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Stirling, United Kingdom

The University of Stirling is a campus university founded by Royal charter in 1967, on the Airthrey Estate in Stirling, Scotland. Stirling University is a plate glass university, along with Heriot-Watt University and the University of Strathclyde. These increased the number of universities in Scotland from four to eight. Stirling was however the only completely new institution of its kind established in Scotland since the University of Edinburgh was founded in 1582.The campus was selected from a shortlist of competing sites that also included Dumfries, Inverness, Ayr, Falkirk, Perth and Cumbernauld. The report's author, Lord Robbins, was later appointed the University's first Chancellor in 1968. Wikipedia.

Jepson R.G.,University of Stirling
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Cranberries have been used widely for several decades for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is the third update of our review first published in 1998 and updated in 2004 and 2008. To assess the effectiveness of cranberry products in preventing UTIs in susceptible populations. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL in The Cochrane Library) and the Internet. We contacted companies involved with the promotion and distribution of cranberry preparations and checked reference lists of review articles and relevant studies.Date of search: July 2012 All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs of cranberry products for the prevention of UTIs. Two authors independently assessed and extracted data. Information was collected on methods, participants, interventions and outcomes (incidence of symptomatic UTIs, positive culture results, side effects, adherence to therapy). Risk ratios (RR) were calculated where appropriate, otherwise a narrative synthesis was undertaken. Quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool. This updated review includes a total of 24 studies (six cross-over studies, 11 parallel group studies with two arms; five with three arms, and two studies with a factorial design) with a total of 4473 participants. Ten studies were included in the 2008 update, and 14 studies have been added to this update. Thirteen studies (2380 participants) evaluated only cranberry juice/concentrate; nine studies (1032 participants) evaluated only cranberry tablets/capsules; one study compared cranberry juice and tablets; and one study compared cranberry capsules and tablets. The comparison/control arms were placebo, no treatment, water, methenamine hippurate, antibiotics, or lactobacillus. Eleven studies were not included in the meta-analyses because either the design was a cross-over study and data were not reported separately for the first phase, or there was a lack of relevant data. Data included in the meta-analyses showed that, compared with placebo, water or not treatment, cranberry products did not significantly reduce the occurrence of symptomatic UTI overall (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.71 to 1.04) or for any the subgroups: women with recurrent UTIs (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.31); older people (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.39 to 1.44); pregnant women (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.17); children with recurrent UTI (RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.19 to 1.22); cancer patients (RR 1.15 95% CI 0.75 to 1.77); or people with neuropathic bladder or spinal injury (RR 0.95, 95% CI: 0.75 to 1.20). Overall heterogeneity was moderate (I2 = 55%). The effectiveness of cranberry was not significantly different to antibiotics for women (RR 1.31, 95% CI 0.85, 2.02) and children (RR 0.69 95% CI 0.32 to 1.51). There was no significant difference between gastrointestinal adverse effects from cranberry product compared to those of placebo/no treatment (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.31 to 2.27). Many studies reported low compliance and high withdrawal/dropout problems which they attributed to palatability/acceptability of the products, primarily the cranberry juice. Most studies of other cranberry products (tablets and capsules) did not report how much of the 'active' ingredient the product contained, and therefore the products may not have had enough potency to be effective. Prior to the current update it appeared there was some evidence that cranberry juice may decrease the number of symptomatic UTIs over a 12 month period, particularly for women with recurrent UTIs. The addition of 14 further studies suggests that cranberry juice is less effective than previously indicated. Although some of small studies demonstrated a small benefit for women with recurrent UTIs, there were no statistically significant differences when the results of a much larger study were included. Cranberry products were not significantly different to antibiotics for preventing UTIs in three small studies. Given the large number of dropouts/withdrawals from studies (mainly attributed to the acceptability of consuming cranberry products particularly juice, over long periods), and the evidence that the benefit for preventing UTI is small, cranberry juice cannot currently be recommended for the prevention of UTIs. Other preparations (such as powders) need to be quantified using standardised methods to ensure the potency, and contain enough of the 'active' ingredient, before being evaluated in clinical studies or recommended for use. Source

