60 years of charity’s research investment: contributing to innovation in Scotland
Children’s charity Action Medical Research is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year by marking their contribution to medical innovation in Scotland.
Support from the charity in Scotland – an investment of more than £6.3 million over the past 30 years – has funded a wide range of projects in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews, helping save and change children’s lives.
Ultrasound scanning in pregnancy
Edinburgh Professor Ian Donald was credited with having pioneered the development of obstetric ultrasound to monitor the babies’ development in the womb. During the 1970s and 1980s the charity awarded Donald and colleagues grants that supported the development of ultrasound techniques. Today, ultrasound scanning is routine during pregnancy across the world and is estimated to have almost halved the death rate for babies at birth.1
Glasgow Coma Scale
The charity supported the development of the famous Glasgow Coma Scale published in 1974. The revolutionary scale is still the UK standard for assessing head injury severity, with ambulance crews trained in its use. It has also been translated into several languages and is used daily worldwide.
Duncan Guthrie Institute of Medical Genetics
The Duncan Guthrie Institute of Medical Genetics in Glasgow, the first of its kind in Europe, has received considerable support from Action Medical Research. As well as research and teaching, the institute conducts many different genetic tests; for example testing samples from newborn babies all over Scotland for cystic fibrosis.
Research at the University of Aberdeen hopes to tackle the growing obesity crisis. Investigations are focusing on the brain’s energy balance circuit, which plays a key role in natural weight control. Results recently published show that non-high fat, calorie restricted diets are not only linked with weight loss but also alter the brain’s energy balance circuit – reducing rebound weight gain.
A new system that uses infa-red light to track the movement of the eye has also been developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. The eye tracker device is used to diagnose visual field defects in children, which can be a sign of a more serious brain tumour. A prototype is already being used at the Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Other research in Edinburgh is investigating ways to uncover which babies are at risk of being stillborn due to problems with the placenta. The placenta carries oxygen and food from the mother’s blood supply to the baby; if not working properly, the baby can stop growing properly. State-of-the-art MRI scans are being used to detect low oxygen levels in babies in the womb.
Still more to do
Although the charity has helped save and change so many children’s lives, there is still much more to learn about what triggers diseases, how to prevent them and how to develop effective new treatments and find the best ways to care for sick babies and children.
As Scotland continues to conduct medical research of the highest standard, Action Medical Research will remain a significant supporter of this work.
Support the work of Action Medical Research and help to raise funds at one of the events going on in Aberdeen and the rest of Scotland in 2013. Bike Rides, Treks or Ladies Lunches for more information contact Janet@action.org.uk or phone 01505 864334.
- ENDS –
1. Leivo T, Tuominen R, Saari-Kemppainen A, Ylöstalo P, Karjalainen O, Heinonen OP. Cost-effectiveness of one-stage ultrasound screening in pregnancy: a report from the Helsinkiultrasound trial. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 1996 May;7(5):309-14
NOTES TO EDITORS:
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Action Medical Research - the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children - is celebrating 60 years of vital research in 2012. We’ve been funding medical breakthroughs since we began in 1952 and have spent more than £100 million on research that has helped save thousands of children’s lives and changed many more.
Today, we continue to find and fund the very best medical research to help stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability. We want to make a difference in:
• tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
• helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
• targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children.
But there is still so much more to do. Make 2012 a special year and help fund more life-changing research for some of the UK’s sickest babies and children.