Focus on Professor Leone Ridsdale

portrait of Leone Ridsdale

Professor Leone Ridsdale, one of the Ego-Media Project’s Co-Investigators, was a university lecturer in economics before studying medicine at McMaster University. She qualified as a neurologist in Montreal, and as a GP in the UK.

Her research has focused on self-education for people with headache, chronic fatigue and epilepsy. She has been responsible for developing and testing complex interventions designed to improve services and self-care for people with long-term neurological conditions. With funds from MRC, Wellcome Trust and NIHR she has led two cohort studies, and eight randomised control trials for people with fatigue, headache and epilepsy.

Life writing & sociology

Leone’s involvement in the Ego-Media Project derived partly from her fascination with life-writing. She completed an MA in the subject, contributed a chapter to Writing Works,: A Resource Handbook for Therapeutic Writing Workshops and Activities and feels that a life writing approach to research overlaps with a sociological approach to people’s journeys through long-term conditions, citing Mike Bury’s work on the subject (see, for instance “Biographical Disruption and Long-Term and Other Health Conditions“).

Leone speaks about her Ego-Media projects

Leone’s contributions to the Ego-Media Project focused on the impact of new media on people with epilepsy and migraine. Both projects are based around semi-structured interviews (Dr Rebecca Roach interviewed people with epilepsy, and two student doctors interviewed those with migraine). Dr Alison McKinlay analysed the resulting data.

Dr Alison McKinlay

portrait of Alison McKinlay

Alison is a psychology and neuroscience researcher, with particular expertise in Qualitative Methods and Health Service Research. Her PhD focused on experiences of memory loss in older adulthood, and before joining the Project she worked on a large randomized-controlled trial of an educational intervention for people with epilepsy, and a project concerning dementia prevention. Alison’s current research interests are:

• web-based mental health interventions, including mobile phone applications and digital mental health technology
• psychological interventions including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy.
• clinical neuropsychology changes in cognition over the lifespan, memory, ageing.
• service evaluation, provision of health services relating to neurology and psychology.

The Ego-Media Project offered Alison the opportunity to explore how people with epilepsy represent themselves online using social media, something she was particularly interested in understanding. For more information, read: “Views of People With Epilepsy About Web-Based Self-Presentation: A Qualitative Study“.

Watch Alison speaking about methodology

A paper on the migraine project – “Not just a headache”: a qualitative study of social media use by people with migraine – has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Other relevant papers


Patients’ experiences of a behavioural intervention for migraine headache: a qualitative study

Primary care management of headaches and how direct-access MRI fits: a qualitative study of UK general practitioners’ views

Patients’ experiences of a behavioural intervention for migraine headache: a qualitative study


People with epilepsy obtain added value from education in groups: Results of a qualitative study

Self-management for people with poorly controlled epilepsy: Participants’ views of the UK Self-Management in epILEpsy (SMILE) program

Perception and experiences of epilepsy among patients from black ethnic groups in South London

Written by:

Dr Lisa Gee is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate on the Ego-Media Project