Do we really need the Medical Innovation ‘Saatchi’ Bill? I’m unconvinced.

If I were a Member of Parliament (MP) voting today on the Medical Innovation Bill – otherwise known as the Saatchi Bill – then, at best, I would be abstaining.  That sounds like a cop-out but please read on. The Bill is named after its sponsor in Parliament, Lord Maurice Saatchi whose wife died of ovarian […]

Thoughts on some of the latest health research stories in the media

I hope you have had a good Easter weekend. There have been three health research stories in the last week that have caught my attention.  Each story is significant in its own right.  But they also share a common theme around the importance of public participation in research. First up is the research published by King’s College […]

The medical marathon; a piece to mark the #LondonMarathon2014

What is, I wonder, the equivalent of Noel Coward’s lyric ‘only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,’ which might encapsulate the phenomenon that is the Virgin Money London Marathon? This morning tens of thousands of runners will set out from Greenwich Park as they do every year with high hopes of finishing two, three, four […]

How to lead an evidence-based lifestyle? For free. Plus goody bag!! @CASPUK

Cochrane UK and the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) are running a series of free ‘understanding research’ workshops for the public. Actually they are about how to use research and evidence in personal and professional decision-making.  Now, if only this course had been run twenty years ago……… Anyway, the first one is in Oxford on 14th […]

Patients hack medical research in planned attack

Hacking in this context is what we call ‘bringing people with different views and skills together to work on problems.’ [Sorry to disappoint the headline chasers but I hope you'll stay with me] And ‘hackathons’ – events where such hacking activity can take place – are increasingly common across the health arena as a means of solving problems. In […]

Speech: Public involvement in dementia research after the G8

I didn’t say all of this in this way but I think you will get the gist! Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network – Glasgow, 24th March 2014 The importance of public involvement in health research Welcome and introduction Explain the roles I have as Chair, INVOLVE and National Director – role to ensure patient and […]

Fight the good fight: medical research charity advertising slogans

Over the last few months, I have been noting down charity advertising copy as I go about London. Here are ten. Notice any trends? Diagnosed with blood cancer, Chloe only has one hope…YOU. Text HOPE…. Anthony Nolan Trust 2013 Elliot is deafblind. He can’t tell it’s Christmas. Text TOY to….Sense Help us beat cancer sooner […]

Form, function and the politics of lay summaries in health research

One of my favourite news stories from a while back is about the Chinese deciding to train and employ 10,000 science communicators to travel the country and spread the message. I mean, that’s the way to do it, that’s what you call really putting your weight behind something isn’t it? It’s what one might term […]

The top 10 perils of public speaking…by a speaker

I adore public speaking.  I feel very privileged when asked to share my passion for my subject.  I enjoy hearing the insights and the worldly wisdom of others; I enjoy an audience’s company even though it may only be for a short time. I am sure we have all read articles entitled ‘Top ten tips for public speaking.’  […]

NIHR Friday: BioResource launch has volunteers at its heart

Delighted to see today’s announcement by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) of the new NIHR BioResource.  The importance of the new BioResource (the main website for the BioResource is here) is underlined by the fact that not one Minister but both the Secretary of State for Health, Minister for Health plus the Chief Medical Officer, Professor […]

Untold stories in clinical research: the carer’s tale

When asked, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will tell you that 630,000 people took part in a clinical study last year. I wonder, however, whether that number should be raised to nearer one million*. For alongside many participants during their journey in research, walks a mother, father, brother, sister or significant other. One […]

Is your public engagement project a winner? New competition.

Good morning all. I am posting this as one of the judges. This is what the blurb says and the link is at the end. NCCPE Engage Competition 2014 The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement has launched a UK competition to celebrate public engagement with research. The Engage competition is open for entries until […]

Vote in the People’s Choice Award for best plain English summary of a science paper #A2Ucomp

Originally posted on simon denegri's lay review:
I am delighted to announce that, as part of the Europe PubMed Central/British Library Access to Understanding competition, we are asking the public to vote in a People’s Choice award for the best summary of a scientific paper written for a public audience. The 10 best summaries out of a field…

Tales of Government Tsardom

Another train journey and an opportunity to read around the subject as they say.  This time something from late last year by Professor Ken Young and Professor Ruth Levitt at King’s on developing a code of practice for Government Tsars. Several hundred high-profile Tsars have been appointed by Government since 1997.  Two years into my own lower-league […]

Snakes and crocodiles in health research: who’s eating who?

Some of you may have seen yesterday’s story of the snake eating the crocodile after a five hour duel. If only these magnificent animals had learnt to count to ten they might now be sipping sherries together, by the swamp, dressed in shades and taking selfies. Health, social care and research organisations would do well […]

Vote in the People’s Choice Award for best plain English summary of a science paper #A2Ucomp

I am delighted to announce that, as part of the Europe PubMed Central/British Library Access to Understanding competition, we are asking the public to vote in a People’s Choice award for the best summary of a scientific paper written for a public audience. The 10 best summaries out of a field of hundreds has already been selected by myself […]

NICE makes bold intervention on clinical trials and children

It is great to see our drugs watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), make such a bold statement today that all children and young people with cancer should be given the opportunity to take part in clinical trials and research. The statement, which is one of seven making up NICE’s ‘Quality […]

Are our charities playing ‘hunger games’ with the evidence?

I am somewhat perturbed by the countless similarities between the dangerous smog engulfing Beijing and our own experience of a cloud without a silver lining.  I mean, of course, care.data. Leaders wearing face-masks telling people that everything is alright while shops and schools are closed. A lack of light. Stunted crops that serve as a wilting metaphor for […]