Case studies

  • 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.
  • Uncovering mechanisms behind long-term heart problems 27 November 2018 Heart attacks kill over 7 million people every year, and those who survive often go on to suffer from long term heart problems caused by the initial damage, and the heart muscle’s responses to it. Similar issues are also found in patients with high blood pressure. Dr Georgia Connolly has uncovered some of the molecular pathways that might be behind these long-term problems; it’s hoped that her findings might be extended to lead to new treatments.
  • How GPs can use safety nets to navigate the tightrope walk of patient advice 15 November 2018 ‘Safety-netting advice’ is information given by a healthcare professional to a patient or their carer designed to help them know when they need to seek further medical help. This might be because their symptoms are not getting better, they are getting worse or they have further concerns or worries about their health. It can occur in a variety of contexts and in a variety of ways, but oversight into how and when this type of advice is given to patients in routine practice is limited.
  • New chain in the membrane: combating antibiotic resistance 15 November 2018 Increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics is an issue which has alarming consequences, and there is a real need for a solution. Dr Sara Alvira-de-Celis’ work towards understanding how proteins are expressed at the membrane surface of bacteria may be critical in research to make new antibiotics which work in novel ways.
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