News in 2017

  • Integrating population health data for better interventions 19 October 2017 An EBI-funded study to improve health and social outcomes for children in care could be an important first step towards developing a ‘digital population health laboratory’ to boost the health and wellbeing of people in Bristol.
  • Can opioids make pain worse by disturbing sleep? 19 October 2017 One in four of us will suffer chronic pain in our lifetime. Opioids such as morphine can sometimes help. However, deaths relating to opioid use have trebled in the last 20 years. Greater understanding of the risks and benefits of opioids could result in better and safer management of chronic pain.
  • Novel pacemaker technology could transform treatment of heart failure 19 October 2017 Implantable devices to restore heart rhythm (eg pacemakers) are commonly used to treat heart failure and cardiovascular diseases. Groundbreaking technology, developed by academics at Bristol and Bath and supported by the EBI, promises to revolutionise the therapeutic potential of these implants.
  • Brain imaging offers novel insights into appetite control 16 October 2017 It’s one of the biggest public health problems facing society today: one in three adults and three in ten children worldwide are overweight or obese. Why do some people seem to ignore their body’s internal satiety (fullness) signals and continue eating high-calorie foods in the face of weight gain? Brain imaging could shed new light on what goes wrong.
  • A new avenue for synthetic bone grafts 2 October 2017 Bone grafts are the second most commonly transplanted tissue after blood transfusions. The use of synthetic bone graft substitutes is increasing, but the challenge is to make them as ‘clever’ as their natural counterparts in stimulating fusion with the host bone. Bristol researchers believe a tiny lipid molecule could provide the answer.
  • Helping frail older people stay out of hospital 8 June 2017 Our ageing population, with an associated rise in the number of people living with frailty, is increasing pressure on hospital services in a financially squeezed NHS. If support for these more vulnerable patients were given earlier, fewer might be hospitalised. However, community assessment is still relatively untried and untested.
  • Reducing heart risk from fluid overload in children on dialysis 8 June 2017 Teenagers on kidney dialysis have a high a risk of heart disease – as high as people 50 years older in the general population. One major problem is that there has been no reliable method of measuring fluid overload, a condition that can cause heart damage. A novel use of ultrasound could address this, and lead to more accurate dialysis prescriptions and improvements in children’s long-term cardiovascular health.
  • Novel targeting of disease causing cells could transform treatment of autoimmune diseases 12 May 2017 There is a problem with the traditional treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Steroid therapy doesn’t always work, and immunosuppressant drugs can have toxic side effects. Bristol researchers, with the help of an award from the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, are working to overcome this using novel ways of targeting disease causing cells.
  • Bristol researchers lead the way for next generation of hip implants 11 May 2017 Total hip replacements are one of medicine’s success stories – but they eventually wear out, and sometimes complications develop that require further surgery. Now pioneering research in biomaterials at the University of Bristol could herald a new generation of biomimetic implants that could last a lifetime of use
  • 'Gold standard’ model for evaluating novel therapies offers hope for children with leukaemia 5 April 2017 Leukaemia causes more deaths in childhood than any other cancer. New treatments are needed, but also more reliable tests to decide which drugs should go to clinical trial. Collaborative research at Bristol has delivered a pioneering model of childhood leukaemia that is far more accurate than standard laboratory tests in evaluating novel therapies.
  • Solving the mystery of deep brain stimulation in pain relief 31 March 2017 Trainee neurosurgeon Dr Hugh Sims-Williams wanted to build a career in clinical academia, ‘to challenge current practice and break the stigma whereby neurosurgery equates to poor quality of life’. A Clinical Primer Scheme at Bristol allowed him to pursue his passion for investigative practice and research.
  • Preventing progression in diabetic kidney disease 28 March 2017 Glitazones are drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes because they improve insulin resistance and reduce progression of associated kidney disease. But how do they work? The EBI’s Clinical Primer scheme for early-career clinicians has allowed a Bristol-based clinician, Dr Caroline Platt, to explore this question.
  • Making progress in renal research 7 February 2017 As a Renal registrar Dr Emily Bowen manages patients with both acute and chronic kidney disease, but she felt she had more to offer the specialty than just her clinical skills. The EBI Clinical Primer Scheme gave her a chance to pursue her research interests in immunology and build a career as a clinical scientist.
  • Towards targeted prevention of tooth decay in young children 3 February 2017 Despite improvements in dental health, too many children are having teeth extracted because of decay, often under general anaesthetic in hospital. This is distressing for families and expensive for the NHS, with children from disadvantaged communities most at risk. The University of Bristol is leading collaborative research that paves the way for targeted prevention by understanding local inequalities in children’s dental health.
  • Postgraduate fellowship provides ‘enriching interdisciplinary experience’ 3 February 2017 Offering postgraduate students a training window in another field can open up exciting new opportunities at the start of their research career. An EBI fellowship scheme lets PhD students at Bristol discipline-hop between Wellcome Trust-funded programmes to broaden their skills and experience.
  • The arts in healthcare: the human touch? 1 February 2017 The creative arts have long played a role in traditional healing. In Western medicine the arts have recently also been used increasingly to ‘(re)humanise’ the healthcare experience, often in response to concerns that the process has become more ‘medicalised’. Research at Bristol, supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, is contributing towards a better understanding of how and why the arts have been used in modern healthcare.
  • Helping the body’s own defences fight cancer cells 17 January 2017 Immunotherapy offers the big hope of teaching the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells, but there’s a major obstacle: cancer cells can stop immune cells from recognising them as a threat.
  • Stemming the rising tide of waterborne infections in a changing world 11 January 2017 Waterborne diseases pose a major health risk to livestock and people – all the more so as climate change takes hold. Health and environment researchers are working together on developing novel modelling techniques that can simulate these changes to allow better planning and prevention.
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