'Expert opinion' news articles
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Posted Monday 20 May 2013
Patients with bowel cancer - the third most commonly diagnosed form in the United Kingdom - could enjoy increased survival rates as a result of a new study led by an expert from Kingston University. Professor Helmout Modjtahedi is heading an investigation examining why some tumours are hard to treat and how they can be targeted with the most effective therapies.
During the study, specimens from patients with tumours of the colon or rectum, known as colorectal or bowel cancer, will be examined for biomarkers - proteins on the surface of cells. This would help pinpoint which individuals were most likely to benefit from specific therapies, particularly two new antibody-based drugs, Professor Modjtahedi said. Since the drugs cost tens of thousands of pounds a year, targeting their use would help health authorities reduce costs, while patients who would not benefit from them could be spared the trauma of unnecessary treatment and offered an alternative therapy instead....
Posted Wednesday 8 May 2013
Britain's current economic woes are putting vulnerable children and families under growing pressure and social workers have a crucial role to play in helping them cope, according to a senior academic from Kingston University and St George's, University of London.
Professor Hilary Tompsett, from Kingston and St George's Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, was speaking after joining the governing board of the new College of Social Work. A registered social worker with more than 25 years' experience specialising in children and families, mental health and older care as both a practitioner and educator, Professor Tompsett was one of four new board members chosen by the College in its first elections in February....
Posted Wednesday 8 May 2013
A group of historians and scientists is about to embark on a major project to scrutinise the role of British women in science. They will focus on finding and assessing the careers of scientific women who may not have received credit or recognition for their work. The £33k project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and run jointly by Kingston University, University of Liverpool, the Royal Society and the Rothschild Archive London, aims to examine how women were involved in scientific societies between the years 1830 to 2012 and look at how that can inform policy today.
It will involve the establishment of a network of academics to gain a better understanding of how historical perspectives might impact future education policy making. Recent statistics show that only a third of science, technology, engineering and maths students in Britain are female and just 11 per cent of senior positions in science are held by women. "Women's unequal participation in science subjects at all levels, both in education, academia and in industry, is currently receiving close attention from policy makers, educationalists and social commentators," project leader Dr Susan Hawkins, a senior history lecturer from Kingston University, said. "Part of the purpose of our work will be to closely examine data on women in science in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The hope is that by looking at women's relationship with science in the past, we can pinpoint ways to encourage young women to participate more fully in the subject."...
Posted Friday 3 May 2013
Kingston University has appointed four leading figures from the worlds of art and design as professors and research fellows.
Internationally-acclaimed design academic Daniel Charny, who curated one of the most popular exhibitions at London's V&A Museum, has become a Professor of Design at the University. He has been joined by installation artist Mike Nelson, twice nominated for the Turner Prize, who has been made Professor of Fine Art. Meanwhile, interior designer Ben Kelly and product designer Marloes ten Bhömer have been appointed research fellows. All are based at the University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture....
Posted Thursday 2 May 2013
Attorney General Dominic Grieve has highlighted the importance of the way in which vulnerable witnesses are questioned at a special reception to mark the launch of a new website called The Advocate's Gateway, which brings together best practice in the area.
The brainchild of Kingston University Law Professor Penny Cooper and researchers Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson of Lexicon Limited, the site is designed to improve lawyers' questioning of vulnerable witnesses and defendants. The launch comes in the aftermath of such high-profile cases as the sexual abuse allegations against broadcaster Jimmy Savile, the abduction of April Jones, the Gary McKinnon Asperger's case and the murder of a British family in the French Alps - all of which involved child witnesses or adults with special needs....
Posted Thursday 2 May 2013
An expert in the palliative care of people with learning disabilities has taken up a new role at Kingston University and St George's, University of London.
Dr Irene Tuffrey-Wijne has been appointed a senior research fellow at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, run jointly by Kingston and St George's.
Dr Tuffrey-Wijne's research surrounds improving the end-of-life care of people with learning disabilities. In her new role she will continue work started in her previous position as a research fellow at St George's. She is currently finishing a two-year National Institute for Health Research-funded study into the factors affecting the safety of patients with learning disabilities in NHS hospitals.
Dr Tuffrey-Wijne, who was a nurse before beginning her research career at St George's in 2005, intends to undertake subsequent research leading from the results of the current study. She expects future research to be informed by recommendations made by the Francis report into the failings of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and by the findings of the Confidential Inquiry into Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities, both of which were published in March 2013.
