Adventures with the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ EPSIG: video & links

I am pleased to say that I have recently joined the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ evolutionary psychiatry special interest group (EPSIG). My first encounter with the group was being invited to give a talk following their AGM (video below). However, I’ve since learned a lot about the group.

The RcPsych EPSIG aims to raise awareness of the value of evolutionary theory to psychiatry, as well as encouraging research on the topic. The group has a fascinating mix of members with a range of expertise, bringing together clinical and academic expertise, across disciplines. They hold talks and host symposia, some of which can be found on their YouTube channel. Their newsletters are also available to all, if you want to read more.

Mapping Census data from Newcastle commuters – update!

People – especially students – get in touch with me on a surprisingly regular basis to ask for the data and shape files I used in my previous post on mapping methods of travel to work in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Unfortunately, since Google discontinued their support for Fusion Tables, people are now unable to download the data and shape files from the maps I created. Never fear! You can find them here.

Link to download KMZ file for the Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs*) within Newcastle upon Tyne**.

Link to download data on methods of travel to work, from the 2011 Census, organised by LSOA**.

Link to download data on methods of travel to work from the 2011 Census, organised by ward* (sorry, but I don’t have a shape at ward level).

*For a guide to administrative geographies, see the ONS page on Census geography.

**This link will take you Dropbox, but you don’t need an account to download the file

Getting other Census and geographies data:

What’s even better than being able to simply download the data from this page? Probably, it’s knowing where to get your own data (especially since the 2011 Census data are about to become outdated). There are couple of really handy websites for accessing Census data and information on UK geographies:

The Nomis website provides a useful portal for accessing census data.

The ONS Open Geography Portal provides a lot of helpful products, including shape files for various geographies.

Hopefully these resources will help you to get your projects done. Happy mapping!

A map from the original project, showing the percentage of residents in each LSOA travelling to work by bicycle (in shades of green), with all data represented in the pop-out bubbles in the interactive version.

Measuring perceived uncontrollable mortality risk: poster, papers & video

I’m beginning to build a bank of resources to support people to use the measures of perceived control over mortality risk that Daniel Nettle and I developed some years ago (Pepper & Nettle, 2014). So far, these measures seem to be a good predictor of health behaviour and, in our data, they outperform the Multidemsional Health Locus of Control (MHLC), which is a commonly used measure examining a similar construct.

To get things started, I’ve created my first ever #BetterPoster (see here for more on the “Better Poster” concept) that gives a brief overview of the theory and evidence regarding the relationship between perceived uncontrollable mortality risk and health behaviour. I’m presenting this poster at EHBEA2021, and Richard Brown will be giving a talk on some of the evidence summarised in panel 4 of the poster below. The 2-minute audio recording that accompanies the poster can be downloaded here.

I’ve also created a 1-page guide to using the measure, which gives the question text and an at-a-glance summary of what the responses represent, with references for further details. You can download the guide here.

My #BetterPoster for EHBEA 2021 – a summary of the evidence so far on perceived uncontrollable mortality risk & health behaviour.

The poster above is embedded as an image, so the links don’t work. Here are the links to the key references:

Nettle (2010),

Pepper & Nettle (2014a),

Pepper & Nettle (2014b),

Brown, Coventry & Pepper (2021)

UPDATE! New video

Since I originally posted this, my fantastic PhD student, Richard Brown has created a video, explaining the findings of our paper in the Journal of Public Health. Richard’s creation won him the best talk prize at the Northumbria University Early Career Researchers’ conference, 2021.

ISEMPH 2021 – online meeting

I’m on the programme for the excellent International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health‘s annual meeting again this year. As usual, I expect the conference will be superb. However, things will be a little different this year, as the whole event will be virtual: https://isemph.org/ISEMPH-2021

Although I understand that many people are suffering from “Zoom fatigue”, an online conference offers a number of fresh advantages. It becomes easier for people from all over the world to participate without time, cost, or carbon footprint concerns becoming barriers. We can be innovative about our scheduling too. Having some pre-recorded talks and posters available in advance of the conference will mean more time to interact with each other on the day. More interaction can mean more ideas, more fun, and more potential for collaboration. Another advantage of having some pre-recorded talks: you can pause, rewind, and watch again! No more wondering if you’re asking a silly question because you didn’t quite hear something that was said earlier on in the talk. Equally, if the topic of the talk isn’t quite as you expected, you can stop watching without fear of disrupting others in the audience. This year’s meeting will enjoy all these advantages, plus some of the buzz of a live event with some live talks and Q&A sessions.

To really boost the interactivity of the conference, we’ll also be running our first ever Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health Grand Challenges! Conference delegates can sign up to work in virtual teams to address the big questions and challenges facing medicine and public health today, with topics ranging from ageing to tuberculosis. The aim of these events is to encourage new connections and collaborations, and to spark innovation in the EMPH community. Check out the ISEMPH-2021 website for further details: https://isemph.org/Grand-Challenges-2021

Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona.
Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona

Shape file for Newcastle upon Tyne LSOAs

A little while ago, I was contacted by someone who was looking for a shape file for the Newcastle upon Tyne area, as they wanted to map some data as part of a research project.

It occurred to me that other people might be looking for such a file since, back when I made my maps of transport usage in Newcastle (see previous blog), I’d had to source an ONS shape file of all the LSOAs in England and then manually edit it down to only those contained within the Newcastle area. Should you wish to avoid doing all that work yourself, here is the file!

It is a KML file showing the Lower Level Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in Newcastle Upon Tyne (2011 boundaries). Click here to download.

Example map, based on the KML file provided above, showing percentage of people walking to work by LSOA.