University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) staff, students and partners are kick-starting groundbreaking research and developing solutions to improve the health of people with heart, lung and circulation diseases.
Global company Renew Health is funding a project led by John Buckley, Professor of Applied Exercise Science at UCS and its Centre for Active Living. The investment is part of Renew’s Global Billions in Change movement which is tackling pressing problems around the world in the areas of water purification, accessible energy and preventative healthcare.
The initiative at UCS is investigating the benefits of External Counter Pulsation (ECP) Therapy, a treatment proven to improve people’s cardiovascular health. This includes people with heart disease who have not been able to have by-pass surgery or coronary angioplasty (stents) - a procedure used to widen blocked or narrowed arteries in the heart.
During Renew ECP treatment, inflatable cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) are wrapped around the calves, thighs and hips. ECG (electrocardiogram) sensors are then placed on the chest to detect the heartbeat. The cuffs inflate and deflate in time with every single heartbeat. The inflation of the cuffs compresses blood from the lower legs back to the heart, improving blood flow in the heart and throughout the cardiovascular system.
Prof Buckley said: “The Renew ECP device enhances the pumping of blood around the body – it’s like having a second heart, working between beats when the heart is at rest.
“If this ‘whole-body’ treatment system can do good things to the blood vessels of the heart, then why should it not do the same for blood vessels in other key areas of the body like the kidneys, lungs, blockages in the legs from diabetes or in the brain for people with vascular dementia?
“So far we have had some very encouraging results of improving acute lung efficiency in healthy people and now we’re ready to see how this could help people with breathing problems like asthma or emphysema.
“We will then aim to develop local treatment services, particularly with older people, from which the data could contribute to global scientific recognition. All of this fits with UCS’s vision, to support Shropshire’s future rural, social, health and economic challenges. What we can learn here will have applications for so many similar places and people around the world in the 21st Century.
“We are excited to be working with Renew Health and have this investment which gives us a really good kick-start as an institution to transfer knowledge and technology into solutions that improve quality of life and promote the development of further knowledge.”
Mark Jones, Business Development Manager at Renew Health, is working closely with the team at UCS.
Mark said: “The Centre for Active Living is a core project for us as we seek to make ECP therapy more widely available through understanding the many benefits of enhanced circulation. The opportunity to work with the institution and with Professor Buckley is unique with its position within the local community and we are very encouraged by the level of work and co-operation in the initial pilot research project.”
The team has also been joined by Cindy Lim, a physiotherapist at Singapore Heart Foundation, and one of UCS’s first international Masters’ students studying Exercise Medicine, to carry out the project.
As well as his UCS role, Prof Buckley has held positions as the Founding Chair of the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, President of the British Association for Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, and Exercise Physiologist at the National McArdle Neuromuscular Disease Clinic at the Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, now based at University College Hospital, London.
In Shropshire during the last three decades, he has helped to create a range of services to improve health. He founded and managed the Lifestyle Fitness and Physiotherapy Centre at Radbrook Green for 21 years with his business partners; helped create Shropshire's Exercise Referral Scheme; and designed and managed the Exercise for Health and Rehabilitation Centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital for 10 years.
For more information on UCS go to ucshrewsbury.ac.uk, facebook.com/ucshrewsbury or twitter.com/ucshrewsbury.
The Renew Group, founded in 2012, is an international conglomerate, manufacturing and distributing multi-industrial products that include medical devices, water and utilities systems, and consumer products. Its vision is to deliver innovation, thus making a difference to mankind. For further information on its Billions in Change movement go to: billionsinchange.com. For more information on Renew ECP Therapy visit www.renewtherapy.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.