Clinical Impact



Our discoveries have led to new ways of diagnosing and treating major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our research has changed clinical practice and has informed government policy and health guidelines.

  • Our research on brain/B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) has helped to diagnose both types of heart failure (systolic and diastolic heart failure) & to identify high-risk aortic stenosis patients for surgery. We were first to demonstrate the value of BNP as a biomarker for left ventricular systolic dysfunction, isolated diastolic dysfunction & for aortic stenosis
  • The multicentre research study demonstrated that in patients with Bell’s Palsy early treatment with prednisolone significantly improved the chances of complete recovery at three and nine months.
  • Though reducing deaths was a national priority, no systematic research into Scottish deaths had previously occurred. Highlighting the heterogeneity of the deceased, Dundee researchers identified deficits in care processes and multi-agency data sharing, making recommendations regarding monitoring.
  • The UK Faecal Occult Blood Test Screening Programme, based on Dundee-led research offers bowel cancer screening through mailed test kits followed up with colonoscopy when faecal blood is detected.
  • Our research developed sustainable methods for evaluating interventions to improve hospital antibiotic prescribing.
  • Our research with spironolactone has advanced treatment in heart failure. We conducted the first “proof of concept” study to show that spironolactone had beneficial cardiac effects in man. In patients with heart failure, we demonstrated that it reduced cardiac sympathetic activity and arrhythmias. Spironolactone was pioneered in Dundee as a treatment to reduce deaths in chronic heart failure.
  • An eight year MRC-funded clinical trial led by the University of Dundee and run throughout Scotland (16 hospitals, 188 GP Surgeries) exploring aspirin in diabetes for primary cardiovascular event prevention, where clinical practice had evolved without evidence.
  • Atopic eczema and associated conditions – asthma, food allergy and hay fever – affect ~40% of the population in developed nations. They cause significant morbidity and create a multibillion-pound global healthcare burden. The discovery that loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding filaggrin represent a strong risk factor for eczema, asthma and peanut allergy has defined a key pathological mechanism in atopic disease.