Speaker - Professor Frank Sullivan

Tue, May 8th 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Since 1881 health records of the Scottish population have been faithfully kept and have been available even for worldwide consumption when research and studies are being carried out.

However, it remains a difficulty to find and recruit patients at the right time in the right place to fulfil the requirements of the majority of research programmes.

There is, though, in Scotland a project which has been addressing this problem for some time. It is the Scottish Health Research Register (SHARE), based in St Andrews and Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital.

Its head is Professor Frank Sullivan, Professor of Primary Care Medicine and Director of Research at St Andrews Medical School.

He was joined by colleagues Dr. Louise Dow and PHd student Ms. Wen Shi to give the Club full details of SHARE and its undoubted worth.

Recently the Register has been widened to include children aged 11 and over, as this group has traditionally been missed out in much research. For example, it is understood there are about 1 million children in the UK who are asthma sufferers.

The target is for SHARE to have 1 million Scots registered by 2023 who are willing to participate in a huge number of studies, ranging from research into diabetes, mental health, cancer, heart conditions and as many other conditions as possible.

Currently there are 208,000 Scots registered, with many of them involved in some 70 ongoing research studies. One of which has 12,000 participants – all smokers - taking part in a major lung cancer study.

Professor Sullivan told the Club SHARE is funded by Scotland’s chief Scientist Office, in effect the NHS.

Any data recorded and accessed worldwide is utilised anonymously and it is the case that this Scottish project is benefitting contributions to research all over the world.

An additional benefit is that hundreds of potentially useful blood samples which so far have been discarded on a daily basis can now be saved and their data recorded.

Professor Sullivan and his team urged members to look out for SHARE advertisements on buses, in supermarkets, in schools, in GP surgeries and elsewhere recommending the public to sign on to SHARE and continue what is evidently a vital process in medical research.

In proposing a vote of thanks (during which he gave the audience a quick rundown on his own medical conditions!) Jim Allison suggested all of the members who had not already done should sign up and aid this extremely interesting and deserving Register.

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