"I'm delighted to be here," said Dr Tuffery-Wijne. "It's nice to be based within a faculty that teaches nursing.
"It's important to me that all my research is clinically grounded and maintains patient involvement, and the faculty is the perfect place to do that. Whenever I begin planning a new piece of research, I ask myself: ‘What's the point? How will this benefit people with learning disabilities and carers?' It is crucial to me that our research outcomes are communicated and accessible to the people who are affected by it. For this reason, we always involve co-researchers with learning disabilities in all stages of the research process."
In addition to her research, Dr Tuffrey-Wijne runs the Palliative Care for People with Learning Disabilities Network, which raises awareness of the palliative care needs of people with learning disabilities, provides a platform to share best practice, and enhances collaboration between service providers, carers and people with a learning disability.
Irene has written several books, including new guidelines on how to break bad news to people with learning disabilities. She is also a co-author of Books Beyond Words, a series of picture books designed to help people with learning disabilities navigate potentially challenging life situations. She collaborated on several Books Beyond Words titles with Baroness Hollins, professor of the psychiatry of learning disability at St George's.
Posted Friday 26 April 2013
An academic who became the world's first cyborg - part human and part machine - when a device was implanted into his arm was in the spotlight at a Kingston University-organised Café Scientifique session on 30 April.
Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, revealed how humans could improve their abilities, particularly intelligence, with implants turning them into cyborgs. Such is Professor Warwick's dedication to his subject that, in 1998, he underwent an operation to surgically implant a silicon chip in his forearm that allowed him to operate doors, lights and computers without touching them. A later experiment looked at how a new implant could send signals between his nervous system and a computer, while a more recent trial involved putting a chip in his wife Irena's arm to see if he could transmit movement, thought and emotion to her using a computer.
Professor Warwick was the first speaker from outside Kingston University to host the monthly Café Scientifique event, which gives members of the public a chance to debate advances with experts in an informal session away from laboratories and lecture theatres. He said his work had a practical application helping people with disabilities regain control of their limbs or senses but said everyone could potentially stand to benefit. "In the first instance these developments may have military uses or appeal to ‘geeks' who simply like to be the first to try something new, but there's a need for people in general to accept what's available and move the parameters in their minds about what's possible," Professor Warwick added.
He dismissed suggestions that his research was gimmicky or went against the laws of nature. "It's science, not science fiction," he stressed. "We wouldn't fly, drive cars or take aspirin if we didn't like messing with nature. This is just a different example of that - it's very exciting to look at the possibilities for improving our range of senses."
Café Scientifique has spread to more than 40 towns and cities around the United Kingdom since it started in Leeds in 1998. The idea is based on Café Philosophique, which philosopher Marc Sautet launched in France in 1992.
Posted Wednesday 10 April 2013
The political future of Iraq has been the subject of impassioned debate at this year's Kingston University Human Rights Festival.
The festival, which got under way in March and coincides with the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, opened with an event focusing on the United States' military detention system in the early years of the war in the Middle Eastern nation. The session also explored questions about the legality of the invasion itself and considered what lay in store for the country in years to come.
Human rights PhD student Peter Finn, who has helped organise the festival, said it was important to understand what happened in Iraq from a human rights' perspective. "There are still so many questions today about whether the invasion was legal and whether or not the British public was told the truth by politicians in connection with what went on," Mr Finn said. "The festival has given us the chance to examine those issues in detail and look at the current state of Iraqi politics and how they might evolve in the future."
Speakers at a session entitled Iraq, 10 Years On: Invasion, Conflict and Human Rights included Colonel David Benest, a retired member of the British Army who has written about counter-insurgency and human rights; Ian Cobain, a journalist for The Guardian and author of Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture; and renowned Iraqi lawyer and commentator Sabah Al-Mukhtar.
Sudan has also featured on the festival programme. Former United Nations Sudan chief Dr Mukesh Kapila reflected on his experiences in Darfur at a time when he attempted to alert the world to unfolding genocide. "The events in Sudan are perhaps even more horrific than what's gone in Iraq recently," Mr Finn explained. "Both discussions gave people an ideal forum to consider exactly what has transpired."
The annual festival is being co-ordinated by Professor Philip Spencer from the University's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Other events in the pipeline include talks about the exploitation of natural resources and modern day slavery and an exhibition about the trafficking of children in West Africa.
- Find out more about the Human Rights Festival at Kingston University. Events are free and open to the public.
- Find out more about studying human rights at Kingston University.