Alfie Oakley had his first stroke aged two and a half around three years ago. “One day, Alfie had a fit and stopped breathing,” Alfie’s mum, Justine, recalled.“He had to be resuscitated by the paramedics. We noticed that he had weakness down the right hand side of his body as he wasn’t using that side. Alfie was already being looked after by Great Ormond Street for another condition, so we contacted them and, after a scan, they confirmed that he had had a stroke.”
Congratulations to Dr Muzlifah “Muzz” Haniffa, one of the charity’s Research Training Fellows, who won the runner-up prize in the Medical Research Society’s Young Investigator Award in February this year.Dr Haniffa’s research, which began in 2005, and was completed in 2008, focused on improving the success of bone marrow transplants. When bone marrow transplants are carried out, a condition, graft versus host disease (GVHD), where the patients’ cells are destroyed by the donor’s bone marrow cells, often develops.
In July this year, the charity awarded its first batch of research project grants as part of our new child health focus. This follows hot on the heels of the first child-focused Research Training Fellowships awarded in March. The nine exciting new projects cover a range of conditions affecting pregnancy, babies and children.
Researchers are investigating whether inhaling one or a mixture of two anaesthetics during childbirth can relieve labour pains, while also having the potential to protect babies from brain damage at birth.The anaesthetics are called xenon and sevoflurane. Both of them are already being used safely to provide pain relief in other circumstances. Indeed xenon has been in use since the 1950s.
Childhood inflammatory bowel disease is on the increase and a team of researchers based in Edinburgh has been looking at the genetic links that make some youngsters more prone to painful conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.Dr Johan Van Limbergen and his team at the University of Edinburgh and Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, have completed a three-year study into genetic factors that may make some youngsters more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than others.
Almost 600 riders sped from London to Paris for Action Medical Research this year raising an astounding £900,000.Their efforts have made 2009 the most successful so far for the charity’s London to Paris cycle event and put the magic million in all our sights as the goal for 2010.Along the way this year we had story after story of grit and determination as participants pushed themselves to meet the personal challenge of tackling a 300-mile cycle to the French capital.
The charity is grateful to all the families and friends of those listed below who are giving generously to support the work Action Medical Research through Touching Lives Tribute Funds.
When Research Training Fellow Dr Ben Underwood isn’t trying to help find answers to taxing medical questions, he’s busy making sweet music with the Huntingdonshire Concert Band in Cambridge.Now, the big band has opted to stage its annual Christmas concert in aid of Action Medical Research.Ben, who plays the euphonium, said: “In keeping with the charity’s new focus, it will be a family concert designed with children in mind and will include lots of activities to keep them entertained.”
As Action Medical Research joins forces with the MS Society to fund the first major UK scientific study into how multiple sclerosis (MS) develops in children, we hear from one family about the impact of the disease.
Investigations into natural healing processes that can repair damaged nerve fibres could lead to new treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy and some inherited diseases of childhood.Normal functioning of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, depends crucially on a substance called myelin, which forms an insulating sleeve around nerve fibres. We need myelin to feel, move, talk, see and think properly, for example.
We all know that Paddington Bear enjoys a marmalade sandwich (or two) but he’s not shy of a good party either!Our favourite bear was only too pleased to join the winners of an Action Medical Research competition at Waterstone’s in Piccadilly, London, for a special tea party.Along with the children and their families, Paddington was joined by TV presenter and entrepreneur Saira Khan who brought son Zach with her.
Investigations into the role of a newly discovered protein, called MCT10, could lead to better ways to protect unborn babies from death and disability.Researchers at the University of Birmingham, led by Professor Mark Kilby, believe MCT10 could be important in two distressing conditions that endanger the health of unborn babies: thyroid disorders in expectant mothers, which affect up to five per cent of pregnancies in the UK, and fetal growth restriction, which affects around five to eight per cent.
A cutting-edge technique called RNAi could prove useful as part of a new treatment for sickle cell disease.Sickle cell disease is estimated to affect over 12,000 people in the UK – 20 million worldwide.
Strokes are most commonly associated with older people but a stroke can happen to people of any age and babies and children can suffer from them too.The charity has funded a new study that could help the hundreds of children who have strokes each year in the UK. The study aims to develop a blood test to help identify children who are at risk of further strokes. Causes of stroke
A new way of measuring the heart rate of newborn babies undergoing resuscitation could shave critical moments off existing methods and save more tiny lives.The “Heartlight Sensor” which is being developed by a team of clinicians and engineers from The University of Nottingham with funding from Action Medical Research, is a small electronic device that can be placed on the baby’s forehead underneath a special hat to provide continuous information about the infant’s heart rate – an important indicator of how well the baby is doing.
We’re very proud of our successful cycling programme and 2009 has seen a number of famous faces recognising the quality of our events.Cycling endorsements don’t come much bigger than that of Olympic and World Champion Nicole Cooke. Those taking part in our inaugural RIDE24 challenge were thrilled to receive their event medals from the cycling gold medallist herself.
Hundreds of supporters donned their wellies last month and proudly wore them to work for the day to raise money for Action Medical Research.The Wellies to Work event was a new fundraiser inspired by our mascot, Paddington Bear who is one of the world’s most famous welly-wearers.Supporters were encouraged to wear their favourite rubber boots for the day in September and pay the charity £2 for the privilege.
Showing just how far some of our Action Partners will go in support of Action Medical Research is a 42-year-old human dynamo called Willem who is putting his body through some of the charity’s most extreme challenges to help raise funds.Willem, who has requested not to have his surname published, has completed some extraordinary cycling feats for the charity having challenged himself to pedal an incredible 5,000 kms to raise £5,000 for us in 2009.