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NIHR reaches its tenth anniversary

Posted on July 6th 2016

This year has seen the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) reach its tenth anniversary. A report by the Policy Research in Science and Medicine (PRiSM) unit was commissioned by the Department of Health to consider the question: “What are the ways in which NIHR has benefited the health research landscape of the past ten years?”

The report identifies 100 examples of positive change and impact resulting from the ten years of NIHR support and we are delighted that three PenCLAHRC projects have been included.

This is the first time examples of the breadth of the NIHR’s impact has been reported in a single resource. It is hoped that this reflection of the NIHR’s work will be of use to healthcare professionals, academics working within the sector and members of the public wishing to understand the value of research in the NHS.

Reflecting the impact and importance of the work carried out by PenCLAHRC, the three projects included in the report are highlighted below, or you can read a copy of the full report.


Making the best of an old drug: how tranexamic acid is saving lives around the world

This PenCLAHRC project, working in partnership with the South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST) and various acute trusts across the region, saw the introduction of the use of a blood clotting drug for use by paramedics, nurses and doctors.

Tranexamic Acid (TXA) is a cost-effective blood-clotting treatment that benefits patients with traumatic haemorrhage and, if administered within the first hour following injury, has been shown to reduce the risk of death due to bleeding by one third.

Due to the success of this project, all ambulance services in England are now using TXA and recommendations for use have been included in the National Guidelines for the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee for use across the UK.

You can read more about this project by visiting our project page.


Speeding up access to vital clot-busting stroke therapies via operational research

A recent PenCHORD project saw the team create a computer simulation to explore how patients who have suffered a stroke are managed between arrival at hospital and receiving treatment.

For patients whose stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischaemic stroke) the speed with which they receive emergency treatment is crucial.  Administering clot-busting drugs as quickly as possible can limit the chances of brain damage and reduce the likelihood of a disability.

The team were able to use a detailed computer simulation to replicate the treatment pathway patients took and to explore a range of different scenarios. From this, the team identified and implemented simple changes, which sped up the process of patient treatment.

Since the new findings were implemented at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E), the number of people receiving clot-busting medication after a stroke has tripled and the average time it takes to deliver the treatment has halved.

To find out more about this project, please visit our website.


Appraising the environmental risks of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure in humans

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce polycarbonate plastics that are employed in the manufacturing of food and drink containers as well as other products. BPA is absorbed by humans and BPA metabolites are excreted in urine, however, the chemical is detectable in the majority of the human population.

A PenCLAHRC research project has demonstrated that the presence of BPA in the body is associated with hormonal imbalance and coronary heart disease. As a result of this project, the research has informed a public health debate both in the UK and abroad and now, a number of regulatory authorities worldwide are tackling the need to reduce BPA residues in food and drink.

The original article, 'Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults', is available to read online.

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