Category Archives: Evidence-Based Practice

Open Medicine Journal & Blog

Hat-tip and a huge thank you to Gillian for introducing me to the Open Medicine (OM) Journal and Blog.

The blog writer and associate editor of the journal is Dean Giustini, a medical librarian at the University of British Columbia.

Here is an excerpt from one of Dean’s introductory blog posts, which gives me several reasons to keep reading today and revisit the blog regularly:

So, why visit OM blog? What are the benefits? First, blogs play a key role in the evolution of the web; they bring people together to share knowledge and to help them learn about new information technologies. We are, after all, in the information age. Furthermore, blogs are increasingly used to support continuing medical education, and viewed as an enhancement to clinical practice and rapid research dissemination. I hope that the OM blog will facilitate open discussion and collaboration, and function as a completely open repository of useful clinical cases and websites.

As a medical librarian, I will also share my thoughts about locating reliable medical information on the Web. In contrast to the original research published in Open Medicine, the blog will highlight interesting or emerging ideas from the blogosphere that are not covered elsewhere – thereby filling an important information gap. Topics I will cover include perspectives on information technologies, health care systems, research funding, drug releases and alerts, health legislation and government policies.

Who will find this blog useful? Physicians, medical students, residents and other health professionals; information professionals such as clinical/ medical librarians and informationists; health consumers and patients who need information about emerging diseases (e.g. SARS), global health issues and important research published elsewhere. (Link)

Open access to scholarly information is a principle I strongly believe in. I’ve talked about my reasons for blogging in previous posts (#1, #2, #3), but one of them is the desire to freely share new nutrition practice discoveries as well as classic resources because it benefits everyone — practitioners and the patient/clients we serve.

You can read more about the concept of open access here and more about the Open Access medical journal here.


Cochrane Review (1999): Interventions for dysphagia in acute stroke

Although this review was originally published in 1999, it was reprinted this year.  Because it includes a thorough, critical appraisal of many of the stroke references in my library, I’ve uploaded the document to my blog.

Interventions for dysphagia in acute stroke (Cochrane Review 1999)

FOOD Trials: Implications for Dietetic Practice

Earlier I posted a brief description of and links to the FOOD Trials, a series of three large, multi-centre, randomized controlled studies that attempted to answer questions about feeding stroke patients.

Here, in the researchers own words, are how the trial results can be applied to practice:

Study 1: Can oral supplementation improve stroke outcome?

On the basis of our results and our surveys of UK practice, it seems likely that patients who are judged to be undernourished on admission or who have deteriorating nutritional status in hospital will be offered oral nutritional supplements…..However, our data do not support use of routine supplementation of hospital diet for unselected stroke patients who are mainly well nourished on admission (The Lancet, Vol 365 February 26, 2005 p. 762).

Studies 2 & 3: Do timing and/or route of enteral feeding affect stroke outcome at 6 months?

Our data would suggest that to reduce case fatality, unless there is a strong indication to delay enteral tube feeding (such indications would have excluded such patients from the FOOD trial), dysphagic stroke patients should be offered enteral tube feeding via a nasogastric tube within the first few days of admission. Also, for enteral feeding within the first 2 or 3 weeks, nasogastric feeding should be the chosen route unless there is a strong practical reason to choose PEG feeding (eg, the patient cannot tolerate a nasogastric tube) (The Lancet, Vol 365 February 26, 2005 p. 771).

The authors also state:

Early tube feeding might reduce case fatality, but at the expense of increasing the proportion surviving with poor outcome. Our data do not support a policy of early initiation of PEG feeding in dysphagic stroke patients (The Lancet, Vol 365 February 26, 2005 p. 764).


Evidence for best nutrition practice in stroke care

Because June is Stroke Month, I’m going to end this last week of June with several posts on stroke research that provides evidence for best nutrition practice.

Today I’m highlighting the FOOD trials that tried to answer the why, when and how of feeding stroke pts. The questions were:

1. In patients who can take adequate oral fluids, does routine oral nutrition supplementation increase the proportion of stroke patients surviving without disability?
2. In patients who are unable to take an adequate diet orally, does early initiation of tube feeding (NG or PEG) increase the proportion of stroke patients surviving without severe disability?
3. In patients who need tube feeding, is a PEG tube, instead of the traditional NG tube, associated with improved outcomes after stroke?

The study results, along with a helpful commentary, were published in the 26 February 2005 issue of the Lancet. Here are the web links to the articles (note: subscription needed to read them):

Donnan GA, Dewey HM. Stroke and nutrition: FOOD for thought. The Lancet, Volume 365, Number 9461, pages 729-730.

Routine oral nutritional supplementation for stroke patients in hospital (FOOD): a multicentre randomised controlled trial. The FOOD Trial Collaboration. The Lancet, Volume 365, Number 9461, pages 755-763.

Effect of timing and method of enteral tube feeding for dysphagic stroke patients (FOOD): a multicentre randomised controlled trial. The FOOD Trial Collaboration. The Lancet, Volume 365, Number 9461, pages 764-772.

If you or your workplace do not have a Lancet subscription, you can still read summaries of the articles for free, although you do have to register. I did this, but to be honest, I didn’t find the summaries had enough information to be useful.

I had wanted to to upload the full articles to my blog but I can’t because of copyright restrictions. If you can’t access the articles easily, please email me and I will email you copies for your personal use. (The copyright policy permits this.)

My email address is on the About me page.

Protocol for Cochrane Review: Nursing interventions for improving nutritional status of stroke patients

Depending on where you work or go to school, you may have free access to the full Cochrane Library. Here’s the web link to this protocol: Nursing interventions for improving nutritional status of stroke patients.

I realize some readers may not have free access so I’ve uploaded the Introduction on my blog. I hope it will give you enough information to decide whether you’d like to read the entire report.

Introduction to protocol
Nursing interventions for improving nutritional status of stroke patients

Round-up of Stroke Resources

Today at a Stroke Care Improvement meeting I shared some of the stroke resources I’ve been gathering during the past two months. Now would be a good time to take stock and collect all the previously published links in one post. The list is a work-in-progress and will grow.

Although the resources are not nutrition-specific, they all contain some nutrition elements such as diet modifications to reduce stroke risk factors (primary and secondary prevention) or manage deficits (e.g, dysphagia) during acute stroke treatment and rehabilitation.


Practices and Standards Working Group, The Canadian Stroke Strategy. Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care: 2006.
Best Practices and Standards Working Group, The Canadian Stroke Strategy. Best Practices and Standards Environmental Scan Report.

Heart and Stroke Foundation home page.

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Ontario Stroke System. Best Practice Guidelines.

National Stroke Foundation, Australia. National Clinical Guidelines for Acute Stroke Management.

National Stroke Foundation, Australia. National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery.

National Stroke Foundation, Australia. Stroke Care Pathway: A Resource for Health Professionals.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. Management of patients with stroke: Identification and management of dysphagia. September 2004.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. Management of patients with stroke: Rehabilitation, prevention and management of complications, and discharge planning. November 2002.

Teasell R, Foley N. Evidence-based review of stroke rehabilitation: Managing the stroke rehabilitation triage process.

Another best practice resource on stroke

I was updating my stroke resources on Connotea this morning and discovered another SIGN resource: Management of Patients with Stroke: Rehabilitation, Prevention and Management of Complications, and Discharge Planning.

You can also view the two PDF documents on these blog pages: