Case studies

  • Towards understanding the relationship between age, breast development and breast cancer 30 January 2024 Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK: every month, an estimated 4,000 new cases are diagnosed. Throughout a woman’s lifetime, however, the risk of developing the disease varies greatly. Early puberty, for example, is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer, whereas pregnancy before the age of 20 is associated with a decreased risk - but the biological reasons aren’t clear.
  • A potential link between intestinal microbes and respiratory infections 11 January 2024 Could the vast population of microbes that we all carry around with us hold the key to understanding more about respiratory tract infections?
  • Building collaborative research relationships through creative activities 11 January 2024 Engaging in creative activities can help to shift the power dynamics between public contributors and researchers, according to a paper published in BMC Research Involvement and Engagement. However, collaborative projects need to work for everyone and taking community-led ideas forwards remains challenging.
  • 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.
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