glance (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/at-a-glance.635.en.html)
Gum, lozenges, inhalers: How nicotine replacement therapy works
When people try to stop smoking, it can be especially difficult at first. They might feel slightly irritable, aggressive or simply be “in a bad mood.” And not everyone manages to quit without help. But nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can reduce the withdrawal symptoms. Find answers to frequently asked questions here. To the fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-fact-sheet.222.en.html)
COPD: Does the medication tiotropium have advantages?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) develops gradually over many years. Typical symptoms include a chronic cough and breathlessness. The main medications used to treat COPD – known as bronchodilators – aim to open up the air passages, making it easier to breathe. IQWiG compared the effect of the bronchodilator tiotropium with that of several other medications. Find out more here. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.1075.en.html)
Tonsillitis: Key facts
We all know what having a sore throat is like, but if you also have difficulty swallowing, fever and a yellowish coating on your tonsils, it could be acute tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can occur several times a year, and it sometimes becomes chronic. Here you can read about the usual course of this infection, how common complications are, and what medications can be used as treatment. To the overview (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-overview.1072.en.html)
Recurrent tonsillitis: Wait it out or have surgery?
Having tonsillitis can be a real drag. Many parents simply get fed up with always having to give their child antibiotics. Complications like pus collecting around the tonsils may also be a reason for considering surgery. But this procedure is associated with risks. Here you can find out what sort of risks might be involved, as well as what can be done after surgery to reduce pain. To the fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-fact-sheet.1073.en.html)
“I was really sick” – One woman’s experience with tonsillitis
Tanja, 38 years old, had to cope with having tonsillitis herself when her children were younger. She tells us what treatments she tried and what ended up helping here (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/here.1052.en.html) .
Antibiotics for sore throat: A good idea?
Research has shown that sore throat caused by a cold usually gets better quickly without any special treatment. Just three days after a sore throat has started, 1 out of 3 people already feel much better. With this kind of outlook, is it even worth turning to antibiotics? To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.175.en.html)
Venous leg ulcers: Skin grafts for healing wounds
About 1 out of every 100 people will get a leg ulcer at some point, particularly in older age. The most common form is a venous leg ulcer. It can develop if blood does not flow through the legs properly. Poor blood flow then stops it from healing properly too. The body needs to grow new skin to close the wound. Instead of waiting for this slow process to happen, skin grafts can be used. But do they really help speed up recovery? To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.333.en.html)
Recent information on new drugs:
- Perampanel (Fycompa) for epilepsy To the information (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-information.1040.en.html)
- Axitinib (Inlyta) for renal carcinoma To the information (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-information.1044.en.html)
- Aclidinium bromide (Eklira, Bretaris) for COPD To the information (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-information.1045.en.html)
Prostate cancer: The signs, causes and treatment options
Prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause any problems until it is at an advanced stage: then men might have symptoms like a stronger urge to urinate or a weak urine stream. In most cases, though, these symptoms are caused by a benign enlargement of the prostate. You can read about the procedures used to diagnose prostate cancer in our overview. Also: Find out the most important facts about risk factors, the course of the disease and treatment options. To the overview (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-overview.1065.en.html)
Thinking it through: Screening for prostate cancer
As with many other medical procedures, it is worth carefully weighing the pros and cons of PSA tests before deciding whether or not to have one. The results of two large studies done in Europe and the United States can help us see what benefits and risks this test can have. Can men really decide not to do the test with a clear conscience? More (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/more.1066.en.html)
Prostate cancer: Why has it become so common?
The number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer has greatly increased over the last 30 years in Germany: about 67,000 men are now diagnosed with the disease each year. In 1980 prostate cancer was diagnosed in only slightly more than 20,000 men. What is behind this increase? And what disadvantages can early diagnosis have? More (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/more.1067.en.html)
Two men, two opinions: For and against the PSA test
“There are other ways of checking the prostate gland that I don’t have to pay for. I decided right then not to do a PSA test.” This is what one man we talked to had to say. But not everyone agrees when it comes to the PSA test: two men share their points of view. To the interviews (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-interviews.1027.en.html)
New quiz: Back pain
Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks. But what can you do if it doesn’t? And what can help if low back pain keeps coming back or becomes chronic? See how much you already know about effective treatment options and the typical causes of back pain. To the quiz (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-quiz.1061.en.html)
Unavoidable colds: Can vitamin C keep you healthy?
It is widely believed that colds can be prevented by taking vitamin C supplements. In actual fact, vitamin C cannot stop you from getting colds. Even if you start taking vitamin C right at the start of a cold, the cold will last just as long. But it cannot be ruled out that athletes might benefit from high doses of vitamin C. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.174.en.html)
Getting back on your feet quickly: What can help after an ankle fracture
It does not take much to twist your ankle – particularly in the winter months, when people might slip on icy surfaces. The ankle is usually only sprained, but it sometimes ends up being broken. Depending on the type of fracture, surgery might be needed, or your foot might just have to be immobilized for a while. Read our information to find out what can help people move their ankle normally again sooner following treatment. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.685.en.html)
Coronary artery disease: What exactly is it?
