Prognosis research published in top medical journals

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Posted on 08 February 2013

Two top medical journals have joined together to publish a series on the issues surrounding research into prognosis by a team of international researchers including three staff from Primary Care Sciences at Keele, professors Danielle van der Windt, Peter Croft and George Peat. The aim of prognosis research is to provide high quality information for patients about the likely course of their disease or health problem. Information about prognosis helps patients and clinicians to make better decisions regarding treatment. This week, PLOS Medicine and the BMJ have each published two articles in the PROGRESS series on prognosis research ( PLOS Medicine is publishing the second and third articles in the series and the BMJ is publishing the first and fourth articles.

The joint international collaboration highlights the importance of this area of research. More people now live with chronic health problems than at any other time in history and “prognosis” is no longer simply about how long people will live with a given disease or condition, but how well they can live – in terms of staying active, being able to do the things they want to do, and receiving treatment that is right for them.

Prognosis research helps understand, predict and improve these future outcomes. It addresses questions all the way from the laboratory (genes which predict how people with cancer respond to treatment) to the hospital (identifying patients in Casualty who need the most urgent care) to the community (why some people with back pain get better and others not).   The PROGRESS series of papers also highlights how standards in prognosis research can and need to be improved.

Dr Virginia Barbour, Chief Editor of PLOS Medicine says: “We are pleased to be publishing this important series in collaboration with the BMJ. This series is the result of substantial collaboration between a number of academics and PLOS Medicine is pleased to have been part of this. We hope that these papers will lead to improvements in the quality of prognosis research, which in turn will lead to more informed decisions about the clinical management of patients with diverse diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis and head injuries.”