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Thursday, 06 December 2018

MRI scanners named among top health innovations by UK universities

Written by Tom Horton

MRI scanners, prosthetic breasts for cancer patients and improvements to hip replacements have been cited among the best innovations in health by universities in the UK.

Health featured heavily on the University UK's (UUK) list of major breakthroughs that have had a transformative impact on people's lives.

MRI scans were developed at the University of Nottingham in the 1970s.

Sir Peter Mansfield, who led the team, became the first person to be scanned by the machine.

More than 40 years later, the invention is still used by doctors in more than 60 million clinical examinations each year, according to UUK.

Researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University have worked with the NHS for more than 20 years to develop bespoke prosthetic breasts for women who have undergone a mastectomy.

The project aims to reduce the psychological impact on patients and aid their rehabilitation.

The University of Exeter's submission was an innovation in hip replacement operations.

Professor Robin Ling and Dr Clive Lee, both from the university, developed an implant that can be securely fixed to the skeleton.

The first "Exeter Hip" operation, as it came to be known, was carried out in 1970.

More than 100,000 Exeter Hips are now implanted each year, according to UUK.


Work which led to a "highly successful" campaign to cut cot deaths features on a list of research with the most impact carried out by UK universities.

The list, compiled by University UK (UUK), includes work by the University of Bristol's Peter Fleming into infant deaths.

In his research he found that 93% of cot deaths occurred when a baby had slept on their front.

He then joined television presenter Anne Diamond for the Back to Sleep campaign which is thought to have saved the lives of 20,000 babies across the UK, according to UUK.

Also in the family and community sections of the list is research from the University of Cumbria into male domestic violence.

The university's research contributed to a government inquiry into hidden victims of domestic violence, according to UUK.

The University of Suffolk's contribution was the first national survey of workers in health, education and social services about their knowledge and experience of dealing with young victims of online sexual abuse.

The research found 94% of professionals in those sectors had never had any training in how to support children who had been subjected to such abuse, according to UUK.

As a result of the findings, the Marie Collins Foundation, a charity that deals with young sexual abuse victims, secured funding from BT to develop a training course which has reached more than 5,000 professionals working in relevant sectors across the UK.

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