Local funding for key women's health research

November 24, 2011

The Peninsula Foundation, the charitable arm of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, has secured funding of £15,000 from The Duchy Health Charity for research into Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and diabetes. The research led, by Professor Jonathan Pinkney at the Knowledge Spa campus in Truro, will be the first non commercial medical research to be carried out at the site.

The ground breaking research hopes to improve the health of thousands of women who suffer from PCOS, starting with those suffering from the condition in Cornwall.

Professor Pinkney explained the research aims: "Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS for short, is a very common condition affecting young women, although it often goes unrecognised by both women and their doctors. The usual reasons that it may come to light are if a woman develops irregular or absent periods, or expresses concerns about infertility or excessive hair growth.

"However, another longer term and largely neglected consequence for women with PCOS appears to be an increased risk of developing diabetes and possibly heart disease: the reasons for this are currently unclear. This study, supported by The Duchy Health Charity, is investigating the factors that put this group of women at high risk of diabetes, so that attention can be given to the maintenance of good health and the prevention of diabetes."

In this research, women with PCOS are being compared with healthy women without PCOS, in order to understand how the predisposition to diabetes arises. The study involves accurate comparisons of body weight and the distribution of body fat (since these may be important factors), detailed comparisons of a series of different hormones that control blood glucose levels, and comparisons of diet and exercise.

The study also involves interviews with women with PCOS, in order to identify the best ways to reduce their risks of diabetes. The long term aim of this work is to identify which women with PCOS are at highest risk of diabetes and to develop an intervention that will help them reduce this risk and stay healthy.

Dr Emma Styles from the Peninsula Foundation commented: "All of us at Foundation are extremely grateful for support received from The Duchy Health Charity for ground breaking diabetes research at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. It is fantastic to have a local charity supporting work at the Cornwall campus. With around 10 per cent of the annual NHS budget being spent on diabetes care and around 60 per cent of cases with Type 2 diabetes that could be avoided through lifestyle changes, research into helping those more at risk (like those with PCOS) is vital to help improve healthcare"
-end-
For more information on the Peninsula Foundation please visit www.peninsulafoundation.org.uk.

The Duchy Health Charity helps to improve health and healthcare in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for more information please visit www.duchyhealthcharity.org.

The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

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