People living with dementia are among the worst hit by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally, with an estimated quarter of deaths directly due to COVID-19 in England occurring in people with dementia (www.alzheimers.org.uk/worsthit). It is imperative to better understand health related contributors to severe outcomes here, as the pandemic continues with new variants, and for any future pandemics.
Certain sedating medications that increase the risk and complications from pneumonia are thought to cause similar issues in COVID-19. This project will explore the risk of covid infection and subsequent severe outcomes in people with dementia prescribed higher compared to lower doses of these sedatives.
This PhD project will involve the analysis of patient records from a large database of >62 million UK primary care patient records linked to hospital and death certificate data. These databases present huge opportunities for studying the effects of covid, but there are challenges to explore such as the recording and availability of covid data (www.cebm.net/covid-19/why-no-one-can-ever-recover-from-covid-19-in-england-a-statistical-anomaly/), additional infection risk within care homes and hospitals, selection biases and confounding.
The PhD project will be jointly supervised by Dr Kathryn Richardson and Prof Yoon Loke from the Norwich Medical School, and include collaboration with UCL, the universities of Cambridge and Exeter, Newcastle University, and UBC (Canada).
The PhD will be hosted by the Norwich Epidemiology Centre allowing exchange of ideas and experience with fellow researchers. Training will be provided in relevant research methodology, the handling and analysis of large health datasets, contemporary evaluation of sources of bias, and cutting-edge statistical techniques. Attendance at formal training courses and conferences will be encouraged. There is the potential to take the PhD in a more statistical (around missing data issues or joint modelling) or epidemiological direction depending on the candidate’s interests.
Please contact Dr Kathryn Richardson ([Email Address Removed]) for further details.