Tuesday, February 3, 2009

£120,000 plea for laser to fight fatal brain disease

£120,000 plea for laser to fight fatal brain disease

Published Date: 30 January 2009
THE Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield is to buy cutting edge laser equipment, which scientists hope may one day lead to a cure for motor neurone disease.
The £120,000 needed to bring the laser to the neurosciences department at the Hallamshire will be raised in partnership with hospital charity Neurocare. The Veritas Microdissection System will help researchers at the hospital's world- leading mot
or neurone disease (MND) research unit to analyse and compare cells from patients more quickly and accurately.A laser will harvest single cells or tens of thousands of cells in seconds. By monitoring cell behaviour and trialling the effects of drugs across different tissue samples, researchers hope to one day find the causes of MND and a cure.Paul Heath, senior scientific officer at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, is one of the specialists who will be using the equipment.He said: "MND is a truly horrible, fatal disease for which there is no cure. Yet this equipment would enhance Sheffield's reputation as one of the world's leading centres for research, which is a real source for regional pride. The equipment has the potential to offer real hope to all sufferers."MND is a fatal group of diseases which cause the death of motor neurones – the nerve cells through which the brain connects with the muscles to control movement.Degeneration of the motor neurones leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.Barrie Butterton, aged 62, from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire was diagnosed with motor neurone disease four years ago. After diagnosis, he was referred to specialists at the Hallamshire. Barrie said: "Motor neurone disease has wrecked my life. I had worked in the construction and civil engineering industry all my working life and was looking forward to retiring and enjoying life with my family."Now I don't just suffer from MND and the effects of muscle wastage, I suffer from all the things connected to it. Symptoms like deep depression, severe cramp, excess saliva, poor circulation and terrible sleeping patterns are a part of my every day life."I heard about Neurocare from specialist nurse Hanna Nixon and Professor Pam Shaw in Sheffield, who is one of the world's leading MND experts. She told me about Neurocare and the project they were funding and now I want to do anything I can to support the charity and the doctors and scientists who are working so hard to rid the world of this devastating disease."To raise money or to donate call Neurocare on 0114 2676464 or email: appeals@neurocare.org.uk

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