Category / Research themes
Ms. Sheetal Sharma who will be graduating from Bournemouth University with a Ph.D. on November 10th has been awarded Bournemouth University’s The Postgraduate Research Prize. This prize is for the postgraduate student whose achievement is deemed by the Vice-Chancellor to have been most outstanding in their time at BU.
Sheetal stood out as a Ph.D. student as her maternal health research project in Nepal resulted in several many publications [1-6], some in very prestigious journals such as BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth  and PLOSOne  . She won the best poster prize at the international GLOW conference in Birmingham in 2013 with the poster presentation ‘Getting women to care in Nepal: A Difference in Difference analysis of a health promotion intervention’. She won a SBSP travel scholarship to present a poster at the 8th European Congress on Tropical Medicine & International Health in 2013 in Denmark. Sheetal’s abstract of the poster was also officially published .
Sheetal presented at the Science in Society conference (SiS) at Berkeley University in November 2012 where she received a Graduate Scholar Award. In addition, she won a Santander travel scholarships for £5,000 to learn about research at the University of Buenos Aires, Institute for Clinical Effectiveness & Health Policy (Argentina) and at the University of Barcelona in Spain. This scholarship resulted in a great publication with the world-famous researcher in reproductive health care prof. Jose Belizan as co-author. Sheetal also presented her work at the first ever national health promotion conference in Nepal.
Sheetal also had less academic achievements as she won the BU photo competition at the 2014 PGR conference with the photo in this blog.
Sheetal was also actively involved as a student representative in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences as well as in the Graduate School. She even found time to join the editorial board of the newly formed Journal of Asian Midwives.
Over the past five years Sheetal has had many mentions on this BU research blog as one of BU’s most prolific publishing PhD students.
As supervisors and co-authors we are proud of her!
Dr. Catherine Angell, Prof. Vanora Hundley & Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (CMMPH)
BU Visiting Professor Padam Simkhada, Liverpool John Moores University
Dr. Elisa Sicuri, Assistant Research Professor at ISGlobal, Spain
Prof. Jose Belizan, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
References to published work by Sheetal Sharma:
- Joshi, R., Sharma, S., van Teijlingen, E. (2013) Improving neonatal health in Nepal: Major challenges to achieving Millennium Development Goal 4, Health Science Journal 7(3): 247-257. http://www.hsj.gr/index.files/Page1421.htm
- Sharma, S., Joshi, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) ‘Nepenglish’ or ‘Nepali English’: A new version of English? Asian Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences 4(2): 188-193. www.ajssh.leena-luna.co.jp/AJSSHPDFs/Vol.4%282%29/AJSSH2015%284.2-21%29.pdf
- Simkhada, B., Sharma, S., van Teijlingen, E., Silwal, RC, Simkhada, P. (2015) Exploring Maternal Mortality Reduction. In: Wasti, SP, Simkhada, PP, van Teijlingen, E. (Eds.) The Dynamics of Health in Nepal, Kathmandu: Social Science Baha & Himal Books: 95-121.
- Sharma, S., van Teijlingen, E., Belizán, J.M., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Sicuri, E. (2016) Measuring What Works: An impact evaluation of women’s groups on maternal health uptake in rural Nepal, PLOS One 11(5): e0155144 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0155144
- Sharma, S., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Angell, C., Simkhada, P. (2016) Dirty and 40 days in the wilderness: Eliciting childbirth and postnatal cultural practices and beliefs in Nepal BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 16: 147 https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-016-0938-4
- Sharma, S, Simkhada, P, Hundley, V, van Teijlingen E., Stephens, J, Silwal, RC, Angell, C (2017) Evaluating a Community Maternal Health Programme: Lessons Learnt. Journal Asian Midwives 4(1):3–20.
- Sharma, S., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Stephens J., Simkhada, P., Angell, C., Sicuri, E., Belizan, J.M. (2013) Mixed-methods evaluation of a maternity care intervention in rural Nepal: measuring what works, Poster P.2.3.004 (A), Tropical Medicine & International Health 18 (Suppl. 1): 108–231.
