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World Arthritis Day

For World Arthritis Day, we are posting this blog on behalf of all members of the Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA), on the VOICE website as well as links to the CIMA website and social media feeds.

We are now a year into the second five-year cycle of funding from the Medical Research Council and our other funder Versus Arthritis, which recently rebranded following a merger with Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care last year. Bringing together such important organisations to deliver research, education and support for both professionals and patients can only be a good thing.

What has happened this year?

Well, we have appointed 13 further PhD studentships, thus completing recruitment to all 18 studentships funded as part of CIMA.  It takes a long time to do effective research - 3 or even 4 years. So, we had to do this early to give the PhD students a chance to learn new skills and understand their subject area so they can do important new work and answer key questions of how our muscles, bones and joints age and how that can be measured and modified.

The paper on the CIMA toolkit for measuring Musculoskeletal Ageing has been published. This is mainly to help researchers in this field measure the right things when they do research studies, but if you are also interested in how we can do this for different tissues like muscle, cartilage and bone, the paper can be accessed at CIMA toolkit.

The CIMA Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) - The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age on FutureLearn has been recognised by Class Central as one of the top 50 MOOCs of all time and only one of six Health and Medicine MOOCs to gain this accolade Top 50 MOOCs. This was developed by Michael Trenell, Peter Grabowski and Lesley Iwanejko and has had XXX users and YYY who completed the course. If you want to try the CIMA MOOC for yourself, then register here CIMA MOOC and this will be available from 21st January 2019. You may wonder why you can’t access it all the time, but one of the key strengths is the chance to engage with others as you do it and you can’t argue with the scope and recognition it has already achieved. Why not give it a try?

We held engagement events across all the CIMA centres for the Medical Research Council Festival of Science week. This included sessions at Newcastle University on 23rd June and the University of Sheffield on 21st June, as well as a series of interactive events through the week at the University of Liverpool. 

We have had a number of successes at the forefront of clinical care delivery in the last year, including a proof of principle study that screening for the risk of hip fracture using a simple questionnaire (www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX) could significantly reduce the number of hip fractures; if implemented in the UK, we could save up to 8000 hip fractures annually (https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/screening-could-catch-a-quarter-of-hip-fractures-before-they-happen).  Another example is the increasing interest in group consultations, which have had praise from patients who have tried them and support from the Patients Association, who said ‘group consultations could be "reassuring" as people could see others who shared the same concerns and challenges caused by their condition.’ We have presented on group consultations at the Royal College of General Practitioners meeting in Glasgow. This led to national media reports, not all of which included the patient perspective from those who have tried it. This included the front page of the Telegraph Telegraph Front Page and the Sun Sun Front Page, an interview on BBC TV News, which was summarised by BBC online BBC online article, articles in Mail Mail article and very balanced Guardian Guardian article GP online articles GP online article, as well as Sky news, Radio 4’s Today and Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine programmes. We think having a high profile of the innovative work we are doing and involving patients in telling that story in their own words can only be a good thing. As chronic diseases of ageing become more common and with the NHS short of skilled staff to deliver the best care, we aim to be at the forefront of effective new ways of working. See what our patients think of group consultations What the Patients Say.

Eugene McCloskey, Director of CIMA

Fraser Birrell, CIMA Engagement Lead 

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