In the news | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - June 2007

In the news

The Communications Team has again been busy in early 2007, getting the national media interested in both our research and campaigns work.

One of our exciting medical research projects has seen Action Medical Research appearing in the broadsheet and scientific press — namely the new Monica AN24 fetal heart rate monitor, which aims to give obstetricians a better picture of the workings of the unborn baby’s heart.

The same size as a mobile phone, it can be worn continuously for a period of 24 hours, with near-uninterrupted detection of the baby’s heart beat. This could allow doctors to intervene in time to prevent damage to babies’ health and potentially save lives. By ‘keeping an eye’ on high-risk pregnancies, the device can let doctors know when a baby is becoming distressed, and so help medical professionals decide if the mother needs an early delivery.The aim is to reduce the ten still births that occur each day in the UK.

Action Medical Research has played a vital role in the progress of the monitor over the years.The Charity funded three research projects spanning eight years, allowing both development of the prototype and its clinical trial in women with high-risk pregnancies.

The story (and Action Medical Research’s involvement) was covered in an excellent piece in The Guardian, as well as on the Channel 4 News website, and in many regional publications. In a powerful reminder of how real the threat of stillbirth is for families around the UK (and also the power of PR to allow us to connect with our supporters), the running of the story has already led to enquiries from three families as to how they could join the clinical trials for the device.

The work of Dr Johan Van Limbergen into researching possible genetic causes for the higher incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) amongst children in Scotland, also secured good coverage amongst the Scottish press. For youngsters, IBD can mean a lifetime of suffering that impacts on their growth, psychological well-being, sexual development, education and future employment.

Dr Van Limbergen (based at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh) hopes to find out more about the genes involved in the development of IBD, which could lead to new treatments for patients. TL

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