Are you planning to submit a grant application to NIHR?
Research Design Service South West (RDS-SW) are holding a one day event on 9 November 2017 at Plymouth Science Park, Devon.
Last few days to book!
The events consists of:
- a morning seminar session which is open to anyone to come and RDS advisers give presentations on what makes a good grant proposal.
- an afternoon support session of one-to-one appointments which is for those who would like to discuss their own proposal with an RDS adviser. Those interested in this opportunity will be asked to supply in advance a brief description of their project idea.
Registration is FREE and lunch will be provided. Places are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. In order to secure a place at one of these events, delegates will need to complete the online registration form by 1pm 30 October 2017. One-to-one appointments need to be booked in advance by selecting the appropriate option on the registration form.
You can find out more here
Don’t forget your local branch of the NIHR Research Design Service is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) on the 5th floor of Royal London House. Feel free to pop in and see us, call us on 61939 or send us an email.
Our PhD student Orlanda Harvey is currently conducting her study on why people use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS). Since steroid use is a sensitive topic and its users are a hard-to-reach population we need as much help as we can get to get her survey distributed to as many as possible potential steroid users (aged 18 and over). We, as her PhD supervisors, would like to ask you to alert friends, family, neighbours, health care professionals working with this target group, etc. to the existence of this survey. Her questionnaire is available in paper version (from firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Edwin van Teijlingen at: 01202-961564). However, the easiest and most anonymous way would be for people to complete it online using the following online link.
Thank you very much in advance!
Dr. Margarete Parrish
Dr. Steven Trenoweth
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Congratulations to BU’s Equality and Diversity Adviser James Palfreman-Kay whose application to HEFCE’s ‘Catalyst Fund: Tackling hate crime and online harassment on campus‘ has been successful. He is one of 40 academic recipients of funding at universities and colleges throughout England. Applications have been assessed by a panel of HEFCE staff and external experts from across relevant areas of knowledge particular to student safeguarding.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Reading on Screen project held two workshops recently; one at the University of Brighton (22-24 September) and one last weekend (14-15 October) at Sheffield Hallam University.
At Sheffield we were fortunate to be included in the programme for Off the Shelf, a literary festival that runs throughout October in the city featuring some high profile authors, including this year Robert Webb and Henry Blofeld. We also took part in Brighton’s Digital Festival, showcasing some of the stories and also featuring some of our storytellers in a lively discussion about the future of reading in the digital age.
The stories produced in the workshops are now available for viewing on the project website and we welcome comments!
An exhibition of the stories is planned for December 15 in Brighton’s Media Centre. Here we will be featuring the stories we are producing based on photographs and audio recordings captured during the workshops. We will also be hearing from some of the storytellers from all three workshops (Bournemouth, Brighton and Sheffield) about their experiences of the workshops and how this opportunity has opened new doors for them.
Dr Caroline Ellis-Hill from the Centre for Qualitative Research (CQR) and the Humanising practice SIG (FHSS), recently attended a discussion of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing at Kings College, London. Speakers included Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, Lord Howarth of Newport and Ed Vaizey MP, co-Chairs of the APPG.
Caroline contributed to one of the parliamentary inquiry meetings and also led the HeART of stroke study which is cited in the report, and which was funded through the National Institute for Health Research – Research for Patient Benefit (NIHR-RfPB) funding programme. The research was carried out with colleagues from Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) and many external stakeholders including NIHR, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and the University of East Anglia.
The APPG report is a landmark document that brings together available evidence from across the UK to support the role of the arts in the health and wellbeing of people across the life-course. The report has ten recommendations which will be considered at national and local policy level, with the aim of promoting the arts within mainstream services when considering health and wellbeing in the future.
