It was at the Wrightington that John Charnley developed the hip replacement operation with Action Medical Research-funding, and today Professor John Stanley and his team are continuing this honourable tradition.
Fractures of the elbow are very common across all ages, and when very severe they may cause an unstable elbow. This instability can lead to a lot of pain and the early development of arthritis.
Our medical press officer Louise Brown reports on the results of an Action Medical Research project investigating phantom limb pain.
There are around six thousand amputations performed each year in the UK. The majority of these operations are on the legs and are caused by problems arising from diabetes, heart disease and cancer, although in younger people amputation occurs more typically due to injury.
Known as Group B Streptococcus (GBS), the bacteria live harmlessly in the intestines in around a third of all men and women. These bacteria are also found in the vagina of around a quarter of all women of childbearing age, although there will be no outward symptoms of their presence and they do no harm to the woman.
We all take special care when holding a tiny baby. This is partly because we know that babies’ heads are particularly vulnerable, as they are still ‘soft’ and the skull is still forming. In fact, skull growth continues until late adolescence, and its proper functioning is crucial.
But around 1 in every 2000 children is born with a genetic condition called craniosynostosis which prevents the skull from growing properly. While the number of children affected is relatively small, the effects of the condition are wide-ranging and potentially devastating.
Those affected experience difficulty walking and may eventually require a wheelchair. Some patients with HSP suffer additional problems, including muscle wasting, seizures, mental retardation, abnormal movements and impaired vision. Estimates suggest there are between 3-6,000 people affected in the UK — and no treatments are currently available to prevent or slow the progression of this devastating disease.
Although most patients who survive a stroke will walk independently again, only a third will recover independent arm function. As you can imagine, losing the use of your hands leads to a considerable reduction in quality of life and dependence on others.
Thankfully these days sufferers can be successfully treated through hip replacement surgery. And Action Medical Research has been at the centre of the development of what is now a widespread and life-changing operation.
The history of the hip replacement
The beginnings of modern hip joint surgery date from the late 1930s following the development of metallic alloys which could be safely implanted inside the body. Initially it was either the head of the femur [thigh bone] or the hip socket, but not both, which were replaced — with erratic results.
Symptoms include swallowing difficulties, slurring of speech and shortness of breath, all of which lead to severe disability and premature death. There is currently no treatment for MND. Professor Jackie de Belleroche and her team intend to change that.
When Elizabeth Hayden takes her son George to the bus stop in the morning, she knows his day at school is going to be a success.
But it wasn’t always like that. George, now 12, was recognised as having developmental co-ordination disorder (dyspraxia) when he was very young, and his primary school years were fraught with difficulty.
Limb length discrepancy can have various causes. For example, some babies are born with the abnormality, or traumatic injury and bone infections can affect normal bone growth and result in discrepancy. If untreated, posture and mobility is adversely affected and sufferers may have to rely on crutches, wheelchairs or callipers.
Cast your mind back to when you were nine years of age. Remember those heady days of running around, playing tag, catch, skipping or hopscotch or whatever your favourite game was. As well as having a good time you were providing your body with essential elements that would stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.
This condition — occupational dystonia — affects 5-10 per cent of professional musicians, and the resulting lack of control can have particularly catastrophic consequences for their career.
The musician’s brain is a good model for tackling all types of dystonia as their brains show a great deal of ‘over-specialisation’ as a consequence of a life-long training process, often beginning very early at an age when the brain is most susceptible to change.
The condition is also more common than you’d think: 1 in 4 women and 1 in 12 men are affected with the debilitating headache, with the worst affected also experiencing nausea, distorted vision, dizziness, tingles, numbness, and even speech difficulties.
Dr Alex Shepherd of the Birkbeck School of Psychology doesn’t personally suffer with migraine, but explains what it feels like: “Patients often feel like their head is about to explode. I’ve been told that the pain of migraine is worse than the worst hangover you can possibly imagine.”