Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dialogues and diseases

19.12.2005


How can we keep ahead in the battle against infectious diseases? The current threat of avian flu has sent panic around the globe and even in hospitals, where you might hope to be safe from disease, MRSA is a cause for concern in the health service. Sure-fire curses for these conditions seem a long way off and governments, policymakers and the public are often at a loss to know how to respond.



However, a multidisciplinary team of researchers at The University of Nottingham believe they have the answer. Surprisingly, it’s not in the laboratory, but somewhere else entirely. They have recently embarked on a research project to investigate whether the art of communication could hold the key.

Lead researcher Dr Brigitte Nerlich, in the University’s Institute for the Study of Genetics, Biorisks and Society (IGBiS) said: “We know that people are worried, but how we communicate about these risks is crucial.


“How we disseminate news about outbreaks, how we learn about techniques to prevent the spread of the infection and how governments communicate with one another and with the public can all make the difference between sheer panic and being able to contain and control diseases.”

There has been a lot to communicate about recently. Humans, crops and farm animals have all been threatened by new strains of infectious diseases; microbes are often resistant to conventional drugs, and the risk of illnesses which can infect both people and other animals, so-called zoonoses, such as avian flu, are high on the government’s agenda.

Building on an IGBiS programme on biorisk and communication funded by the Leverhulme Trust, this new Nottingham project will study biosecurity, hygiene and cleanliness communication in UK government, healthcare and agricultural policies compared with language used by key practitioners dealing with MRSA and the threat of avian flu, such as modern matrons and poultry farmers.

Dr Paul Crawford, of the University’s School of Nursing and chair of the Health Language Research Group at Nottingham, said: “It is vital to know how to respond efficiently and effectively to such threats, be it in the farmyard or hospital.

“My own background in nursing tells me that sometimes it is as if practitioners and policymakers speak a different language. Once we study the language of all the people concerned, and look at this in relation to policy documents and what’s reported in the press we’ll be able to see if they’re all going to be able to understand one another. If they are using language in different ways it could lead to tensions between policy makers and practitioners, exacerbated perhaps by the way both avian flu and MRSA are reported in the media.”

The study, which is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council and also involves Nottingham’s Professor Ron Carter, one of the country’s leading experts on everyday English, will examine how different agencies formulate issues, construct arguments and prioritise different practices and situated logics.

Collaborating on the project will be colleagues at De Montfort University. Dr Brian Brown, of De Montfort’s School Applied Social Sciences commented: “The work is a far cry away from ivory tower linguistics. It has important implications for how people deal with real world problems. This is a chance for us to show the real value of linguistics. Policymakers will get an insight into how best to ensure that dialogues between government and practitioners on these key issues match up with each other.”

As well as informing government policy on the communication of infectious diseases, the project will also mean that health practitioners in both farming and healthcare will be able to gain an insight into how they, the government and the media talk about ’cleanliness’ and ’infection’ in relation to avian flu and MRSA.

Dr Brigitte Nerlich | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/public-affairs/press-releases/index.phtml?menu=pressreleases&code=DIA-192/05&create_date=16-dec-2005

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease
18.01.2019 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht Bioinspired nanoscale drug delivery method developed by WSU, PNNL researchers
10.01.2019 | Washington State University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>