Most people have a vague idea of what coronary artery disease is: “a feeling of tightness in the chest,” “breathlessness,” “irregular heartbeat,” “blocked blood vessels.” Find out more in our overview here (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/here.1055.en.html) .
Medication for long-term treatment of CAD
Being diagnosed with CAD can be a real life-changing event. Many people wonder how they will be able to deal with the fear of having a heart attack. But the risk of having a heart attack can be lowered considerably by sticking closely to a drug therapy plan. Read about which medications can be used for long-term therapy, what is known about their side effects, and how they can help prevent CAD complications. More (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/more.1056.en.html)
A healthy heart: What you can do on your own
People who have heart problems sometimes feel pressured by all the well-meaning advice they hear on how to change their lifestyle. But having a healthy heart is not only a matter of lifestyle habits. And, at the end of the day, everyone has to decide for themselves how they would like to live their lives and deal with their disease. If you would like to start changing your habits step by step, the following information may be helpful: “General measures” (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/fact-sheet-general-measures-for-treating-cad.1057.en.html) and “Influence on mental health and everyday life” (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/influence-on-mental-health-and-everyday-life.1058.en.html) .
What Omega-3 fatty acids can really do
Many people deliberately eat foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, like fish or linseed oil, in the hope that they will have a positive impact on their cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have a beneficial effect on some fat levels in the blood, as well as lowering blood pressure. So might it be worth trying out dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids? Or is this just a myth? To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.1054.en.html)
Well-tolerated: Statins for coronary artery disease
Statins are a class of drugs designed to lower blood cholesterol levels. Trials have proven that they can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke and increase life expectancy in people who have CAD. Also, these drugs are usually well-tolerated. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.1053.en.html)
Antibody-coated stents: Not up to expectations
After a heart attack, the narrowed coronary artery is widened using a catheter. Once the artery has been widened, it is common for a stent coated with medication to be inserted, with the aim of keeping the blood vessel open. It is now also possible to put in a new type of stent – one that has been coated with antibodies. Researchers at IQWiG have now compared antibody-coated stents with drug-coated stents in people who are at increased risk of their blood vessels narrowing again, and have found that antibody-coated stents are not as good at preventing another heart attack. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.1050.en.html)
High blood pressure in diabetes: Carefully consider intensive blood pressure reduction
Many people with type 2 diabetes have other problems in addition to high blood sugar levels. Their blood pressure is often high as well, meaning that they also have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In order to prevent strokes and heart attacks, some experts recommend lowering blood pressure to levels below normal. IQWiG has checked the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of treatment and concluded that the somewhat better protection seems to be offset by a number of serious side effects. But this treatment has generally not been studied closely enough. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.1049.en.html)
Varicose veins in the scrotum can affect fertility
Wanting to have children and not being able to can be very distressing. There are a number of reasons why one or both partners might have fertility problems. One possible cause is a varicose vein in the scrotum, also called a varicocele. But varicoceles are relatively common, and they do not always cause fertility problems. You can read here about who can benefit from minor surgery to treat this condition. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.536.en.html)
Stop messing around: What can help with acne
Always squeezing pimples is not a good idea. This can force the pus even deeper into your skin. And trying out all of the readily available creams and other products is also not much help, and may aggravate your skin even more. Find out here why less is quite often more, why it may be worth it to go to a dermatologist, and which suitable treatment options there are. To the fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-fact-sheet.1048.en.html)
What effect do birth control pills have on acne?
