Research into brain mapping for babies with tumours
A pioneering initiative in Bristol aimed at helping surgeons operating on babies has received a £98,000 boost. The project is looking at brain mapping for babies who need surgery for the removal of a brain tumour. Around one in four children who undergo surgery to remove a tumour from the back of the brain – the cerebellum – develop a side effect called cerebellar mutism syndrome which causes them to lose the ability to speak and difficulty moving.
But the brain mapping project aims to help surgeons avoid the areas of the brain which affect language and movement. It is being funded by children’s charity Action Medical Research which organises the annual 100 mile cycle from Bristol and Bath to London.
Tracey Edwards, Community Fundraising Manager says “Over the past 30 years thousands of cyclists have taken on the Action 100 Challenge and the event has raised so far more than £1 millon. We are hoping people will be inspired by London 2012, dust off their bikes and get in the saddle to help Action 100 on its way to a second million.
“The charity is entirely dependent on public support and is currently funding £686,000 research in Bristol on five projects which will change and save the lives of thousands of babies and children. The brain mapping research is the latest and has received £98,120 – all possible thanks to fund-raising events like the Action 100 bike ride.”
The Bristol team, led by Professor Richard Apps, explains “We are investigating whether cerebellar mutism syndrome results from inadvertent damage to particular areas of the brain during surgery – areas that are important in language and movement,”
“We are finding out if it is possible to record brain activity during surgery to produce a ‘map’ of each child’s brain, showing which areas of each child’s brain are involved in these skills.”
“No-one knows how to stop children from developing cerebellum mutism syndrome, or why some children are affected while others are not. “The syndrome can be a major burden for children and their families, having a severe impact on all aspects of daily life, and is costly to the NHS. It means children are likely to spend more time in hospital and need long-term support from a range of rehabilitation specialists,” explains Professor Richard Apps.
For more information about the Action 100 and to register, visit the website action.org.uk/action100, or contact Tracey Edwards on 01225 776691.
1. Wells EM, Walsh KS, Kademian ZP, Keating RF & Packer RJ. The cerebellar mutism syndrome and its relation to cerebellar cognitive function and the cerebellar cognitive affective disorder. Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 2008; 14, 221-228
NOTES TO EDITORS:
For further information about the Action 100 bike ride please contact:
Tracey Edwards Community Fundraising Manager
T: 01225 776691
For further information about the Brain Mapping Project and the work of Action Medical Research please contact:
Claudine Powell Communications Manager
T: 01403 327478