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Posted in Neurology News on 12th Mar 2013

Alex Flynn – one man, one mission, £1 million for Parkinson’s

_news-Alex-FlynnAlex Flynn is a 41-year-old father of three boys, who has previously worked as a lawyer for numerous multinationals. However, more recently Alex has been concentrating on 10MillionMetres; a life-changing endurance project, the formation of which was encouraged as a consequence of him being diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease in 2008.

Before the end of 2014, the 10MillionMetres Challenge will take him more than 6,200 miles around the world, encompassing some of the world’s more interesting and dangerous races. Alex will be running, cycling, swimming, walking or, if necessary, crawling the distance with the intent to raise more than £1Million for research into Parkinson’s disease.Highlights so far include the 2010 Marathon des Sables, in 2011 traversing 1457 miles from London to Rome in 30 days – the first 10 days of which he ran the equivalent of 20 marathons, running more than 135 miles across the Bavarian Alps as well as many marathons, Ironman and Olympic Triathlons.

His last challenge was a truly epic 3256 mile traverse of the USA from Santa Monica to New York City, becoming the first to complete the crossing by riding, climbing, running and kayaking this monster of a route in 35 days while all the time fighting against the relentless progression of the disease on his own body. To date, Alex has covered 9,103,218m – 91% of the distance challenge is complete.

Alex commented “Without the input from my sponsors, in particular Britannia Pharmaceuticals, the final leg of the journey of 10MillionMetres would be nigh on impossible and I would not be able to raise as great an awareness of Parkinson’s disease. For that I am truly grateful” Britannia Pharmaceuticals are one of a number of companies sponsoring Alex to achieve his goal of raising upwards of £1million for research into Parkinson’s Disease for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. His story is inspirational.

To find out more and help support the cause visit

New ‘super nurse’ project announced

A joint project to create the first ever ‘national’ epilepsy specialist nurse has been announced. The ‘super nurse’ is the brainchild of non-profit organisation Neurological Commissioning Support (NCS) – who have identified the need for a national role to support commissioning for epilepsy. The new nurse will work with NCS to provide expert advice and support to the newly established Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Employed by Epilepsy Society and jointly funded by Epilepsy Action, the super nurse will give guidance to CCGs on how to improve epilepsy nursing services within hospitals and local neurology services. This will help them to design better services that include epilepsy specialist nurses (ESNs) and support people with epilepsy. The project will initially run for three years. During this period it is hoped that the new nurse will play a key part in the commissioning of services and advocate the importance of nurses within epilepsy services. Epilepsy Society’s chief executive Graham Faulkner said: “In today’s financially challenged health service there are clear benefits to delivering a service model that can provide rapid service change and improved outcomes. “There are around 600,000 people in the UK with epilepsy – around 70 per cent of whom could be seizure free with optimal care. We estimate that only around 50 per cent of people with epilepsy currently achieve seizure freedom. Since 2011 Epilepsy Society has been working alongside NCS undertaking audits of epilepsy services in GP practices. The audits have uncovered significant problems which could easily be improved with simple measures including the appointment of epilepsy specialist nurses. Evidence shows that the appointment of an epilepsy specialist nurse is a catalyst for service improvement, often leading to a reduction in inappropriate admissions to hospitals. “We hope this innovative idea will influence the development of other epilepsy specialist nurse posts in the UK through mainstream funding.”

UCLH hosts PET MR study day in conjunction with Siemens Healthcare

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), recently hosted a UK first PET MR study day in conjunction with Siemens Healthcare.

news-siemensA wide range of delegates attended the day course, including a number of radiologists, physicists, MR radiographers and MI radiographers. The knowledge session provided an introduction and overview of PET MR innovative technology, outlining its potential clinical and research applications. Over twenty clinical experts from UCLH and other organisations chaired speaker sessions on topics such as quantitation in PET MR, how it will help medical research and safety and governance issues. The potential applications of PET MR were also explored, including its use in psychiatry, dementia, neurology, tumour biology, pelvic and GI cancers, lymphoma, head and neck cancers, vascular and cardiac procedures. Siemens Healthcare application and product specialists also attended to outline the key benefits of PET MR and detail features of the world’s first fully integrated MR and PET scanner, the Biograph™ mMR. The PET MR system from Siemens Healthcare is housed in the recently opened University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre and is the first machine of its kind in the UK, delivering the most accurate information from deep inside the body during a single scanning session. “I was keen to learn more about the applications of PET MR. In a paediatric hospital MRI, with no use of ionising radiations and exquisite soft tissue anatomical definition, it is a very powerful investigative tool. Combining the functional aspects of MR and PET with the ability to significantly reduce the dose burden to the child is a very attractive proposition for paediatric imaging,” states Dr Lorenzo Biassoni, Consultant Paediatric Nuclear Medicine Physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Siemens Healthcare hosts and supports UK study days throughout the year.

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