Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related conditions) are common, often
chronic and disabling, and sometimes fatal. Christopher Fairburn and colleagues have engaged in
long-term research into the nature and treatment of eating disorders. The impacts are: (1)
developing the standard measurement tools for eating disorders; (2) devising the leading and most
effective evidence-based therapy for bulimia nervosa (`CBT-BN'); (3) showing that a modified form
of the treatment is effective for all eating disorders (`CBT-E'); (4) developing an effective and
popular self-help version. These treatments allow, for the first time, a significant chance of
complete and sustained recovery from an eating disorder. The treatments are recommended by
NICE and international guidelines, and are being disseminated worldwide.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder of unknown cause affecting
1% of people. Studies by Queen Mary researchers between 1993 and 2012
helped to characterise and demystify CFS and, in a series of randomised
trials, showed that graded exercise therapy (GET) was effective and
cost-effective, especially when costs to the patient and society were
included. For impacts, GET was [a] recommended in NICE guidance; [b]
offered as standard therapy in most UK centres managing CFS; [c]
recommended and used internationally. The lead researchers have worked
hard to build a dialogue with patient groups, including working with them
to co-design the most recent trial, thereby increasing the chance of
acceptance of findings by people affected by CFS.
Congenital myasthenic syndromes (CMS) are diseases leading to muscle
weakness. They are caused by various gene mutations. However, for many CMS
patients with a `limb girdle' pattern of weakness, the gene was unknown,
and they were unresponsive to the usual CMS treatments. Research by David
Beeson and colleagues has changed this state of affairs. First, they
showed that this form of CMS is caused by a mutation in a gene called DOK7.
Second, they identified the mechanism by which the mutation causes the
disease. Third, they discovered that patients with DOK7 mutations
respond to a different class of drug, 03b22 adrenergic receptor agonists.
DOK7 mutations are now routinely tested for in clinical practice,
and these drugs are standard therapy.
Two books and review/research articles in Italian have disseminated the
findings from the underpinning research on creating false autobiographical
memories and the dangers of inadequate interviewing techniques. This work
has critically increased awareness in the Italian legal system amongst
both barristers and judges, to the point of shaping the practice of
interviewing witnesses in that country. It has also informed all verdicts
on child sexual abuse by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
The work of Professor Diane Cox has been instrumental in enhancing
services and improving outcomes for patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), and other fatigue related
conditions. Primarily, this has been through changing the interventions
used by Occupational Therapists and other Allied Health Professionals in
healthcare practice to manage such conditions. The research has influenced
amendments to professional standards, guidelines and training for use of
activity and lifestyle management approaches to treating CFS and related
conditions, and has had further impact through influencing the set-up of
specific CFS services using these techniques. The research has
demonstrated that Occupational Therapy can improve engagement and
participation in occupations through activity, and led to its widespread
uptake into practice throughout the UK. The research has underpinned the
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines
for CFS/ME and directly influenced the form and implementation of NHS and
private service provision for these conditions in the UK.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterised by prolonged and profound
prevalence of CFS is between 0.2% and 2.6% worldwide. Researchers from
London (KCL) have shown that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Graded
Exercise Therapy can
improve the symptoms and disability of CFS. This evidence led to both
recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and
the British Association
for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME and becoming standard practice in the UK.
backed by the KCL studies, are also recommended worldwide including in the
Australia and Norway.
Around 28% of people worldwide will experience a sleep disorder at some
point in their lives. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an optimal
treatment of choice for sleep disorders, but access to treatment is
limited by the low number of expert CBT practitioners, resulting in long
waiting times for CBT. University of Glasgow Sleep Centre research led to
the development of an online CBT course (`Sleepio'), which has been sold
online since 2010, and since September 2012 has been sold online by The
Boots Company Plc. (Boots). Sleepio has been included in the NHS Health
Apps Library and selected for integration with two of the best-selling
fitness monitors. University of Glasgow expertise also underpinned `Sleep
Matters', a year-long campaign by the UK Mental Health Foundation (MHF)
which generated 300 media articles with a combined circulation of 145
million, raising awareness of and widening access to treatment for sleep
While in Oxford, David M. Clark and colleagues developed psychological
models of panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, tested the models in
experiments, and devised novel psychological treatments (forms of
cognitive therapy [CT]) that target the processes in the models.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) showed that CT was more effective than
existing psychological and drug treatments, with 70-80% of people
recovering. The therapies are recommended first-line interventions in
current NICE guidelines, and are widely available in the NHS through the
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, which Clark
helped establish and is now evaluating. The treatments are also being used
and recommended in many other countries.
Depression and anxiety are common, cause significant disability and are
costly to the individual, the NHS and wider society. UK management of
depression and anxiety has been revolutionised as a result of our research
at the University of Manchester (UoM) on low intensity psychological
interventions (cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) based Guided Self-Help
(GSH)) which is the primary form of care for hundreds of thousands of
people with depression and anxiety disorders (including generalised
anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive
disorder) through the "Improving Access to Psychological Therapies" (IAPT)
scheme. Between 2009 and 2012 more than one million people used the new
services, recovery rates are in excess of 45% and consequently 45,000
people have moved off benefits.
Research by Anke Ehlers' group at Oxford University has had major impacts
on the treatment and outcome of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The
group developed and validated a psychological model of the key factors
that lead to PTSD. A novel form of cognitive therapy (CT) that
specifically targets these psychological processes was then developed.
Randomised controlled trials showed that CT is highly acceptable and
highly effective in recent-onset and chronic PTSD, in adults and children.
It is one of the recommended first-line interventions in the NICE PTSD
guideline. It has been made widely available in the NHS through Improving
Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), and is being disseminated
in other countries. Separate research by Ehlers showed that a previously
leading treatment, debriefing, was ineffective, leading to it not
being recommended by NICE.