Blog posts

Melting minds: how is the climate crisis affecting our mental health?

By Dr Emma Lawrance, IGHI Mental Health Innovations Fellow

It is the cliche refrain that every new generation hears: “You don’t know how lucky you are. Back in MY day…” [insert terrible circumstance here]. And young people today are indeed lucky in many ways, with new opportunities facilitated by new technologies always emerging. But they also face rising mental health challenges. Levels of emotional distress are increasing in UK youth to the extent it’s oft branded a “crisis”.

The finger of blame is pointed to numerous potential causes – increased pressure in the schooling system, social media and cyberbullying, unstable employment prospects.

Playing with nature and technology for innovative children’s hospice care

By Ivor Williams, Senior Design Associate

Every day, around 360,000 babies are born around the world. Most will lead long, healthy lives into adulthood. Sadly, a minority experience a very short life due to illness or live with a long-term or life-limiting disease. For these children, palliative care can transform their experience, helping them live with a greater quality of life, while also supporting their family and friends.

Palliative care is an active and total approach to care, from the point of diagnosis, throughout the child’s life, to death and beyond. As a holistic care it embraces physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements and focuses on improving the quality of life of everyone involved.

How robots in space could lead to better healthcare on Earth

By Justine Alford, IGHI Communications Manager

Working in space comes with its fair share of challenges, to put it lightly. There’s the lack of gravity, extreme temperatures, intense cosmic radiation, delays in communication, clunky space suits, to name just a few things that astronauts contend with.

This complex environment means that tasks we would consider straightforward back on planet Earth, such as gripping and manipulating objects, are surprisingly difficult and time-consuming to accomplish. As humans continue to ramp-up their space exploration endeavours, attempting more daring feats and travelling deeper than ever before, scientists need to address these obstacles for future missions to be successful.

Putting people at the heart of dementia research

By Justine Alford, IGHI Communications Manager

All around us, technology is making our lives easier. Google Maps has allowed us to ditch the A-Z; apps can bring you everything from takeaways to taxis; Alexa won’t let you forget your anniversary again; the World Wide Web is your never-ending guide to everything on this planet and beyond; the list is seemingly endless.

Yet while many of us may be most familiar with the convenience and shortcuts that everyday technology bestows us, its potential to positively impact our lives stretches far beyond this. Arguably one of technology’s greatest assets is that it is an enabler, allowing ordinary people to do more.

How wearables could help tackle sepsis

Our immune system serves to protect our bodies from threats, such as rogue cells that could turn cancerous, or infections that could harm our health. But the immune system can also go wrong, and do more harm than good.

This is what happens in sepsis, or “blood poisoning”, where the immune system goes into overdrive while attempting to clear an invader, such as harmful bacteria, and inadvertently attacks person’s tissues and organs. This life-threatening reaction is estimated to affect close to 150,000 people each year in the UK alone.

World Sepsis Day, on September 13th, seeks to raise awareness of this serious condition, which could take as many as 6 million lives across the globe each year.

What’s co-production in research?

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: a group of researchers are working on novel ways to detect early warning signs that a patient’s condition is getting worse. They think a wearable device that automatically alerts both patients and healthcare professionals to potential problems would be an innovative solution to enable earlier detection.

So the team members put their heads together and come up with a new wearable sensor that they think would greatly benefit patients and professionals alike. But when they test it with patients for the first time, they don’t get the feedback they’d hoped for. Users find it awkward, difficult to set up, clunky and uncomfortable.

What’s it like to study our Masters in Patient Safety?

Patient safety has become an important topic at all levels of the health system.

That’s why we launched our MSc in Patient Safety. The course was designed specifically to help policy makers and healthcare professionals deliver safer care and health systems. Since launching our unique Masters programme in 2016, we’ve had many graduates go on to successfully apply their learning in their careers, championing patient safety in their everyday work.

We spoke to three Patient Safety students, Joshua Symons, William Gage and Jeni Mwebaze to find out what made them choose the course, what they learnt and how they hope it will help them in their profession.

How wearable devices could bridge the nutrition data gap in the developing world  

By Dr Modou Jobarteh, Research Associate in nutrition and dietetics

The fact that there are still individuals, families and communities still going to bed hungry every night is arguably the biggest failure of our generation.

Why sharing leadership in healthcare matters

By Dr Lisa Aufegger, Research Associate

Alongside the inherent challenges of the job itself, working in acute healthcare teams comes with another layer of complexity.

On a regular basis, staff will interact with highly specialised professionals from across different disciplines. This means that team members such as anaesthetists, nurses and surgeons need a high level of shared understanding, not only in relation to their main objective but their roles and responsibilities, too.

Shared leadership (SL) – where leadership working relationships are distributed and team members’ unique roles defined – has been proposed as a way to foster effective team performance in such situations.