Diagnosis and coping

Diagnosis and coping

We have all seen how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people, young and old, in a myriad of different ways. Just some of the ways we are working to improve outcomes is by studying immunity and recovery, reviewing impact for particular groups such as chronic pain sufferers, loaning specialist equipment, hosting online movement sessions, urging continued funding for older people during discharge and rehabilitation, and supporting positive mental health during social distancing and self-isolation.

Why not check out the case studies below to learn more about our work?

Contributions to the frontline

Glasgow Mutual Aid

Benjamin Butterworth, PhD researcher in Psychology and member of the Substance Use Research Group, has been working as coordinator for Glasgow Mutual Aid in G42 8 and G42 0, a catchment area of 15,000 people. Benjamin is responsible for leading a team of 50 volunteers in responding to requests for help these areas. The main requests are for sourcing food parcels and supporting food banks, in addition to delivering groceries, collecting prescriptions, and offering emotional support calls. For example, the group are helping the Govanhill and Queens Park Church food bank.

Equipment loaned to NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Professor Linda Scobie from the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences has loaned her equipment for the extraction of material to test for SARS-CoV2 to NHS Dumfries and Galloway; Dr Claire Crossan, Research Fellow in Biomedical and Biological Sciences, is located there to provide training and to assist with testing in the meantime. 

Enhancing peoples wellbeing

Lockdown link to cognitive decline uncovered

A decline in cognitive functions – such as memory, attention and decision-making – is connected to the tightest restrictions in Scotland’s COVID-19 lockdown, a new peer-reviewed study has found.

The research, led by Dr Joanne Ingram from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) psychology lecturer Dr Chris Hand, has concluded that restrictions on social interactions led to poorer memory, attention and decision-making, but that these abilities improved as social restrictions were eased.

Dr Hand said: “These findings have implications for how we plan to work, learn, and live – whether we continue to work more remotely, or return to more traditional physical spaces. It is very clear that greater levels of isolation negatively impacted our cognitive abilities.”

The study, which took place between May and August 2020 and was funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO), also found that people’s mood improved consistently over this time period, and that improvements in cognitive tasks were different for people who were shielding or living alone, depending on when restrictions changed for them.

The study also found that people made riskier decisions during the full lockdown, but improved as restrictions eased. However, those who were shielding only improved once shielding was paused.

Researchers discovered that people’s working memory and their ability to pay attention improved as restrictions eased but people who lived alone did not improve until they could have visitors in their homes (not including their support bubble).

The full report can be accessed here.

Lockdown lifestyle linked to poor mental health in Scotland

A rise in negative health behaviours – such as lack of sleep, exercise and an unhealthy diet – is linked to poorer mental health during the tightest restrictions of Scotland’s COVID-19 lockdown, a new study has confirmed.

Research led by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), in partnership with GCU has concluded that these changes contributed to a higher negative mood and that maintaining, or even improving, health behaviours in a lockdown situation is key to sustaining positive mental health.

The study, funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO), also found a link between increased alcohol consumption when living with children, and a poorer diet if the person’s working status had been affected by COVID-19. 

The large-scale study involved nearly 400 adults living in Scotland. Researchers said there was  clear evidence that lockdown led to negative changes in health behaviours, but they also found that the picture was complicated and that lots of people made positive, healthy changes during the first lockdown from March onwards.

Psychology students to deliver mental health support to COVID-19 frontline workers

Psychology students will soon be working as trainees with leading Scottish charity SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) to give mental health support to COVID-19 frontline workers.  Foundation Scotland, Scotland's community foundation charity, has awarded a £105,000 grant to SAMH in recognition of the fact that mental health challenges have been widely recognised as a key area of need throughout the crisis. This essential funding is to support SAMH's new work with Five Areas Ltd (Living Life to the Full) and GCU. All three organisations will work together to provide three tiers of mental health support needed for 4,000 key workers. 

Dr Bryan McCann, Lecturer in Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "As the University for the Common Good, Glasgow Caledonian University seeks to make a positive contribution to the communities we serve. Foundation Scotland's funding will allow us to work in partnership with SAMH to deploy our trainee psychologists in support of frontline workers' mental health."

