Tagged / Fusion
What is MS?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic debilitating and progressive condition that affects the fatty tissue sheath surrounding nerves. Loss of the myelin sheath is largely responsible for uncoordinated movements because the nerves cannot transmit signals smoothly across the complex neural circuitry. A common symptom of MS is excessive yawning together with fatigue.
Following recent completion of a study at the Osborne Centre, West Parley, we found that people with MS had higher cortisol levels when yawning compared with healthy participants.
Previous research at Bournemouth University
This research follows several years of research by the author at Bournemouth University with the first report on the “yawning envelope”, identifying the electrical trace during yawning (Refs. 1-2), and the first report on the association between yawning and cortisol levels following provoked yawning (Refs. 3-6).
“Contagious” yawning is seen in animals as well humans; it may involve empathy to perceived social cues in humans.
A series of 3 Q and A events with talks about findings was held at the MS Society local branch which facilitated an interesting and lively debate among participants, researchers and staff at the Centre.
Further research planned
We believe that threshold levels of cortisol trigger the yawn response which lowers brain temperature, particularly important in MS where brain temperatures can be elevated considerably following fatigue. A funding bid is in preparation to examine early detection of MS using these findings.
About the author
Simon B N Thompson is Associate Professor, Bournemouth University; and Visiting Professor, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France. He has presented to His Excellency Bernard Emié, the French Ambassador at the French Embassy, signalling formation of the Anglo-French International Scientific Council for Research into Multiple Sclerosis.
Thanks to all volunteers; Alister Coleman and Nicola Williams for assisting in data collection and analysis; Rod Slip, Group Co-ordinator and Kay Bundy, Fundraising Co-ordinator of the MS Society Osborne Centre for providing free facilities.
1. Thompson, S.B.N., 2013. How to catch a yawn: initial observations of a randomised controlled trial. WMC Neurology, 4(8), doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2013.004371.
2. Thompson, S.B.N., Frankham, C., & Bishop, P., 2014. The art of capturing a yawn using the science of nerve impulses and cortisol levels in a randomized controlled trial. Thompson Cortisol Hypothesis as a potential predictor of neurological impairment. International Journal of Arts & Sciences, 7(3), 529-543.
3. Thompson, S.B.N., 2011. Born to yawn? Cortisol linked to yawning: a new hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, 77, 861-862.
4. Thompson, S.B.N., & Bishop, P., 2012. Born to yawn? Understanding yawning as a warning of the rise in cortisol levels: randomized trial. Interactive Journal of Medical Research, 1(2), e4, 1-9, doi: 10.2196/ijmr.2241.
5. Thompson, S. B. N., Daly, S., Le Blanche, A., Adibi, M., Belkhiria, C., Driss, T., de Marco, G., 2016. fMRI randomized study of mental and motor task performance and cortisol levels to potentiate cortisol as a new diagnostic biomarker. Journal of Neurology & Neuroscience, 7(2); 92: 1-8.
6. Thompson, S.B.N., 2017. Hypothesis to explain yawning, cortisol rise, brain cooling and motor cortex involvement of involuntary arm movement in neurologically impaired patients. Journal of Neurology & Neuroscience, 8(1); 167: 1-5.
MS is a chronic debilitating and progressive condition that affects the fatty tissue sheath surrounding nerves. Incomplete innervation due to loss of the myelin sheath is largely responsible for uncoordinated movements. Brain temperature fluctuations are also often seen in people with MS together with fatigue when carrying out mentally or physically demanding tasks. These are commonly associated with excessive yawning yet the cause of fatigue in MS is not well understood.
A recently completed study asked participants to produce saliva into a small tube so that their cortisol levels could be analysed. They were also asked to look at presentations that provoked a yawning response. Results revealed that all of the participants had elevated cortisol levels after yawning and that there was a marked difference in cortisol levels between the healthy participants and those with MS.
Thompson Cortisol Hypothesis (Ref.1) proposes threshold levels of cortisol trigger the yawn response which lowers brain temperature. Correlation between brain temperature and cortisol is to be further examined together with comparison between UK and Norwegian participants with MS since the incidence of MS is greater in Scandinavian countries (and Canada and Scotland) possibly due to vitamin D and K reduction with reduced sunlight.
