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1.  Health trajectories in regeneration areas in England: the impact of the New Deal for Communities intervention 
A large body of evidence documents the adverse relationship between concentrated deprivation and health. Among the evaluations of regeneration initiatives to tackle these spatial inequalities, few have traced the trajectories of individuals over time and fewer still have employed counterfactual comparison. We investigate the impact of one such initiative in England, the New Deal for Communities (NDC), which ran from 1999 to 2011, on socioeconomic inequalities in health trajectories.
Latent Growth Curve modelling of within-person changes in self-rated health, mental health and life satisfaction between 2002 and 2008 of an analytical cohort of residents of 39 disadvantaged areas of England in which the NDC was implemented, compared with residents of comparator, non-intervention areas, focusing on: (1) whether differences over time in outcomes can be detected between NDC and comparator areas and (2) whether interventions may have altered socioeconomic differences in outcomes.
No evidence was found for an overall improvement in the three outcomes, or for significant differences in changes in health between respondents in NDC versus comparator areas. However, we found a weakly significant gap in life satisfaction and mental health between high and low socioeconomic status individuals in comparator areas which widened over time to a greater extent than in NDC areas. Change over time in the three outcomes was non-linear: individual improvements among NDC residents were largest before 2006.
There is limited evidence that the NDC moderated the impact of socioeconomic factors on mental health and life satisfaction trajectories. Furthermore, any NDC impact was strongest in the first 6 years of the programmes.
PMCID: PMC4515985  PMID: 26085649
2.  Preventing hypothermia in elective arthroscopic shoulder surgery patients: a protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:14.
Patients having arthroscopic shoulder surgery frequently experience periods of inadvertent hypothermia. This common perioperative problem has been linked to adverse patient outcomes such as myocardial ischaemia, surgical site infection and coagulopathy. International perioperative guidelines recommend patient warming, using a forced air warming device, and the use of warmed intraoperative irrigation solutions for the prevention of hypothermia in at-risk patient groups. This trial will investigate the effect of these interventions on patients’ temperature, thermal comfort, and total recovery time.
The trial will employ a randomised 2 x 2 factorial design. Eligible patients will be stratified by anaesthetist and block randomised into one of four groups: Group one will receive preoperative warming with a forced air warming device; group two will receive warmed intraoperative irrigation solutions; group three will receive both preoperative warming and warmed intraoperative irrigation solutions; and group four will receive neither intervention. Participants in all four groups will receive active intraoperative warming with a forced air warming device. The primary outcome measures are postoperative temperature, thermal comfort, and total recovery time. Primary outcomes will undergo a two-way analysis of variance controlling for covariants such as operating room ambient temperature and volume of intraoperative irrigation solution.
This trial is designed to confirm the effectiveness of these interventions at maintaining perioperative normothermia and to evaluate if this translates into improved patient outcomes.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number
PMCID: PMC3411492  PMID: 22817672
3.  Measuring the tail of the dog that doesn't bark in the night: the case of the national evaluation of Choose Life (the national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland) 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:146.
Learning about the impact of public health policy presents significant challenges for evaluators. These include the nebulous and organic nature of interventions ensuing from policy directives, the tension between long-term goals and short-term interventions, the appropriateness of establishing control groups, and the problems of providing an economic perspective. An example of contemporary policy that has recently been subject to evaluation is the first phase of the innovative Scottish strategy for suicide prevention (Choose Life).
Discussion and summary
This paper discusses how challenges, such as those above, were made manifest within this programme. After a brief summary of the overarching approach taken to evaluating the first phase of Choose Life, this paper then offers a set of recommendations for policymakers and evaluators on how learning from a second phase might be augmented. These recommendations are likely to have general resonance across a range of policy evaluations as they move from early planning and implementation to more mature phases.
PMCID: PMC1937000  PMID: 17617891

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