Blog posts

Involving Year One students to help shape research into physical activity and child health

In conversation with: Dr Bina Ram, Postdoctoral Research Associate working within the Child Health Unit, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College, London

What is your research about and what did you do?

Our research is the iMprOVE cohort study which is investigating children’s physical activity and mental health in primary schools that do and do not implement physical activity interventions. Regular physical activity is known to have many health benefits but only half of children in England meet the recommended guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity per day. School-based physical activity interventions have been recommended by England’s National Obesity Plan and have the potential to reach all children across society.

Involving women to design and develop research into early-onset pre-eclampsia

In conversation with Olive Adams, Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Midwife working with Professor Christoph Lees and the research team based at the Centre for fetal care at Imperial Healthcare Trust and Women’s Health Research Centre at Imperial College London.

How would you describe your role as a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Midwife? 

My role as PPI midwife was specifically developed to ensure high quality public involvement activity was undertaken across all of Professor Lees upcoming projects within the Women’s Health Research Centre, including enabling involvement at the very  earliest stage of each study.

I had some experience of undertaking PPI activity as a research midwife which has helped me to undertake this role (see my previous PERC blog post outlining my previous public involvement activity here).

Involving parents to inform research into pre-school wheeze

In conversation with: Dr Hanna Creese, Postdoctoral Research Associate working within the Child Health Unit, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London 

What is your research about?

Our research explores pre-school wheeze. A third of preschool-aged (1-5 years) children experience wheeze, making them cough and/or have breathing difficulties. The number of preschool children in the United Kingdom (UK) who suffer or die from wheeze attacks is higher compared to that in other European countries. Recurrent wheeze can last throughout childhood and be an indication that the child will develop asthma. Recurrent wheeze is influenced by genetic vulnerability, respiratory infections, and air quality, but can be prevented with timely healthcare after the first wheeze attack.

Involving teenagers in research about the environment and mental health

In conversation with: Rhiannon Thompson, PhD student working within the Imperial College Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the SCAMP study

What did you do? 

As part of my PhD project, I wanted to find out more about how adolescents are affected by their physical environments (their thoughts and feelings about urban and rural places, buildings and traffic, greenspace, nature, noise, etc). To begin with, I recruited 12 teenagers for a project design workshop where we brainstormed ideas for how this question could be answered. Then, two of the attendees reviewed some draft documents: recruitment advert, participant information sheet and consent form.

Designing follow-up care for stroke with those who know it best

In conversation with: Jennifer Crow, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist in Stroke who is undertaking a NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship programme working within: Therapies/Stroke at Charing Cross Hospital, London

Jenny’s pre-doctoral fellowship is a partnership fellowship funded by the Stroke Association and the National Institute for Health Research.

What did you do? 

I ran my first virtual Patient Public Involvement Group via zoom with 6 attendees. I had previously been involved in public engagement activities in the form of patient stories and feedback but I had not attempted public involvement. I am in the process of developing a follow-up programme of care for people who have had minor strokes.

Are the statistics from Covid-19 vaccine trials understood?

Dr Suzie Cro, Research Fellow at the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit and the HEALTHY STATS public involvement group share insights from their recent online discussion of COVID-19 vaccines:

Right now, in the UK and across the world, vaccines for Covid-19 are being rolled out. You may have already received, or be expecting a vaccination offer sometime soon. Vaccines are thought to be our main hope to control the Covid-19 pandemic. Their use has only been possible following robust and rigorous clinical trials, which have demonstrated that they meet high safety and effectiveness standards set by the UK medicines regulator (the MHRA).

How women with experience of miscarriage helped shape and design my research

In conversation with: Dr Bijal Patel, Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Registrar, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Imperial College London

Project Details

My research aims to improve the diagnosis of miscarriage. Miscarriage currently takes several weeks to diagnose, resulting in significant psychological trauma for women and their families.

Levels of a hormone produced by the placenta, called ‘kisspeptin’, can be used to estimate the risk of miscarriage with a high degree of accuracy. The current method to measure kisspeptin levels in the blood takes several days to provide results and cannot be easily conducted in other centres. Therefore, my project aims to develop a new method that can accurately measure kisspeptin levels and thus enable the use of this blood test in the assessment of women with possible miscarriage across the NHS.