Previous studies have examined electromyograph (EMG) activity during yawning and manipulation of conditions to provoke yawning (Refs. 2,3). Brain regions and cortisol activity has been identified in MS in an international study (Ref. 4); and a new understanding proposed of communication between the motor cortex and brain-stem (Ref.5).We have recently completed a trial in Bournemouth that recruited over 80 healthy participants and over 30 people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
A funding bid is being prepared to examine the feasibility of producing the early detection of MS and cortisol-insufficiency syndromes using observed yawning frequency and cortisol levels.
Simon B N Thompson is Associate Professor, Bournemouth University; Visiting Professor, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France. Member of International Scientific Council for Research into Multiple Sclerosis following presentation to French Ambassador, His Excellency Bernard Emié, French Embassy.
Thanks to all volunteers; Alister Coleman and Nicola Williams for assisting in data collection and analysis; Rod Slip, Group Co-ordinator and Kay Bundy, Fundraising Co-ordinator of the MS Society Osborne Centre for providing free facilities.
The author would welcome interest in collaborating in writing bids for funding international work.
1. Thompson, S.B.N., 2011. Born to yawn? Cortisol linked to yawning: a new hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, 77, 861-862.
2. Thompson, S.B.N., & Bishop, P., 2012. Born to yawn? Understanding yawning as a warning of the rise in cortisol levels: randomized trial. Interactive Journal of Medical Research, 1(2), e4, 1-9, doi: 10.2196/ijmr.2241.
3. Thompson, S.B.N., Frankham, C., & Bishop, P., 2014. The art of capturing a yawn using the science of nerve impulses and cortisol levels in a randomized controlled trial. Thompson Cortisol Hypothesis as a potential predictor of neurological impairment. International Journal of Arts & Sciences, 7(3), 529-543.
4. Thompson, S. B. N., Daly, S., Le Blanche, A., Adibi, M., Belkhiria, C., Driss, T., de Marco, G., 2016. fMRI randomized study of mental and motor task performance and cortisol levels to potentiate cortisol as a new diagnostic biomarker. Journal of Neurology & Neuroscience, 7(2); 92: 1-8.
5. Thompson, S.B.N., 2017. Hypothesis to explain yawning, cortisol rise, brain cooling and motor cortex involvement of involuntary arm movement in neurologically impaired patients. Journal of Neurology & Neuroscience, 8(1); 167: 1-5.
Representing the research team from Bournemouth University, Sarah Hodge presented cross-disciplinary PhD research at two conferences in Las Vegas (April) and Denver (May).
The first conference Broadcast Education Association (BEA) included a symposium organised and attended by key academics in the area of psychology and gaming and within this Sarah won top paper in the symposium track and 2nd place student paper. The research presented was funded by the University Student Research Assistant (SRA) scheme, which involved collaboration between departments and faculties. The research involved creating a game to measure in-game moral decisions. The research team included Jacqui Taylor and John McAlaney from the Department of Psychology, Davide Melacca and Christos Gatzidis from the Department of Creative Technology, and Eike Anderson from the National Centre for Computer Animation.
At the second conference Computers in Human Interaction (CHI), Sarah had a workshop paper accepted on Ethical Encounters in Human Computer Interaction and this naturally stimulated many interesting questions about ethics in research. Sarah was a student volunteer at the conference. Sarah was a Chair student Volunteer at British HCI 2016 that was held at Bournemouth University last summer and this experience supported being accepted as a Student Volunteer at CHI. From this experience Sarah was assigned the role of Day Captain, which involved supporting and overseeing the other student volunteers with their duties. Sarah found it to be a great experience and highly recommends other students to consider being a student volunteer as a great chance to network and it also helps with funding conferences as the registration fee was waived.
Hodge, S. Taylor, J & McAlaney, J (2017). Restricted Content: Ethical Issues with Researching Minors’ Video Game Habits Human in Computer Interaction (CHI) May, Denver USA
If you would like more information about the research please contact: email@example.com
“Blood feeding activity of flies at crime scenes can be confounding. Experiments were conducted to investigate the blood feeding activity, and blood artefact patterns created by flies following a blood meal. The trials were undertaken in a staged environment where over 500 flies were exposed to 500ml of horse blood in a sealed gazebo for a period of 72 hours. The resulting patterns, a total of 539,507 fly blood artefacts, were then compared to recreated bloodstain patterns commonly encountered during instances of violent assault. These comparisons focused on overall pattern shape, total stain numbers, stain density per cm2 and the zone where they were deposited. Informal observations and recordings were also made of individual stain colour and stain alignment, but were not measured.”
