Swansea University is a UK top 30 institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
Project start date: October 2017
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, incurable lung disease with a median survival time of 3 years. The lack of treatment for this disease means that management strategies to slow the rate of decline and preserve patient quality of life are pivotal. Pulmonary rehabilitation, which involves a comprehensive, multidisciplinary programme of education, exercise and behaviour modification, has been suggested as one such potential strategy. However, while the role of pulmonary rehabilitation is well established in people with other chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for whom it improves exercise performance and reduces symptoms, less is known regarding the effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation in IPF patients. Indeed, given the unique radiological, pathological, functional and prognostic characteristics of IPF, generalising the outcomes associated with COPD is inappropriate and further research is required to elucidate the physiological and psychosocial effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in IPF patients.
A key question in the assessment of pulmonary rehabilitation programmes and possible explanation for the varied efficacy reported to date is the âactivitystatâ hypothesis, which suggests that participants compensate for increased physical activity in one part of the day by decreasing their physical activity in another part of the day to maintain an innate total physical activity set point. As the âactivitystatâ hypothesis is considered to be a homeostatic mechanism, it is possible that the set point may differ according to disease severity, which may have implications for the development of targeted pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
The specific research questions for the proposed MSc project will therefore be:
- To investigate physical activity levels in those with IPF before, during and after a pulmonary rehabilitation programme
- To investigate the presence of a compensatory effect in total physical activity levels and its relationship with age, sex, and disease severity
Candidates should have a 2:1 honours degreeÂ (or equivalent)Â in a relevant discipline, such as Sport and Exercise Science, Medicine, Physiology.
Candidates are also required to have:
- Ability to communicate effectively with others and coordinate multiple tasks simultaneously.
- Understanding of physical activity and its measurement.
Applications from overseas candidates are welcome but candidates should be aware that the studentship will only partially cover international tuition fees (value of Â£4,120).