New Baroness highlights European drive to improve care for children and young people with intellectual disabilities

Disability psychiatry expert Professor the Baroness Hollins used her maiden speech at the House of Lords today to outline a new European agreement to improve the welfare of children and young people with intellectual disabilities. She also discussed how good UK practice could help inform global efforts, but said the nation could still improve.

The 53 European members of the World Health Organisation (WHO) have signed a declaration to address what Baroness Hollins – who chaired the steering group that led to the agreement – today called the “discrimination, neglect and abuse” experienced by young people with intellectual disabilities across Europe.

Kingston and St George’s appoint new professor to improve healthcare for older people

One of the country’s leading social scientists, Ann Bowling, has been appointed professor of health care for older adults at the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.

In her new role, Prof Bowling will continue her work on the healthcare of older people, with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of health services, improving access to these services, and improving patients’ ownership of their own care.

Fat measure BMI underestimates body fat in UK South Asian children

South Asian children living in the UK have higher average levels of body fat than white European and black African Caribbean children in the UK. The findings show that body mass index (BMI), the most widely used tool to measure body composition, underestimated their body fat, and add to doubts about its use as a measure.

These findings have been made by researchers at St George’s, University of London, and published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers say they could aid the development of strategies to combat rising obesity and diabetes levels in the UK South Asian population.

New guide for predicting cancer patient survival time

Scientists have created a new way of predicting how long terminally ill cancer patients have to live, and the guide could be used with mobile phone technology.

The new computer model guide – a project led by St George's, University of London – uses factors such as blood tests, white cell blood count, pulse rate and patient symptoms to estimate how long a patient has left. The researchers believe it can predict survival at least as well as a doctor.

Mobile phones could be the key to better STI diagnosis

Mobile phones could revolutionise the diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by using new technology to give instant results and recommend treatment options. A new £5.7 million project being led by St George’s, University of London is developing self-test devices that can plug directly into mobile phones and computers, immediately identifying infections.

The Medical Research Council – and the UK Clinical Research Collaboration – has given a £4 million grant to a consortium of academic and industrial researchers to improve sexual health through the use of new technology. The consortium, which includes St George’s,University College London, Brunel University, Warwick University, Queen Mary, University of London, the Health Protection Agency, and industrial partners, made up the remaining £1.7 million. The project – called eSTI² (electronic self-testing instruments for STIs) – is being led by Dr Tariq Sadiq, senior lecturer and consultant physician in sexual health and HIV at St George’s, University of London, who said: “By making diagnosis easier to access in the community, with immediate results, we aim to reduce infection rates and improve sexual health.”