Anglia Ruskin launches MS Society research

Published: 10 January 2013 at 12:15

Multiple sclerosis studies examine aquatic therapy and quality of life measures

Anglia Ruskin University is collaborating with the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society to undertake new research into ways of managing the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition affecting nerves in the brain and spinal cord.  Messages from the brain to the rest of the body become disrupted, leading to problems with balance, muscle movement and vision.  It affects approximately 100,000 people in the UK.

The new partnership will see Dr Paul Bull from the MS Society become an Honorary Visiting Fellow within the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education.  The MS Society is also funding two Professional Doctorate candidates to undertake research at Anglia Ruskin.

Krishna Kishore Garikipati will be evaluating the benefits of aquatic therapy for MS patients.  He said:

“Aquatic physiotherapy provides a safe and effective treatment environment for people with neurological conditions, especially for those who have difficulty in doing exercises on land.
“There is limited evidence around the effects of aquatic physiotherapy in people with multiple sclerosis.  The aim of my project is to evaluate the long-term effects of aquatic physiotherapy on balance, fatigue and quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis.”

Helen Willis, a clinical nurse specialist, is researching a new measure to improve the quality of life for people with MS.  She said:

“There is limited use of Health-Related Quality of Life Measures in Multiple Sclerosis in the clinical setting.
“I am planning to produce a measure that can be used in every day clinical practice, linking the individual’s particular circumstances more closely to the available services, which will impact on the care of people with MS and hopefully result in an improvement in their quality of life.”

Dr Geraldine Davis, Director of Professional Doctorates at Anglia Ruskin’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, highlighted the importance of this work in improving the lives of people with MS.

“The Professional Doctorate research projects are specifically designed to make a difference to professional practice,”

said Dr Davis. 

“The first 18 months of the programme supports the candidates in developing their research projects and gaining ethical approval for these before data collection begins.”

Dr Bull, a former lecturer at the University of London, Birkbeck College, will be supporting the two Professional Doctorate candidates in their research activities.  As someone who has lived with MS for over 30 years and now uses a wheelchair, Dr Bull has first hand experience of the problems the illness can cause. 

He has been involved in the MS Society’s research strategy and evaluation committees, and was part of the selection panel for the applicants wanting to take up this research opportunity at Anglia Ruskin. 

Dr Bull is also Chairman of the Colchester Branch of the MS Society and is currently writing a detailed critique of the limited research that has been published on life with MS in the UK.