A winter news round-up

AECC's Principal Professor Haymo Thiel gives a round-up of college news:

The weather may be dull but there has been a whole host of exciting activities happening in and around the campus over the past few months!

We have recently been collaborating on a project with Kings College London that looks set to impact the future of space travel as we know it. We have been chosen to work on a European Space Agency project that centres on a Gravity Loading Countermeasure SkinSuit (SkinSuit for short). The study looks to determine the effect of the SkinSuit, which aims to mitigate the spinal elongation and possibly also some of the musculoskeletal deconditioning that occurs to an astronaut during space flight.

Researchers from Kings College London are using state of the art evaluation equipment in our High Performance Centre and our Imaging facilities in order to carry out tests on the SkinSuit over the coming months. The aim is to assess what the effects of axial loading are while wearing the suit to inform recommendations for participants in a range of planned studies, such as further space flight experiments (the SkinSuit was worn by Andreas Mogenson on the International Space Station in September 2015) and in certain populations here on earth.

The SkinSuit may also be useful for individuals who are immobilised; be that athletes who have a traumatic injury or for people who have prolonged stays in hospital. A key area of interest is Intensive Care, which is associated with a profound loss of muscle. A potential opportunity is for individuals to wear the suit when in Intensive Care with the aim that axial loading provided by the suit might help protect some of those core stabilizer muscles, which will then facilitate an earlier progression into more functional exercise once recovered. The team will return to the AECC later this year to continue tests on the suit using the college's Open Upright MRI scanner with the hope that evidence can be gained to support a SkinSuit being provided to astronaut Thomas Pesquet who will fly out to the International Space Station next year.


Centre for Ultrasound Studies:
We also welcomed news that our Centre for Ultrasound Studies (CUS) has been chosen to provide accredited ultrasound training to Premier League club team doctors. The initiative will look to enhance clinical judgement in the diagnosis and treatment of football players and reduce the need for MRI examinations. The CASE-accredited course is being taught by our specialist CUS faculty at four locations around the UK, attracting club doctors from both Premiership and Championship teams including Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool to name just a few. The training was awarded to CUS based on its reputation for providing high quality education and training to MSK practitioners.    

AFC Bournemouth:
On the subject of Premiership teams, we are proud to have renewed the partnership with, AFC Bournemouth for the 2015/16 season where we will continue to provide student and intern support to medical staff at the club’s Vitality Stadium. Four students work alongside team physiotherapist Steve Hard in a unique opportunity at the Barclays Premier League Club and this is something that the team has often spoken highly about, commenting that it helps their performance on and off the pitch. Our links with other areas of sport are also strong with our onsite clinic having just signed a partnership agreement with Bournemouth Athletics Club, allowing us the privilege of working with Commonwealth and Olympic athletes; a partnership that we look forward to progressing with when the season kicks off in the next few weeks.

500th MRI patient:
We are also celebrating achievements of our services; our Bournemouth Open Upright MRI has celebrated the New Year by scanning its 500th patient since its opening in October 2014. A large number of our referrals are for patients who have been unable to cope with MRI previously and it’s very rewarding for us to be providing a scanning service that they feel comfortable and relaxed in. Often we are managing to produce important diagnostic images for the first time on patients who had given up hope of having an MRI. 

Gray's Anatomy:
Celebrations also extend to the achievements of our academic staff. Professor Pat Collins, AECC's Professor of Anatomy, recently received her copy of the new 41st edition of Gray's Anatomy. Pat has worked on the past four editions of Gray’s Anatomy both as a Section Editor, and the author/editor of all of the chapters on embryology and development throughout the book. The 41st e-book contains video clips of a 24 week foetus filmed in our Centre for Ultrasound Studies. The new 2015 edition features imaging techniques that no one could have imagined even just ten years go.

I must also extend congratulations to lecturer Alison Selby for achieving the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). The Fellowship was awarded in recognition of Alison's work in teaching and learning practice at the AECC, and is richly deserved. Alison’s successful application means that now approximately 40% of the AECC’s faculty hold Fellowship status with the HEA. On the theme of academic excellence, we were also thrilled to receive news that Medical Physicist Alex Breen, successfully defended his PhD thesis at Bournemouth University (Faculty of Science and Technology). His research “Exploring the spine and lower limb kinematics of trans-tibial amputees” looked for links between intervertebral motion patterns and the limb-prosthesis movement in lower limb amputees during gait-setting the scene for investigating back pain in amputees with the AECC’s quantitative fluoroscopy technology.