Gastroenterology :: Help the Aged funds The University of Nottingham to research pain affecting older people

A little-understood medical condition ? which affects millions of older people in Britain ? is to be studied at The University of Nottingham. David Humes of the Division of Gastroenterology, in The School of Medical and Surgical Sciences, has gained funding from Help the Aged and the Royal College of Surgeons to explore how the pain caused by diverticular disease can be reduced.

The condition is formed by pouching in the lower gut ? which can be painful, and, if infection sets in, can also be life-threatening.

Dr David Humes, said: ?Our aim is to discover whether inflammation of the bowels causes the pain of diverticular disease. We will test new anti-inflammatory drugs to see if they could become a valuable treatment for this condition, which in varying degrees affects as many as two-thirds of the older people in our society.?

Dr Lorna Layward, Research Manager for Help the Aged, said: ?We are delighted to be supporting David Humes alongside the Royal College of Surgeons. This study is elegant and clear-sighted, with the potential quickly to produce real treatments for people with diverticular disease. That would be fantastic news for older people and another great success for researchers at The University of Nottingham.?

The project is one of 20 new studies across the UK that have been awarded funding this year by the Help the Aged biomedical Research into Ageing programme, all of which are helping bring better health and independence to older people.

Dr Layward adds: ?Help the Aged is committed to funding high quality biomedical research through our Research into Ageing programme and we have funded 20 new projects in 2007. Unfortunately for each project we can fund a further four must be turned away, so we need more donations to enable us to fund as many of the best projects as possible. We must prevent a situation that sees much of this life-changing research being consigned to the scrapheap, never to happen.?

This new funding enhances the existing partnership between Help the Aged and The University of Nottingham. The charity has funded numerous projects at the University over the last three decades and, in addition to the new study with David Humes, currently funds Dr Simon Conroy’s project that may lead to new support programmes for older people known to be at risk from accidental falls.

The Help the Aged biomedical Research into Ageing programme exists to improve the health and independence of older people. This is very important for the wellbeing of our ageing population. The number of people in the UK aged over 75 is projected to rise by over 70 per cent in the next 15 years whereas the population of people under 16 is set to decline slightly (1).