Return of parkrun a 'milestone' for public health

Researchers from GCU have welcomed the return of parkrun as a "significant milestone" for the UK.  Before lockdown, more than 250,000 runners or walkers took part in the Saturday morning 5kms all over the world.  A research team from GCU surveyed 8157 parkrunners in 2018 and concluded regular running makes people happier and more confident in everyday life and has a positive impact on their mental health and body image. Professor Emmanuelle Tulle, one of the authors, said: “The return of parkrun is a significant milestone for the UK and could be important in helping many rediscover the benefits of an active lifestyle and the joys of community sport.”

Calls for National COVID-19 Resilience Programme for older people

Professor in Ageing and Health Dawn Skelton is part of an expert panel behind a report calling on the government to look into the physical and psychological effects of lockdown on older people.

The report - 'A National Covid-19 Resilience Programme' - was produced by The Physiological Society and the Centre for Ageing Better. It has been published online here and shared with the UK Parliament at a Parliamentary Committee.

The report calls for the government to consider the potential physical and mental health effects of lockdown on older people and explains the physiological reasons why older people being less active and less socially engaged will have a huge negative effect on health but also on healthcare resources with an increase in falls, depression and loneliness.

It urges UK public health agencies to launch a National Covid-19 Resilience Programme to support older people through the pandemic and to keep them healthy over the winter.

Key recommendations include encouraging appropriate exercise and physical activity; supporting optimal nutrition; enhance mental health and wellbeing; and supporting behaviour change to embed these behaviours.

It also recommended televised physical activity opportunities, paper-based programmes and Make Movement Your Mission classes for those on Facebook or who can access You Tube.  

Last month Professor Skelton, Chair of the British Geriatric Rehabilitation Group, was one of 19 British Geriatric Society (BGS) officers and key members to write to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to announce ongoing funding for discharge services in his forthcoming comprehensive spending review (CSR).

Calls for online sports coaching to continue after COVID-19

Researchers monitoring sports coaching habits during lockdown are calling for online training sessions to continue, even after the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.

A study by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Abertay University has taken a detailed look at how the first lockdown during March and April affected tennis coaches when face-to- face sessions were banned.

Researchers found that the online setting allowed players to practise in their own time, encouraged them to learn new skills and encouraged greater engagement and interest from family members.

Tennis coach and trainee Sport and Exercise Psychologist on the GCU DPsych programme, Julie Gordon, said: “As a practising coach as well as researcher, I have continued to use online coaching as a way of connecting with and motivating athletes particularly those in self isolation.

Jonathan Glen, from Abertay University’s Division of Sport and Exercise, insisted they would never suggest that online coaching should replace face-to-face coaching, but it can be very effective as a supplementary tool.

COVID-19 rehabilitation for older peoples

World-renowned expert on ageing Professor Dawn Skelton has vehemently defended rehabilitation services for older people in England after a UK government policy U-turn. The Professor of Ageing and Health at GCU and a member of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) Rehabilitation Group, said they were alarmed to learn that funding for 'one-stop' rehabilitation centres for older people in England had been withdrawn. She said that COVID-19 virus has disproportionately affected older people with around half of diagnoses and almost 90 per cent of deaths from the virus being in the over 65 age group. Those that had not been affected by the virus had been shielding or in lockdown, putting them at huge risk for functional decline with the lack of physical activity.

Online movement sessions

Professor Dawn Skelton, later-life training guru and Professor of Ageing, is helping older people cope in the coronavirus crisis and improve their lives with new live online movement sessions. The 10-minute sessions are live at 8am, 12noon and 4pm and are available for people to watch at their own convenience on YouTube and Facebook.

Over-70s and COVID-19

Professor Emmanuelle Tulle, Glasgow School for Business and Society was featured in a Daily Record article on 3 May 2020 about the proposal to maintain a blanket order for the over-70s to remain confined, even after the relaxation of lockdown for other age groups. John Humphreys had written an article complaining about the ‘homogenising of the old’ that this represented. He used the lifestyle argument to argue against the assumption that the over-70s are all at similar risk of COVID-19, operating reverse stereotyping but also implying that good health in later life could be achieved with appropriate individual life choices. Professor Tulle argued that there are indeed wide variations among the over-70s - but shifted the argument towards structural inequalities, rather than individual lifestyle choice. Professor Tulle also commented on the language that has been used to signify heightened risk in COVID-19 – ‘our elderly’ or ‘the elderly and those with multiple morbidities’ which implies that the two occupy the same space of tainted biology, reinforcing cultural exclusion.

Positive mental health

GCU psychology researcher Dr Christopher Hand has been providing evidence-based advice around sustaining positive mental health and wellbeing during social distancing and self-isolation interventions, maintaining anxiety levels within healthy boundaries, and the behaviour of the public in relation to adapting to working from home, ‘panic buying’, and maintaining healthy social networks. This has featured on Clyde News in an interview (16 March 2020), Global News (representing a wide array of outlets), coverage in The National (link 1 and link 2) and Glasgow Times newspapers, a two-page spread in the Sunday Post magazine and an interview by EuroNews which led to an approx. 3-minute video being published via Twitter and their website.

Also, on 1 June 2020, Dr Hand warned against using social media shaming as a tactic to stop people breaking Coronavirus pandemic lockdown rules, insisting that the rise in 'Covidiot' cyber shaming is a "dangerous" road to go down and could increase the spread of the virus by rebellious reactionaries. 

Mental and physical health impacts of COVID-19

Research reveals impact of first lockdown on mental health

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University have published one of the first studies revealing the full impact of COVID-19 on mental health on different groups of people living in the UK.

The COVID-19 Psychological Wellbeing Study was conducted with colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast and began on March 23, 2020 - the day the UK government announced the first national lockdown.

The study involved conducting an online survey of 1958 UK adults and collecting data from participants three times over the first 12 weeks with the aim of identifying patterns of anxiety, depression and COVID-19-related traumatic stress (CV19TS) symptoms.

Researchers found that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on people’s mental health in different ways - people who had low but stable mental health symptoms; people who had high but stable symptoms; people who had symptoms that improved over the period of the study; and, people who had symptoms that declined.

Two thirds showed low and stable self-reported mental health symptoms which lead author and GCU Head of Psychology Dr Kerri McPherson says reflects “considerable resilience to the unprecedented demands of lockdown”.

Co-author and Senior Lecturer in Applied Health Psychology Dr Kareena McAloney said one of the most interesting findings was that women seemed to show more resilience as time went on – starting off anxious but improving significantly over time, and their levels of PTSD were much lower than in men.

Read the full research paper - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178121004340

Ageing expert behind new data predicting falls rise in older people as a result of COVID-19 lockdown

GCU Professor in Ageing and Health Dawn Skelton was one of the experts behind new data predicting that the number of falls among older adults could increase due to a decline in balance and muscle strength caused by inactivity during the first lockdown.

The report ‘Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Physical Activity, Deconditioning and Falls in Older Adults’ has just been published by Public Health England.

Professor Skelton is a member of the National Falls Prevention Coordination Group (NFPCG) and was on the advisory group for the report, giving her guidance and advice throughout.

She explained: “The report predicts that 110,000 more older people (an increase of 3.9%) are projected to have at least one fall per year as a result of reduced strength and balance activity during the pandemic, with a cost of £211 million to the health and social care system.  

“Older people experienced a considerable reduction in strength and balance activity between March-May 2020, with the greatest change in the 70-74 age group with a 45% (males) and 49% (females) decrease observed in activity.‚Äč”

Professor Skelton was also part of an expert panel behind a report published last year calling on the government to look into the physical and psychological effects of lockdown on older people.

The report - 'A National COVID-19 Resilience Programme' - was produced by The Physiological Society and the Centre for Ageing Better. It has been published online here and shared with the UK Parliament at a Parliamentary Committee.

The report calls for the government to consider the potential physical and mental health effects of lockdown on older people and explains the physiological reasons why older people being less active and less socially engaged will have a huge negative effect on health but also on healthcare resources with an increase in falls, depression and loneliness.

It urges UK public health agencies to launch a National COVID-19 Resilience Programme to support older people through the pandemic and to keep them healthy over the winter.

Key recommendations include encouraging appropriate exercise and physical activity; supporting optimal nutrition; enhance mental health and wellbeing; and supporting behaviour change to embed these behaviours.

