Crippling Disease Faces Research Challenge from Ulster University

Article excerpt

Byline: KIERAN McDAID

A NORTHERN Ireland university yesterday launched a major new research programme to help sufferers of a life-crippling disease, which affects millions of women worldwide.

The University of Ulster is spearheading one of the largest studies ever into fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome that affects 3 per cent of women across the globe.

There are thousands of sufferers in the Province, but there is no known cure for the disease, which causes extreme muscle pain and overwhelming fatigue.

The university launched the study, which aims to improve sufferers' quality of life, in collaboration with the Royal Hospitals Trust, University College Dublin and the Mayo Clinic in the US.

Joseph McVeigh, a physiotherapy lecturer at the University of Ulster, said sufferers of fibromyalgia endure extreme muscle pain and tenderness, combined with overwhelming fatigue.

"Patients can also experience psychological problems such as anxiety and depression," he said.

"As the condition develops many women find themselves unable to work or carry out normal day-to-day activities.

"It is one of those Cinderella conditions which causes untold misery for patients and their families, but with this study, made possible by a research grant from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, hopefully we will be able to improve outcomes for patients. …