There is a risk of wound infection after any surgery, but with breast surgery — typically following the diagnosis of breast cancer — infection rates can be as high as 18 per cent. Breast surgery can be a devastating life event for any patient and wound healing complications only increase the trauma and suffering.
The number of sufferers in the UK is increasing and has probably reached 100,000, with about 5,000 new cases every year. Action Medical Research is calling on the Government to make Crohn’s disease reportable to the health authorities so that we can get a true picture of the extent of this condition.
It is thought that clots of blood or small pieces of tissue from the placenta get into the bloodstream and pass through to the arteries going to the brain.
Using MRI scans taken soon after birth, an Action Medical Research team has been able to predict accurately, for the first time, the extent of movement disability in young children who have suffered such a stroke.
“I used to get really bad grand mal seizures — really big and bad — all the time and at any time without warning. I’d lose count of the number I’d have in a month. I was all over the place, and it continued like that for best part of five years.
NF1 causes significant abnormalities including skeletal deformities, tumours of the central nervous system, learning difficulties and blindness. The symptoms of the disease are very variable — especially in younger patients — which can make diagnosis difficult.
Unfortunately, as many as one in 2,000 northern Europeans inherit a variant of Alpha-1 antitrypsin with an abnormal structure. The abnormal protein accumulates in the liver causing childhood cirrhosis (degeneration of the liver), and in the lungs causing emphysema from the age of thirty.
There is no known cure for emphysema. Affected individuals suffer terribly with chronic breathlessness as the lungs are progressively destroyed. Patients eventually die from respiratory failure.
Exercise can be an important therapy for some spinal injury and stroke patients — and may even contribute to their recovery. But if you have lost the use of your limbs due to illness or accident, taking regular exercise isn’t easy.
A study undertaken by a team at University College London has unearthed some exciting results that could have implications for the treatment and rehabilitation of the 100,000 people in the UK who suffer disability following stroke or spinal cord injury each year.
Humans have two main forms of defence against infection. The first you are born with and is called the innate immune system. The second is known as the acquired immune system as it develops after birth and provides a ‘memory’ of all infections that we get throughout life.
While it causes a mild illness in children, and is only slightly more serious where adolescents and adults are infected, it normally gives no cause for concern at all.
However, eradicating rubella has been a focus of much Action Medical Research funded work in the past. This is because if a woman becomes infected with the virus during the first four months of pregnancy, it passes to the developing baby and can cause severe birth defects such as deafness, blindness, congenital heart defects and cerebral palsy.
Epilepsy is clearly no barrier to greatness; but it is a seriously debilitating condition, which is still common throughout the world. The first descriptions of epilepsy are acknowledged to be those found on Babylonian tablets dating back to 2000BC. But it was the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates who, in 400BC, wrote his essay ‘On the Sacred Disease’.
Many types of injury to the peripheral nervous system (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) can be repaired surgically and it is important to follow-up the patient’s recovery and determine the outcome of the surgery.
Because few nerve injuries are identical and there is little agreement on the best approach for diagnosing and treating nerve injuries, current management is very variable. As a result of this, there is very little clear information to suggest how such injuries should be treated.
When Mark Taylor’s mother was advised to have a knee replacement operation, she knew just who to turn to for advice. Unlike most of us, she has a leading expert on knee replacement in the family!
“I just gave simple advice really,” says Mark. “If I was having a knee replacement I’d want to go to a surgeon who was doing a reasonable number of operations each year. If one surgeon was doing five a year, and another 50, I’d go to the guy doing 50!”