This was the abstract submitted to accompany Christopher’s recent submission to the Research Photography Competition, where he won second prize.
“As reported by National Policing Improving Agency, the most frequently encountered evidence at the scenes of a crime is footwear impressions and marks. Unfortunately, recovery and usage of this kind of evidence has not achieved its full potential. Due to the cost benefit ratio (time consuming casting procedures, expensive scanners) footprints are often neglected evidence. As technology changes, the capabilities of forensic science should continue to evolve. By translating academic research and technical ‘know-how’ into software (www.digtrace.co.uk) the authors have placed 3D imaging of footwear evidence in the hands of every police force in the UK and overseas.”
This was the abstract submitted to accompany Dominika’s recent submission to the Research Photography Competition.
Joshua (Josh) Cook graduated in 2016 with a first in BSc Games Programming. He is currently working on an innovation project being led by Professor Wen Tang. ” PLUS” is a gamified training application funded by HEIF, in collaboration with the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall (Strategic Alliance) Police forces in order to provide a virtual learning environment that teaches trainees in a more engaging manner than traditional paper based learning.
As a project team member Wen commented “Josh has been a pro-active and key member of the project team working with both academics , the College of Policing and police forces around the UK to develop this training application.”
Key areas of focus for Josh have included:
- Making the system more generic, so that the project can later be expanded to multiple areas and more situations with ease
- Improve the visual environment (of the game) with shaders and animations
- Include data analytics in order to obtain an understanding as to how trainees are using the game, how long they take, how many mistakes they make etc
Josh didn’t take a placement year during University, so aside from a summer position in a local games position he did not have much work experience. On being given this opportuntity to work on the projetc Josh commented ” The PLUS project seemed like an interesting project to work on, and when I found out a position was open to work on it I applied. I’ve learned some useful things on this project, such as working from and improving upon an existing code base, what it’s like working directly with clients, implementing and using data analytics, and I’m sure I’ll learn more throughout the duration of my employment.”
This project has received funding from August 2015 with the funding ending in July 2017. (HEIF 5+1 and HEIF 5+1+1)
Read more about this project in full: Serious Games for Police Training.
Dominika Budka is currently working on an innovation funded (HEIF) project called: “Dinosaurs to Forensic Science: Digital, Tracks and Traces”. She graduated last year (2016) having completed an MSc Forensic and Neuropsychological Perspectives in Face-Processing
Forensic technology and tools are advancing across the board, with the analysis of digital trace evidence being an exception. The techniques and tools used to capture and analyse footwear evidence have not changed in over a hundred years. This project is already changing the status quo by translating academic research on human and dinosaur tracks into tools for forensic practitioners to use. The product that has been developed, DigTrace, is an integrated software solution for the capture and analysis of 3D data whether in a forensic context (footwear evidence) or in the study of vertebrate tracks and footprints. One of the recent successes is the exhibit the project team are organising at the very prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, to be held in London in July.
The project team were looking for a dissemination officer to help spread the word about the software and engage user groups both within the UK and overseas. Dominika’s role involves working with external stakeholder groups, organising dissemination events, developing training materials and events for academics, crime agencies, forensic specialists, and UK police forces.
About working on the project, Dominika comented, “I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to the project, which is not only well-aligned with my interests, but has also a huge potential for impact in terms of improving societal security. I’m working with a unique product set which can enhance global security by improving forensic practice, as well as criminal intelligence gathering and ultimately prosecution. The forensic context of the project is what I find most interesting as it links directly to my MSc”
To find out more about the project – click on the link: Dinosaurs to Forensic Science: Digital, Tracks and Traces
My name is Oliver Cooke and I am currently in my third year of study on the BA Honours Media Production course. As part of my Graduate Project, I am developing a media package in order to showcase a number of projects that have been awarded Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF).
My experience with HEIF comes from the time on my work placement that I undertook last year. I worked within the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO) as the Student Engagement Co-Ordinator. I learnt about many initiatives at BU including HEIF; so whilst reflecting on my time in RKEO and ideas for my Graduate Project, it was clear to me that there are many interesting projects at BU. It also struck me that here was an ideal opportunity to create some really engaging media content in order to showcase the innovation journeys and provide more information about innovation and knowledge exchange at BU.
