Influenza as a trigger of cardiovascular events and the potential for influenza vaccination to prevent them

A further study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, points to a link between influenza as a trigger of cardiovascular events, while presentations given in the past week in Toronto suggest that influenza vaccination might prevent such events.

Charlotte Warren-Gash and colleagues at the London School of  Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, have published a new study, “Influenza Infection and the Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction in England and Wales: A CALIBER Self-Controlled Case Series Study”, which provides further evidence that influenza rather than other respiratory infections, trigger heart attacks. This is accompanied by an editorial in the same issue of the journal by Niroshan Siriwardena, “Increasing Evidence that Influenza is a Trigger for Cardiovascular Disease”.

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University of Lincoln with EMAS and National Ambulance Groups shortlisted for HSJ Awards 2012

A national quality improvement project led by East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the University of Lincoln in collaboration with the National Ambulance Services Clinical Quality Group and National Ambulance Research Steering Groups has been shortlisted for the prestigious Health Service Journal Awards 2012: Enhancing Care with Data and Information Management.

The Ambulance Services Cardiovascular Quality Initiative (ASCQI), funded by the Health Foundation, was a quality improvement collaborative involving all twelve English ambulance trusts, the first time all services have been involved in a national project. The aims was to improve pre-hospital care for cardiovascular disease by using a care-bundle approach to ensure that every patient presenting with heart attack or stroke received each element of optimal care.

The care bundle for suspected heart attack included aspirin, glyceryl trinitrate, pain scoring before and after treatment and pain relief. The suspected stroke bundle included the face-arm-speech test (FAST), and recording blood glucose and blood pressure. The project involved measuring and benchmarking performance, analysing barriers and facilitators to improvement, and using quality improvement methods to improve the quality of services.

ASCQI achieved statistically significant improvements in ten out of twelve trusts in either the stroke or heart attack care bundle, with five out of twelve trusts showing significant improvements for both heart attack and stroke. Overall performance for the care bundle for heart attack increased nationally in Englandfrom 43 to 79 percent and for stroke from 83 to 96 percent.

ASCQI achieved its aim of applying quality improvement methods to improve care for patients presenting to ambulance services inEnglandwith heart attack or stroke.

REST project featured on ITN Tonight documentary on insomnia

The Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment (REST) project, led by Prof Niro Siriwardena, was featured on “Tonight” the flagship ITV1 documentary programme,  the highest rating current affairs series on UK television for the past decade. In the programme “Waking up to Insomnia” screened on 17 November at 7:30pm, Geraint Vincent revealed some results of the Great British Sleep Survey and found out from sufferers how it affected their lives. The programme discussed the problems of insomnia, why sleeping tablets were not a good solution and why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) although effective is not widely available in the NHS. The REST project funded by the Health Foundation aimed to improve primary care for insomnia by developing primary care friendly sleep assessment and CBTi. A follow-on translational project, Improving Primary Care Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment (IPCREST) funded by East Midlands Health Innovation and Educational Cluster aims to spread the learning through seminars, workshops and an e-learning programme for healthcare practitioners. Further information is available on the University website and at the REST website. Niro is presenting on “How to provide better care for insomnia: Resources for effective sleep treatment in the general practice consultation” at the Sleep and Mental Health conference at the Royal Society of Medicine on 23 November 2011.

Jo Middlemass joins the primary care research team

Hello!  My name is Jo Middlemass (on the email as Joan, but haven’t answered to that name for many, many years!)  I am the newest ‘addition’ to the primary care team which is part of the Community and Health Research Group in the School of Health & Social Care.

Jo Middlemass joins the Community and Health Research Group

After spending the last five years in Nottingham working as a Research Fellow on the  Genetics in Primary Care research programme and also as a Research & Evaluation Fellow for NHS Nottinghamshire County, it is like ‘coming  back home’ to Lincolnshire, where I worked for a number of years in NHS Lincolnshire PCT both as Clinical Governance Manager and also as a research facilitator.  I have a nursing background and have worked in general practice in a variety of different roles.  I am also currently nearing the end (she says optimistically!) of my PhD at Nottingham University, which is about behavioural change to prevent heart disease and the use of the Transtheoretical/Stages of Change model in primary care.
The research project that I will be working on is called ENACT, (Exploring social Networks to Augment Cognitive behavioural Therapy which is investigating the use of computerized CBT for insomnia, utilizing social networks). We are particularly involved in the initial qualitative research that will inform the development of the computerized programme. It’s a role that I am particularly looking forward to.
The study was publicized in the local press last week:

New studies and researchers

Last year was a very active period for the School of Health & Social Care and the Community and Health Research Group. During 2009/10 we submitted over 30 bids to a value of over £5M. We were successful in 17 of 25 of the bids for which we were notified of an outcome to a value of nearly £1M. Successful research outputs including peer reviewed publications in national and international journals, conference outputs, editorials and books/chapters which are being posted on the Research Repository.

The group includes two new research fellows, Dr Zowie Davy and Dr Markos Klonizakis. Fiona Togher joined us as a research assistant, working on the Ambulance Services Cardiovascular Quality Initiative (ASCQI: Health Foundation, £475k).

Jo Middlemass joins us in November from Nottingham University working on a new study; Exploring social Networks to Augment Cognitive behavioural Therapy (ENACT: EPSRC, £465k) which was featured in a recent BBC article:

We are also recruiting for a new study Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccination and risk of Stroke and TIA (IPVASTIA: Research for Patient Benefit, £103k) which follows the IPVAMI study published last month in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “Influenza vaccination, pneumococcal vaccination and risk of acute myocardial infarction: matched case-control study”: The findings have featured in international news media in the UK, Canada and USA:,32068,616179348001_2021408,00.html.