EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D064090/1
Title: The environmental control of house dust mites: public dissemination
Principal Investigator: Oreszczyn, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Twenty Twenty Television
Department: Bartlett Sch of Graduate Studies
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 01 November 2005 Ends: 28 February 2006 Value (£): 15,673
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Building Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The faecal pellets of the house dust mite play a major role in allergic disease, especially in asthma. House dust mites (HDMs) feed off human skin scale and live where a) skin scale is plentiful and b) hygrothermal conditions (i.e. temperature and relative humidity) are suitable. Mites can potentially be controlled by manipulating the hygrothermal conditions in the home. However, such conditions in mite habitats are very variable and average values of temperature and RH are poor indicators of whether mites are likely to prosper. Because of the complexity of the many interacting factors, a modelling approach is thus required.By successfully developing a sophisticated hygrothermal population model of house dust mites in beds, the multi-disciplinary team involved in the current EPSRC-funded project (ref. GR/S70678/01) have become international leaders in a field of growing relevance. The model has been developed in a collaboration between University College London (UCL), Cambridge University (UC), Kingston University, Insect Research and Development and other partners. This proposal is to obtain funds for the public dissemination of the current EPSRC project, by means of a 2 hour TV programme 'Dispatches', on Channel 4, produced by the company 'Twenty Twenty Television'. The programme aims to demonstrate how mite allergen avoidance can help prevent asthma symptoms in children. The programme features some case studies taking place over 6 to 8 weeks and involve 12 children aged between 6 and 14. The main interventions will be: thorough cleaning of the whole house; replacement of carpets in the child's bedroom with laminate flooring; covering mattresses, pillows and duvets with micro porous mite proof sheets; spraying soft furnishing and carpets throughout the house with anti allergen spray; removing cuddly toys; providing advice on reducing moisture levels in the dwellings. Mite levels will also be tested before and after the interventions. Given its short time frame and small sample size, the producers do not intend this study as a scientific proof of the effectiveness of the interventions, but rather they wish to demonstrate to viewers that quality of life can be significantly improved by making certain adjustments to lifestyle and the home environment.The research team involved in the current EPSRC project has been approached by the TV producers for advice, ideas, and filming opportunities. The research team suggested that the TV programme should also include the following further activities: monitoring temperature and humidity inside and outside the dwelling for the whole study, as well as modelling mite population growth to better assess the effect of the interventions. In addition, the research team will visit the households and provide them with tailored advice on moisture and mite control, based on building surveys, pressure-tests, thermal imaging, interviews with occupants, hygrothermal data. Finally, encapsulated sealed mite will be used in the bedrooms, in order to specifically monitor the effect of the moisture-reducing interventions on mite populations. However, in order to perform all the additional activities described above, a level of equipment and funding is required, which the TV producers cannot provide, hence this grant proposal.Should this proposal be successful, the current EPSRC project and its applications would be discussed more at length during the programme than in a case where more general interviews are given by the researchers. Furthermore, a broader view of the research project would be given, which would also highlight its multidisciplinary and challenging nature. In addition to increasing the scientific input into the TV programme, improving the media coverage of EPSRC-funded research and helping educate junior researchers in how the media works, the additional monitored data will be of use to the current and future EPSRC dust mite research projects.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: