Brain research study celebrates milestone at LFC

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[caption id="attachment_26480" align="alignnone" width="448"]LFC image Professor Tom Solomon with Jamie Carragher (centre) and patients, friends and family with the LFC players[/caption]

Staff and patients from a brain infections research project, led by the Institute of Infection and Global Health, were invited to Liverpool Football Club’s Melwood training ground to watch the team train and celebrate the project recruiting its 1,000th participant.

‘Brain Infections UK’ is a portfolio of new research studies into a range of neurological infectious diseases of major importance in the UK, including encephalitis, meningitis and HIV disease.

The Brain Infections UK team has joined forces with research organisations around the country for ‘It’s OK to ask’ – a new campaign led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) that launched on International Clinical Trials Day to encourage even more patients get involved in clinical research.

Professor Tom Solomon, who is leading Brain Infections UK, took some patients from the studies to meet Jamie Carragher, and the Liverpool team, including Liverpool fans Cheryl Lomax, 22, and Lee McMillan, 15, who have both battled encephalitis - a serious brain condition that affects approximately 10 people in every 100,000 in the UK and if not identified early can lead to lasting brain damage, or in severe cases, death.

Raising awareness

Cheryl and Lee have done a lot to help raise awareness of the condition and this trip was an opportunity to thank them and their families for all their hard work.

Cheryl says: "My dad and I had a great time at Melwood; it was amazing to watch the players train, see the European cup and find out what goes on behind the scenes. I think the campaign is fantastic. I am very lucky that my encephalitis was diagnosed and treated so quickly, if not my recovery may have been a lot worse. I see my involvement in clinical research as a positive thing that will benefit other encephalitis patients in the future."

[callout title=Campaign]In a recent consumer poll, only 21% of patients and the public said that they would feel confident asking their doctor about research opportunities, a low number that the NIHR hopes this campaign will help improve.[/callout]

Professor Solomon continued: "Recruiting our 1,000th study patient to Brain Infections UK is a huge milestone that we’ve worked extremely hard to achieve, but without people like Cheryl and Lee and their families agreeing to take part in research studies we wouldn’t be able to make the important discoveries which help them and future patients. Even if the doctors are too busy to mention it, I think it is really important that patient’s feel able to ask if there is any clinical research going on, that they can get involved with."

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