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Issue 482, 20 May 2002

Leeds lottery winners gain £400k funding

Two University research projects looking at the difficulties faced by people with sight loss, and by those with chronic blood disorders, have been awarded over £400,000 funding by the National Lottery Charities Board.

Over £250,000 will fund a team to look at how young people and adults cope with sickle cell and thalassaemia, conditions affecting the body's red blood cells. Sickle cell is the most common genetic condition in the UK, with around 15,000 cases, and around 700 people have thalassaemia, yet there is little research into their impact on the ethnic groups these conditions mainly affect.

Project leader Dr Karl Atkin (pictured above with co-researchers – l-r – Dr Aliya Darr and Angie Ryan) said: "Both conditions are potentially life-threatening. We'll be looking at how living with these chronic illnesses affects people in all parts of their lives, from employment and education to marriage, children and friendships."

The second project is looking at how the information supplied with medicines can be made more accessible for people with sight loss. Working with Bradford Royal Infirmary, researchers will interview 60 partially sighted people over 65 about what medicines they take, how they get information about them, and what provision they would like to see.

Project leader Dr Peter Knapp explains: "Over 80% of people with significant visual impairment are over retirement age, and many take medicines which are unrelated to their sight problems.

"Manufacturers aren't required to provide information in different formats, but the standard information sheet is unreadable for many elderly people."

The project will look at a range of options, including automated telephone information and provision in large print.

The researchers are pictured above right: (r-l) Dr Peter Knapp, Helen Bradbury, Dr Karl Atkin and Professor Theo Rayner

Both projects are working with partner organisations in the charitable sector, the Organisation for Sickle Cell Anaemia Relief, and the Royal National Institute for the Blind. The research runs for three years.


 
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