The belief that a lack of personal hygiene causes acne is wrong. When teenagers get acne, it is mainly because more of the male sex hormone androgen is produced during puberty. Since the birth control pill lowers the production of androgen, it can improve the complexion of young women who use the pill as a contraceptive. How does it work compared with acne medication, and what side effects can be expected? A group of researchers has now looked into these questions. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.1047.en.html)
Living with acne
Two women look back on what it meant for them to live with severe acne. They describe their experiences with beauticians and doctors, as well as the effect acne had on their relationships and their self-confidence. You can also read what gave both of them strength during puberty. To the interviews (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-interviews.1036.en.html)
Lab data in medicine: Sometimes misleading
After a heart attack, a particular type of heart rhythm problem may develop that increases the risk of sudden cardiac death. In the 1980s, millions of patients were given drugs to stabilize the rhythm of their heart after a heart attack. It turned out that these drugs ended up increasing mortality. What was it that misled the experts? To the information (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-information.603.en.html)
Exercise-induced asthma: Prevention with medications
People who have learned how to manage asthma attacks do not have to worry when doing sports. But it is important to adapt medication to fit your individual situation. This fact sheet is about the medications that can be used to prevent exercise-induced asthma. Parents can find out what they can do so that their children can take part in school sports despite having asthma. To the fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-fact-sheet.548.en.html)
Asthma: No reason to abstain from sports and exercise
Some children, teenagers and adults with asthma are very reluctant when it comes to sports and exercise. They are afraid that the physical strain might trigger asthma attacks. But is this fear justified? Read about the results of new research on how physical activity really affects people with asthma. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/asthma-what-effect-do-sports-and-exercise-have.549.en.html)
Deep vein thrombosis caused by flights: How high the risk really is
Be it for your vacation or for a business trip – long-distance flights are unavoidable if you want to get to far-away places. They are often thought to be associated with an increased risk of thrombosis in the veins of the legs. But even people with risk factors only have a low risk. And there are simple things you can do yourself to prevent thrombosis. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.306.en.html)
After breaking a leg or tearing a ligament: Preventing blood clots
Having an injury like a torn ligament is not only annoying because the leg is in a splint or a cast and it is more difficult to get around; it also increases the risk of blood clots in the veins of the legs. This can be dangerous if the blood clot dislodges and travels through your bloodstream into your lungs, for example. But particular anticoagulant drugs can reliably reduce this risk. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.530.en.html)
Film: What happens during menstruation?
The menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days on average in many women. Each cycle starts with menstrual bleeding over several days. But why does this happen? We explain what happens in women’s bodies during their monthly cycle and describe problems that can arise during menstruation in this film (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/this-film.1041.en.html) .
Film: Heavy periods
Women who have heavy periods with painful cramps every month often find their periods pretty distressing. Heavy periods can lead to anemia over time, and treatment might be needed. But when are periods considered to be “too heavy”, and what are the possible causes of heavy periods? Find out about the treatment options and what you can do to cope better with heavy periods in our film about heavy periods (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/film-heavy-periods.1042.en.html) .
What are disease management programs?
Disease management programs, or DMPs for short, are special structured treatment programs for people with chronic diseases. They aim to help people cope better with their disease and keep up a good quality of life. Our updated fact sheet describes which diseases there are currently DMPs for in Germany, and how patients could benefit from these programs. You can also find out which DMPs have already been assessed by IQWiG. To the fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-fact-sheet.276.en.html)
Recurrent bowel cancer: Can PET scans help improve treatment?
If there are signs that bowel cancer might have come back, various diagnostic techniques can be used to be more sure. One special medical imaging technique is called positron emission tomography (PET). Researchers at IQWiG have now assessed whether PET, or a combination of PET and computed tomography (PET/CT), can detect new tumors better than conventional diagnostic techniques. The researchers were particularly interested in whether PET can help people get better treatment, and have a better quality of life and live longer as a result. Read more here (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/here.1043.en.html) .
Depression: Things that can be done if sadness does not go away
Almost everybody feels down and listless sometimes. Gloomy thoughts and feelings usually go away again quickly. But in people with depression they stay for longer and can severely affect their entire life. Find out what the typical signs of depression are, what treatment options are available, and where to get help for emotional problems. To the fact sheet (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/fact-sheet-depression.1031.en.html)
Burnout and depression: What is the difference?
Constant stress can be a great strain and cause physical and emotional problems. So it is no surprise that many people end up feeling that they cannot go on anymore, that they are “burned out.” But exhaustion is a normal reaction to stress, and not a sign of disease. Unlike "depression", "burnout" is not a recognized diagnosis. So what is this set of symptoms, and what are the signs? To the information (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-information.1034.en.html)
Can sports and exercise relieve depression?
Exercise and sports are often recommended to reduce or prevent the symptoms of depression. Physical activity can also be a way for people to do something about their illness themselves, besides treatment. There is new research on the influence activities like walking or cycling can really have. To the research summary (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-research-summary.1033.en.html)
Living with depression: Getting professional help early
“You shouldn’t feel reluctant to go and see a psychotherapist. And if you don’t get on with your therapist, you can always switch therapists,” says Renate, 62 years old. She talked to us about how therapy has helped her find new interest in life. To the interview (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-interview.1023.en.html)
13 questions and answers about psychotherapy
If we have a cold, we go to see the family doctor; if we have heart problems, we visit the cardiologist. But many people find it difficult to get help for mental problems: Some are worried about being considered mentally ill. Others are unsure because they do not know what exactly happens in psychotherapy. These are the questions our guide to psychotherapy in Germany has set out to answer. Read about the different types of therapy and the places to go to – and get the answers to many other practical questions. To the information (URL: http://www.informedhealthonline.org/to-the-information.204.en.html)