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Obesity: how prejudiced is the NHS?

On Tuesday 11th May 2017 bat 21.00 hrs. Professor Rachel Batterham will be presenting the programme "Obesity: how prejudiced is the NHS?" on BBC2

Britain has a serious problem with obesity - and the medical cost is threatening to bankrupt our health service. Professor Rachel Batterham, head of the obesity services at University College Hospital and a research scientist, presents this current affairs documentary. In it, Rachel explores whether there is 'fat prejudice' against obese patients within parts of the NHS that is stopping them accessing a potentially cost-effective surgery, even when recent scientific research supports it.

Professor Batterham considers obesity to be a disease that needs specialist treatment, including weight-loss surgery, whereas many others contend that it is a lifestyle choice. She meets several NHS patients who say they were made to feel 'not worthy' and were denied life-changing bariatric surgery and other routine operations. This seems to show evidence of a bias within the health service. She also speaks to others who have tried to use the NHS weight management services, with one admitting it actually made her gain two stone. Professor Batterham speaks to bariatric surgeon Chris Pring and people that have had weight loss surgery to examine the dramatic effect gastric bypasses can have on person's lifestyle and overall health - and how it can even cure other weight-related illnesses.

In the programme, she also meets patients who are successfully using the diet and lifestyle programme called Tier 3 services, which the NHS require them to do for two whole years before being considered for surgery. Could weight loss surgery actually be a more cost-effective method of treatment for the NHS?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08mf976

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Wellcome Images Award

Ben Caplin (UCL Centre for Nephrology) was featured in an Observer article accompanying a Wellcome Images Award winning photograph highlighting the kidney disease affecting the rural population of Nicaragua.

Over the past two decades, there has been a marked increase in deaths from kidney failure across Central America due to an unknown cause. This condition, termed Mesoamerican nephropathy, is reaching epidemic proportions. It is now the leading cause of death amongst working age men in Nicaragua and is devastating the rural communities in the region where treatments for kidney failure such as dialysis or transplantation are unavailable.

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H2020 Success for UCL & Division of Medicine

 UCL researchers have been awarded a prestigious EU H2020 TEAMING grant, in collaboration with a consortium of Portuguese Universities led by Prof Rui Reis at the University of Minho. The UCL team is led by Prof Jonathan Knowles, UCL Eastman Dental Institute. The other UCL investigators include Richard Day (Division of Medicine), Ivan Wall (Department of Biochemical Engineering), Giampietro Schiavo (Institute of Neurology), Andreas Schätzlein (School of Pharmacy), Vivek Mudera (Division of Surgery), Tim McHugh (Division of Infection and Immunity), Jane Kinghorn (Translational Research Office). The total value of the EU H2020 grant is €15M, of which UCL have been awarded €5.1M as part of the scheme. Portuguese partners will leverage additional national funding to an impressive total of around €100M over the 7 years duration of the grant. A key overarching focus for the TEAMING award will be to capture and accelerate clinical, innovation and enterprise activities.

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Maximizing the health benefits obtained from bariatric surgery

 Professor Rachel Batterham has been awarded the prestigious Sir Jules Thorn Award for Biomedical Award (£1,423 625) for 2016. This award supports a 5-year programme of translational biomedical research and was awarded following a competition among applicants sponsored by leading UK medical schools and NHS organisations.  Rachel’s programme of research entitled “Maximising the health benefits of bariatric surgery”  will utilise a precision medicine based approach to managing people with obesity based on deep phenotyping coupled with ‘omics’. Given the associated surgical risks and the severely restricted access to surgery the UK (<1% of eligible patients), maximizing the health benefits obtained from bariatric surgery is a key area of unmet clinical need. Rachel’s work will address this by undertaking clinical studies to

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Professor David Isenberg ACR Master 2016

We are pleased to announce that Professor David Isenberg has been recognised as a Master of the American College of Rheumatology.  

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Professor Oliver Wrong's Archive

The Wellcome Trust has catalogued the extensive archive of research notes and papers of Emeritus Professor Oliver Wrong, the eminent nephrologist, who died in 2012, making them available for use by researchers in the field.

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NIHR Research Professorship

Professor Rachel Batterham has been appointed a NIHR Research Professorship.

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Andre Mayer Award

Professor Rachel Batterham receiving the Andre Mayer Award for outstanding research in the field of obesity at the International Congress of Obesity in Vancouver in May.

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New Chair Cheltenham Science Festival

Professor Mark Lythgoe(UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging) has been announced as the new Chair of the Times Cheltenham Science Festival.

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Dean's Research Prize 2016

Students in the Division of Medicine took several prizes at the Faculty of Medical Sciences’ fourth annual Dean's Research Prize held on 11th February 2016: 

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Athena Swan - Celebrating International Women's Day 

The Division of Medicine’s Athena SWAN team led by Dr Jenny Rohn (Research Department of Nephrology, Royal Free) hosted a special event to mark International Women’s Day on Friday 11th March. 

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Wellcome Trust Strategic Award in Functional Neuromics

 A consortium of five WIBR scientists together with collaborators at Oxford and the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, has been awarded £4M by the Wellcome Trust to study neural circuits in the mammalian brain (“Functional neuromics of the cerebral cortex”).  read more

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In2scienceUK Summer Internship 2015

In2scienceUK is a UCL-backed social enterprise which assists talented A-level students from underprivileged backgrounds in applying for STEM degrees at university.  

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A Smartphone Tool to Reduce Alcohol Use and Admissions in Alcoholic Liver Disease

Gautam Mehta, Kevin Moore and Rajiv Jalan, in collaboration with Cyberliver Ltd. have obtained a grant (£75K) from the Health Foundation to test a smartphone based app, to deliver brief interventions and prevent re-admission in patients with alcohol liver disease. This exciting approach will have a national press launch from the Health Foundation on the 20th April. Cyberliver Ltd. Is a startup founded by Jalan and colleagues with the aim of building a platform for the remote management of patients with liver disease. 

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