Microscopic investigations of water samples from the half-barrel pond in Christchurch House courtyard have revealed a menagerie of single-celled life. These tiny organisms (smaller than one tenth of a millimetre) are incredibly important as they form the basis of food webs. They also play a major role in maintaining water quality as they feed on bacteria, and stalked species such as Vorticella (image) are responsible for their removal in waste-water treatment plants. The half-barrel “pond” may be almost as small as its inhabitants but it promises to become a treasure of local ‘hidden’ biodiversity!
The Société Française pour l’Etude des Lipides (SFEL) recently held the fourth iteration of their Lipids and Brain conference in Nancy France.
I was given the opportunity to present some preliminary results from an ongoing study I am conducting as part of my PhD, looking into the effects of a multi-nutrient omega-3 fatty acid supplement and exercise on mobility and cognitive function in ladies aged 60+. Analysis of the baseline data revealed relationships between levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood with cognitive and gait outcomes, however this effect differed between non-frail and pre-frail participants.
The conference brought together scientists, physicians and nutritionists to provide a unique prospective on the role of lipid nutrition in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases with a large focus on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The conference was a mix of lectures, invited reviews, and poster sessions. There was a tremendous variety of topics presented, including lectures on the pathophysiology and epidemiology of AD, how AD can impact lipid metabolism and the effects of lipid intake on prevention and treatment of AD.
During the conference Professor Stephen Cunnane from the Research Center on Aging, Sherbrooke (Canada) was presented with the prestigious Chevreul Medal.
On a personal note this was an exciting opportunity for me to present my work and represent Bournemouth University and my supervisory team of Dr. Simon Dyall and Dr. Fotini Tsofliou at a respected conference. It was very satisfying to see some interest in my work from researchers whose work I myself look up to.
I would like to extend my gratitude towards Bournemouth University, for providing the funding that allowed me to attend the conference and to the scientific committee at the SFEL for organising such an impeccable event.
If you would like to learn more about our research, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
A new report, Exploring Mental Health and Wellbeing, published by the Arts and Humanities Research Council highlights the important role that arts and humanities based research can play in helping to address complex issues around mental health.
The report brings to life a wealth of case studies that are contributing to the mental health debate. These include examining the work of academics at the University of Cambridge who are pioneering an innovative design of a personalised fragrance dispenser to help manage anxiety to a project being managed by the University of Essex to educate policy-makers on the issues surrounding impaired decision-making capacity.
Research around mental health is focused around developing a cross-disciplinary approach – and arts and humanities scholars have a key role to play. The AHRC has funded research in many different aspects of mental health research in recent years, with an investment of over £10m in seventy-six projects since 2010.
The new cross-disciplinary mental health research agenda sees the UK’s seven research councils joining forces to collaborate on mental health research. Published in August this year, the agenda paves the way for cross-council collaboration on mental health, highlighting the importance of including the arts and humanities in this area of research.
Research funded by the British Heart Foundation looking at tissue fibrosis (scarring), will soon be published in Experimental Gerontology, one the world’s leading journal on ageing. Fibrosis occurs naturally as part of our injury response process but also develops in ageing and chronic disease. Treatments are scant despite fibrosis leading to organ failure and increased risk of death.
The image shows valves (v) in the hearts of young and ‘late middle aged’ fruit flies that have been genetically engineered to express fluorescent collagen, an key ‘scar protein’. Although the fly heart is just two cells wide it represents a lot of the genetic machinery for a human heart. Amazingly, the function of human and fly hearts declines as they age – and they both accumulate collagen.
Our previous work linked heart function with SPARC – a protein associated with fibrosis in humans. We’ve now demonstrated that the heart’s ‘health-span’ during ageing can be significantly lengthened if the expression SPARC is reduced. We also show that if SPARC levels increase – fibrosis is increased too. Hence, we’ve nailed a cause-and-effect relationship between SPARC and heart function which supports the idea of targeting SPARC clinically to control cardiac health and fibrosis.
Paul S. Hartley (Department of Life and Environmental Science).