It also recommended televised physical activity opportunities, paper-based programmes and Make Movement Your Mission classes for those on Facebook or who can access You Tube.  

Regular physical activity could cut COVID-19 death risk by one third

Regular physical activity cuts the risk of dying from infectious diseases such as COVID-19 by 37 per cent and reduces the chance of catching the virus by 31 per cent, according to new global research.

The research carried out by an international team of researchers, led by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Professor of Health Behaviour Dynamics Sebastien Chastin, also found that physical activity can boost the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 40 per cent.

GCU conducted the full-scale systematic review of 16,698 worldwide epidemiological studies published between January 1980 and April 2020 with world-renowned immunologists and epidemiologists from University College London (UCL) and Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium, exercise and sports scientists from Cádiz University in Spain and a public health consultant from NHS Lanarkshire (NHSL).

The research found that 30-minutes of activity five days a week or 150-minutes per week that gets you slightly out of breath such as walking, running, cycling and strengthening exercises can have a massive impact on immunity to infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Scientists concluded that it can result in a “31 per cent decrease in the risk of infectious disease such as COVID- 19, a 37 per cent decrease in the risk of death as a consequence of infectious disease such as COVID-19 and an increase in the efficacy of vaccination against viral disease such as COVID-19.”

Professor Chastin said they found that physical activity “strengthens the first line of defence of the human immune system and a higher concentration of immune cells” in the world’s first study into the link between exercise and COVID-19 immunity.

The research entitled ‘Effects of regular physical activity on the immune system, vaccination and risk of community acquired infectious disease in the general population: Systematic review and meta-analysis’ has been published in the Sports Medicine journal.

The findings have already gone to the Scottish Government and other governments around world as well as public health experts and healthcare professionals.

Professor Chastin said: “This research is hugely significant and could help to cut the number people contracting COVID-19 and dying from it. It is the first piece of research that proves regular physical activity protects you against infectious disease.

“We found that regular exercise where you get out of breath boosts your immunity to infectious disease by 31 per cent and it increases the number of immune cells in the body in the first line of defence which is the mucosal layer of antibodies. These cells are responsible for identifying foreign agents in the body without depressing the rest of the immune system so it’s perfectly safe and protects you against infectious disease.

“We also found that if you add physical activity to your vaccination programme it increases the potency of the vaccination. We are recommending a 12-weeks physical activity programme before vaccination which could result in 20 to 40 per cent more effective immunisation.

“Our findings have already gone to the Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland, Public Health England, the South African and Belgian governments, FIFA, and many other organisations. Policymakers need to do everything they possibly can to fight this disease. This is not a panacea but another cheap tool we can use to protect the public.

“The promotion of physical activity and access for all to physical activity pursuit are paramount. Campaigns to inform the public of the benefit of physical activity in fighting the pandemic should be undertaken.”

Other GCU researchers involved in the study were physical activity experts Dr Philippa Dall and Ukachukwu Abaraogu, sport and exercise psychologists Dr Elaine Duncan and Dr Joanna McParland, and respiratory specialist Dr Nicola Roberts.

They worked closely with UGent’s Professor of Exercise Physiology Jan Bourgois and exercise immunity expert Jasmien Dumortier, Mark Hamer, Professor of Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH) at UCL, exercise and sports scientist David Jimenez Pavon from Cádiz University and NHS Lanarkshire Consultant in Public Health Dr Jennifer Darnborough.

Professor Chastin advised the public to build regular physical activity into their weekly routine to help them fight off the COVID-19 virus.

“Our research shows that if you are active – engaging in 150-minutes per week or 30-minutes five days a week protects you against the risk of infectious disease. You don’t need to go to a gym, as dancing around the living room, going for a run or walk is just as effective. In this period of pandemic being outside is better than in a gym or closed environment,” said Professor Chastin.

He added: “The clear message is stay active – it’s not only good for your mental and general health but we now have the proof that it is also good for boosting your immunity. You need to keep it up as it’s about regular exercise and making time to build it into your day.”

Click here to watch a short animation video about the research and read the full paper here.

Employers urged to show kindness to staff 'scarred' by lockdown

Employers have a moral duty to protect the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and create more compassionate workplaces in the wake of COVID-19, according to leading HR experts.

