"This is a crucial step towards improving outcomes for our patients.”

Thanks to your donations, last year we funded a Clinical Research Fellow in the Neurosciences department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals to carry out clinical research in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Linford Fernandes, the new Research Fellow, began his pilot study just over a year ago looking into the hand function of progressive MS patients to see how different treatments and drugs affect hand mobility.

People diagnosed with MS often lose their mobility first and use a wheelchair to get around, but day to day life becomes a lot harder when they begin to lose movement and grip in their hands, making basic tasks difficult.

Linford said: “Our later stage patients can sometimes feel a bit left behind, as many aren’t eligible to participate in existing research and trials which are often designed for patients with early active disease. This patient centred study developed with the input of patients from the local MS society aims to involve patients in developing new, more detailed clinical measures. The hope is that these measures will help us to better understand how patients with MS are affected and in turn to give future patients like them the best possible quality of life.”

40 patients with progressive MS are involved in Linford’s investigative project, where he is using new technology to monitor the hand movement of patients on different treatment plans.

This innovative technology developed in conjunction with psychology and engineering colleagues from the University of Leeds, allows Linford to track hand motion using a camera and markers on a patient’s finger, thumb and wrist to identify and changes or variation in movement and this will be repeated over a period of six months.

Laura, one of the participants in the study is excited to be involved in the project, she said, “I hope that by taking part in the study, I can help health professionals better understand how MS affects people’s physical function and improve the management of people with my condition. I don’t let my MS limit my activity and I am keen to do whatever it takes to help with the effort to improve my condition, it may not work for me, but I hope it will help future patients.”

In the final year of his research, Linford hopes to uncover new findings that will help to develop better measures that will help patients with later stage MS better understand their condition.

Linford said, “I’m so grateful to everyone who has donated to Leeds Hospitals Charity, by funding this ground breaking project you’re helping us make a real difference, this is a crucial step towards improving outcomes for our patients.”