This blog was created to keep healthcare professionals, researchers, methodologists, and patients up to date with the latest primary care research. For more information about the Research Institute, visit our website;

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Shoulder Pain Research at Keele: The Past, Present and Future (Event Re-cap)

Written by  Dr Chris Littlewood  | @PCSciences | | Published Thursday 25th May 2017

On Monday 15th May the Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences hosted a seminar attended by 70 clinicians and academics from across the UK. The aim of the seminar was to develop networks and also to share research work and ideas in relation to shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal pain problems with up to one in four people suffering at any one time. Shoulder pain can have a significant impact on quality of life including an effect on work, hobbies and sleep. It has been suggested that four out of every ten people who suffer with shoulder pain will continue to experience problems one year later. And, for those people who do recover, a recurrent episode of shoulder pain is likely. So, musculoskeletal shoulder pain is clearly not a short-lasting condition.

Dr. Chris Littlewood opened the event and welcomed guests before Professor Nadine Foster described the shoulder pain research that had been undertaken here at Keele to date. This research includes the recently completed SUPPORT trial that compared steroid injections delivered with or without guidance of ultrasound and physiotherapist-led exercise or exercise guided by an information sheet. The results of this topical and interesting trial will be reported shortly, but the attendants were privy to these findings on the day.

Dr. Opeyemi Babatunde then described an extensive systematic review of the research evidence relating to treatments for shoulder pain before Dr. Emma Salt, a Consultant Physiotherapist who has recently completed a research internship here at Keele described an approach to the treatment of persistent shoulder pain that she is in the process of evaluating.

Following a networking break over coffee, Dr. Majid Artus presented findings from a survey of General Practitioner’s (GPs) that helps us understand how GPs approach diagnosis and treatment of people with shoulder pain. Recognising the current uncertainty there is in relation to which treatments work best for which patients, Cliona McRobert, a physiotherapist and post-graduate student here at Keele, then described the findings from her PhD to date. Professor Danielle van der Windt then described an exciting new programme of research that is about to begin which will help us to understand ways that we can better target our treatments with the aim of helping our patients recover from shoulder pain.

Professor van der Windt then closed the event by discussing the journey that research in relation to shoulder pain has taken so far and recognised the long path ahead. The event was well received by all those in attendance, which has stimulated ideas to plan for an annual event to share ideas and maintain these networks.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Celebrating Postgraduate Research in Primary Care

Written by Alice Moult, Sarah McKevitt, Laurna Bullock and Hollie Birkinshaw  | @PCSciences | | Published Thursday 18th May 2017

A team of postgraduate research students joined forces to organise another successful Postgraduate Symposium at the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences (‘RI’) on the 10th May 2017. Each year, staff, students, and members of the RI’s Research UserGroup look forward to hearing about the comprehensive work that the RI’s current students are working hard on, and this year was no different. 

Over 60 people came to watch seventeen of our students present their work orally, with an additional seven students showcasing their work through poster presentations. The event was a great reflection of the RI’s multidisciplinary approach to primary care research, with topics ranging from inflammatory conditions, musculoskeletal pain, stratified care, mental health and prognosis research.

The RI’s Deputy Director, Professor Christian Mallen, introduced the event before moving on to the oral and poster presentations. Each student was given 10 minutes to summarise their research followed by a 5 minute question and answer session. Students were also opportunity to engage in invaluable discussions about their work during the breaks.  

Once all the presentations had been promoted, Professor George Peat acted as our very own David Dimbleby during a ‘Question Time’ session. The panel was made up of Dr Sara Muller (Senior Research Fellow), Dr Annette Bishop (Senior Research Fellow), Professor Kelvin Jordan (Professor of Biostatistics), Dr Ross Wilkie (Senior Lecturer) and Dr Paul Campbell (Research Fellow). The session enabled students to ask the panel questions about career progression within primary care research.

Dr Sam Hider, Postgraduate Research Director wrapped up the event by presenting awards for the best poster and oral presentations from the day. The three oral presentations were awarded to Miriam Hattle for her presentation on ‘Investigating the characteristics of multivariate and univariate meta-analysis for associations with the magnitude of the borrowing of strength (BoS) statsitc, Sarah Harrison with ‘Identifying change in neuropathic pain over time in primary care patients with low back-related leg pain) and Anne O’Brien for her work ‘Current physiotherapy practice assessment in Polymyalgia Rheumatica: a UK cross-sectional survey).

Nafiu Ismail won a prize for his poster ‘Incidence of post-discharge bleeding and risk of subsequent major adverse events. A systematic review and meta-analysis).

The Patient and PublicInvolvement and Engagement choice award was presented to Emma Parry by the RI’s Research User Group member Carol Ingram for her presentation on fare-ups in knee osteoarthritis.

Finally, the systematic review award was presented to Richard Partington for his poster which detailed his systematic review on polymyalgia rheumatica.

All in all, the day was a roaring success and a special thanks should go to all of the students who took part and all of the staff who continuously support us on our research endeavours. We’re already looking forward to next year!