News in 2023

  • Raising menopause awareness 14 December 2023 The menopause is the time in a woman’s life when menstrual periods stop, and she is no longer able to bear children. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Despite the menopause being a natural stage of life with treatable symptoms, rather than a disease or a disorder, it is considered a somewhat taboo subject. Research is helping to improve people's understanding of menopause and open up conversations.
  • Smart Digital Assistants – a glimpse into the future of the GP surgery? 28 November 2023 With the pressures that the National Health Service and primary care in particular are under, the use of new technologies might permit General Practitioners to deliver better care in the short time they are allocated to each patient.
  • Mistletoe – not just for Christmas 21 November 2023 Mistletoe has been a feature of Christmas for hundreds of years. But this semi-parasitic plant has some rather surprising properties: in mainland Europe, it has been used alongside chemotherapy to support cancer patients for more than a century.
  • Smart technology and mental health – how modern gadgets might help 31 August 2023 Mental health problems can have a wide range of causes, such as issues in childhood, a long term health condition, or bereavement among many others. Lifestyle factors, such as diet, work, alcohol use can all play an important part, and unravelling the potential interactions of the manifold causative influences can be hugely challenging.
  • UNSEEN heatwave mortality 10 August 2023 In the UK in summer of 2022, there were around 3,000 deaths beyond the average in the 65+ age group. Assessing possible heatwave events and the resulting mortality in our current climate conditions is critical to preparing our population and the National Health Service (NHS) for health-impacting heat events.
  • Risks for micronutrient losses due to vector-borne plant viruses affecting nutritious crops in Sub-Saharan Africa 10 August 2023 Crop viruses that are spread by insects destroy crops worldwide and cause hunger and malnutrition for vulnerable communities, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The distributions of these viruses are being altered by climate change. Understanding the risks of these viruses for impacting nutritious crops will help target surveillance, diagnostics and plant-health interventions in regions of the greatest need.
  • Hydro-epidemiological modelling to understand Leptospira transmission risk and interventions 9 August 2023 Leptospirosis is caused by an infection from rat urine and is commonly associated with flooding. With flooding events becoming more common due to climate change, the occurrence of leptospirosis is expected to increase. This research will improve our understanding of how the bacteria causing this disease (Leptospira) moves through the environment, to inform interventions to reduce transmission risks.
  • Towards an understanding the genetic basis of depression in Alzheimer’s Disease 25 July 2023 Depression is much more common in individuals with dementia than in other people of the same age. Antidepressant treatments often don’t work, and as a result there are large numbers of people who need treatment who don’t receive it. However, because of the nature of dementia, understanding the differences in people who also have depression is a challenge.
  • Dr Sophia Hamilton – a better doctor 27 June 2023 Dr Sophia Hamilton (previously Muschik) is an anaesthetist at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. She has recently completed a Clinical Primer Scheme from the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, looking at the feasibility – and acceptability - of data collection from conversations between patients, their clinicians and their families, about decisions regarding high-risk emergency interventions. We sat down with her to chat, and to find out why she thinks that such vital health research makes her a better doctor.
  • Post pandemic props – supporting early career researchers 7 June 2023 When conducting randomised controlled trials, researchers need to be impartial to be ethical. When relaying information about treatments, they must prevent themselves from communicating any bias to the patient, whether consciously or unconsciously. This balanced informing is known as equipoise. Doctor Lucy Beasant is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol. In her doctoral research, she explored the way in which treatment preference and equipoise can impact recruitment of patients to paediatric Randomised Control Trials.
  • The Science of Happiness: maintaining student wellbeing in a time of crisis 23 May 2023 Student wellbeing is of paramount concern to all academic institutions. Students are vulnerable to mental health problems – because of their age range, as well as the lifestyle changes associated with starting university. Here we share how the positive psychology ‘Science of Happiness’ course helped improve wellbeing for University of Bristol students, and explain the broader potential an online version of the course may have for improving mental wellbeing beyond the student body.
  • UK Chinese people and COVID – experiences during the pandemic 24 April 2023 After the emergence of SARS-COV-19 in Wuhan, China in December of 2019, there were reports of a change in social responses towards Chinese people living in the UK and worldwide. Some of these reports were positive – including community support – but some were not. These include xenophobia, avoidance and other responses which could lead to problems for the individual as well as the community, such as economic hardship, or delays ­in seeking help for medical symptoms.
  • Heat stress and women’s health over the reproductive life course 21 April 2023 Bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines to find out the effects of rising heat stress on women’s health.
  • Novel antibiotics may emerge from deep sea sponges 28 March 2023 Antibiotic resistance is an enormous and encroaching threat facing medicine, as growing numbers of infections become harder to treat. The World Health Organization estimates that antibiotic resistant strains of presently treatable bacteria will contribute to up to 10 million deaths per year by 2050. The medical and political establishments are considering new ways to tackle the issue.
  • Empowering youth through creativity - gaining perspective 23 February 2023 Adolescence comes with a raft of fundamental changes - both in how young people perceive themselves and society, and how society perceives them. It’s also a time when health-risk choices can start – smoking, alcohol use, risky sexual behaviours and physical inactivity, for example – and it’s easy for these to become habitual. This makes adolescent health and policy an important area of research.
  • Strep A, infection and pandemic shifts - flexible research 21 February 2023 Streptococcus pyogenes (also known as the Group A Streptococcus (GAS) or ‘Strep A’) is a bacterial pathogen which can cause a range of diseases from mild (e.g. impetigo, pharyngitis) to severe invasive (e.g. pneumonia, necrotizing fasciitis, sepsis) and severe post infection immune-related conditions (e.g. rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease). GAS is estimated to cause over 0.5 million deaths annually, and is one of the top 10 infectious causes of death globally.
  • Arts and Sciences - researching the history of antibiotics in primary care 21 February 2023 The prevalence of antibiotic use in modern society is well established. Antibiotics have revolutionised medicine and how society sees - and deals with - disease. Along with concerns regarding the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, thought to be exacerbated by their over-use in many areas, there is a need to understand the history of their adoption and use, especially in primary care. Comprehending the many-tendrilled circumstances and behaviours that led to this point might help to inform future choices, and give some insight into future best practice.
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