blood test to detect loosening of artificial joints
research team in Liverpool are hoping to come up with a brand new
way of detecting when joint replacements are about to come loose,
the most common reason for an artificial joint to fail.
The University of Liverpool team aim to develop and evaluate a
simple blood test which would give warning of a problem developing
before bone damage was visible on x-ray.
More than 150,000 joint replacement operations are performed every
year in the UK, mostly of the hip and knee, with 10% failing and
having to be replaced (known as revision surgery) within 10 years.
The new 3-year project, which is funded by a £187,000 grant from the
Arthritis Research Campaign, could lead to many benefits, according
to principal investigator, Simon Frostick, Professor of Orthopaedics
at the University’s Musculoskeletal Sciences Research Group.
“For doctors, a good test to detect the likelihood of joint
failure would allow easier and cheaper monitoring, without the need
for expensive x-rays. It would also enable
surgeons to focus on patients at risk of their joint becoming loose. For patients it would mean better monitoring without hospital visit
and x-rays, just a GP visit and blood test. For researchers
and manufacturers of implants it would be invaluable, as new
implants could be monitored more closely, and problems and
improvements identified more quickly. And for scientists it would
mean that non-surgical treatments to stop the loosening process
before bone damage could be developed and monitored.”
Loosening of artificial joints is caused when plastic and metal
fragments from the implant slowly wear away, causing inflammation
and leading to the bone around the joint becoming unstable.
To enable them to find out if the blood test is effective – using a
marker taken from blood cells entering the tissue near the particles
of metal and plastic – the Liverpool team will sample the blood of
250 people in three different patients groups. They are patients
just before their first joint replacement, patients who have had an
implant within five years, who have had no problems, and patients
with implants which are problematic. All groups will be followed for
the duration of the study.
“In a pilot study we found that when patients had a good,
stable implant, they had low levels of the marker in their blood,
but when it was loosening, the levels were much higher. We think this marker hits
the spot, but we have to do this study to prove whether it is useful
in a clinical setting.” said another member of the research team, Mr David Miller, a
consultant orthopaedic hip surgeon at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen
Consumer Chair Wins Backing On EU Wide Missing Child Hotline
MP and Chair of the European Parliament's Consumer Protection
Committee, Arlene McCarthy will this week get backing for compulsory
provision of the 116000 Missing Child Hotline across all EU
Arlene said:- “With 7'500 children going missing in the UK and
Belgium alone last year, the missing child hotline is a priority for
Europe. Yet 18 months after its introduction as a Europe-wide number
only seven member states have established the 116000 hotline
The voluntary approach is not working and that is why
I have proposed incorporating the 116000 number into law,
establishing a right across all 27 EU Member States for citizens to
access the missing child hotline.
I welcome the support this
proposal is receiving in the European Parliament and with their
backing I will push the European Commission and the national
governments to accept this amendment to the law.
Statistics on missing children across Europe
show that this is an area where Europe can and must act to help
identify, track down and recover missing children.
The 1st 24
hours are crucial to safely recovering missing children. Ensuring
that we have a common helpline number in all Member States will help
speed up the vital response by national authorities wherever a child
goes missing as well as in neighbouring countries.”
The report prepared by the Consumer Protection Committee contains
proposals to update EU law on telecoms users' rights. It will be
debated by Parliament Tuesday and in addition to the 116000 proposal
it contains measures to enhance consumer rights in the telecoms
market, strengthen data protection rules, ensure equal access for
disabled users and improve the EU wide 112 emergency number.
Arlene said:- "The telecoms market is increasingly a European
market, and this legislation must ensure consumers across Europe are
protected - both in commercial transactions and in the use of their
data. We must also ensure all citizens are treated equally,
which is why the Parliament's proposals will enhance access for
disabled users to all forms of electronic communication. As people
increasingly travel in Europe they also face the risk of an
emergency developing abroad. This is why we have an EU wide
112 emergency number. This law will strengthen the provision of that
number, including the addition of a caller location function to help
those who are in distress."