MRes Science Project Titles 2015/16 School of Health Sciences and Social Work, University of Portsmouth

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1 MRes Science Project Titles 2015/16 School of Health Sciences and Social Work, University of Portsmouth The Master of Research (MRes) Science course is a postgraduate course that will provide applicants with an excellent opportunity to focus their research interests on one or two areas of science whilst also giving them the opportunity to work towards being able to translate their learning into research related outputs (e.g. submission for a peer reviewed publication, peer reviewed research / knowledge transfer grant application, presentations). The MRes Science can be studied either full time (one year) or part time (two years) and will enable students to develop a wide variety of skills, experience and competence throughout their studies. The MRes will provide a thorough grounding should students consider moving towards Doctoral (PhD) students, or pursue research related activities as a career. Further information can be obtained at The projects for the September 2015 or January 2016 intakes are shown below: Evaluating specialist rehabilitation interventions for older visually impaired people: Dr John Crossland There are major gaps in the evidence base supporting the traditional community based interventions employed by specialist rehabilitation workers with visually impaired people. In particular we know very little about how these interventions impact upon older people living with sight loss for whom visual impairment may be just one of a number of age related long term conditions they are experiencing. Potential students could develop any aspect of this research area into an MRes project. Fish oils for cancer cachexia (extreme weight loss) - Cochrane Systematic Review update Dr Ann Dewey The current Cochrane Systematic Review is due to be updated. You would be required to follow Cochrane guidance for updating a systematic review which will include a thorough and systematic search of all literature, quality assessment of all potential studies to include, extraction, analysis and subsequent write up of findings for both clinical and research outcomes. The outcome would be a published updated systematic review for which you would be the lead author. The current 1

2 systematic review can be found at New approaches to measuring Quality of Life (QOL) in older people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Dr Robert Lewis, Associate Department of Renal Medicine, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust There are a number of validated measures of QOL currently available. All of these use a questionnaire format and are quantified using tick boxes or visual analogue scales. To complete these questionnaires assumes a certain level of cognitive function and it is well-recognised that older people with advanced CKD frequently have a cognitive deficit. It may be possible to improve the gathering of QOL data in this cohort using a Pictorial Representation of Illness and Self Measure (PRISM) system, but this approach has never been validated. A PRISM system is available as an app using a computer tablet and this it is being adapted for use as a measure of QOL in older people with CKD. Once prepared, it will need to be tested in a clinical environment and compared to existing validated tools. This project therefore requires the researcher to attend the renal unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital and use the PRISM on a cohort of suitable patients. The results will be collated and compared to the existing gold standard. A qualitative assessment of the suitability of the PRISM system to the clinical environment will also be required. Is there a useful clinical correlation between bipolar length, cortical thickness and Cystatin C in people over the age of 75 years? Dr Robert Lewis, Associate Department of Renal Medicine, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust This project will contribute to our understanding of factors associated with the clinical utility of diagnostic imaging in the context of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and will be conducted with our Associate Department of Renal Medicine at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The project will undertake following activities: (1)Literature review of correlations between diagnostic imaging and renal function (2) Literature review of correlations between cortical thickness and bipolar length and cortical thickness and renal function (3) Literature review of correlations between cortical thickness and bipolar length and age (4) Undertake multivariate analysis of secondary data from service statistics including egfr, bipolar length and age. 2

3 One child families in developing countries: determinants and consequences. One child households is increasing in many developing countries (over 10%) indicating a significant shift in fertility behaviour. This project will investigate motivation of couples to voluntarily limit number of children to one. The project will also examine the impact of one child families on the children, their families and to the wider community. Policy implications will form a significant component of the project. Unintended consequences: can family planning and child survival programmes increase childhood morbidity and trap the poor in poverty? The main aim of this research is to examine potential effects family planning and child survival on poverty in developing countries, particularly among the poorest poor. It is hypothesises that family planning and Child Survival programmes make it possible for newborns with congenital and acquired medical conditions to survive but experience recurring morbidity during childhood leading to a burden of medical and opportunity cost to the family, further trapping the poor in poverty and impoverishing others. Access to essential medicines in developing countries This project will investigate inequalities in access to medicine in resource poor settings. It will further study factors associated with access and propose potential remedies for increasing access. The focus of the project will be on essential medicines listed by WHO. Health system inequalities in developing countries 3

