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UCLPartners is an academic health science work with partners across research, education and the NHS working to speed up the pathway from scientific discovery and medical innovation to clinical application in health and care.

As well as being aligned to the CLAHRC (and its imminent successor NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North Thames) it is the Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) and Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for our patch.

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Being socially active can protect against dementia

CLAHRC researcher Professor Gill Livingston among authors of research highlighting benefits of social contact

Regular contact with a friend at an older age can stave off dementia

New research published in PLOS One has shown the health benefits of being “socially active”. Using data from the WHITEHALL II study, Professor Livingston was among the authors of the paper highlighting the link between being socially active in your 50s and 60s and a lower risk of illness in later life.

WHITEHALL II tracked more than 10,000 people between 1985 to 2013, with those taking part surveyed every five years on the frequency of their social contact with friends and relatives. Participants underwent various cognitive tests, and their health records were monitored for a diagnosis of dementia.

Results showed that seeing friends almost daily at age 60 was associated with a 12% lower likelihood of developing dementia in later life, compared with those who saw only one or two friends every few months. By comparison seeing relatives did not show the same benefit.

The new evidence will be vital as part of the effort to identify lifestyle factors that affect the risk of developing dementia so that prevention efforts can be appropriately targeted.


Dr Kalpa Kharicha, Head of Innovation, Policy and Research at the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “We welcome these findings that show the benefits of frequent social contact in late/middle age on dementia risk. As we found in our Be More Us Campaign, almost half of UK adults say that their busy lives stop them from connecting with other people. It’s important we make changes to our daily lives to ensure we take the time to connect with others. We need more awareness of the benefits that social wellbeing and connectedness can have to tackle social isolation, loneliness and reduce dementia risk.”

Fiona Carragher, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There are many factors to consider before we can confirm for definite whether social isolation is a risk factor or an early sign of the condition – but this study is a step in the right direction. We are proud of supporting work which helps us understand the condition better – it is only through research that we can understand true causes of dementia and how best to prevent it.”

There has been extensive media coverage for this new research

Read the paper below

Sommerlad A, Sabia S, Singh-Manoux A, Lewis G, Livingston G (2019)

Association of social contact with dementia and cognition: 28-year follow-up of the Whitehall II cohort study.

PLoS Med 16(8): e1002862. journal.pmed.1002862


Success for Professor Deborah Swinglehurst

Professor Deborah Swinglehurst is supported by CLAHRC North Thames to investigate polypharmacy – a patient taking two or more medications – which can often mean drugs are prescribed that are not or no longer needed.

Professor Swinglehurst’s research investigates how professionals and patients organise polypharmacy, in particular, the use of multi-compartment compliance aids (MCAs or ‘dosette boxes’), and the contested evidence around their effectiveness or appropriateness for many patients.

Professor Swinglehurst, a practising GP, had her work recognised at the recent Society for Primary Care’s (SAPC) Annual Scientific Meeting in Exeter. Professor Swinglehurst, working out of Queen Mary University London, was awarded the Senior Prize for presenting her work at the meeting, which awards her a distinguished presentation slot at the NAPCRG (North America Primary Care Research Group) conference in Toronto this November.

Read Professor Swinglehursts’s abstract, entitled Organising polypharmacy: unpacking medicines, unpacking meanings

NEON short film highlights improved nutrition and feeding practices among East London’s Bangladeshi children

NEON (Nurture Early for Optimal Nutrition) is a participatory female health volunteer-led intervention to promote healthy nutrition in children of Bangladeshi origin in East London, who have a  higher risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease in later life than the average child in the UK.

Childhood nutrition can impact adult health status and the likelihood of chronic diseases such as diabetes as well as oral health complications – making it important to act early to prevent long term problems.

NEON used a proven model from South Asia where the introduction of female health workers into local women’s groups has significantly improved maternal and neonatal survival rates.

A new short film highlights the impact of the NEON approach in local communities, and the improvements it has made to nutrition and feeding practices.

Podcast features CLAHRC evidence on extended thrombectomy treatment times to improve stroke care

CLAHRC researcher Dr Elena Pizzo is featured in a new podcast hosted by the International Journal of Stroke.

Dr Pizzo (below) a health economist discusses her work to improve the treatment of stroke patients in the crucial first 24 hours after the condition strikes with Managing Editor of the Journal Carmen Lahiff-Jenkin

Ischaemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, occurring when a blood clot blocks an artery cutting blood flow to part of the brain. Stroke can lead to coma, severe disability and eventually death if not treated promptly. The podcast is based on a paper Dr Pizzo published earlier this year which demonstrated the benefit of mechanical thrombectomy performed between 6 and 24 hours in acute ischemic stroke.

Mechanical clot retrieval (thrombectomy) is an intervention to remove clots when the current medical treatment (thrombolysis) is not sufficient to dissolve them.