Fenwick T.,University of Stirling
Academic Medicine | Year: 2014

This Perspective addresses the growing literature about online medical professionalism. Whereas some studies point to the positive potential of social media to enhance and extend medical practice, the dominant emphasis is on the risks and abuses of social media. Overall evidence regarding online medical professionalism is (as with any new area of practice) limited; however, simply accumulating more evidence, without critically checking the assumptions that frame the debate, risks reinforcing negativity toward social media. In this Perspective, the author argues that the medical community should step back and reconsider its assumptions regarding both professionalism and the digital world of social media. Toward this aim, she outlines three areas forcritical rethinking by educators and students, administrators, professional associations, and researchers. First she raises some cautions regarding the current literature on using social media in medical practice, which sometimes leaps too quickly from description to prescription. Second, she discusses professionalism. Current debates about the changing nature and contexts of professionalism generally might be helpful in reconsidering notions of online medical professionalism specifically. Third, the author argues that the virtual world itself and its built-in codes deserve more critical scrutiny. She briefly summarizes new research from digital studies both to situate the wider trends more critically and to appreciate the evolving implications for medical practice. Next, the author revisits the potential benefits of social media, including their possibilities to signal new forms of professionalism. Finally, the Perspective ends with specific suggestions for further research that may help move the debate forward. Source

Fenwick T.,University of Stirling
Medical Education | Year: 2014

Context: In current debates about professional practice and education, increasing emphasis is placed on understanding learning as a process of ongoing participation rather than one of acquiring knowledge and skills. However, although this socio-cultural view is important and useful, issues have emerged in studies of practice-based learning that point to certain oversights. Methods: Three issues are described here: (i) the limited attention paid to the importance of materiality - objects, technologies, nature, etc. - in questions of learning; (ii) the human-centric view of practice that fails to note the relations among social and material forces, and (iii) the conflicts between ideals of evidence-based standardised models and the sociomaterial contingencies of clinical practice. Discussion: It is argued here that a socio-material approach to practice and learning offers important insights for medical education. This view is in line with a growing field of research in the materiality of everyday life, which embraces wide-ranging families of theory that can be only briefly mentioned in this short paper. The main premise they share is that social and material forces, culture, nature and technology, are enmeshed in everyday practice. Objects and humans act upon one another in ways that mutually transform their characteristics and activity. Examples from research in medical practice show how materials actively influence clinical practice, how learning itself is a material matter, how protocols are in fact temporary sociomaterial achievements, and how practices form unique and sometimes conflicting sociomaterial worlds, with diverse diagnostic and treatment approaches for the same thing. Conclusions: This discussion concludes with implications for learning in practice. What is required is a shift from an emphasis on acquiring knowledge to participating more wisely in particular situations. This focus is on learning how to attune to minor material fluctuations and surprises, how to track one's own and others' effects on 'intra-actions' and emerging effects, and how to improvise solutions. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

The combination of multiple theories in policy studies has a great potential value-new combinations of theories or concepts may produce new perspectives and new research agendas. However, it also raises important ontological, epistemological, methodological, and practical issues that need to be addressed to ensure disciplinary advance. This article identifies three main approaches: synthesis, in which we produce one theory based on the insights of multiple theories; complementary, in which we use different theories to produce a range of insights or explanations; and contradictory, in which we compare the insights of theories before choosing one over the other. It examines the issues that arise when we adopt each approach. First, it considers our ability to "synthesize" theories when they arise from different intellectual traditions and attach different meanings to key terms. Second, it considers the practical limits to using multiple theories and pursuing different research agendas when academic resources are limited. Third, it considers the idea of a "shoot-out" in which one theory is chosen over another because it appears to produce the best results or most scientific approach. It examines the problems we face when producing scientific criteria and highlights the extent to which our choice of theory is influenced by our empirical narrative. The article argues that the insistence on a rigid universal scientific standard may harm rather than help scientific collaboration and progress. © 2013 Policy Studies Organization. Source

Whitehorn P.R.,University of Stirling
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2011

Inbreeding and a consequent loss of genetic diversity threaten small, isolated populations. One mechanism by which genetically impoverished populations may become extinct is through decreased immunocompetence and higher susceptibility to parasites. Here, we investigate the relationship between immunity and inbreeding in bumblebees, using Hebridean island populations of Bombus muscorum. We sampled nine populations and recorded parasite prevalence and measured two aspects of immunity: the encapsulation response and levels of phenoloxidase (PO). We found that prevalence of the gut parasite Crithidia bombi was higher in populations with lower genetic diversity. Neither measure of immune activity was correlated with genetic diversity. However, levels of PO declined with age and were also negatively correlated with parasite abundance. Our results suggest that as insect populations lose heterozygosity, the impact of parasitism will increase, pushing threatened populations closer to extinction. Source

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