QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 80 - Page 9

Improving nutrition in older people Specialist knowledge in nutrition and metabolism has been used by QMU experts to improve the lives of older people and vulnerable adults in hospitals and care homes. Academics have carried out research work which helps shape policy and practice in the nutritional care of older people and nutritionally vulnerable adults. The research has been used by organisations to help improve guidelines for the nutritional management and care standards of older people and vulnerable adults in both residential and community settings. One of QMU’s key areas of research focuses on nutrition and metabolism in health and disease. Researchers in this area have identified changes which occur in ageing adults – particularly in their nutritional status and dietary needs. This work has informed standards of care in relation to nutritional and fluid provision of vulnerable adults in hospitals and care homes across Scotland and beyond. Enhancing refugee wellbeing through integration. Rese arch from QMU’s Institute for International Health and Development is helping to improve the wellbeing of people living in countries affected by armed conflict and those who are seeking asylum away from conflict-affected areas. The team has developed a framework to assess refugee integration policy which aims to measure levels of integration in society. This research is helping organisations like the Scottish Refugee Council to shape new policies and practices for improved integration. Improving walking in people with stroke, cerebral palsy and MS A team of health sciences researchers at QMU has used a method of electrical stimulation to help improve the walking capabilities of people with ‘foot drop’. Foot drop is a common symptom of people with neurological impairments such as stroke, which can cause trips and falls and can result in fatigue. The researchers have run trials where functional electrical stimulation (FES) was applied to the lower leg of people with foot drop. This electrical stimulation makes the muscles lift the foot and as such prevents the foot from dropping down. These QMU research projects have provided valuable information about how the assistive technology – FES – can be used to help people who have specific walking difficulties. The research has provided valuable evidence for current local NHS clinical treatment practice and for the re-design of the NHS clinical service which supports the self-management care of people with cerebral palsy, stroke and MS. Advancing the diagnosis and treatment of speech disorders Articulate Instruments, a spin out company based at QMU, works with the University’s speech specialists to develop technologies and instruments which improve the diagnoses and treatment of speech disorders. A major area of work has been the development of electropalatography (EPG). EPG is a technique which is not yet routinely available in NHS clinics. EPG records where and when the tongue makes contact with the roof of the mouth during speech. It can be a very useful means of helping some children with speech difficulties to improve their speech because it provides visual feedback to the child, which is not ordinarily available, and does not rely purely on what the child hears. The EPG technique is proving particularly helpful to children with Down’s syndrome, as they are known to respond well to visual stimuli. A more portable, smaller version of the EPG technology was trialled in schools. By fascilitating the use of EPG outside a specialised clinic the numbers of children benefitting from technology increased. The project involved classroom assistants being trained to interpret the information provided by the EPG display and learning how to use it with the children as part of their daily speech therapy session. The collaboration between Articulate Instruments and speech scientists and therapists at QMU is not only helping improve the lives of people in Scotland, but has a global reach. Articulate Instruments has over 200 international customers who purchase a range of products including electronic systems, headsets, software and expertise. ❒ Working on cutting-edge projects, Articulate Instruments has developed pioneering technology and instruments which assist speech therapists in improving the lives of children and adults. Particularly, the technologies have had a significantly positive impact on people with enduring speech problems who were struggling to improve their speech with traditional speech therapy methods. A smaller version of EPG technology was trialled in schools with children with Down's syndrome QMYOU / Research Excellence Framework 9