By Dr Sara Garfield, Research Associate, NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, Institute of Global Health Innovation
At IGHI’s NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, I lead research projects relating to the role that patients and carers can play in making sure medicines are used safely.
“No test is better than a bad test,” said Matt Hancock.
While we may tire of hearing slogans, the principle here is important.
Coronavirus antibody tests have been hailed as a game-changer for the pandemic and a way forward as we traverse these uncertain times. Antibodies are Y-shaped immune molecules produced by the body in response to an infection. They latch onto the offender – such as coronavirus – in a bid to thwart it. Your body keeps a record of the encounter, so that if it comes across the same pathogen in the future, it can quickly make more antibodies and launch an effective attack.
IGHI is home to a team of staff who are skilled and passionate about their roles. Our talented people are the reason we’re able to tackle some of the most pressing global health challenges through cutting-edge innovation.
According to the Department for Transport, between June 2017-18, 1,770 people lost their lives due to a road traffic collision in Great Britain.
But this isn’t an issue that only affects developed countries. It’s a global problem with many low-and-middle-income countries having even higher numbers of victims. Road traffic incidents can result in the loss of loved ones for families and friends, and for those who do survive, they can mean sustaining life-changing injuries and trauma. These impacts stretch beyond the individual, affecting economies and put pressure on health systems.
It’s been almost a month since Imperial PhD student Sam Tukra won IGHI’s Student Challenges Competition (SCC).
His healthcare innovation, Third Eye Intelligence, an artificial intelligence (AI) driven platform that predicts a patient’s risk of organ failure impressed the competition judges. Sam’s pitch earnt him the top prize of £10,000. But behind every start-up, there is a journey full of twists and turns.
Digital technology has been poised to transform the way that healthcare is delivered. Yet uptake and implementation has been slow; in the UK alone for example, almost a quarter of hospitals still use paper rather than electronic records.
But when COVID-19 hit, health systems were forced to rapidly adapt and use technology to deliver care remotely, where face to face appointments were no longer possible. While it’s impossible to predict when the COVID crisis will be over, will remote care become the ‘new normal’ post-pandemic? And if digital-first health technologies are here to stay, what are the implications for patients?
Newly launched IGHI research, supported by Imperial’s COVID-19 Response Fund, will explore these important questions.
Grappling with a novel virus that reared its ugly head barely six months ago, the world is facing many uncertainties. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is proving unpredictable and the pandemic is fast-moving. But one thing we do know is that older people bear the brunt of the impacts of COVID-19. The elderly are disproportionately affected, with those over 65 accounting for some 80% of hospitalisations due to the disease. And one in five over-80s with COVID-19 will need to go to hospital, compared with one in 100 individuals under 30.
By Dr Benny Lo, Senior Lecturer, MRes Medical Robotics and Image-Guide Intervention,
Hamlyn Centre, Institute of Global Health Innovation
I started my research on wearable sensors when I was appointed as a researcher in a UK Trade & Investment (now Innovate UK) funded project, while I was working on my PhD on a completely different topic.
When I first started working on sensor research, the concept of wireless sensor networks had just been introduced. I was one of the first few researchers who started the development of body-worn sensors for healthcare and wellbeing applications. Being one of the pioneers in this emerging field, I have developed a number of novel sensing platforms, and some have been widely used in the research community.
Excess sugar consumption has been a critical public health matter for some years.
Too much sugar in our diet can contribute to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Large amounts of sugar are often found in soft drinks such as fizzy drinks and fruit juices, as well as many of the foods we commonly eat, from cereals to sauces. For instance, just one can of cola can contain nearly nine teaspoons of sugar when our recommended sugar intake shouldn’t exceed 5-6 teaspoons per day.
“Please indicate whether your research will include patient and public involvement.” Ticks box.
Rapidly fading are the days when involving patients and the public in research is merely a tokenistic gesture, in favour of meaningful involvement and co-production.
Patient and public involvement (PPI) is research that’s carried out with and by patients, carers and public members, rather than to, for or about them. Co-production takes this one step further; here, researchers work with these individuals throughout the entire project – from start to finish.