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Patient having blood pressure taken
Patient having blood pressure taken

At the Open Morning, held today at the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, members of the public and Oxford University Alumni could have their lifestyle challenged, take the salt test, measure their blood pressure, hear the latest about global primary care challenges and much more.

Our department provides the research that directly impacts on the lives of people in the community - Professor Richard Hobbs, Head of Department, Primary Care Health Sciences

The day was a mix of interesting talks about the role of primary care research and interactive demonstrations that visitors could participate in.

Professor Richard McManus illustrated how blood pressure could be measured from the comfort of your home. Dr. Katherine Tucker reported “this research forms part of NICE guidance and is affecting patient care on a daily basis.” The study is now being undertaken in ten practices where patients are self-monitoring and using text based messaging to feed back instruction as to whether medication should be adjusted or not.  

The salt work, led by Dr Kamal Ram Mahtani, discussed how to reduce your salt intake with very simple measures. Visitors took the bread test, where they could see how different levels of salt affects the taste of bread, whilst Dr David Nunan took visitors through the changes in lifestyle required for improved health. 

Dr Susannah Fleming demonstrated new techniques to diagnose serious illness in children. This involved pulse oximetry, a device that monitors oxygen levels in the blood, as well as showing an App that can be downloaded and used on the phone for obtaining accurate heart rates and breathing rates in children. Dr Kay Wang, said "this work is important as it identifies serious infection in children at an early stage".

What an interesting morning! I was impressed by the variety of research taking place in the department. Keep up the good work. - A Ramsey, Oxford resident

You could also learn about brief intervention for weight loss studies, have your body analysed and guess your BMI. Kathryn Hood, trial administrator for the BWel trial, took visitors through the calorie guessing game: “no one got it right because there is not much transparency of the calories that are actually in food,” reported Kathryn. Understanding the calories in food is one of the easiest ways to eat well and possibly lose weight.

Dr Louise Locock demonstrated the latest project relating to better understanding of what constitutes good care in primary care. You could see and hear people’s real-life experiences of health and illness. 

Dr Tim Holt demonstrated some of the latest technology that will affect primary care in the future, calling it “the stethoscope of the 21st century”. The device, a VScan, is a hand-held portable ultrasound that could be used in primary care to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms. This is now being tested in primary care practices.

Dr Kyle Knox, a clinical researcher and GP, demonstrated new techniques for diagnosing coughs. This involves trying to speed up the diagnosis and accurately identifying the “bugs” so we can target antibiotic treatment more effectively. Visitors were shown the old way of doing swabs versus the future. “The future is 'rapid turn around', so that patients will know what is causing their symptoms by the time they leave the surgery".


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