Current economic evidence supports the intervention only within 6 hours, but the published research showed that extended thrombectomy treatment times, of up to 24 hours, may result in better long-term outcomes for a larger cohort of patients.

In the podcast, Elena presents the results of the paper and discusses the implementation of its findings in the UK

Pizzo, E., Dumba, M., & Lobotesis, K. (2019).
Cost-utility analysis of mechanical thrombectomy between 6 and 24 hours in acute ischemic stroke.
International Journal of Stroke

New research and short film highlights benefits to patient care of mobile APP

New CLAHRC research shows the impact of the “Streams-AKI” app

Detection of one of the biggest killers in the NHS – Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) –  has been cut from hours to minutes thanks to the introduction of a new mobile app.

Working in partnership with Deepmind and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, CLAHRC researchers based at UCL evaluated the impact of the digital intervention-  an App called Streams – and the clinical pathway it underpins – on safety and clinical outcomes for inpatients at risk of AKI.

The STREAMs app sends an instant alert to NHS staff if a patients test results show they are is at risk of Acute Kidney Injury

AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage defined by changes in urine output or serum creatinine – a waste product filtered by our kidneys. AKI can affect other organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs. It is common in hospital inpatients, in intensive care units, and especially older adults. AKI is estimated to cause 40,000 deaths and cost the NHS over £1 billion every year.

We compared results between the hospital site using the app versus another site not using the app. The evaluation of Streams highlighted a significant improvement in the reliability of recognition, time to treatment and reduced costs.

A short film summarises the results of our evaluation which took place from May 2017 across the Trust.

Mary Emerson, lead nurse specialist for the patient at risk and resuscitation team, with patient Edgar Ferrante.

The short film accompanies three papers published today (July 31st)

The research generated a great deal of media coverage which included an appearance on BBC Breakfast by CLAHRC Director Professor Rosalind Raine

..and a news item on the BBC website

Read the papers below

Connell A, Raine R, Martin P, Barbosa EC, Morris S, Nightingale C, Sadeghi-Alavijeh O, King D, Karthikesalingam A, Hughes C, Back T, Ayoub K, Suleyman M, Jones G, Cross J, Stanley S, Emerson M, Merrick C, Rees G, Montgomery H, Laing C
Implementation of a Digitally Enabled Intervention to Detect and Treat Acute Kidney Injury Arising in Hospitalized Patients: Evaluation of Impact on Clinical Outcomes and Associated Health Care Costs
J Med Internet Res 2019;21(7):e13147

Connell A, Black G, Montgomery H, Martin P, Nightingale C, King D, Karthikesalingam A, Hughes C, Back T, Ayoub K, Suleyman M, Jones G, Cross J, Stanley S, Emerson M, Merrick C, Rees G, Laing C, Raine R
A Qualitative Evaluation of User Experiences of a Digitally Enabled Care Pathway in Secondary Care
J Med Internet Res 2019;21(7):e13143

Alistair Connell  Hugh Montgomery, Peter Martin Claire Nightingale Omid Sadeghi-Alavijeh, Dominic KingAlan Karthikesalingam, Cian Hughes, Trevor Back, Kareem Ayoub, Mustafa Suleyman, Gareth Jones, Jennifer Cross,
Sarah Stanley, Mary Emerson, Charles Merrick, Geraint Rees, Chris Laing and Rosalind Raine
Evaluation of a digitally-enabled care pathway for acute kidney injury management in hospital emergency admissions
npj Digital Medicine (2019) 2:67





Evaluation in Public Health and Care, Level 2 – Tuesday 5th November 2019; 09:00 – 17:00

Are you tasked with carrying out or commissioning an evaluation, but would appreciate guidance on what questions to ask, what outcomes to look for, or how to plan for an evaluation?

This one day, hands-on workshop, run by the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Academy, addresses these challenges. It is aimed at staff from NHS Trusts, CCGs and Local Authorities. By attending, you will gain expert tips on how to design an effective evaluation, and have opportunities to consult with other delegates and facilitators about information directly related to planning your evaluation.

Having attended the course, delegates will broadly be able to:

  • Develop an evaluation question
  • Apply a logic models and programme theory to address their evaluation questions and identify evaluation outcomes
  • Design a plan for conducting or commissioning an evaluation

This workshop is suitable for staff from NHS Trusts, Local Authorities and CCGs. It is not aimed at academic and/or researchers. Delegates should attend the course with an evaluation in mind. They should have previously attended our “Introduction to Evaluation” course (in person or online). As part of the course, some pre-programme preparation (approximately 3 hours) will be required.

All delegates will receive a certificate of attendance.

Cost – This course is free for staff working in NIHR CLAHRC North Thames partner organisations (please click here to see a list of our partners). There is a delegate fee of £250 for other attendees.

Registration – Please complete the registration form and email to by 5pm, 30 August 2019.

Please note, a cancellation fee of £100 will be charged to both partner and non-partner delegates in the event of non-attendance without notice after 5pm, Tuesday, 29th October 2019.

