Dr Christopher Cates is a senior clinical research fellow at St George’s, University of London and works as the co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Airways Review Group. The Cochrane Airways Group support production and publication of Cochrane systematic reviews of airways diseases such as:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
- bronchiectasis (a long-term lung condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus) and
- chronic cough.
Dr Cates started as a systematic reviewer with the group at St George’s in 1995 and has authored a number of systematic reviews summarising the risks and benefits of a variety of inhaled treatments and vaccinations for asthma and COPD. His first review compared spacers to nebulisers for delivering inhaled treatment to people with acute asthma, and spacers have now become the recommended delivery method for children in many asthma guidelines, such as theSIGN/BTS Asthma Guideline. He has been co-ordinating editor since 2003.
Dr Cates has worked in primary care as a GP in Hertfordshire for 23 years, and has a particular interest in applying evidence in practice. In 1999 his practice was awarded Beacon status for successfully reducing antibiotic prescribing in children with ear infections. His website includes an online calculator which will create Cates plots. These are smiley face plots that visually communicate the risks and benefits of treatment. The plots help explain how the effects of treatment apply to high-risk and low-risk patients, and how benefits and risks of treatments can be compared. These plots have been adopted as part of the Patient Decision Aids initiative from the National Prescribing Centre (NPC) in Liverpool. These are available on the NPC legacy website.