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P

Paediatric

The branch of medicine that involves the care of infants, children and adolescents


Participant

A participant is someone who takes part in a research project. Sometimes participants are referred to as research "subjects".


Participatory research

This is a type of research where researchers and people who use services or carers are partners in a research project. The research addresses an issue of importance to service users or carers, who are involved in the design and conduct of the research, and the way the findings are made available. The aim of the research is to improve people's lives.


This is not a research method - it's an approach to research, a philosophy.


Patent

A form of intellectual property that gives the producer of a drug the legal right to exclude others from making, using or selling the drug


Pathways

Genes do not act in isolation, and do their job by interacting in a network of genes and proteins. These networks are known as signalling pathways. 


Patient group

An organisation set up to represent the views of patients and families around all issues relating to a condition, from diagnosis, care and management, and treatment.


Patient information sheet

Researchers must provide a patient information sheet to everyone they invite to take part in a research study, to ensure people can make an informed decision about this. The sheet explains what taking part will involve and should include details about:

  • why the research is being done, how long it will last, and what methods will be used
  • the possible risks and benefits
  • what taking part will practically involve, e.g. extra visits to a hospital or a researcher coming to interview someone at home
  • what interventions are being tested, or what topics an interview will cover
  • how the researchers will keep participants' information confidential
  • what compensation is available to people if they are harmed as a result of taking part in the research
  • who to contact for further information
  • how the results will be shared with others. 

Patient registry

A patient registry is a centralised database that systematically collects information about people who are affected by a particular condition or have specific interactions with a health service.


Patient reported outcome

A health outcome directly reported by the patient who experienced it


Peer review

Peer reviewing is where a research proposal or a report of research is read and commented on by people with similar interests and expertise to those who wrote the proposal or report. Peer reviewers might be members of the public, researchers, or other professionals. Peer review helps to check the quality of a report or research proposal. Members of the public who act as peer reviewers may choose to comment on:

  • whether the research addresses an important and relevant question
  • the methods used by researchers
  • the quality of public involvement in the research.

Perspective

The point of view that an analysis is conducted from.


Pharmaceutical company

A pharmaceutical company is a company that develops, produces, and markets drugs for use as medications.


Pharmacoepidemiology

The study of the use and effect of drugs in a well-defined, large population


Pharmacokinetics

The study of how a drug enters, moves through and leaves the body. This can include its absorption, distribution, breakdown and excretion


Pharmacovigilance

The practice of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed to identify previously unreported adverse reactions


Phase

Clinical trial programmes are divided into different stages, called phases. There are three main phases where Phase I trials typically involve testing a drug on a small number of healthy volunteers to assess safety, Phase II trials are testing on a small number of patients to assess the efficacy and Phase III allow this to be scaled up to much larger numbers


Phenotype

The set of observable characteristics in a living organism


Phenotyping

The full set of an individual's observable characteristics reflecting genetic inheritance, genetic mutations, and environmental influences. Phenotypic data can include the results of clinical tests, scans, and descriptions.


Pilot study

A small scale preliminary study to evaluate the feasibility, duration, cost and side effects prior to embarking on a full-scale research project


Placebo

A placebo is an inactive medicine which has no treatment value. 


Pre-clinical research

Pre-clinical research is essentially all medical research that does not require human participation. To name but a few methods, researchers can use bacteria, yeast, animal models, and computational models to investigate human health.


Preclinical

A stage of research that begins before a first-in-man clinical study, during which feasibility and drug safety data are collected. Preclinical studies are required before clinical trials can be started


Predatory price hikes

When marketing authorisation has not been secured for a drug by a company, it is possible for another organisation to buy the drug and drastically increase the price at which it is sold


Preferences

A greater liking for one option over another


Press release

A press release is an essential communication tool that is used to get your message across to the media in one fell swoop. It follows the structure of a typical news story including relevant quotes and 5 Ws and 1 H (who? what? Where? When? Why? and how?). Whether you want to announce a fundraising event, launching an awareness campaign, promoting an accomplishment or engaging in any clinical trial/research programme, a press release can be used to get the right publicity. 


Prevalence

The proportion of a chosen population that are affected by a single disease.


Pro-drug

A biologically inactive compound which can be metabolised in the body to produce a drug


Product registry

Registries set up to collect information related to pharmacovigilance. They are different to patient registries as they only include people taking the medicine in question and only collect information on the drug’s effects. 


Productivity

The extent to which an individual can work effectively.


Proliferative

To increase or spread at a rapid rate 

Protocol

A protocol is the plan for a piece of research. It usually includes information about:

  • what question the research is asking and its important / relevance
  • the background and context of the research, including what other research has been done before
  • how many people will be involved
  • who can take part
  • the research method
  • what will happen to the results and how they will be publicised.

A protocol describes in great detail what the researchers will do during the research. Usually, it cannot be changed without going back to a research ethics committee for approval.


Pseudonymised

Pseudonymisation is a process that removes or replaces information that identifies an individual within a data set. This may involve replacing names or other identifiers with a less easily recognisable reference number. 


Psychosomatic

A condition caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress



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