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ASM 2017 Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-Conference Workshops: Tuesday 12th December 2017

We are pleased to confirm our Pre-Conference Workshops. Pre-Conference Workshops will be held at Liverpool John Moores University, Exchange Station, Tithebarn St, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 2QP on Tuesday 12th December 2017.

Working Together to Advance Personalised Behavioural Medicine using N-of-1 Methods


Dr Suzanne McDonald (Health Psychologist, Newcastle University), Dr Peter Tennant (Epidemiologist and Statistician University of Leeds) & Dr Nicki O’Brien (Methodologist and Health Psychologist, North East NIHR Research Design Service, Newcastle University)

The randomised controlled trial (RCT) is often regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for evaluating health interventions. RCTs involve randomly allocating individuals to intervention or control conditions and comparing outcomes. RCTs identify whether an intervention works on average, but provide less information about whether an intervention works for each individual in the trial. An intervention may be deemed effective on average, but the aggregated findings may conceal instances where it is ineffective or harmful to individuals. Recent years have seen a movement towards personalised medicine, shared-decision making and patient-centred health care, which requires methods that focus on individuals while maintaining scientific rigour.

N-of-1 methods (or ‘single-case’) involve repeated outcome measurement in an individual over time to draw conclusions specific to that individual. N-of-1 methods are advocated by the Medical Research Council for evaluating health interventions. For example, n-of-1 RCT designs involve randomly allocating different time periods within an individual to intervention or control conditions, extending the rigour obtained in group-based RCTs to the individual level. They are recognised for providing one of the highest levels of evidence for making treatment decisions since they are based on patients’ own data. In addition, patients report that participating in n-of-1 studies empowers them to take an active role in their health and treatment decisions.

In the field of behavioural medicine, n-of-1 methods are a novel way to understand and change health behaviours (e.g. physical activity, smoking). They also provide an important opportunity to understand the temporal nature of chronic disease symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, within individuals over time. However, the use of these methods in behavioural medicine is still in its infancy despite a number of important opportunities they can offer to answer key questions in behavioural medicine. High quality studies using appropriate statistical methods for analysing n-of-1 data and information about patient, health professional and policy maker acceptability of these methods are needed.

The aim of the workshop is to work together to learn and explore how n-of-1 methods can be applied to personalise behavioural medicine and help inform policy and commissioning decisions in future healthcare. This workshop will be of interest to scientists, clinicians, policy makers and commissioners.

The workshop objectives are to

  • Educate: Workshop participants will learn about the state of the art of n-of-1 methods in behavioural medicine. In particular, workshop participants will learn about the different types of n-of-1 designs that can be used and about the practical issues to consider when designing, conducting and analysing n-of-1 studies.
  • Create: Using patient vignettes, workshop participants will be asked to design an n-of-1 study that could help the patient, health professional, policy maker or commissioner better understand the health condition and how it could be treated or prevented. The group task is designed to consolidate the information learned in objective 1.
  • Debate: The workshop will elicit views and opinions on the acceptability and value of n-of-1 methods from the perspectives of the patient, health professional, policy maker and commissioner to answer the question: How can n-of-1 methods be used to help inform future healthcare

Population level intervention options for diet and obesity: where should our priorities lie and why?


Dr Eric Robinson, Simon Capewell & Dr Emma Boyland (University of Liverpool), Dr Jean Adams & Prof Martin White (University of Cambridge) and Prof Paul Aveyard (University of Oxford)

Unhealthy diet is a major public health problem; it is a significant risk factor for obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. Because of the scale of these problems, interventions that target the general population (population level interventions) will be an important part of any strategy to address unhealthy diet. Yet, it is unclear which types of population level interventions to promote healthier diet we should be prioritising. Moreover, because designing, implementing and evaluating population level public health interventions is notoriously difficult, adequately addressing poor diet is challenging and would benefit from greater inter-disciplinary collaboration.

The aims of this workshop are to

  • Bring together researchers from a range of scientific disciplines interested in food systems, nutrition and population health
  • Discuss the key challenges for the design, implementation and evaluation of population level interventions for diet
  • Identify the most pressing research questions concerning population level interventions for diet that we can address through collaborative, inter-disciplinary research
  • After a workshop introduction, participants working on population level interventions for diet will have the opportunity to share their on-going work in this area to the group (5 mins per speaker, informal). Through the use of facilitator presentations and structured group discussions we will work towards achieving the workshop aims outlined above.

Intended outputs
The identification of opportunities for collaborative and inter-disciplinary research on diet, and barriers that need to be overcome.

Who should attend?
We are keen to bring together participants from a range of scientific disciplines (e.g. nutrition, public health, behavioural, social and political sciences), united by their interest in diet, intervention and population health. We would welcome those at all stages of their careers, especially early career researchers (doctoral or post-doctoral).

Cost to attend
Pre-Conference Workshop attendance is priced at £37.50 (£31.25+VAT) for UKSBM Members and £80.00 (£66.67+VAT)  for Non-Members.

If you would like to attend one of these workshops and have already registered for the conference, please email to add one of the workshops to your booking. If you are not registered to attend the conference but would like to attend one of the pre-conference workshops, you can book your place via the registration page.

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