Last week, Prof Ann Hemingway, Prof Adele Ladkin and Dr Holly Crossen-White joined European research colleagues in Ostend, Belgium for a SAIL Project bi-annual team meeting. Over two days all research partners from four different European countries had the opportunity to share their initial research data from pilot projects being developed within each country for older people. The BU team will be undertaking the feasibility study for the SAIL project and will be drawing together all the learning from the various interventions created by the other partners.
Congratulations to Dr. Sue Way and Prof. Vanora Hundley in BU’s Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on their latest publication on the latent phase of labour. Their paper ‘Defining the latent phase of labour: is it important?’ appeared in Evidence Based Midwifery and was written with midwifery colleagues across the UK, Germany and Canada .
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
- Hundley V, Way S, Cheyne H, Janssen P, Gross M, Spiby H (2017) Defining the latent phase of labour: is it important? Evidence Based Midwifery 15 (3): 89-94.
On Sunday 8th October, 2017, the Victoria and Albert Museum hosted Out of Many One Caribbean Carnival as part of its celebration of Black History Month. Dr Nicole Ferdinand of BU’s Department of Events and Leisure was invited to give a lecture on her research on Trinidad-style carnivals and their internationalization, which was delivered to a packed audience and inspired lively debate. Other presenters included Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, Course Director of the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities, Leeds Beckett University and legendary Guyanese poet, John Agard who had the audience spell bound with his both humorous and thought provoking poems.
The event also featured a live steel band, masquerade and dance workshops and an impromptu parade. For more on Dr Ferdinand’s presentation at the event, read her journal article International Festivals as Experience Production Systems in Tourism Management.
A new study published by Bournemouth University has shown that using the Nintendo Wii™ could help people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) become more active. Being more physically activity has a range of potential benefits, including better balance and posture, improved confidence and improved mood.
The study saw 30 participants trial the use of Wii Fit Plus™, Wii Sports™ and Wii Sports Resort™ games at home, following initial orientation and guidance from physiotherapists in a hospital setting. People recorded how often they used the Wii™, as well as responding to a number of questionnaires exploring its effects. Dr Sarah Thomas, lead researcher, explains the rationale behind the project:
“Physical activity is known to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of people with MS, but they often face greater barriers to participation. I’d noticed from my own family that playing the Wii appealed across the generations and was interested to see whether its ease of use and accessibility would make a difference to people with MS,” says Dr Thomas.
“Conversations with the Dorset MS team showed that they’d been thinking along the same lines, as they’d noticed that the Wii was increasingly being used by their patients. That’s what led us to develop a successful grant application to the MS Society.”
As part of the Mii-vitaliSe study, people with MS were allocated at random to one of two groups – one which trialled the Wii intervention immediately alongside their usual care for 12 months, and one which started the Wii intervention after a 6 month delay.
“The people we worked with were relatively physically inactive at the beginning of the study,” explains Dr Thomas, “Through regular 1-2-1 sessions with a physiotherapist, they were able to develop individual goals, which they then worked towards achieving using the Wii™ in their own homes.”
“We found that people were using the Wii™ on average about twice a week, most often for balance exercises, yoga or aerobics,” continues Dr Thomas, “Our participants found it a fun and convenient way to increase their physical activity levels, with people reporting benefits such as reduced stress, increased confidence and better balance, among others.”
“In day-to-day life, people noticed improvements such as dropping fewer pegs when hanging out washing, finding it easier to get in and out of the shower and walking further.”
We hope to build on these promising initial findings by carrying out a large multi-centre trial to test whether this intervention is effective.”
The full study can be read here.
A briefing paper about the research can be found here.
Friday 6th October St Mary’s Maternity Unit, part of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, held a Whose Shoes? event in Poole. Whose Shoes?® is a facilitation tool to help empower both staff and service users of services. Friday’s event was led by Gill Phillips, the person behind the original idea of Whose Shoes?®. Gill’s approach involves promoting understanding and empathy by looking at issues from a wide range of perspectives from a range of possible stakeholders.