The media content I will be producing will include a short video documentary, web content that can be integrated with the BU Research Website and a social media campaign. This will aim to highlight the people involved with HEIF at BU, as well as the research.
I have just started filming and the first footage has been shot involving Andrew Whittington (PI) and BU student Christopher Dwen who are working on the project: “Sherlock’s Window: improving accuracy of entomological forensics at post-mortem criminal investigation using combined cuticular hydrocarbon and internal metabolite analysis.”
(Sherlock’s Window was also featured in the latest edition of the Bournemouth Research Chronicle: Edition 6, January 2017, Page 22.)
On January 25th 2017, Bournemouth University staff and students celebrated the launch of Events Management: An International Approach. The text brings together the work of 22 authors boasting 11 nationalities. At the launch event, which was hosted at King’s College London, leading Editor for the publication, Dr Nicole Ferdinand, Senior Lecturer in Events Management at Bournemouth University was joined by BU colleagues, current students and alumni as well as staff and students from a range of universities and other organisations – including Goldsmiths University, University of East Anglia, University of East London, University of West London, Set Square Staging Limited and Vodafone.
The event started with an international networking reception in which attendees from 15 different countries were given the opportunity to meet individuals from a variety of cultural and also professional backgrounds. At the end of the reception two lucky attendees received free copies of the text.
Dr Paul Kitchin hosted the book launch, providing an overview of the text and facilitating the academic versus industry panel discussion which was the highlight of the evening’s proceedings.
Events Management: An International Approach is available for purchase from Amazon.co.uk: https://goo.gl/c8rZ3O
A catered lunch will be provided. Events are open to all staff and students, but places are limited. RSVP to attend an innovation lunch to firstname.lastname@example.org
Exploring Methods for Investigating Algorithms and Data Processes w/ Lina Dencik (Cardiff University)
Wednesday December 7th @ 13:00-14:00 F305 (Fusion Building, Talbot Campus)
As algorithms tell us what we want to watch and predict the years we have left to live, few aspects of our social, cultural and economic lives are left untouched from data processes. Despite popular claims, this datification of society is never neutral. What does it look like to study data as emerging sets of power relations? How can we approach algorithms as social processes? Join us for an interdisciplinary discussion on methods for investigating algorithms and data processes.
Bio: Dr Lina Dencik is Senior Lecturer and Director of the MA in Journalism, Media and Communication in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, UK. Her research is concerned with the interplay between media developments and social and political change, with a particular focus on globalization and resistance. She has recently been working on issues relating to surveillance, visibility, and the politics of data. Her most recent book is Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest: Between Control and Emancipation (co-edited with Oliver Leistert, Rowman & Littlefield International, 2015).
The latest issue of InsideBU, the magazine for BU staff and students, is out now.
This issue brings the concept of Fusion to life through a range of features and articles including:
- Celebrating undergraduate research through hosting the prestigious British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) next year
- National research into the scale and impact of financial scamming in the UK, headed by BU’s National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice
- The research stories behind the Fusion mural on Talbot Campus.
Hard copies are available across both campuses and you can also read it online – simply click the arrows on the bottom right of the screen to expand it to a full page size.
If you use a screen-reader, Word and PDF versions are also available. The current issue – and all back issues – can also now be found on the Staff Intranet, under ‘Find’ on the bottom right of the homepage.
Please email email@example.com if you would like hard copies sent directly to you.
We appreciate all feedback and suggestions for future issues. If you have a story for the next issue of InsideBU, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyrightuser.org – is a collaboration between the Law Department’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) at Bournemouth University (BU) and CREATe, University of Glasgow, has produced Episode II of the ‘Game is On!’ Series.
The project led by the Principal Investigator for Bournemouth University, Dr. Dinusha Mendis, Associate Professor in Law and Co-Director of CIPPM was initially funded by BU’s Fusion Investment Fund in 2012. Since 2013 the project has been successful in securing AHRC funding under the leadership of Dr. Mendis and in November 2015, won the AHRC Innovation in Film Award.
Game is On! by Copyrightuser.org is a s a series of short animated films that puts copyright and creativity under the magnifying glass of Sherlock Holmes, providing a unique, research-led and open access resource for school-aged learners and other creative users of copyright. Drawing inspiration from well-known copyright and public domain work, as well as recent copyright litigation, these films provide a springboard for exploring key principles and ideas underpinning copyright law, creativity, and the limits of lawful appropriation and reuse.
