Author: Halle Johnson

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.

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.

Refining research through public involvement: experiences of an early career researcher

In conversation with: Dr Lisa Newington, Research Associate

Working in collaboration with Dr Caroline Alexander and Prof Mary Wells at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and Imperial Clinical Academic Training Office

What did you do?

I’m currently developing a project to explore the perceived impacts of participating in healthcare research. Specifically, research that is led by healthcare professionals from outside medicine. This includes nurses, midwives, allied health professionals (such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, radiographers) and pharmacists.

I felt that it was important to speak to individuals who had previously taken part in this type of research to discuss my proposed ideas and to gather their feedback.