Engaging science

This week I attended a Pint of Science event in Birmingham titled “Perils of Youth” which was brilliant. Sometimes I am nervous of this type of event as it is really difficult to pitch a scientific talk to lay audience without it being too dumbed down or over the heads. Thankfully both speakers were spot on!

The first speaker was Jackie Blissett from the University of Birmingham who spoke about, “What makes people fussy eaters?” This was fascinating for me as I am often looking at what flavours of medicines are likely to be acceptable to children and to understand why there are different preferences. Recently we also did a study to better understand what children think of multiparticulates as a medicine, the children did not rate their liking of this product very highly although they were able to take it with minimal complaints. Jackie highlighted that it often takes 7-15 exposures to a new food for a child to accept it – for our study that means that our result is easily explained and that over time the child is more likely to accept it. She also talked about the environment to make sure that the child feels comfortable when trying new foods to maximise the chance of them trying the food. Fussy eating is really common in childhood and we were also informed that the ages of 2-6 years are the most difficult for the introduction of new foods – this is also of great interest when introducing novel medicines.

Her talk gave me lots of great ideas as to how best to introduce medicines for children that are likely to be acceptable.

The second speaker was Stephen Wood, also from the University of Birmingham and the title of his talk was, “Why are young people fighting mental illness?”. This was another great talk that highlighted the onset of mental illness being common at the time when paediatric services meet adult services and there is a big gap in the care. This is a real frustration as this is the time when these individuals need the most care. He encouraged the audience to reach out and do what they can to try to fix this issue which was really powerful.

I would encourage anyone to attend this type of event and I will certainly be looking to go again next year

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