Episode I of the ‘Game is On!’ Series titled The Adventure of the Girl with the Light Blue Hair won the AHRC Innovation in Film Award in November 2015 and was shortlisted for a BUFVC Learning on Screen Award in April 2016 and has been recently used by Into Film to develop the educational resource ‘Exploring copyright for clubs’.
Episode II titled The Adventure of the Six Detectives is also accompanied by a number of Case Files, authored by CREATe researchers Megan Rae Blakely and Andrea Wallace and offer points of discussion around many of the most pressing copyright questions and concerns faced by screenwriters: http://copyrightuser.org/the-game-is-on/episode-2/
The short films are written, directed and produced by Professor Ronan Deazley (Queen’s University Belfast) and CREATe producer Bartolomeo Meletti (currently seconded to the British Film Institute) with Art Direction / Design by Marco Bagni, illustrations by Davide Bonazzi and music by SFX:Sarco.
We have written in many previous BU blogs about progress of our THET-funded project in southern Nepal (e.g. here AND here ). Today’s blog reflects on the use on BU’s unique FUSION approach in our project ‘Mental Health Training for Maternity Care Providers in Nepal‘.
Our BU-led project brings highly experienced health professionals, such as midwives, health visitors or mental health nurses, to Nepal to work as volunteer trainers. The training is aimed at community-based maternity care practitioners and addresses key mental health issues relevant to pregnancy and for new mothers and offers the required communication skills. These health professionals will bring their experience as health care providers as well as trainers in the field of mental health and maternity care/midwifery, mental ill-health prevention and health promotion. They volunteer for two to three weeks at a time to design and deliver training in southern Nepal.
The Centre for Midwifery & Maternal Health (CMMPH) collaborates in this project with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), the Department of Health, and Physical & Population Education at Nepal’s oldest university Tribhuvan University’s (TU). The project is supported in the field by a local charity called Green Tara Nepal. Our project is part of the Health Partnership such as Nepal. HPS itself is funded by the UK Department for International Development and managed by THET (Tropical and Health Education Trust).
Our maternal mental health project is a good example of BU’s FUSION approach as it combines EDUCATION (through the training of Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives in Nepal) by UK volunteers (representing PRACTICE) through an intervention which is properly evaluated (representing RESEARCH) is a perfect example of BU’s FUSION in action. Moreover, the project will be partly evaluated by FHSS’s Preeti Mahato as part of her PhD thesis research. This PhD project is supervised by Dr. Catherine Angell (CEL & CMMPH), BU Visiting Professor Padam Simkhada (based at LJMU) and CMMPH’s Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.BU’s focus on the FUSION of research, education and professional practice is a unique variant of the way UK universities (and many abroad) blend academic teaching, research and scholarship. FUSION is a key concept derived from BU’s strategic Vision & Values).
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Halfway through the project we had an update meeting at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu to discuss and plan the second half of the project which runs until the spring in 2017. The maternal mental health project is a good example of BU’s FUSION approach as it combines Education (through the training of Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives) by UK volunteers (representing the Practice-element of FUSION) in an intervention that is Research-based in both its design and evaluation. The next group of UK volunteers is due to go out to southern Nepal in September 2016. The photo on the top shows one of the UK volunteers (a midwife from Aberdeen) in action with the aid of a Nepali translator during the latest training session in Nawalparasi in May 2016.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (CMMPH) and Prof. Padam Simkhada (LJMU & BU Visiting Faculty)
Bournemouth University is getting ready to host the 7th BCUR (British Conference in Undergraduate Research) on April 25-26 2017. Previous hosts include: University of Central Lancashire (2011), University of Warwick (2012), Plymouth University (2013), University of Nottingham (2014), University of Winchester (2015), and in 2016 Manchester Metropolitan University. BU has had representation at each of these gatherings previously, and is looking forward to hosting in 2017. At the last gathering in Manchester, the faculty of Management, SciTech and HSS all had undergraduate student abstracts accepted, profiling their research by way of poster session or oral presentations.
Two students who participated at the March 2016 conference in Manchester took a lot away from the enhanced learning experience the conference offered.
