Megan's Wish partners with QUB on scoliosis study

Megan's Wish logo.
Megan's Wish logo.

Carrickfergus-based charity Megan's Wish is partnering with Queen's University Belfast for a research project on scoliosis.

The charity was originally set up to raise funds towards treatment for Carrick teenager Megan Fleming, who has scoliosis.

The organisation now supports those across the province living with the condition, which causes a sideways curvature of the spine.

Young people aged 10-25 with a diagnosis of idiopathic scoliosis (idiopathic means without a known cause) are being asked to take part in the project.

"This is part of the reason why we formed the charity - to give our youth a voice," a post on the Megan's Wish Facebook page read.

"We are one of several organisations who have come together to support the research and in turn shape the future treatment of scoliosis.

"We are currently inviting young people with scoliosis to take part in Young Person Advisory Groups. This is a huge opportunity for your CV and there is free pizza and a voucher for each workshop attended."

The School of Psychology at Queen's is starting the two-year research project, called SPINE-COS-AYA, to explore the best way of measuring if treatment has worked for scoliosis.

It is being led by Lisa Graham-Wisener and Paul Toner, who are Lecturers in Health Psychology at the univeristy.

"It is important that all healthcare staff and researchers measure if treatment has worked for scoliosis in the same way. To do this, we have to agree what is most important to measure. This is called an outcome set," said Dr Graham-Wisener.

"The project will involve looking at what young people, their families and healthcare staff think is important. This research is funded by the British Scoliosis Research Foundation.

"We are inviting young people with idiopathic scoliosis to join our research team as collaborators. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis, which is scoliosis without a known cause."

"[Participants] must be living in Northern Ireland and able to travel to Belfast for meetings. We are inviting young people who are currently, or have in the past received treatment for their scoliosis. This could include observation, wearing a brace or surgery."

For more information on the project, contact Megan's Wish or Dr Graham-Wisener on l.graham-wisener@qub.ac.uk/telephone 02890974871.