In Silico Science
In Silico Science is training researchers on innovative methods for systematic reviews applied to the research on tobacco harm reduction, with particular reference to cardiovascular effects, respiratory effects and weight management.
The new research project by CoeHAR is highly innovative
This project will produce systematic reviews that critically assess the quality of studies and produce living reviews and reports in plain language on high quality studies. These systematic reviews will provide policy makers, healthcare professionals and consumers with reliable and up-to-date data from high-standards studies to shape their decisions on policies and practices to reduce the harm caused by smoking.
The research goal is to provide information on health effects resulting from the substitution of alternative low-risk products for conventional cigarettes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and on weight management.
What Is In Silico Science? What benefits will it bring?
Healthcare providers and consumers need sound facts and the latest research to inform their decisions about vaping as a substitute for smoking. Unfortunately in the fraught debate over e-cigs, many assertions on the health effects of vaping are based on low quality studies. This project will produce living systematic reviews and plain language summaries of the top quality studies to provide information on the health effects of vaping as a substitution for smoking. The living systematic reviews, along with plan language summaries, will provide evidence to guide consumers, healthcare professionals, policy makers and regulators.
For consumers, the summaries will inform them about the potential benefits and risks of trying substitution.
Healthcare policy makers
For regulators, executive summaries can inform policy decisions on graduated regulations based on the potential benefits of vaping, instead of relying on the precautionary principle and defaulting to tobacco control legislation.
Renée O' Leary
She obtained her doctorate in 2018 at the University of Victoria (Canada). Her dissertation, Vapour Products/E-cigarettes: Claims and Evidence encompasses an analysis of e-cigarette regulation, a review of reviews on e-cigarettes and cessation, and a systematic evidence review of youth vaping. A chapter is published as “Claims in Vapour Device Regulation: A Narrative Policy Framework Analysis” (2017, International Journal of Drug Policy). During her doctoral program she led a research project and produced a monograph for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Clearing the Air: A Systematic Review on the Harms and Benefits of E-Cigarettes and Vapour Devices.
Her Master's Thesis and other Research
Her Master’s thesis examined the tobacco industry, The Cigarette Commodity Chain and National Tobacco Control in China and Brazil. She is co-author on eight published articles on smoking cessation and on outdoor smoking bans. As well, she has been involved in health-related literature searches on health equity, post-cardiac care, women’s health indicators, domestic violence interventions, and alcohol studies.
Most recently she is a co-author of “The effect of e-cigarette aerosol emissions on respiratory health: a narrative review” (Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, 2019). Her commentary “Tobacco Harm Reduction in the 21st Century” with co-author Dr. Polosa is currently in press at Drugs and Alcohol Today.
She is the Project Leader at CoEHAR for a series of literature reviews on tobacco harm reduction for smokers through e-cigarette substitution and its effects on respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic (weight) health.
In February 2019 the European Commission designated the Scientific Committee for Health, the Environment, and Emerging Risks (SCHEER)for the draft of a paper as a “scientific opinion on e-cigarettes2. A preliminary report stated electronic cigarettes are only partially effective as an alternative and less harmful than traditional cigarette. According to Riccardo Polosa, Founder of CoEHAR, together with Giovanni Li Volti, Director of CoEHAR and Renèe O’Leary, project leader of In Silico Science, the conclusions by the Commission did not take into account the individual health benefits of using electronic cigarettes compared to conventional ones
Renée O’Leary, project leader of “In Silico Science”, explains how to integrate the concept of harm reduction in project management: having the wherewithal to use funds correctly, to think the project through is the key to be able to look at possible contingencies and to to assess the value of the project
The fellowship program: testimonials and network
Giusy Maria La Rosa
Daily meetings, technical skills such as quality assessment and bias evaluation and a very specific methodology regarding the field of systematic reviews: Giusy Rita Maria la Rosa talks about her experience during the first year of fellowship under the In Silico Science project at CoEHAR.
Working in an highly professional work environment, thanks to the coordination of Dr. O’Leary, gave to dr. La Rosa the possibility to develop new skills, learning how to deal with an international research project and giving a boost to her career.