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    ABSTRACT: Venoplasty has been proposed, alongside the theory of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite concerns about its efficacy and safety, thousands of patients have undergone the procedure. This paper analyses YouTube videos where patients have shared their treatment experiences. Content analysis on the 100 most viewed videos from over 4000 identified in a search for 'CCSVI', and qualitative thematic analysis on popular 'channels' demonstrating patients' experiences. Videos adopt an overwhelmingly positive stance towards CCSVI; many were uploaded by patients and present pre- and/or post-treatment experiences. Patients demonstrate rather than merely describe their symptoms, performing tests on themselves before and after treatment to quantify improvement. Videos combine medical terminology and tests with personal experiences of living with MS. Social media technologies provide patients with novel opportunities for advocating for particular treatments; generating alternative forms of 'evidence' built on a hybrid of personal experience and medical knowledge. Healthcare practitioners need to engage with new digital forms of content, including online social media. Instead of disregarding sources not considered 'evidence-based', practitioners should enhance their understanding of what 'experiential-evidence' is deemed significant to patients, particularly in contested areas of healthcare.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Patient Education and Counseling
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    ABSTRACT: Now that most UK universities have increased their tuition fees to £9,000 a year and are implementing new Access Agreements as required by the Office for Fair Access, it has never been more important to examine the extent of fair access to UK higher education and to more prestigious UK universities in particular. This paper uses Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) data for the period 1996 to 2006 to explore the extent of fair access to prestigious Russell Group universities, where 'fair' is taken to mean equal rates of making applications to and receiving offers of admission from these universities on the part of those who are equally qualified to enter them. The empirical findings show that access to Russell Group universities is far from fair in this sense and that little changed following the introduction of tuition fees in 1998 and their initial increase to £3,000 a year in 2006. Throughout this period, UCAS applicants from lower class backgrounds and from state schools remained much less likely to apply to Russell Group universities than their comparably qualified counterparts from higher class backgrounds and private schools, while Russell Group applicants from state schools and from Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds remained much less likely to receive offers of admission from Russell Group universities in comparison with their equivalently qualified peers from private schools and the White ethnic group.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · British Journal of Sociology
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    ABSTRACT: The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami highlighted the importance of interdependencies between nations, delivery of humanitarian aid in an empowering manner, and long-term reconstruction. I examine relationships between overseas actors and local residents in tsunami-affected villages in Sri Lanka in a project initiated by the International Association of Schools of Social Work through its Rebuilding People's Lives After Disasters Network and another based on an institutional endeavour supported by Durham University because these sought to empower local communities through local, egalitarian partnerships. Lacking sufficient educational resources, capacity building in social work education has become a long-term objective.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation
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