The event Poole was initiated by NHS midwife Jillian Ireland, who is also BU Visiting Faculty in our Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH). She was assisted by Dr. Jen Leamon, who helped facilitate NHS maternity staff, pregnant women and new mothers, in their discussions. Jen is Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at BU and she facilitated the discussion with the aid of the Whose Shoes? board game. In the afternoon Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (also based in CMMPH) led a discussion of reflection and reflective practice with midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs). CMMPH’s involvement in the event is part of our wider collaboration with the NHS locally in the field of midwifery education.
The Whose Shoes? board game is also by CMMPH in a very different context as PhD student Alice Ladur has translated the game to test it in Uganda. Alice first did a pilot study with African men living in London before embarking on a project to improve men’s involvement in maternity care in rural Uganda.
Right at the very beginning of our journey at NCPQSW… An experience that we won’t forget…. Our recent attendance at the House of Commons Financial Scamming Event.
by Caroline Jones and Stevie Corbin-Clarke
Stevie: As someone who was fresh out of university this June, I did not expect to be involved in such an amazing opportunity so early in my career. It was an experience that has inspired me to get involved in as many exciting opportunities like this in the future as I can.
Caroline: Having joined the research team as recently as August, it was a great way to get stuck into the role and see first-hand the amazing work that NCPQSW does.
So, we were provided with the opportunity to assist our colleagues with running and organising an event about Cyber Scams and Financial Fraud at the House of Commons this September. Of course, we snapped up the offer to attend without having a second thought, especially because we were both very aware of the importance and the prevalence of the topic at hand in current times.
In the days leading up the event, everyone was rushed off their feet in preparation of creating information packs, ensuring everyone had RSVP’d and sorting out nearly 100 name badges. We spent the morning of the event in London getting ourselves prepared, setting up and having a nice spot of lunch, which we found as new staff members to be a very beneficial team building experience and certainly helped to settle the nerves!
During the event, it was amazing to see first-hand the impact that Professor Keith Brown, Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, Dr Sally Lee and the rest of the NCPQSW research team is having and how wide spread the attendance was. It successfully brought together everyday citizens with members of parliament and other influential people, providing a platform for those with real-life scamming experience to be heard as well. We were surrounded by incredible members of the public, that spoke about their personal struggles with scams as well as influential individuals from many organisations, such as Which? and Trading Standards.
We felt fortunate to be able to listen to the key speakers, which included a representative from Age UK, a superintendent from the City of London and our very own Vice Chancellor Professor John Vinney. We also had the chance to hear from Conor Burns MP, who hosted the event. We certainly benefitted from listening to and getting involved in great conversations about protecting the vulnerable from scamming, as we moved around the room.
Despite some last minute technical glitches – and an archaic alarm bell that would not cease ringing in the middle of each speech – the event was a success.
After months of planning, we were so proud to see how it all came together. We felt honoured to be representing the NCPQSW team in such a wonderful setting, and are excited to find out about future events. We hope that there will be further opportunities to get involved with events like this, however The House of Commons will sure be a tough one to out do!
We used the whole day as an opportunity to really push the social media presence of NCPQSW, and we even created a hashtag: #BUScamsAware. Being in London was certainly a great opportunity to take photos for us post our Twitter account and keep our followers updated.
We shall leave you with some interesting facts to show the scale of financial scamming and how it is being tackled:
-16 billion has been seized from criminals in the last 5 years.
-Since Nov 2016, 1,900,000 items of scam mail have been intercepted by Royal Mail.
-Call blockers like True Call can be used to help protect the most vulnerable.
For further information, see our website:
The idea of universal health insurance is high on the international agenda as it is regarded as a potential solution to offering universal health care, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Too many people across the globe have no or poor access to health care when they need it and national or local health insurance can help some populations in improving their access to health workers and health facilities.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen