2005: Continuing the good work | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - March 2006

2005: Continuing the good work

Advances in CT scanning

CT images in patients with implantable metal screws, plates and dental fillings can be difficult to interpret because the metal causes interference which obscures the bone. Our team has been developing new computer programs to improve the imaging of bones with the aim of aiding the assessment of the healing process and improving treatment.

Understanding difficult labours

Inefficient contractions are the primary reason for labour failing to progress and may result in the need for Caesarean section. Our researcher has discovered that a build-up of lactic acid in the uterus, caused by an insufficient blood supply, may be a contributing factor. These findings could lead to new treatments to reduce the numbers of Caesareans, which carry risks for both mother and baby.

Leg ulcers

It is estimated that half a million people in the UK suffer from painful and debilitating leg ulcers which brings a huge cost to the NHS. This team of researchers has investigated, for the first time, how a poor supply of oxygenated blood to the skin can result in the production of weaker and less stable connective tissue, leading to chronic leg ulcers. These crucial findings may lead to the development of new treatments to prevent leg ulcers.

Cerebral palsy

Action Medical Research funding has enabled progress in two areas that will benefit cerebral palsy patients:

  • About 90% of children with cerebral palsy develop foot deformities that can affect walking, and some require surgery. A team based in Oxford have utilised a sophisticated new ‘motion analysis system’ to study walking in children with cerebral palsy, and improve our understanding of the problems leading to foot abnormalities and deformity. The findings also provide vital information about the outcome and limitations of treatment so that doctors can better inform patients. In the future, the system should be helpful in guiding and optimising the treatment of foot deformity and improve the lives of children with cerebral palsy.

  • Chailey Heritage Clinical Services hasdesigned, researched and developed a 24-hour postural management programme for children with cerebral palsy. This includes the use of specially designed seats, night time positioning and standing supports to enable interaction, improve movement and prevent deformity. The use of this equipment has been found to lower the incidence of painful hip dislocation in children with cerebral palsy, thereby reducing the need for corrective surgery.

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