For more information please contact

Becoming Research Active: 27th November 2019; 9am – 5pm.

Are you a nurse, allied health professional, public health or local government member of staff who is interested in research or who has had some exposure to research?  Our workshop is suitable for staff from NHS Trusts, CCGs, and Local Authorities who are keen to become involved in research.

Engaging in research is a great way to address the questions that often arise in health care.  It can also play a vital role in producting new evidence and new knowledge for decision-making to improve health care.

This one day, practical workshop provides an introduction to the research process to enable NHS and local government staff to engage in research activity.  The course is run by the CLAHRC North Thames Academy, together with the Research Design Service London (east London arm) and Clinical Research Network North Thames.

This introductory level course is a first step on the journey towards becoming “research active”, either by developing your own small project or getting involved in other ways e.g. collaborating on research studies, assisting clients / patients in your care to take part in research, being a (critical) research ‘consumer’ or helping to shape research priorities, design and delivery.  We ask that participants attend the workshop with a research idea, innovation, or change that they would like to plan for, or collaborate on with researchers.

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Understand the research process, including the principles behind good research design and planning for dissemination and impact
  • Understand the different roles within a research team and identify the points at which you can become involved
  • Be able to apply criteria to judge the potential value and feasibility of a research project idea
  • Have a basic understanding of research governance and ethics requirements, and know where to find out more
  • Know how to involve patients and the public in every stage of research, and understand how it could benefit the research
  • Know how to access relevant resources or the help available across North Thames to design, plan and fund research

This workshop is not aimed at academics and/or researchers.

*e.g. you might have done a Masters level module in collecting and analysing data, or critical appraisal of research, or have helped to support research in your organisation or attended another one of our Academy courses.

All participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Cost – This course is free for staff working in NIHR CLAHRC North Thames partner organisations (a list of our partners is available on our website). There is a delegate fee of £250 for other attendees.

Venue – Central London

Registration – Please complete the registration form and email to by 5pm, Monday 20th September 2019.

Please note, a cancellation fee of £100 will be charged to both partner and non-partner delegates in the event of non-attendance without notice after 5pm on 20th November 2019.

For more information please contact

Introduction to Economic Evaluation – Tuesday 29th October 2019

Do you need to demonstrate the economic impact of projects in your organisation?

Do you want to assess the outcomes and sustainability of a new service?

Are you tasked with carrying out an economic evaluation, but don’t know where to start?

This one day, hands-on workshop aims to provide an introduction to addressing these challenges. It is run by the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Academy. The course is aimed at staff in frontline services in the NHS and local government, who have limited experience of conducting economic evaluations and decision making analysis.

After attending this course, you will have the skills and knowledge to undertake your own simple economic evaluation of a local intervention or service, and be able to appraise other evaluations.

The course will cover:

  • introduce the basic principles of economic evaluation methods
  • explain how to assess the costs of an intervention/service
  • explain how to measure and value outcomes of an intervention/service
  • give practical examples of economic evaluation analysis
  • help to understand how to use of economic evaluation in decision making
  • offer the opportunity to discuss in small groups the economic evaluation you are doing or thinking of doing. A facilitator will help scope your economic evaluation, draft its core elements, identify the data you will need to use, think how you could overcome information or data gaps. 

This workshop is suitable for staff from NHS Trusts, Local Authorities and CCGs who need to evaluate local programmes or services from an economic perspective as part of their work. It is not aimed at academics and/or researchers.

In order to be most beneficial for the participants, we invite applications from individuals who are carrying out or soon will need to carry out an economic evaluation of a service/intervention. In the selection process, we will give priority to applications providing a detailed description of such projects. Groups of people working on the same project are encouraged to apply. 

No previous knowledge of economics is required (or experience of study design and statistics), however an interest in economics and being comfortable with numbers is desirable.

All participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Cost – This course is free for staff working in NIHR CLAHRC North Thames partner organisations (please click here to see a list of our partners). There is a delegate fee of £250 for other attendees.

Registration – Please complete the registration form and email to by 5pm, Friday 23rd August 2019.

Please note, a cancellation fee of £100 will be charged to both partner and non-partner delegates in the event of non-attendance without notice after 5pm, Tuesday 22nd October 2019.

For more information please contact

Celebrating five years of CLAHRC North Thames applied health research

Over the past five years NIHR CLAHRC North Thames unique partnership of leading universities the NHS and Local Authorities, patients and industry has had a shared commitment to improving health and care and to reducing inequalities.

During the course of our work, we have identified the problems that most concern everyone across our patch ranging from poor uptake of bowel cancer screening to suboptimal asthma medication
management in school children.

We responded with innovative and high-quality applied health research that has addressed local needs and national priorities, then rapidly put findings into practice across our region and beyond. This is reflected in the volume, diversity and relevance of our research.

Highlights are captured in a new Impacts and Achievements booklet.