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Insight blog: Posts tagged with social science

Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.

Tackling drug resistance, one context at a time

15 Nov 2016


Dr Helen Lambert. Photo credit: Helen Lambert

To tackle growing numbers of drug-resistant infections we can’t apply the same ideas to every situation. Dr Helen Lambert, Reader in Medical Anthropology at the University of Bristol, explains why tailoring our tactics to the local context is vital in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

In many parts of the world you can buy antibiotics over the counter without a prescription. It’s a practical way to obtain life-saving drugs where quality medical care is inaccessible.

In Europe we might effectively slow the spread of drug-resistant infections by reducing antibiotic prescribing and stopping access to over-the-counter antibiotics. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best solution everywhere.  [...]

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Explaining inequalities in women’s heart disease risk

13 Oct 2016

Research published in BMC Medicine, based on the Million Women Study, reports women with lower levels of education and living in more deprived areas of the UK are at higher risk of coronary heart disease due to differences in behaviour. Here, study co-author Dr Sarah Floud discusses what these findings mean in the context of addressing social and health inequalities.

heart-1222517_1920-620x342-2Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide for men and women. Many observational studies show that individuals with lower socio-economic status have a higher risk of heart disease than those with higher socio-economic status. [...]

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Keeping social sciences in the MRC family

24 Sep 2013

Sally at the MRC Medical Sociology Unit in the early 1990s

Sally at the MRC Medical Sociology Unit in the early 1990s

Scientific discoveries don’t improve human health by themselves — we must understand their social significance, says Sally Macintyre as she prepares to leave her post as Director of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.

In a few weeks I’m stepping down as director of the MRC CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit after 30 years. Although I’m looking forward to handing over the directorship (five five-yearly reviews from MRC Head Office is quite enough), I look back with great affection on the MRC. The MRC has supported me in one way or another since 1970, when it funded my Masters course in “Sociology as applied to medicine”.

People are often surprised to hear that as a sociologist, I’ve been funded by the MRC for so long. They think the MRC only funds laboratory-based biomedical science — as exemplified by the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology — and clinical trials.

But the organisation has had a long-term interest in how social factors affect health and illness. [...]

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