Aaron Wornes, final year international hospitality management student who presented his research on The General Attitudes of Self-Service Technology said “The diversity and level of research that was being presented was enthralling. I felt so proud that I was able to share my interests though my own research. My only regret was that I didn’t hear about BCUR sooner, I can’t wait for Bournemouth to host next year”. Edwin Lewis, a final year Tourism Management student made the following observations, “…it has given me time to reflect not only on my own research and what else I could include, but also the wide variety of undergraduate research that is being studied. The conference really helped me understand how important it is to recognise research projects. I am very excited that BU gets to hold BCUR next year”. Edwin presented his dissertation research on The Impacts of Airline Hubs on the European Aviation Market, A Case Study of the Emirates.
The current BU organising committee is taking shape with UET support and is made up of Gail Thomas (CEL), Luciana Esteves, Mary Beth Gouthro (conference co-chairs); representatives from each faculty, ie Maggie Hutchings/Peter Thomas (HSS); Xun He (SciTech); Fiona Cownie (FMC) and Miguel Moital (FoM). Also contributing to the planning are team members from: Marketing Communications, BU Events Team, SUBU and Estates.
Bournemouth Uni is expecting well over 400 delegates to this national research conference next April. It is a great opportunity to showcase the diverse quality of undergraduate research being undertaken at BU and other UK universities in attendance. If you seek further information, please contact any of your faculty colleagues mentioned above or co-chair Mary Beth Gouthro email@example.com.
For more information on BU’s prior involvement in BCUR activities, previous research blog entries can be found below, and follow #BCUR17.
Some things are worth fighting for… liberty, freedom of speech…people have died for these.
When the war between Iran and Iraq finished, I realised that we had lost some of the most courageous young men who lived through moments that one thought only existed in action movies. I was old enough to understand death, the risks they took and the fact that we will never see them again…they were gone. Although we were quick to judge them, I knew they fought for what they felt was right. Likewise and more so, there were plenty of brave young souls who sacrificed their lives on cold and damp foreign soil during the First and Second World Wars. The soil still seems fresh in graveyards for the loss of soldiers in recent wars, God bless them all.
For those of us unlucky enough to have lost loved ones, the images of those young lives sit in frames on fireplaces or shelves where, if we are lucky we might get glimpse of the smile that they left for us. Could one wish more than if they could just touch them and feel the warmth of their scent one more time … they are gone. For those of us left behind, what is their legacy? Do we see their legacy through planting poppies and celebrating their sacrifices in remembrance days? One minute’s silence would be enough to thank them? They were told they that they were fighting for freedom, have we done enough to make sure that was achieved? Liberty and freedom of speech are under constant threat and today more than ever with the terrorist threats around our world.
Recently we started a campaign aimed at challenging the narrative of the terrorist group known as ISIS. An inhumane group who have misused the narrative of religion in order to associate themselves with what they describe as a ‘pure’ version of religion. I grew up in the Middle East and went to school at a time when extreme values were at the forefront of every school curriculum and life. I do remember being called into the office of the headmistress when I was 15 because I was wearing socks that were white whilst wearing trousers and brown ankle boots. Days like these made me realise that freedom had been taken hostage and caged. In those days questioning was a rare reality. “You don’t questions some matters, you just do as you are told”. What about the thoughts inside your head? Was I not allowed to think about anything? Freedom is important.
In spite of everything that I have witnessed; a revolution, assassinations, imprisonment, acts carried out by different sides, I have also been fortunate enough not to witness at first hand the acts of extremism in the 21st century, happening now in the Middle East. I have not seen the carnage that some people have carried out in the name of religion, in what is known as ISIS held territories. These territories that owe their foundation to the seeds that were originally planted by Saddam’s Baath party. I say this but I am puzzled, I remember their brutality in the longest conventional war of the 20th century from 1980 to 1988. It still sits firmly in my memory when my eyes stared open in shock, when the religious study school teacher told us that they used naked women hostages, who they had first raped, as human shields. In that conservative society I thought death was the easier option and I still do even now. Later on they didn’t even consider the lives of their own people and the Kurds, and so the scars of chemical attacks still lives on among those who fought them in the front line. The brutality of what we witness today is not new for those people that live in the region, it is just being carried out under a different name.
