BOFFINS in Renfrewshire are launching a government-funded project to examine the impact of social distancing and isolation on physical and mental health.

The £129,000 initiative, being carried out by researchers at the University of the West of Scotland’s Paisley campus, will assess changes in activity from before and during lockdown by collecting data from wearable technology and using a specially-designed app to examine the differences.

It is hoped the data will help provide more tailored support and enable people to better cope with any future restrictions.

The project will also include a feasibility study into the possibility of adapting mobile and wearable devices to provide remote support.

Professor Nicholas Sculthorpe, of the university’s School of Health and Life Sciences, is leading the research.

He said: “Our unique approach means we can track health behaviour before and after the lockdown was introduced. As a result, our project will provide critical information about how physical and psychological health has been impacted in individuals who may be most at risk.

“Understanding these changes will be key in helping individuals better cope with future restrictions. I am pleased that the work of our team has been recognised and we are keen to get started and contribute to UWS’s role in combating Covid-19.”

Almost £5million of Scottish Government funding is to be split between 55 coronavirus research projects across the country that aim to support global efforts to combat Covid-19 and its wider effects.

As well as leading on this project, UWS is also participating in a further two with the University of Edinburgh and the University of Aberdeen, which include understanding the psychosocial impact of social distancing on families of care home residents.

Professor Milan Radosavljevic, associate vice-principal of research at UWS, said: “The impressive response to the Covid-19 challenges to date has already demonstrated first-hand the societal significance of the Scottish higher education sector in times of utmost national emergency.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond


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