The pandemic will have a "substantial and real" effect on how employers treat staff in the years to come with managers now encouraged to check on the welfare of individuals and teams at regular intervals.

In an article for the journal Advances in Developing Human Resources, Dr David McGuire, of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), warns remote working has had a significant impact on the health, wellbeing, and career prospects of some employees.

For some workers, a lack of informal social engagement has increased loneliness and isolation and exacerbated mental health concerns.  Employers who build working environments based on care and compassion, with robust support in place for employees, are more likely to succeed in the post-pandemic world, experts predict.  Figures show lockdown has disproportionately affected women and minority communities, with 60% of key workers being women, rising to almost 80% within the health and social care sector.

The article, Reshaping HRD in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Ethics of Care Approach, co-written with academics from Western Carolina University and the University of the West of Scotland, is available via Sage Journals.

COVID-19 impacts alcohol support services for older adults

A new study involving Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers has shown that face-to-face alcohol treatment support is crucial for older adults.

During COVID-19 alcohol services had to move to remote help and the study shows this limited their ability to fully meet the needs of their older service users in particular.

Dr Paulina Trevena and Professor Lawrie Elliott, researchers in GCU's Department of Nursing and Community Health, carried out a qualitative study of alcohol services in the UK with the University of Bedfordshire’s Institute of Applied Social Research.

The study, ‘Addressing the needs of older adults receiving alcohol treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic’, was commissioned by Drink Wise, Age Well, a programme led by We Are With You. Leading UK drug, alcohol and mental health charity, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, We Are With You, works with more than 100,000 people in over 120 locations across Scotland and England.

The research explored the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on older service users, including on their alcohol consumption; how alcohol services have adapted and supported older service users, and how staff experienced these changes; the short and long-term implications for service provision, and how service responses could be improved.  Dr Trevena said one of the key findings from the qualitative study was that face-to-face contact is crucial for older adults.

A number of recommendations were made which will help to improve and shape services in the future, and inform governments on what works best for older adults’ alcohol provision.  Among the recommendations for future service provision were to maintain accessible and flexible phone support for older adults; that remote service provision should be provided in addition to, rather than instead of, face-to-face support; to strengthen links with existing community health and social care services to prevent older adults falling between services and ultimately preventing unnecessary hospital admission; and to ensure older adults who wish to engage online are adequately supported to do so.

Find out more about the study here.

COVID-19 study on the mental health of frontline workers

GCU researchers have found that more needs to be done to support the mental health of COVID-19 frontline health and social care professionals.

Dr Alex Pollock and Dr Pauline Campbell, from GCU’s NMAHP Research Unit, were awarded funding by the Scottish Government and the Chief Scientist Office to conduct a systematic review and evidence synthesis on 'Effective interventions to support the resilience and mental health of frontline health and social care staff during a global health crisis and following de-escalation'. The results of their rapid coronavirus response research have just been published in a Cochrane Review paper here.

This review was one of three vital GCU-led research projects aimed at tackling the coronavirus and its impact to be awarded by the Scottish Government in April. The coronavirus research funding was part of a £5 million package to support 55 rapid research projects in 15 Scottish universities and research institutions, contributing to global efforts to combat the virus and its wider effects. The studies focus on increasing the understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19), screening potential treatments and supporting clinical trials, and researchers were given six months to complete them.

Ageing expert urges the Chancellor to fund ongoing discharge care

Professor in Ageing and Health Dawn Skelton is one of 19 British Geriatric Society (BGS) officers and key members to write to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to announce ongoing funding for discharge services in his forthcoming comprehensive spending review (CSR).  Professor Skelton said: "We believe it is important for all of society that older people's healthcare is sustainably funded for the long term, beyond March 2021. Six months of funding does not allow systems to plan or to employ additional staff to deliver these reablement and recovery services."

Professor Skelton also features in a great article in the New Scientist (October 9) entitled 'Bad balance: why dangerous falls are on the rise around the world'.

How can we help young people thrive in a pandemic?

GCU London's Professor Antony Morgan and Professor Candace Currie explore how we can help young people thrive in the next Resilience and Reconstruction talk hosted by the Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Glasgow Caledonian New York College (GCNYC).

