EHC Program Update: Obesity, Pharmacologic Asthma Management, and Health Systems Final Reports; Breastfeeding, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Urinary Incontinence Draft Reports

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Evidence Reports Now Available

The Clinical Utility of Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) in Asthma Management
(Systematic Review, released 12/20/2017)

Selected Key Findings:

  • Depending on the FeNO cutoff, the likelihood of having asthma in people ages 5 years and older increases by 2.8 to 7.0 times given a positive FeNO test result.
  • FeNO is modestly more accurate in diagnosing steroid-naïve asthmatics, children (ages 5-18), and nonsmokers than other patients suspected to have asthma.
  • FeNO results can predict which patients will respond to inhaled corticosteroid therapy.
  • Using FeNO to manage long-term control medications including dose titration, weaning, and monitoring of adherence, reduces the frequency of exacerbations.
  • There is insufficient evidence supporting the use of FeNO in children (ages 0-4) for predicting a future diagnosis of asthma.
  • For more info:

Methods for Evaluating Natural Experiments in Obesity: A Systematic Evidence Review
(Systematic Review, released 12/1/2017)

Selected Key Findings:

  • Relevant programs, policies, or built environment changes were evaluated in 156 natural experiments, 118 experimental studies, and 20 other studies.
  • Criteria for a data system (source exists, is available for research, is sharable, and has outcomes of interest) were met by 106 data sources.
  • Thirty-seven percent of U.S. data systems were linked to secondary data.
    Outcome measures included dietary behavior (148 studies), physical activity (152 studies), childhood weight (112 studies), and adult weight (32 studies).
  • Natural experiments most commonly used regression models comparing exposed and unexposed groups at one time.
  • Natural experiments generally had moderate risk of selection bias and high risk of bias for losses to follow-up.
  • Research could be advanced by more use of data dictionaries, reporting standards on data linkage, long-term obesity-related outcomes, and study designs with multiple pre- and postexposure time points.
  • For more info:

Methods Report Now Available

A Framework for Conceptualizing Evidence Needs of Health Systems
(Methods Report, released 12/22/2017)

Opportunity to Comment on Draft Reports

We encourage the pubic to participate in the development of our research projects. Comments can be submitted for:  

Nonsurgical Treatments for Urinary Incontinence in Adult Women: A Systematic Review Update Available for comment until February 10, 2018

Drug Therapy for Early Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review Update
Available for comment until February 10, 2018

Breastfeeding Programs and Policies, Breastfeeding Uptake, and Maternal Health Outcomes in Developed Countries
Available for comment until January 26, 2018


About us: AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program is committed to providing the best available evidence on the outcomes, benefits and harms, and appropriateness of drugs, devices, and health care services and by helping health care professionals, patients, policymakers, and health care systems make informed health care decisions. The program partners with research centers, academic institutions, health professional societies, consumer organizations, and other stakeholders to conduct research, evidence synthesis, evidence translation, dissemination, and implementation of research findings.

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