News in 2019

  • Research leads to practical support for young people with continence problems 10 December 2019 Bladder and bowel problems are very common and can be affected by psychological issues and stressful life events in a child’s life. There is also strong evidence that bladder and bowel problems affect the mental health of children, young people and their parents.
  • What does kainate do in the brain and how does it do it? 14 November 2019 A researcher at the University of Bristol has started to unravel the mysteries of a secretive receptor that modulates how and when nerve cells fire, what this means for brain function and dysfunction, and to garner substantial further funding to continue her work.
  • Backache - how to identify a broken back 2 October 2019 Osteoporosis, or bone weakening, is a debilitating disease which becomes more common with age and affects roughly four times more women than men. A team from the University of Bristol led by Dr Emma Clark is developing a new screening tool for clinicians to determine when descriptions of back pain in older women should be referred for X-ray in case of vertebral fractures.
  • Treating ataxia with bone marrow stem cell therapies 24 July 2019 A team at the Bristol Medical School is using stem cell technology to help treat people with one of the most common inherited neurological disorders, Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA).
  • Supercharging Immunity - how to make the immune system better at recognising cancer 23 July 2019 A team at University of Bristol, led by Professor Linda Wooldridge, is engineering a type of immune cell that might be able to better target cancer cells. This could potentially lead to new therapies which could help the immune system combat cancer with fewer difficult interventions.
  • A cure for blindness: treating glaucoma with genes 23 July 2019 Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide; it affects roughly 2% of all people over 40. Researchers at the University of Bristol are pioneering a new way of treating glaucoma using gene therapy.
  • Why do more people who inject drugs get MRSA infections, and how can we help? 29 May 2019 In Bristol, a small - but significant - number of people who inject drugs (PWID) contribute to increase in hospital admissions in Bristol with community acquired MRSA. Why this might be, and how the number of cases can be reduced, are questions that GP Dr Kate Rush posed to University of Bristol researchers Professor Matt Hickman and Dr Maya Gobin (Public Health England) and collaborators from Bristol Drug Project.
  • Putting mathematics into intensive care 29 May 2019 Mathematicians and data scientists from Bristol University are collaborating with clinicians and healthcare professionals in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) to turn the full force of machine learning onto the problems of patient management.
  • Nosing out new treatments for spinal cord injury 29 May 2019 The treatment of spinal cord injury has seen some striking successes in recent years, although there are still a great many hurdles to be overcome. When the cord is injured, a variety of factors come into play which actively suppress new nerve growth. Zoe Cortes, a veterinary surgeon from the University of Bristol, has been investigating how cells from noses might help.
  • Bionic control of blood pressure 28 March 2019 It is no over-exaggeration to say that high blood pressure is a pandemic. An estimated one billion people currently suffer with elevated blood pressure, and that total is expected to rise to 1.4 billion inside the next ten years. However, for many people the drug treatments have severe side effects, which makes taking them long-term unattractive - indeed, over 40% of patients do not have their high blood pressure adequately controlled despite being prescribed blood pressure tablets. Professor Julian Paton and his team, aim to change that.
  • Concept to reality – time to change the catheter 12 March 2019 A Foley catheter is the most common type of indwelling urinary catheter, which are used when a patient is unable to urinate for themselves. Despite having been developed nearly 90 years ago, 100 million people worldwide are reliant on them. But the Foley catheter, as would perhaps be expected in a design from the 1930s, has a variety of problems resulting in infection, blockage, pain and distress for patients.
  • A salve for infant mortality? New cream may help reduce newborn deaths 6 March 2019 Infant mortality is still a pressing problem. Every year, 3 million newborn babies die, mostly in the developing world, and infection of the umbilical cord stump is a major contributor to those deaths. There is a common antiseptic which can help, but it needs to be administered daily; in the developing world it often isn’t. Researchers at the University of Bristol are developing a novel form of antiseptic which has the potential to save a great many newborn lives.
  • Rodent touchscreens and the quest for better models for depression 6 March 2019 Depression is a mood disorder which, according to the American Psychiatric Association, will affect 1 in every 6 people during the course of their lives. Antidepressant drugs are a common medical treatment, but since their accidental discovery over 50 years ago, few significant advances have been made - not least because of the lack of effective animal models.
  • Fast identification and screening of osteoporosis genes could lead to novel treatments 29 January 2019 Osteoporosis is a bone-weakening disease that creeps up unawares. The first sign is often a broken bone and is therefore often diagnosed in the hospital after presenting with a (serious) fracture. Most of currently available therapies can only prevent bones weakening, but do not strengthen them. Osteoporosis is largely genetically determined, so discovering new bone strengthening genes could lead to novel and better treatments.
  • Friends and relatives of survivors of domestic violence - what support do they need? 24 January 2019 One in four UK women experience domestic violence at some time in their lives, and most seek informal support from the people around them, even if they don’t choose to access professional help. But what are the support needs of friends and family members trying to help?
  • New findings may have implications for fertility treatment 17 January 2019 If a cell has an abnormal number of chromosomes (for example, 47 or 45 instead of the usual 46 in a human cell) it has what is called aneuploidy, which is a leading cause of human embryo deaths, miscarriages and infertility. Dr Binyam Mogessie’s work investigates the mechanisms which separate the chromosomes in mammalian eggs and embryos, and how these are disrupted in disease.
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