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HSE Open Access Research Awards 2020

Despite the obstacles presented by the coronavirus, the HSE Open Access Awards went ahead as usual this year, in an all-virtual form. The usual range of subject categories was replaced by just one: Covid-19, and the presentation ceremony took place on Friday 11th December 2020.

The standard of entries was excellent, and external judge Professor Jonathan Drennan said it was extremely hard to choose between them. “It was an extremely difficult decision – they were extremely high quality – but it’s an enjoyable process. It was great to see the quality and standards reviewed across all the applications.”



The winners of the HSE Open Access Awards 2020 are:


Dale Francis Whelehan and colleagues: COVID-19 and surgery: A thematic analysis of unintended consequences on performance, practice and surgical training.

Jane McGrath: ADHD and Covid-19: current roadblocks and future opportunities.

Overall winner:

Dónal Ó Mathúna and colleagues: Clinical, laboratory and radiological characteristics and outcomes of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection in humans: A systematic review and series of meta-analyses.




  • Glial A Adenosine Receptors Modulate Abnormal Tachykininergic Responses and Prevent Enteric Inflammation Associated with High Fat Diet-Induced Obesity.

    D'Antongiovanni, Vanessa; Benvenuti, Laura; Fornai, Matteo; Pellegrini, Carolina; van den Wijngaard, Renè; Cerantola, Silvia; Giron, Maria Cecilia; Caputi, Valentina; Colucci, Rocchina; Haskó, Gyorgy; et al. (2020-05-18)
    The role played by adenosine A2B receptors (A2BRs) in the regulation of enteric glial cell (EGC) functions remains unclear. This study was aimed at investigating the involvement of A2BRs in the control of EGC functions in a model of obesity. C57BL/6 mice were fed with standard diet (SD) or high fat diet (HFD) for eight weeks. Colonic tachykininergic contractions were recorded in the presence of BAY60-6583 (A2BRs agonist), MRS1754 (A2BRs antagonist), and the gliotoxin fluorocitrate. Immunofluorescence distribution of HuC/D, S100β, and A2BRs was assessed in whole mount preparations of colonic myenteric plexus. To mimic HFD, EGCs were incubated in vitro with palmitate (PA) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), in the absence or in the presence of A2BR ligands. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) expression was assessed by Western blot analysis. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), substance P (SP), and glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) release were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assays. MRS1754 enhanced electrically evoked tachykininergic contractions of colonic preparations from HFD mice. BAY60-6583 decreased the evoked tachykininergic contractions, with higher efficacy in HFD mice. Such effects were blunted upon incubation with fluorocitrate. In in vitro experiments on EGCs, PA and LPS increased TLR4 expression as well as IL-1β, GDNF, and SP release. Incubation with BAY60-6583 reduced TLR4 expression as well as IL-1β, GDNF, and SP release. Such effects were blunted by MRS1754. The present results suggest that A2BRs, expressed on EGCs, participate in the modulation of enteric inflammation and altered tachykininergic responses associated with obesity, thus representing a potential therapeutic target.
  • Change in public awareness of colorectal cancer symptoms following the Be Cancer Alert Campaign in the multi-ethnic population of Malaysia.

    Schliemann, Désirée; Paramasivam, Darishiani; Dahlui, Maznah; Cardwell, Christopher R; Somasundaram, Saunthari; Ibrahim Tamin, Nor Saleha Binti; Donnelly, Conan; Su, Tin Tin; Donnelly, Michael (2020-03-25)
    Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) cases are detected late in Malaysia similar to most Asian countries. The Be Cancer Alert Campaign (BCAC) was a culturally adapted mass media campaign designed to improve CRC awareness and reduce late detection in Malaysia. The evaluation of the BCAC-CRC aimed to assess campaign reach, campaign impact and health service use. Methods: Participants aged ≥40 years (n = 730) from randomly selected households in Selangor State Malaysia, completed interview-based assessments. Campaign reach was assessed in terms of responses to an adapted questionnaire that was used in evaluations in other countries. The impact of the campaign was assessed in terms of awareness, confidence to detect symptoms and self-efficacy to discuss symptoms with a doctor as captured by the Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM). CAM was administered before-and-after campaign implementation and responses by BCAC recognisers (i.e. participants who recognised one or more of the BCAC television, radio or print advertisements when prompted) and non-recognisers (i.e. participants who did not recognise any of the BCAC advertisements) were compared analytically. Logistic regression analysed comparative differences in cancer awareness by socio-demographic characteristics and recognition of the BCAC materials. Results: Over 65% of participants (n = 484) recognised the BCAC-CRC. Campaign-recognisers were significantly more likely to be aware of each CRC symptom at follow-up and were more confident about noticing symptoms (46.9% vs 34.9%, p = 0.018) compared to non-recognisers. There was no difference between groups in terms of self-efficacy to see a doctor about symptoms. Improved symptoms awareness at follow-up was lower for Indians compared to Malays (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.53, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.34, 0.83, p = 0.005). Health service use data did not indicate an increase in screening activity during or immediately after the campaign months. Conclusion: Overall, the findings of the evaluation indicated that the culturally adapted, evidence-based mass media intervention improved CRC symptom awareness among the Malaysian population; and that impact is more likely when a campaign operates a differentiated approach that matches modes of communication to the ethnic and social diversity in a population.
  • Mini PCNL Over Standard PCNL: What Makes it Better?

    Thapa, Bikash Bikram; Niranjan, Vikram (2020-02-12)
  • Metastatic disease in head & neck oncology.

    Pisani, Paolo; Airoldi, Mario; Allais, Anastasia; Aluffi Valletti, Paolo; Battista, Mariapina; Benazzo, Marco; Briatore, Roberto; Cacciola, Salvatore; Cocuzza, Salvatore; Colombo, Andrea; et al. (2020-05-20)
  • Association of ionizing radiation dose from common medical diagnostic procedures and lymphoma risk in the Epilymph case-control study.

    Pasqual, Elisa; Turner, Michelle C; Gracia-Lavedan, Esther; Casabonne, Delphine; Benavente, Yolanda; Chef, Isabelle Thierry; Maynadié, Marc; Cocco, Pierluigi; Staines, Anthony; Foretova, Lenka; et al. (2020-07-10)

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