From those extreme groups such as ISIS, whose brutality did not spare the innocent lives of journalist or aid workers from Steven Sotloff, David Haines, James Foley, Alan Henning, Abdul Rahman (Peter) Kassig to the hideous attacks that recently took place in Paris, there is a connecting issue. The liberal democracies of Western society has provided the fertile ground that helps them promote their cause and yield the “reaction” that they live for, because they know that people in Western Societies place a much greater value on lives and property than they do in many of the countries where these terrorist groups are formed. This, alongside the powerful western media, combined with the virulent nature of social media, reinforces the civilian shock and works in favour of their goals of intimidation and publicity with wider targets and victims in Muslim communities.
The campaign we have launched under the title of ‘for humanity’, challenges violent extremism in general but in particular, counters the falsehoods spread by ISIS in a positive manner, with an assertion of shared humanity. The reach of our campaign will address those in the Muslim community feeling distanced from the rest of society, building on the notion of “concentric loyalties” to expand the horizon of vulnerable segments of the community and encouraging them towards assimilating more fully into their wider community. We set up the campaign to voice our idea of bringing the community together no matter what the religion, colour or race, we thought we could stand up for the loss of freedom and civil liberties and the very basics of humanity with the weight of the legacy which was left standing on our shoulders.
However, it transpires that this is not an easy thing to do in a society that is tolerant. We were told by some that our message, “I am against ISIS for humanity” is in fact “offensive”Offensive to whom? Would you be offended if I said I am against football hooligans? Don’t get me wrong, political correctness has its place in fighting racism, gender attacks etc. But does it really have its place when fighting inhuman behaviour? But political correctness can become as much a cancer as the evil that ISIS breeds.
I believe Britain to be a tolerant society, but to whom do we show that tolerance? Where do we stand as a society in this 21st century world? A tolerant society that values freedom of speech? Or a society that is indifferent and turns a blind eye? Or maybe we have just come to realise that our ‘tolerance’ has been caged by our own political correctness?
In meetings I am sometimes told “don’t mention this or that because it gets minuted”, does free speech not get minuted? If free speech is not minuted where is the record of the legacy of those that fought for us over the centuries? If we speak out against the brutality that we see happening in the world can this really be considered to be offensive? Does freedom of speech only apply to people who have nothing to say?
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Doing a PhD may appeal to midwives and other NHS health professionals, but it often involves having to make difficult choices. Undertaking a part-time PhD means studying on top of a busy clinical position, but starting full-time study involves stepping away from practice, which may lead to a loss of clinical skills and confidence. The Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) at Bournemouth University has come up with a novel solution making it easier for midwives to undertake a doctorate while still maintaining their clinical skills. This approach is highlighted in the latest publication by Dr. Susan Way and colleagues, describing a process where CMMPH collaborate with NHS partners to apply for a match-funded PhD.  The first partnership was with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (PHT), with later partners expanded to cover the Isle of Wight and Southampton. Currently there are negotiations with Dorset Country Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Non NHS organisations have also showed an interest with the Anglo European Chiropractic College (AECC) our likely next collaborator.
This jointly funded clinical academic doctorate allows midwives to combine clinical practice with a research role, working across BU and their NHS Trust. The studentships runs for four years and PhD students will spend two days per week working as a midwife in clinical practice and three days per week working on their thesis. This set up facilitates the co-creation of knowledge. Anybody interested in developing a joint clinical academic PhD with us please contact Dr. Susan Way (firstname.lastname@example.org), Prof. Vanora Hundley (email@example.com), or Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (firstname.lastname@example.org) .
In addition to providing the individual midwives with excellent education, these studentships are designed to examine an area of clinical practice identified by the collaborating organisation where the evidence is lacking and research is needed. As a consequence the research studies will be directly relevant to practice and will have a demonstrable impact in the future. Hence BU will be able to show that its research and education have a direct benefit to the wider society. Moreover, the studentships currently benefit midwifery practice by building a critical mass of research-focus practitioners, who will translate research findings into practice and so create a culture of evidence-based practice. At BU the model has also been adopted by other professional groups such as nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy (OT).
The result is a clinical academic doctoral studentship is probably the best practical example of BU’s concept of FUSION, since it truly fuses research, education and practice.
Susan Way, Vanora Hundley & Edwin van Teijlingen.
- Way. S., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E., Walton, G., Westwood, G. (2016). Dr Know. Midwives (Spring Issue): 66-67.