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Self Care R&D Priorities

With the increasing pressure on the Welfare State in the UK and other European countries, policy makers are increasingly looking to Self-Care as a means to empower individuals to live longer and healthier lives, whilst helping curb unnecessary spending and over-reliance on health systems. Yet self-care remains a broad and somewhat nebulous concept to most as it covers a wide spectrum of ideas and activities ranging from cognition and health literacy, to empowerment and evidence-based decision making and rationing of resources.  This makes self-care an exciting but also a challenging area to study.
Self-care has been extensively defined and considered by various academic groups and conceptualised from several different perspectives. Paradoxically, the academic exercise of understanding self-care as a broad concept has not as yet resulted in a definitive canon of evidence that makes the absolute case for self-care and its realised benefits in the real-world setting. It is therefore nece…
Recent posts

Releasing student potential: Widening access to opportunities in community healthcare

This summer the Department of Primary Care and Public Health kicked off an exciting new programme: Widening Access to Careers in Community Healthcare (WATCCH). We hosted twenty 16-17 year olds who are aspiring to be the first in their families to go to university – at the Charing Cross campus for the inaugural WATCCH project. Our aim was to change perceptions of wider healthcare careers and provide vital work experience for their University applications. Competition was high and the team was very impressed by the number of high calibre students that applied for a place.

Year 12 Pupils from 19 London secondary schools attended an induction day in late July. During the workshop, an experienced multi-professional panel consisting of 5 professionals including an Imperial final year medical student, shared their career journeys with the pupils from their A level to postgraduate degrees. This was followed by pupils creating individual mind maps, which they thoroughly enjoyed, of where they…

NIHR School for Public Health Research

Imperial College London has joined a partnership of leading academic centres that demonstrate excellence in applied public health research. The NIHR School for Public Health Research aims to build the evidence base for effective public health practice including what works practically to improve population health and reduce health inequalities; and generate knowledge that can be applied across the country to better meet the needs of policymakers, practitioners and the public. Today, we held out first meeting of the key staff at Imperial College who will be collaborating on this project.

The Self-Care Academic Research Unit (SCARU) at Imperial College London

In a recent horizon scanning exercise, the School of Public Health recognised the rising importance of self-care as a means to empower patients and support an NHS fit for 21st Century Britain, identifying ‘self-care’ as an important area of academic interest. Further to participation in the annual Self-Care Conference, the Department of Primary & Public Health recently met with Dr Pete Smith OBE (Co-Chair of the Self Care Forum) and Dr David Webber (Head of the international Self Care Foundation) with a view to help establish Imperial College as an academic base of self-care in England.

The Self Care Forum is a national charity that seeks to develop and promote self-care throughout life and work, and encourages the recognition and embedding of self-care in all our lives. It defines self-care as the actions that individuals take for themselves and on behalf of or with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness. This includes Healt…

Improving the health of young children in Malawi

The department's Global eHealth Unit was in Malawi for two weeks as part of the Supporting LIFE project. From October 2016 to January 2017, the Supporting LIFE consortium ran a clinical trial in two districts in Northern Malawi to assess the added value of a mobile health version of Community Case Management on under-5 referral, re-consultation and hospitalization rates.

The team presented preliminary results from the trial during the Supporting LIFE Dissemination Workshop. The meeting was held in Lilongwe on 9 February 2017 and was attended by Ministry of Health officials, district health officers, health care professionals, WHO and other NGO officials

Addressing polypharmacy in older people

A major challenge for healthcare, particularly for older people, is that patients are ending up on many medicines, termed ‘polypharmacy’. Polypharmacy can be either ‘appropriate’ or ‘problematic.’ With the latter, prescribing professions are traditionally better at starting medicines than stopping them (for a variety of reasons), which means that patients are too often left with problematic polypharmacy that can lead to side effects, interactions, and an inability to manage to take them all.

The NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for Northwest London (CLAHRC NWL) have an active Medicines Optimisation work stream. A lot of work has been done around the need for medication review and stopping unnecessary medicines when problematic polypharmacy occurs. The term ‘deprescribing’ has emerged strongly in the literature and CLAHRC NWL have put together what we think is the first journal issue devoted to the topic of deprescribing.

The themed issue is partic…

New 'gene silencer' drug injections reduce cholesterol by 50% in clinical trial

The first in a new class of gene-silencing drugs, known as inclisiran, has halved cholesterol levels in patients at risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings come from the largest trial yet to test the safety and effectiveness of this kind of therapy. The technique, known as RNA interference (RNAi) therapy, essentially ‘switches off’ one of the genes responsible for elevated cholesterol.

Researchers from Imperial College London and their colleagues, who conducted the trial, say the twice-a-year treatment could be safely given with or without statins, depending on individual patient needs. Eventually, inclisiran could help to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke related to high cholesterol.

These initial results are hugely exciting for patients and clinicians,” said Professor Kausik Ray, lead author of the study from the Department of Primary Care and Public Health. “We appear to have found a versatile, easy-to-take, safe, treatment that provides sustained lowering of chole…