The virtual speaker series brings together the GCU community around the globe to explore the impact of, and opportunities arising from, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dean and Professor in Public Health at GCU London Professor Morgan will join Professor of Global Adolescent Health Professor Currie to explore "Supporting Young People: Thrive During Pandemics and Other Major Threats" on October 15 at 5pm UK time.

Younger people hit hardest by COVID-19 lockdown

Younger adults and people with pre-existing health conditions are more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, PTSD and higher levels of worry as a result of the COVID-19 measures, new research has shown. Four top psychologists at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) studied data from 726 people living in Scotland during lockdown to find out the impact that Coronavirus measures were having on mental health. The 72-page online COVID-19 Psychological Wellbeing Study of adults over 18 was completed after three-months of analysing data collected during the first month of lockdown. Lead researchers GCU Head of Psychology Dr Kerri McPherson and Senior Lecturer in Applied Health Psychology Dr Kareena McAloney-Kocaman, supported by lecturer Dr Birgit Schroeter and researcher Pia Faeth, found that younger people and those with pre-existing conditions have suffered most during lockdown.

Physical function review hits the Big Apple

A systematic review by GCU researchers studying the changes and recovery in physical function and fitness after COVID-19 has appeared in the New York Times.  The research was led by PhD student Scott Rooney with Professor Lorna Paul, Professor in Allied Health Science in the Department of Physiotherapy and Paramedicine and PhD student Amy Webster. The team decided to carry out the review because COVID-19 is a novel infection and there is limited understanding of the long-term impact and recovery of patients following infection. The research paper is 'Systematic Review of Changes and Recovery in Physical Function and Fitness After Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–Related Coronavirus Infection: Implications for COVID-19 Rehabilitation'.

Anxiety and COVID-19

GCU's Dr Xander Kirke has had an article published in E-International Relations on Anxiety and COVID-19: The role of ontological security and myth.  The COVID-19 crisis has posed a fundamental challenge to global security. Yet this extends well beyond the economic and physical security of states.  Indeed, it has posed a fundamental challenge to the ‘human security’, or, the survival of the human as a subject. 

Social impact of COVID-19 on chronic pain sufferers

GCU Reader in the Department of Psychology, Dr Jo McParland, has been involved in an important review into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with chronic pain. The review, entitled 'The social threats of COVID-19 for people with chronic pain', was published in PAIN, The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Chronic pain, defined as persistent or intermittent pain that lasts for at least three months, affects between one third and one half of the UK population. Dr McParland was part of an international team, invited by the leading pain journal, to carry out a topical review into the challenges faced by chronic pain sufferers during the pandemic. The review examines the social impact of the pandemic for those with chronic pain, suggests strategies to mitigate the social impact of the pandemic and proposes research questions to direct future research in the area.

World's largest study

Led by Professor Sebastien Chastin, leading physical activity researchers, respiratory experts, and sport and exercise psychologists at GCU have launched the world’s largest study to find out for certain if physical activity can boost COVID-19 immunity. The study is aimed at aiding government decision-making around current recommendations on physical activity and exercise to boost immunity to COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic. It is the most comprehensive systematic review ever conducted into the impact of physical activity on immune response, analysing more than 14,000 research papers published worldwide over the last 40 years for key data. Scientists are in a race against time to find conclusive evidence that physical activity can lessen the impact of COVID-19 by the end of May 2020 and are working flat out to publish results of the study that would normally take months to collate. They have joined forces with world-renowned immunologists and epidemiologists from University College London and Ghent University in Belgium, and a public health consultant from NHS Lanarkshire.

Professor Chastin also took part in a discussion on BBC Radio Scotland 05 May 2020 10:09:30 on whether fitness levels may impact on recovery from COVID-19.


Research at GCU

Research is instrumental in tackling society’s biggest problems. The health, social and economic challenges uncovered by COVID-19 brings into sharp focus our commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity for all.

Sustainable Development Goals

These global goals reflect our ethos as the University for the Common Good and our mission to make a positive difference to the communities we serve. Read our institutional research strategy to find out more about our commitment to the SDGs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.

The icons below show which of the 17 SDGs we aim to impact through the research above.