Members’ activities

Dr Shelly Coe - Collaborations to further research on Multiple Sclerosis symptom improvement

Dr Shelly Coe’s work on ageing populations focuses on Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a neurological condition which usually has an onset after 45 years. She is a Senior Lecturer in Nutrition in the Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work.

Her current work is building on a multi-author, cross-sectional study published in 2021, which sought to investigate nutrient intake and symptom severity of people with MS. What is novel about her initial research is that this was the first diet questionnaire to be placed on the UK MSRegister. As such, the results were largely impactful

For the study, Oxford Brookes University collaborated with Swansea/ UK MS Register and the publication received media and news coverage as well as new collaborations from epidemiological experts in MS research from Melbourne University.

Currently, Shelly is working on two grant research projects; one from the MS Society UK and one from the MS Research Australia funder, in total equating to approximately £250-300K.

With the current two grants, collaborations have continued to grow, including new collaborations with the University of South Carolina, Bristol University UK, Iranian Universities, Imperial College London, and Deakin University Australia.

The collaboration and collective expertise shared and built in this area brings together a multidisciplinary team all focused on the area of MS and symptom improvement.

This new collective collaboration, has just applied for the MS Society UK project award round (with Shelly as PI, awaiting results), bringing together all of expertise on a larger, impactful potential intervention study.

Shelly has co-wrote a paper in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences about the effectiveness of Vitamin D supplementation in the management of Multiple Sclerosis. For more about Shelly’s research, see her staff profile.

Shelly is also a member of the Healthy Ageing and Care Network as well as a Network Lead for the Children and Young People Network at Oxford Brookes University.

Women in a kitchen preparing food
Image by freepik

Can hospitableness address the loneliness of older people?

The research of Levent Altinay (Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Oxford Brookes Business School) and Dr Zaid Alrawadieh is tackling the loneliness of elderly and enhancing their social wellbeing.

The loneliness of older people is a significant and growing challenge that has a range of impacts on physical and mental health. Interventions that can increase social connection and prevent or lessen loneliness are mainly delivered through health and social care organisations or the voluntary sector. Evidence for the effectiveness of these interventions is mixed.  

Our research takes a different approach and rather explores the potential of the commercial hospitality sector - coffee shops, pubs and restaurants for example – to increase the wellbeing and ameliorate loneliness of older customers. To do so, we will build on research that uses the concept of ‘hospitableness’. This can be defined as a set of characteristics of the hosts - their attitudes and behaviours - that result in positive emotional responses in guests who feel welcomed, safe and cared for. 

Our previous research investigating the concept of hospitableness has explored the experiences of migrants in the hospitality industry, patients in hospitals and the loneliness of refugees. Building on this work, our research project will adopt a multidisciplinary approach and investigate the interface between the older peoples’ experience of hospitableness offered by cafes, restaurants and pubs and the social connectedness, subjective wellbeing and loneliness experienced by their older customers.

Recommended readings:

Altinay L, Alrawadieh Z, Hudec O, Urbančíková N, Arici HE , 'Modelling social inclusion, self-esteem, loneliness, psychological distress, and psychological resilience of refugees: Does hospitableness matter?' Journal of Business Research 162 (2023)

Levent Altinaya, Haiyan Song, Melih Madanoglu, Xuan Lorna Wang, 'The influence of customer-to-customer interactions on elderly consumers’ satisfaction and social well-being' International Journal of Hospitality Management 78 (2018) pp.223-233

Two elderly women having a coffee