4 This project will study health systems in the context of epidemiological transition and will address questions such as whether health systems are capable of addressing new and emerging health problems of transition and post transition societies. Control of seizures in hypoxic ischaemic cardiac arrest survivors: A systematic review Dr David Pogson, Associate Department of Critical Care, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust There have been improvements in the survival of patients who suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital since the advent of therapeutic hypothermia. A significant number of survivors require ongoing intensive care for persisting coma due to seizures caused by hypoxic ischaemic brain damage. This project would systematically review research evidence to ascertain which anticonvulsant or combination therapy has the greatest utility in terminating seizures whilst avoiding confounding the prognostication of neurological recovery in the context of other organ failures. What is the optimal electrical stimulation pattern required to obtain the best (sustained, beneficial) neuromuscular response from a surface electromechanical stimulator Dr David Pogson, Associate Department of Critical Care, QA Hospital Critical Care Polymyoneuropathy is responsible for significant post ICU admission co-morbidity. There has been some data to suggest that using neuromuscular electromechanical stimulation (NMES) of skeletal muscle contraction may enhance early rehabilitation to promote and enhance exercise capacity and functional reserve on patient discharge. However, it is not entirely clear what stimulation pattern will promote the most beneficial isometric artificial activation of motor units taking into account the development of fatigue. This project will involve (1) a systematic review of the literature regarding motor unit recruitment during surface NMES to determine whether there is an optimal stimulation pattern (amplitude, frequency, pulse duration, pulse cycle, stimulation time, exercise frequency, etc.) to obtain the greatest sustained benefits from artificial skeletal muscle contraction, (2) liaison with manufacturing to develop a re-usable (infection control approved) lower limb (buttock, quads/hamstrings, gastrocnemius) surface NMES to use in a future RCT implementing the technology in critical care patients An analysis of child deaths and serious injuries as a result of road traffic accidents in Portsmouth. 4

5 Dr Isobel Ryder The project will contribute to our understanding of factors associated with serious injuries and deaths in children as a result of road traffic accidents (RTAs) within the city of Portsmouth. The project will undertake following activities: 1. Literature review of physical, environmental, social and other factors associated with serious injuries and deaths in children as a result of RTAs in the UK. 2. Undertake multivariate analysis of secondary data from local statistics and health records in relation to serious injuries in children following RTA in Portsmouth postcodes over one year. 3. Undertake multivariate analysis of secondary data from local statistics and health records in relation to deaths in children following RTA in Portsmouth postcodes over one year. Gaze control during clinical interpersonal interactions and scene assessment Dr Isobel Ryder and Dr Mick Harper Gaze control during communication with others, clinical interpersonal interactions and scene assessment can be crucial in developing new ways of teaching and learning - Research in this area will seek to examine how one person interacts with another or their surroundings. For example you may decide to research real-time clinical situations (in our simulation suite, surrounding areas or university classrooms) in order to understand the mechanisms of gaze control that occur during patient examination and assessment or scene assessment. These projects will contribute to our understanding of behavioural factors associated with responses to how we prioritise our actions, for example the recognition and management of the deteriorating patient, or to a range of specific emergency situations and could be conducted in simulation with novice and experienced students. Sleep disorders in adults with Down syndrome across the age range - an important but neglected aspect of their healthcare needs Dr Rebecca Stores There is ample evidence that persistent sleep disturbance has harmful psychological and medical effects. Such disturbance is common in the general population but certain groups are at particularly high risk including people with a learning disability. Inevitably this adds significantly to their already increased healthcare needs. The 5

6 common intellectually disabling condition of Down syndrome is a case in point. Some preliminary surveys of sleep disorders in children with this syndrome have been conducted but little is known about such disorders in adults (especially older adults) with this condition. The aim of this project is to collect information using reliable survey methods about the nature of the sleep disorders in adults with Down syndrome across the age range. The results can be expected to provide insights into the types of sleep disorder treatments needed in the expectation that such treatment will bring about improvements in the individuals and carers well being. Employee commitment, productivity and trust within NHS Chris Wells Factors affecting employee commitment, productivity and trust within NHS organisations; professionalism and attitudes, and public sector healthcare employment. Issues of efficiency and effectiveness require the development of partnerships and robust co-ordination between stakeholders. This project will consider the human factors that surround effective engagement within the NHS, exploring how this may impact on successful collaborative working. Palliative nutrition/hydration in adult acquired disorders including stroke, dementia and progressive neurological disease Kevin Borrett We also welcome enquiries from potential applicants with project ideas of their own that are allied to our research themes as detailed on our research and staff web pages. If you have a potential project in mind, please contact Rebecca Stores to discuss feasibility and potential supervisors. 6

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