In 2020, CINTESIS – Center for Health Technology and Services Research returned to its usual presence in the media. Altogether, there were more than a thousand references to CINTESIS (on average, three per day), in news, reports, and interviews published in Portuguese newspapers, radio, and television.
Among the most “popular” in the media are a study led by Alberto Freitas (CINTESIS / FMUP) warning about the “poor quality of clinical data”; a work developed by Carlos Martins (CINTESIS/FMUP) according to which “cardiovascular patients do not change behaviors after having a stroke or a heart attack”; and an investigation into the role of bread enriched with wheat germ in health, authored by André Rosário. These news, published by Agência Lusa in January and in February reached the greatest circulation. In the same period, also Miguel Ricou (CINTESIS/FMUP) authored one of his many opinion pieces in the journal Público with a very expressive circulation on topics such as euthanasia.
As of March 2020, the media echoes the appeals from investigators from CINTESIS and from FMUP of making COVID-19 data available with the utmost urgency. The coordinator, Altamiro da Costa Pereira, is one of the most cited researchers by journalists. At the time, he and Bernardo Sousa Pinto (CINTESIS/FMUP) were already saying that masks should be mandatory for the general population to return to normal.
Along the same lines, in April, SIC published and an interview with João Fonseca (CINTESIS/FMUP) entitled: “Scientists want access to DGS data on patients with COVID-19”. In May, an interview with TVI reflected the institution’s concern with the strategy adopted to combat the pandemic.
The CINTESIS studies and projects concerning COVID-19, namely those that would be supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), would also receive broad attention from journalists in the months to come.
Here are the studies on mortality in the pandemic (PROVIDA), ethical criteria for admission to the ICU (Rui Nunes e Altamiro da Costa Pereira), the impact of the pandemic on nurses (Carlos Sequeira e Francisco Sampaio, CINTESIS/ESEP), and exhaustion of health professionals in general and of university professors (Ivone Duarte, CINTESIS/FMUP).
In the frameworks of the program RESEARCH 4 COVID19, the headlines refer to the project led by Conceição Calhau about the relationship between COVID-19 and the intestinal microbiota; a project coordinated by Ricardo Cruz Correia (CINTESIS/FMUP) for developing a Covid-19 risk scale for hospitals (which was awarded, months later) and a project led by Matilde Monteiro-Soares (CINTESIS/FMUP) about the immune response of patients with COVID-19 and the project of the Nursing School of Porto (ESEP)/CINTESIS, with Maria José Lumini, about an online course for caregivers.
But it was not just the work of CINTESIS/FMUP researchers on COVID-19 that made the news. “Diabetics who live alone or are depressed adhere worse to treatments” (Paulo Santos), “One-third of diabetic foot ulcer patients die within three years” (Matilde Monteiro-Soares), “Rehospitalizations for inflammatory bowel disease cost 3.1 million/year” (Cláudia Camila Dias) and “Postponement of tests may affect cancer diagnosis and treatment” (Mário Dinis Ribeiro) are some of the titles with the greatest impact.
We learned more about the results of investigations carried out by Manuel Gonçalves Pinto (“Visits to psychiatric emergency rooms halved during the state of emergency” and “Cannabis caused more than 3200 hospital admissions in 16 years”, among others) and by Matilde Monteiro-Soares, Daniela Ferreira Santos and Priscila Maranhão (“Many symptoms and all very different. COVID-19 is not just new, it is also complex”).
There was also good news, like that about the prizes awarded to the project ADHERENCE, developed by CINTESIS and by the spin-off MEDIDA, and the project FRADE, also with the participation of CINTESIS/ESEP researchers.
In August, the news is made with the interview of the CINTESIS/FMUP researcher Cristina Santos to SIC, entitled “DGS provides researchers with wrong data”. The research group led by Conceição Calhau (CINTESIS/NOVA Medical School) is back in the newspapers with the results of a new study on babies’ intestinal flora.
There was also great impact following the news about “good masks and bad masks”, with statements by the researcher Bernardo Sousa Pinto and about clinical trials of new treatments for heart failure, with José Silva Cardoso (CINTESIS/FMUP).
In the last quarter of 2020, CINTESIS continues to occupy newspaper pages, radio airtime, and primetime space on TV news, with special emphasis on the flaws in the data on COVID-19. Altamiro da Costa Pereira, Cristina Santos, Ricardo Cruz Correia, and Pedro Pereira Rodrigues are constantly present in the media.
Oscar Ribeiro (CINTESIS/University of Aveiro), who actively participates in the “Portugal Mais Velho” report, with the APAV and the Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian, warns journalists about issues concerning the mental health of the elderly in this pandemic period. Other lines of research of the group led by Oscar Ribeiro are also in the news, such as that concerning animal hoarders.
Marina Dias Neto and Sérgio Sampaio present the results of a research work on mortality of abdominal aortic aneurysms and Carla Sá Couto is news when presenting the creation of a method for training students in emergency settings”. The researcher in Microbiology, Acácio Rodrigues, is invited to comment on the outbreak of Legionella in the north of the country. They all are CINTESIS/FMUP researchers.
In this period, two CINTESIS/FMUP studies deserve particular attention from the media, one is related to the mental health of health professionals, with Cristina Jácome and Ivone Duarte as main authors, and the other concerns evidence of an increase in inequalities in access to health explained by Ana Luísa Neves.
This list of news is extensive, but it is still a small part of the news about CINTESIS that marked the media agenda in a very atypical, having stood out in several parameters. This list of news evinces that scientific research is thriving. Good and lots of news for 2021 is what is expected.