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  • Finger-prick autologous blood (FAB) eye drops for dry eye disease: single masked multi-dentre randomised controlled trial

    Hassan, Ali; Balal, Shafi; Cook, Erica Jane; Dehbi, Hakim-Moulay; Pardhan, Shahina; Bourne, Rupert Richard Alexander; Ahmad, Sajjad; Sharma, Anant; Moorfields Eye Hospital; UCL Institute of Ophthalmology; et al. (Dove Medial Press, 2022-12-02)
    Purpose: To investigate the quantitative and qualitative efficacy of finger-prick autologous blood (FAB) eye drops versus conventional medical therapy for the treatment of severe dry eye disease (DED). Methods: Two centre, single masked, randomised controlled trial. Sixty patients in total were recruited with thirty patients (sixty eyes) treated with FAB eye drops four times per day in addition to their conventional DED treatment, and thirty patients (fifty-eight eyes) served as control subjects on conventional treatment alone. Ocular surface disease index (OSDI), Schirmer’s test, fluorescein ocular staining grade (OCSG) Oxford schema and fluorescein tear film break-up time (TBUT), were performed at baseline, at 4 and 8 weeks. Results: OSDI scores significantly decreased in the FAB arm by greater than −17.68 (−37.67 to −2.96, p=0.02) compared to the control arm. There were greater improvements in OCSG and TBUT in the FAB arm but these were non-significant (p>0.05). Conclusion: This feasibility study demonstrates adding FAB eye drops to conventional medical therapy for DED improves mean OSDI symptom score compared to conventional medical therapy alone. It may have particular use in settings where serum is unobtainable. An adequately powered and well-designed randomised trial is needed to further evaluate the long-term clinical benefit of FAB.
  • ViMRT: a text-mining tool and search engine for automated virus mutation recognition

    Tong, Yuantao; Tan, Fanglin; Huang, Honglian; Zhang, Zeyu; Zong, Hui; Xie, Yujia; Huang, Danqi; Cheng, Shiyang; Wei, Ziyi; Fang, Meng; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2022-11-07)
    Virus mutation is one of the most important research issues which plays a critical role in disease progression and has prompted substantial scientific publications. Mutation extraction from published literature has become an increasingly important task, benefiting many downstream applications such as vaccine design and drug usage. However, most existing approaches have low performances in extracting virus mutation due to both lack of precise virus mutation information and their development based on human gene mutations.
  • What roles does physical activity play following the death of a parent as a young person? a qualitative investigation

    Williams, Jane; Howlett, Neil; Shorter, Gillian; Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.; Chater, Angel M.; University of Bedfordshire; University of Hertfordshire; Queens University Belfast; University College London (Biomed Central, 2022-11-25)
    Background: Physical activity benefits physical and mental health. However, limited research investigates if physical activity can improve outcomes from the grieving process following the death of a parent. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 individuals (n = 8 female; age M = 31.2 years), who had experienced the death of a parent when they were aged between 10-24 years old, using retrospective recall. Data were analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Results: Six themes were identified. Physical activity was seen as; 1) ‘Therapeutic’; providing an 2) ‘Emotional Outlet’ and created a strong sense of 3) ‘Social Support’. Alongside it 4) ‘Builds Confidence’, and led to 5) ‘Finding Yourself’ and 6) ‘Improved Health’ (physical and psychological). Conclusion: Physical activity has the potential to provide positive experiences following a parental bereavement. It can provide a sense of freedom and was seen to alleviate grief outcomes, build resilience, enable social support and create a stronger sense of self. Bereavement support services for young people who have experienced death of a parent should consider physical activity as a viable intervention to support the grieving process. Keywords: Physical Activity, Exercise, Parental Bereavement, Death, Grief, Social Support, Resilience
  • Adaptive agency: some surviving and some thriving in the ‘interesting times' of English teaching

    Goodwyn, Andrew; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald Group Holdings Ltd., 2019-08-29)
    Purpose: This paper aims to introduce the concept of adaptive agency and illustrate its emergence in the field of English teaching in a number of countries using England over the past 30 years as a case study. It examines how the exceptional flexibility of English as school subject has brought many external impositions whilst its teachers have evolved remarkable adaptivity. Design/methodology/approach: It proposes several models of agency and their different modes, focussing finally on adaptive agency as a model that has emerged over a 30-year period. It considers aspects of this development across a number of countries, mostly English speaking ones, but its chief case is that of England. It is principally a theoretical paper drawing on Phenomenology, Critical Realism and later modernist interpretations of Darwinian Theory, but it is grounded by drawing on two recent empirical projects to illustrate English teachers’ current agency. It offers a fresh overview of how agency and accountability have interacted within a matrix of official policy and constraint. Findings: Adaptive agency has become a necessary aspect of teacher expertise. Such a mode of working creates great emotional strains and tensions, leading to many teachers leaving the profession. However, many English teachers whilst feeling controlled in the matrix of power and the panopticon of surveillance, remain resilient and positive about the future of the subject. Research limitations/implications: This is to some extent a personal and reflexive account of a lived history, supported by research and other evidence. Practical implications: Adaptive agency enables teachers to conceptualise the frustrations of the role but to celebrate how they expertly use their agency where they can. It makes their work and struggle more comprehensible. In providing the concept of harmonious practice, it offers the hope of a return to more satisfying professional lives. Originality/value: This paper offers an original concept, adaptive agency, and discusses other valuable conceptualisations of agency and accountability. It combines a unique individual perspective with a fresh overview of the past three decades as experienced by English teachers in England.
  • Only disconnect: rereading Margaret Meek–of policies and practices

    Goodwyn, Andrew (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2022-06-21)
    This article reviews Margaret Meek Spencer’s body of work in relation to the various policies that she critiqued from the Bullock Report in 1974 to the National Literacy Strategy in 2004. She analysed increasingly conservative moves to promote a dominant, elitist version of school literacy. A Critical Realist perspective aligns with Margaret Meek Spencer’s view of a highly structuring political movement to maintain a model of merely functional literacy. She focused on the agentive, engaged reader from birth and some of the intellectual and societal structures that hampered the development of authentic, independent readers. Several of her major themes are reviewed, including her rich and complex view of literacy and its relationship to literary competence, a personal growth view that emphasised the centrality of children’s literature and finally her emphasis on the role of reading in fostering human dignity and self-esteem.

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