Institute for Ageing

Staff Profile

Dr James Frith

NIHR Clinician Scientist, Clinical Lecturer, Consultant Physician



Dr James Frith is a Clinician Scientist, working in the Institute for Ageing and Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University.  He is also a practising clinician, working as a Consultant Geriatrician in the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Frith's research interest is falls and syncope (blackouts, fainting and unexplained falls) with a particular interest in the condition orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure on standing upright which can cause dizziness, fatigue, falls and syncope).

He has been awarded the prestigious 5-year NIHR Clinician Scientist award to develop and evaluate potential treatments for orthostatic hypotension in older people, with a particular focus on non-drug therapies.


In 2004 Dr Frith completed his undergraduate medical studies and graduated from the University of Leeds.  After working in Yorkshire for a year he moved to Newcastle upon Tyne to pursue his interest in the clinical aspects of ageing.

Becoming a Clinical Research Associate in 2007 Dr Frith began his academic career, completing a PhD in 2010 in the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ageing and Age-related Disease.  He became an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in 2011 enabling him to complete his higher specialist training while pursuing his academic interests.


  • MB ChB (2004), University of Leeds
  • MRCP (2008), Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh
  • PhD (2010), Newcastle University
  • Geriatric Medicine Specialty Certificate (2013), Royal College of Physicians


  • The British Geriatrics Society Rising Star Award 2017
  • The Jim George Memorial Prize 2017


  • The Association of Physicians
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • British Geriatrics Society
  • Prevention of Falls Network Europe
  • British Geriatrics Society Cardiovascular Section
  • Northern Regional Syncope Group

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Steering Group for the Best Clinical Care in Older People
  • Lead Educator Ageing Well: Falls (Massive Open Online Course)
  • NIHR Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative - Ageing and Chronic Disease Theme Lead


Research Interests

During his PhD, Dr Frith lead a multidisciplinary team in the identification, assessment and treatment of older people with chronic liver disease who were at risk of falling.  During this time he developed his interest in falls and syncope with a particular interest in orthostatic hypotension (OH).

He is currently researching methods to improve the diagnosis of orthostatic hypotension, the effectiveness of simple treatment strategies and quality of life measures.  The aim being to increase the involvement of older people in research and to improve and translate clinical care for older people with OH.

He continues to collaborate on research concerning older people with chronic liver disease,  people with fatigue and assessments of autonomic function.

 Research Skills

  • Non-invasive, continuous blood pressure and heart rate monitoring
  • Heart rate variability and autonomic nervous system testing
  • Trans-cranial doppler sonography
  • Multidisciplinary falls assessment

Studies (CI)

  1. Patient priorities for people with OH
  2. Droxidopa for OH: Systematic review and meta-analysis
  3. Five year outcomes for people with transient OH (BGS)
  4. Efficacy and safety of non-drug interventions for older people with OH (NIHR Clinician Scientist)
  5. Acceptability of non-drug therapies for older people with OH (NIHR Clinician Scientist)
  6. Efficacy of combination therapies for older people with OH (NIHR CS)
  7. The skeletal muscle pump as a therapeutic target in OH (NIHR Newcastle BRC)
  8. Prevalence of OH in older people: Systematic review and meta-analysis


Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Ageing Well: Falls (Lead Educator)

MSc Clinical Science (Tutor)

Academic Medical Student (Mentor)

Masters in Clinical Research (Examiner)

Research Skills for Healthcare Professionals (Tutor)

Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research (Tutor)

Undergraduate MBBS (Falls and Syncope) (Tutor)