The cuff, which has been developed thanks to funding from Action Medical Research, offers men an alternative to the traditional, more painful and invasive method of measuring bladder pressure, which requires the insertion of a catheter.
The team behind this novel device is based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Having developed the cuff in a previous project, their most recent Action Medical Research grant of £70,283 has allowed them to take their research a step further.
A grant of £38,899 from Action Medical Research has put the ‘spondyloarthropathies’ on the medical map. International attention has been focused on the work into this little known group of rheumatic disorders, which includes ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis; diseases which affect thousands of people in the UK and, in severe cases, can lead to parts of the backbone fusing into a solid rod.
The research set out to find answers to one of the most devastating complications of diabetes, which up until now has remained a major problem for diabetologists and ophthalmologists alike.
Diabetic retinopathy, to use its proper name, occurs when the tiny blood vessels in the lightsensitive tissue, or retina, at the back of the eye are damaged. It is a complex disease and, as such, had so far eluded attempts at prevention because doctors knew so little about the causes.
“Hold the front page!” So said the Scottish Metro earlier this year when they found out about a Glasgow-based Action Medical Research study which has suggested that the hormone progesterone could prevent premature births. They featured the story on the front page of their newspaper, which is distributed free to over 100,000 people in Scotland. They also passed the story on to their Metro colleagues throughout the UK, who also highlighted the study within their pages.
Stem cells — what exactly are they?
You may have read on page 13 about a new Action Medical Research project that is looking at the potential of using stem cells to help brain damaged babies. Stem cell research is often making headlines, but not everyone understands the subject.
The man behind this novel idea was Roland Partridge, a Paediatric Surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. Roland says, “I devised the idea while running the London Marathon last year. I was impressed with the awesome array of impressive fancy dress outfits taking part, and started thinking about what would constitute the ultimate marathon costume. After 4 hours mulling this over — as a pleasant and welcome distraction from the immediate task of running 26 miles!
How did you get involved in this particular area of medical research?
Early in my career as an engineer I moved into bioengineering — a relatively young and exciting profession. Having done a PhD at Liverpool University Faculty of Medicine, I went on to specialise in prosthetic/orthotic biomechanics, where there is a strong link between medicine and engineering. Initially my major activities were teaching and course development and co-ordination.
“The first I knew that anything was wrong was when I went to my doctor for my routine weekly check-up, about five weeks before my now-15-year-old son Joe was due. The doctor checked my blood pressure and found that it was very high. He told me to go home and rest.”
Until then, Jane’s first pregnancy had been progressing nicely. She knew she was expecting a big baby, so was steeling herself for a bit of pain, but nothing could have prepared her for the reality of the delivery of her eldest son.
The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but it affects parts of the brain and is characterised by movement disorders, where patients can become progressively slow, stiff and shaky. Diagnosis can be difficult, and in its early stages is sometimes confused with the much rarer condition multiple system atrophy.
A team based in Sheffield and funded by Action Medical Research with a £66,373 grant, has been studying levels of iron in the brain to see whether they can be used as a reliable indicator of Parkinson’s disease and its progression.
The PFRA is a body that works with charities, fundraising organisations and local authorities to ensure best practice in street fundraising. Charities accredited with the PFRA have to provide evidence of best practice in fundraising and adherence to the relevant codes of practice. They also have to commit to looking after the interests of supporters and the general public at all times.
A huge thank you to all our readers and supporters who responded to the appeal for signatures for our Stand Up for Tiny Lives petition in the last issue. We saw a surge in online signatories at the time of mailing, and have also been inundated with the pink slips that were enclosed in copies of the Spring magazine, containing signatures of hundreds of our readers as well as their friends and families.
The three stars, who shot to fame as members of top Eighties bands Spandau Ballet, ABC and Go West respectively, led a group of 35 along a demanding route, taking in stunning Venezuelan countryside before reaching Mount Roraima in the heart of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World.
What is eczema?
Eczema, or dermatitis as it is sometimes called, is a group of conditions which cause inflammation of the skin. The term ‘eczema’ comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘to boil over’, which is how the skin feels to someone suffering from the condition.
We have so far raised an amazing £1.4 million towards the Campaign — a fantastic achievement, thanks to the wonderful efforts of our supporters. We are well on the way to reaching our campaign target of £3 million by the end of 2007, which we need to complete this vital research programme.
Our fund-holders and their families are fundraising in many different ways to support their funds:
Nic and Sam Downer have set up an online sponsorship page in memory of their twins, Nathaniel and Sadie. Nic is also planning a sponsored tandem parachute jump, and the twins’ grandmother, Gill, is arranging a line dancing party. All monies raised by this Tribute Fund will go to our Touching Tiny Lives Campaign.
How did you get involved with Action Medical Research?
I had been unsuccessful in getting a place in the London Marathon for eight or nine years, when an Action Medical Research volunteer told me about the Golden Bond places that the Charity had available. After taking part in the marathon through this charity, I was invited to the Northern Region AGM and have been supporting the cause ever since.