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Spotlight: Janine Doughty

This month we welcome Dr Janine Doughty to Spotlight, previously an Academic Clinical Fellow in Special Care Dentistry at the Eastman Dental Hospital (UCLH) and currently a Doctoral Research Fellowship funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

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Occupational pensions: a question of social class?

Workers from the most advantaged social backgrounds are six times more likely than their least advantaged counterparts to be a member of an occupational pension scheme. In a new Working Paper from the ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies researchers Myer Glickman, Mel Bartley and David Blane use information from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings to look at the variation in pension scheme membership between people from different social classes. 

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Time limits on social media

Girls who spend a lot of time on social media may become less happy and have increased social and emotional problems as they move into adolescence. That’s according to new findings from research looking at age trends for social media use for 10-15 year-old boys and girls in the UK.

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Domestic violence affects a quarter of UK women: the role of sexual health practitioners

Domestic violence and abuse violates human rights and is a major public health issue with gynaecological and sexual health problems being amongst the most common. Dr Neha Pathak (Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellow at IEHC) has recently authored three publications on enquiry in sexual health clinics for a special issue of BMJ STI. Listen to her speak on this BMJ STI podcast discussing the research and clinical implications with Editor-in-Chief, Jackie Cassell, and domestic violence expert/co-author, Prof Gene Feder:

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International Centre for Lifecourse Studies gets animated!

The research team at the International Centre for Lifecourse Studies has been getting animated in a bid to promote its special brand of science and explain how life gets under our skin. The Centre, with the help of Cognitive Media, has produced a short animated film (see below) showing how its research uses longitudinal studies to examine how people’s social circumstances and biology intertwine over their lives and impact on their health.

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UCL Graduation March 2018

It was a huge privilege for Prof Annie Britton and Prof Jenny Mindell to watch so many students from IEHC be awarded their degrees. The Graduation Ceremony was held in The Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank and presided by vice-provost, Lori Houlihan. Family and friends beamed as Professor Graham Hart presented our graduands on behalf of the Faculty of Population Health and gave a heart-felt speech about the pride we share in our students and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

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North-south divide revealed as prescription of opioid drugs rise

The prescription of opioid drugs by GPs in England is steadily rising, especially in more deprived communities, even though they can cause complications and adverse effects and have not been proven to work for chronic pain, finds a new study led by UCL and UCLH.

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Daisy Fancourt, BBC New Generation Thinker

Back in March 2017 Daisy Fancourt (UCL's Research Department of Behavioral Science and Health) was selected from hundreds of applicants after a nationwide search by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the best academic ideas with the potential to be shared through broadcast. Daisy has become one of the BBC’s New Generation Thinkers, who were invited to go on to make programmes for Radio 3, BBC Four and other outlets. 

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Mortality, morbidity and the burden of disease at the margins

Professor Andrew Hayward, Director, UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care gave a presentation on "Mortality, morbidity and the burden of disease at the margins" at the UK Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health’s sixth annual symposium on health, homelessness and multiple exclusion.

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2018 Round of Prince Mahidol Fellowship Awards

The UCL Marmot Prince Mahidol Fellowships are available to researchers who are committed to reducing inequalities in health within their countries. Applicants are likely to have completed doctoral training by the time of entry into the program in one of a variety of fields including, but not limited to, behavioural and social sciences, biomedical sciences, health professions and public policy. The flexibility of the program is designed to ensure inclusiveness and maximize the benefits reaped from the available resources.

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CanTest Population Research Catalyst award

Yoryos Lyratzopoulos and the ECHO Research Group are leading the UCL component of a 5-year £5,000,000 multi-institutional grant from Cancer Research UK. It involves another 3 UK institutions (Cambridge, Exeter and Leeds) and 4 international partners in Melbourne (Australia), Seattle (U.S.), Houston (U.S.) and Aarhus (Denmark).

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International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) Phase 2

The Epidemiology of Cancer Healthcare and Outcomes (ECHO) Research Group led by Yoryos Lyratzopoulos (Behavioural Science and Health) has been awarded a 2 year grant for £360,000 jointly with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for the ICBP Cancer Patient Care Pathways module. It will examine variations in care pathways to diagnosis and treatment across jurisdictions studied by the ICBP in 8 countries and 3 continents.

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Artificial sweeteners in health and obesity

Clare Llewellyn (Behavioural Science and Health) is part of an Horizon 2020 consortium that has been awarded €8,987,597 over 5 years to examine the role of non-nutritive sweeteners (artificial sweeteners) in health and obesity.

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Tobacco and Alcohol Research

Lion Shahab and Jamie Brown together with international collaborators have been awarded £100,467 by Cancer Research UK to investigate the comparative toxicological and psychopharmacological risk profile of novel so called heat-not-burn products, e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes until the end of 2019.  This cross-sectional, cross-over study will be the first independent study to assess these tobacco industry products which have only recently come to market in the UK.

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Advancing survival after cancer: Outcomes Trial (ASCOT)

The ASCOT trial led by Abi Fisher (Behavioural Science and Health) and Rebecca Beeken (University of Leeds) has been awarded an additional £188,892 by Cancer Research UK to continue the study until the end of 2018. The trial has randomised 1,150 survivors of breast, prostate and colorectal cancer to brief behavioural advice about healthy lifestyles versus usual care, with initial follow-up assessments at 3 and 6 months. In addition radiographer Nickola Pallin has been awarded a CRUK Predoctoral Fellowship to work with Abi and Rebecca to explore the feasibility of training radiographers to provide lifestyle advice to cancer patients.

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Discrimination and Health

Andrew Steptoe and Sarah Jackson (Behavioural Science and Health) have been awarded £159,000 by the ESRC through the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative for a study of the health impact of discrimination from a variety of sources, including age, disability, nationality and body weight.

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English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) directed by Andrew Steptoe has received additional funding of £2,215,045 from the Departments of Work and Pensions, Health and Social Care, Transport, and the ESRC to support Wave 9 of data collection (2018-2020). This will add to existing funds from the National Institute on Aging to ensure that Wave 9 will include full interviews with existing study members and a refreshment sample, nurse visits to assess biomarkers, and an online nutritional assessment.

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Spotlight: Joana Morrison

This month IEHC talks to Joana Morrsion who is a Research Associate within the Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH). Joana helps organise the hugely popular EPH guest speaker seminars and explains why the seminars are so important to everyone in IEHC and across UCL.

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Retirement influences verbal memory - published in the European Journal of Epidemiology

Dr Baowen Xue and colleagues examined whether retirement can influence cognitive decline. Using the British Whitehall II occupational cohort study, they found that declines in verbal memory were 38% faster after retirement compared to before, after taking account of age-related decline. They also found that higher employment grade was protective against verbal memory decline while people were still working, but this ‘protective effect’ was lost when individuals retired, resulting in a similar rate of decline post-retirement across employment grades.  Open access link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-017-0347-7

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ICLS continues to champion the Lifecourse sciences

The ESRC funded International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health (ICLS) is a multi-disciplinary research Centre, bridging the social and biological sciences that was set up in January 2008 by Professor Mel Bartley. Professor Amanda Sacker took over as Director for the next phase of the Centre from January  2013 to March 2018 .    We are pleased to say that the centre will continue for another 3 years after having won ESRC transition funding. Professor Yvonne Kelly will be stepping into Prof Amanda Sackers’ shoes as Centre Director for this new phase which will focus on developing the impact of the research generated thus far.

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Successful bid for the first stage of EU’s Horizon 2020 “Teaming” programme

Prof Martin Bobak and Dr Hynek Pikhart (Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health) are partners in a successful bid for the first stage of EU’s Horizon 2020 “Teaming” programme. The project, which began on 1st September 2017, is led by the Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. The main objective is to develop new research capacity in the cross-cutting area of Environment and Health in Central and Eastern Europe. The first stage of funding provides one year of financial support for the preparation of the main application. The kick-off meeting was held on 6 November 2017.

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