News in 2013

  • Royal award for saving babies’ lives around the world 29 November 2013 The University of Bristol has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education - the highest accolade for any academic institution – in recognition of its leading-edge research in obstetric and neonatal practice, which has made a positive difference to mothers and babies throughout the world. Birth and the early stages of life are safer because of three strands of research carried out at Bristol.
  • MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol officially opens today 21 November 2013 £23m to drive advances in population health sciences research MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol officially opens today The University of Bristol is to benefit from £23 million of research funding that will exploit the latest advances in technology and develop new analysis methods to improve understanding of how our family background, behaviours and genes work together to affect how we develop and remain healthy or become ill.  The MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol (IEU), jointly funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Bristol, is officially opened today [21 Nov].
  • Corrie Macdonald-Wallis wins Scopus Award 18 November 2013 We are delighted to announce that Corrie Macdonald-Wallis has been selected as winner of the Scopus Young Researcher UK Award 2013 in the category of Medical Sciences.   In total there were six individual categories in the following disciplines: Environmental, Physical, Medical and Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities and Biochemistry/Genetics/Molecular Biology.
  • Professor awarded international prize for courage in promoting science 6 November 2013 David Nutt, a Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol, has been awarded an international prize for courage in promoting science and evidence on a matter of public interest.Professor Nutt was announced as winner of the 2013 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science.  The Prize is a joint initiative of the science journal Nature, the Kohn Foundation, and the charity Sense About Science.  The late Sir John Maddox, FRS, was editor of Nature for 22 years and a founding trustee of Sense About Science.
  • Changes in Coroners’ practice may be compromising quality of suicide statistics 31 October 2013 Findings form part of influential report aimed at reducing suicide and non-fatal self-harm Assessment of official suicide statistics found that between 1990 and 2005, the proportion of researcher-defined suicides given a verdict of suicide by the 12 coroners studied decreased by almost seven per cent, largely because of the increased use of misadventure/accident verdicts for deaths thought, on clinical review, to be suicides. Growth in the use of narrative verdicts by coroners may also have compromised assessment of small area differences in suicide rates. This is just one of the key findings from a report, published in the first issue of the new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) journal Programme Grants for Applied Research, aimed at reducing premature mortality from suicide and non-fatal self-harm.
  • Study finds no increased risk of suicide in patients using smoking cessation drugs 11 October 2013 A study to assess whether patients prescribed smoking cessation drugs are at an increased risk of suicide, self-harm and treated depression compared with users of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has found no evidence of an increased risk. The findings, led by researchers from the University of Bristol, are published online in the British Medical Journal [BMJ] today (11 October).
  • NIHR HTA Programme confirms funding award for ProtecT study of £5.495 million 8 October 2013 The NIHR HTA Programme has confirmed a further funding award for the ProtecT study of £5.495 million to enable staff to complete the median 10-year follow up of participants by the end of 2015.  This will allow the presentation of the major results - the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of active monitoring, radical surgery and 3-D conformal radiotherapy for men diagnosed with localised prostate cancer following a PSA test in primary care between the ages of 50 and 69 years. Outcomes including survival, disease progression, and a wide range of symptomatic and quality of life impacts of diagnosis and treatment will be considered, alongside a qualitative study of participation and a full economic evaluation.  Publication of the findings is expected in 2016.
  • Impact of 2008 global economic crisis on suicide: time trend study in 54 countries 19 September 2013 2008 economic crisis could be to blame for thousands of excess suicides worldwide. Researchers are suggesting that the 2008 global economic crisis could be to blame for the increase in suicide rates in European and American countries, particularly among males and in countries with higher levels of job losses. The findings, led by researchers at the universities of Bristol, Oxford and Hong Kong, were recently published on bmj.com.
  • Dr Raquel Granell has won the Best Abstract Award 16 September 2013 Dr Raquel Granell, Research Fellow in the School of Social and Community Medicine won the Best Abstract Award for a Young Investigator at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress 2013. Raquel's paper, entitled, "Associations of BMI, fat mass and lean mass with asthma in childhood: Mendelian randomization study," was selected as the best abstract submitted to the Paediatric assembly and beat off stiff competition to win the overall prize at an awards ceremony in Barcelona for young scientists on Tuesday 10th September. Raquel also received a travel award from the British Lung Foundation to present her work at the meeting. Agnes von Sonnenschein, recently ERS Visiting Fellow in the School also received an award for best abstract in Paediatric Respiratory Epidemiology at the same ceremony & presented her work from ALSPAC at the ERS congress.
  • £1.2 million for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome research 16 September 2013 Two new research projects that aim to advance treatment for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome [CFS] or Myalgic Encephalopathy [ME], which affects an estimated 600,000 adults and children in the UK, have been awarded funding totalling nearly £1.2 million from the National Institute for Health Research [NIHR].
  • Study suggests chlamydia infection rates have changed over time but remains common among young women 10 September 2013 A study exploring the frequency of chlamydia antibodies among young women – a marker for current and past infection – found this increased between 1993 and 2002, and then declined from 2007 to 2010.  The  first ever English population-based study of chlamydia antibodies, led by researchers from the University of Bristol, Public Health England and Imperial College, was published on 21 August in PLOS ONE.
  • Stay healthy during pregnancy to keep lead levels low 10 September 2013 New research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol shows that mothers who drank alcohol and coffee, smoked and had a coal fire in their home during pregnancy were likely to have higher levels of lead in their blood than women who didn’t. Dietary calcium and iron seemed to have a protective effect.
  • School Progressions! 9 September 2013 Congratulations to those who have achieved progression to Research Fellow in the School:- Angela Beattie, Isabel de Salis, Raquel Granell, Rachel Hughes, Natasha Martin Congratulations to them all!
  • Local health research to benefit from national investment to tackle major health challenges 9 August 2013 Health researchers in the West Country have been given a share of £124 million from the Government to enable them to tackle the area’s most pressing health problems. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) investment will help ensure patients benefit from new treatments and techniques that could revolutionise future healthcare. It is hoped the financial boost will stimulate the research economy and attract more research funding in the future. The money has been awarded over five years to 13 pioneering research teams across the country. Each team, now known as NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs), is working on a number of innovative projects designed to address long-term conditions and public health challenges.
  • Health and social care staff must look out for signs of domestic violence 2 August 2013 New draft guidance on identifying and preventing domestic violence and abuse between family members or between people who are (or who have been) intimate partners was published today [02 Aug] by the UK's National institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The guidance, which includes contributions from researchers at the University of Bristol, covers adults and young people who are experiencing (or have experienced) domestic violence, and children who are exposed to domestic violence.
  • Children as young as seven affected by parents smoking 25 July 2013 A new study out on 24 July shows that children as young as seven had elevated levels of cotinine (a by-product of nicotine) in their blood if their mother smoked, particularly children whose mothers smoked ten cigarettes a day or more. The study looked at cotinine levels among children in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol. It included over 3,000 children when they were aged seven and 2,000 children when they were aged 15. The researchers found that the cotinine levels of children at both ages were strongly related to whether or not the mother smoked, and how heavily, indicating clear evidence of environmental tobacco smoke exposure (also known as passive smoking).
  • Combining treatments for people who inject drugs is the first step towards eliminating hepatitis C 25 July 2013 The burden of liver disease could be dramatically reduced by scaling up the combination of interventions for hepatitis C infection among people who inject drugs according to University of Bristol researchers. The findings, published on 24 July, form part of new global recommendations on treating the virus. Around 150 million people globally are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV)1 – a major cause of liver disease that can lead to serious complications such as liver failure or cancer, which are associated with considerable costs to the health care system.  In developed countries the majority of transmissions and cases are among people who inject drugs – in the UK, this equates to around 90 per cent of hepatitis C infections.
  • £1.2m UK study to examine antibiotic effectiveness in treating eczema in children 15 July 2013 A new £1.2 million UK-wide study to determine the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat atopic eczema — a debilitating skin condition that affects around one in three children — is due to begin in July. The Children with Eczema Antibiotic Management (CREAM) study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and led by scientists at the universities of Bristol, Cardiff and Dundee, is recruiting around 500 children to compare the effectiveness of antibiotic syrup to antibiotic cream and placebos in treating infected eczema.
  • £1.5 million funding to enhance new pregnancy bioresource 5 July 2013 A project to enhance a new pregnancy biobank that will help researchers from the UK and around the world find out more about the causes of childhood illness by studying children from all cultures and backgrounds is due to commence thanks to a £1.5 million Wellcome Trust grant. Professor Debbie Lawlor from Bristol's School of Social and Community Medicine, who is leading the project, together with colleagues from the universities of Bradford and Leeds and York, have been awarded the funding to develop the Born in Bradford (BiB) bioresource.
  • Sixteen new genetic regions for allergies discovered 1 July 2013 In two of the largest genetic studies ever conducted on common allergies, including pollen, dust-mite and cat allergies, 16 new genetic regions related to the condition have been discovered. Together they are responsible for at least 25 per cent of allergy in the population. Eight of the genetic variations have previously been associated with asthma. The discoveries, published today in Nature Genetics, are a major step towards understanding the biological basis of common allergies.
  • Study highlights need for increased promotion of support groups for men with depression 26 June 2013 GP’s and health professionals need to do more to promote support groups for men suffering with depression and anxiety according to new research published [26 June] in the journal Primary Health Care Research & Development. The assumption that men are less vulnerable to depression and anxiety than women is increasingly being questioned.  Previous research indicates that men are less likely to be diagnosed as they demonstrate greater reluctance to seek help due to social stigmas. The study, led by Dr Helen Cramer in the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, aimed to establish the best ways to support men with depression and anxiety in primary care. The findings highlight the role that groups can play in supporting them.
  • Hope for migraine sufferers? 24 June 2013 In the largest study of migraine ever undertaken, researchers from the UK, the USA, Australia and Europe have found five new genetic regions that, for the first time, have been linked to the onset of migraine. This discovery is a major step forward in the understanding of the causes and biological triggers of migraine attacks. By comparing the results from over 118,000 people in 29 population studies, including the Children of the 90s study (ALSPAC) at the University of Bristol, the international team identified a total of 12 genetic regions associated with migraine.
  • WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’ and launches new guidelines for the health sector 24 June 2013 World Health Organisation (WHO) clinical and policy guidelines to help the health sector respond to intimate partner and or sexual violence against women are published today [20 June]. The guidelines, authored by an international group of experts and based on systematic evidence reviews, are published in conjunction with a WHO report that reveals violence against women is a public health problem affecting more than one third of women globally.  The guidelines aim to help countries improve their health sectors’ capacity to respond to violence against women. The guideline development group was chaired by Professor Gene Feder from the University's School of Social and Community Medicine.
  • Celebrating 100 years of world-class health research 20 June 2013 A pop-up festival of medical science, discussing everything from smoking to how the human memory works, is being held to celebrate 100 years of world-class health research. Academics from the University of Bristol will be sharing their latest work and inviting the public to debate topical health issues at M Shed on Thursday [20 June] to mark the centenary of the Medical Research Council (MRC), which funds three centres and over 70 projects in the city.
  • Moderate drinking during pregnancy does not appear to harm baby’s balance 20 June 2013 Moderate drinking during pregnancy — three to seven glasses of alcohol a week — does not appear to harm fetal neurodevelopment, as indicated by the child’s ability to balance, suggests a large study, led by academics at the University of Bristol and published online in the journal BMJ Open. But social advantage may be a factor, as more affluent and better educated mums-to-be tend to drink more than women who are less well off, say the research team led by Professor John Macleod at the University's School of Social and Community Medicine.
  • Queen’s honour for Professor Jenny Donovan 18 June 2013 A researcher at the University of Bristol has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s honours in recognition of her services to social medicine. Jenny Donovan, Professor of Social Medicine in the University's School of Social and Community Medicine, has been awarded the royal accolade to acknowledge her outstanding contributions to health research and advancement of medical science.
  • Healing Foundation Centre for Children's Burns Research launched on 10 June 11 June 2013 A £1.5 million research centre that aims to find new advances in the prevention and treatment of children’s burns launched at Frenchay Hospital on June 10.  Led by the University of Bristol, the Healing Foundation Centre for Children's Burns Research  will develop new techniques and approaches to prevent burns and scalds and improve the clinical care and recovery of children who have suffered such injuries.
  • Smoking prevention programme wins Innovation and Impact Award 3 June 2013 A ten-year study that reduced the uptake of smoking among adolescents by training influential students to act as peer supporters has been recognised for its success with a prestigious Cardiff University award. The ASSIST programme, led by Professor Laurence Moore of the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University and Professor Rona Campbell of the University of Bristol’s School of Social and Community Medicine, in partnership with DECIPHer Impact Ltd, was awarded the Innovation in Healthcare Award at the Innovation and Impact Awards 2013.
  • New study discovers novel genetic associations with educational attainment 31 May 2013 A worldwide consortium of researchers including academics from the University of Bristol has found that tiny differences across person’s genetic sequences are associated with educational level. The study, published in ScienceExpress, was conducted by the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium.
  • Link between domestic violence and perinatal mental health disorders 30 May 2013 Women who have mental health disorders around the time of birth are more likely to have previously experienced domestic violence, according to a study led by researchers from Kings College London and the University of Bristol and published in this week’s PLOS Medicine.
  • Kate Birnie awarded MRC Population Health Scientist postdoctoral Fellowship 24 May 2013 Kate Birnie has been awarded an MRC Population Health Scientist postdoctoral Fellowship, entitled "Erythropoietin therapy for treating anaemia among haemodialysis patients: associations with survival and comparison of treatment strategies". The work will be supervised by Jonathan Sterne and Yoav Ben-Shlomo.
  • Iodine deficiency during pregnancy adversely affects children’s mental development 22 May 2013 A study of around 1,000 UK mothers and their children, published in The Lancet, has revealed that iodine deficiency in pregnancy may have an adverse effect on children’s mental development. The research raises concerns that the iodine status of pregnant women is a public-health issue that needs to be addressed.
  • New £23m research unit will use advances in genetics to help reduce risk of disease 21 May 2013 A new £23million research unit is announced today, that will exploit the latest advances in genetics to improve understanding of how changes to lifestyle or environment, as well as pharmacological interventions, can reduce the risk of disease. The Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU), jointly funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Bristol, will launch on 1 June 2013. 
  • Father absence in early childhood linked to depression in adolescent girls 16 May 2013 New research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol shows that girls whose fathers were absent during the first five years of life were more likely to develop depressive symptoms in adolescence than girls whose fathers left when they were aged five to ten years or than boys in both age groups (0-5 and 5-10), even after a range of factors was taken into account.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell fellowship awarded 10 May 2013 Rebecca Pearson will be awarded an Elizabeth Blackwell Early Career Fellowship
  • Another IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor award 9 May 2013 Professor Michael Kramer visits Bristol
  • New antiviral treatment could significantly reduce global burden of hepatitis C 8 May 2013 Scientists show potential impact of therapy in reducing transmission in UK, Canada and Australia
  • IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor award 8 May 2013 Dr Dianne Pulte visits Bristol
  • Costing methodology workshop funded 7 May 2013 ConDucT hub funding secured.
  • School celebrates Athena SWAN silver award 1 May 2013 Awards for Schools of Social and Community Medicine and Oral and Dental Sciences
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