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Why do some patients get worse while others don’t?

Howard Thom

Howard Thom

Statistics has been part of the work of the MRC for almost our entire history ― the MRC Biostatistics Unit is 100 years old this year. Here Dr Howard Thom, who did his PhD at the unit, describes how important it is to remember who statistics is for: patients.

Psoriatic arthritis is a combination of two very unpleasant conditions: the rashes associated with the skin condition psoriasis and the painful inflammation of joints found in arthritis.

How and why some patients rapidly deteriorate ― making it more and more difficult to complete everyday tasks such as preparing food, making a bed, or even sitting in a chair ― while others remain stable, is of great interest to doctors and, of course, to patients. Read more

Working life: Richard Coward

Dr Richard Coward is an MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Head of Research for the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol. Here he tell us about his working life from spending time with ‘beautiful’ cells to working with the pharmaceutical industry.

Richard Coward

My MRC Senior Clinical Scientist Fellowship enables me to combine clinical and basic scientific work, allowing me to continue my laboratory and research interests as well as my clinical commitment to paediatric nephrology.

I was attracted to research at the end of my clinical training. The drive to do this was because I looked after a patient who had an inherited condition called congenital nephrotic syndrome, a disorder passed down through families in which a baby develops massive amounts of protein in the urine.

Soon afterwards it became clear that the podocyte cell, a beautiful cell in the glomerulus ― the filtering unit of the kidney ― that looks like a big octopus, was involved. The gene responsible for the disorder was discovered to code for a protein located exclusively in the podocyte. Read more