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Groundbreaking NMC research findings published

Here Jonny Smith, NMC’s Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, explains the research work that has been conducted at NMC and how important it is that the work has now been published in a professional journal.

“This article (published in the Journal for Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions – JMNI) is the first publication of the collaboration between the Institute of Performance Research at Manchester Metropolitan University and NMC. It will certainly not be the last! The article is based upon part of the data collected at NMC in the summer of 2014 and is the first investigation of muscle size in adults with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) compared to control participants that has been published to date. It demonstrated that the DMD participants had significantly smaller muscle cross-sectional area (as assessed by soft tissue ultrasound) compared with unaffected adults. 

This data is unique – it has not been previously published in an adult population. Much of the current literature describing populations of people with MD has been undertaken in paediatric individuals and there is a real lack of good research into the effects of physiotherapy in particular. NMC is uniquely placed to contribute to this field of research – it is rare to encounter so many adults with MD in the same location – and this article is very much the start of what promises to be a fruitful relationship between MMU (in particular, Dr Chris Morse) and NMC. The future lies in building upon this data. Already there is more work being undertaken at NMC in the form of metabolic and cardiac data collection, again with a view to publishing what has never before been described.

What we are currently collecting is physiological data; we are observing and describing muscles and bones. NMC Physiotherapy provides ongoing therapeutic input to almost 200 people on a regular basis, with many more accessing the centre for specialist assessment. At present, this is largely guided by client feedback and collaborative goal-setting, in addition to decades of experience, rather than hard evidence. Health professionals in other settings, such as those in the community, do not have access to the same level of expertise present at NMC; they need data highlighting best practice. In the years to come, in partnership with MMU and Chester University, NMC will be contributing to producing studies with clinical relevance to health professionals and individuals with MD alike.

The most critical component in the success of this publication is the NMC’s service users and their support network – to everyone who has participated in whatever way with the recent projects I would like to extend heartfelt thanks. Without the contribution and participation of NMC staff, carers, and clients towards these projects there would be no research; no researchers and physiotherapists excitedly shouting ‘science!’ at grainy ultrasound screens. There is presently a very real opportunity for NMC to be part of the production of significant pieces of research in an area demanding investigation and that is cause for tremendous excitement.”

Read Jonny's full article here