Paralympic gold medallist, Lily van den Broecke, will open the Durham University neuroimaging centre at The James Cook University Hospital on Friday 23 November 2012.
A joint project between Durham University and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the centre will provide state of the art facilities for biomedical research and the very latest technology for patients.
Durham University will use the centre to maintain and advance its world reputation for human brain research and the new scanner will be used by clinicians at The James Cook University Hospital for diagnostic scanning and for joint research projects between the hospital and university.
The £1.5 million Siemens 3-Tesla MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner will help patients with conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or brain tumours who need highly detailed imaging of their brain.
High-resolution images of activity in the brain are provided which allow detailed diagnosis and monitoring of patients’ conditions to enable the best possible treatment decisions to be made.
Research projects by Durham’s academics include investigations of autism, the brain mechanisms of visual perception and how vision can be impaired as a result of brain damage, and the effects of hormones on the brain.
Professor Colin Blakemore, FMedSci, FRS, neurobiologist and Professor of neuroscience from the University of Oxford – who specialises in vision and development of the brain – will give a lecture following the opening ceremony.
Durham University student and rowing cox, Lily van den Broecke, who guided her rowing crew to gold at the London Paralympics, said: “It is thanks to scanners like this that paralympic gold medallist and fellow crew member David Smith was saved from a fatal tumour. Combined with the great staff and patient care, this scanner will become more than just a machine and it is an honour to welcome it to the hospital.”
Over 1,500 patients have already used the scanner which is more powerful, faster and quieter than the hospital’s current scanner improving patient comfort without compromising quality.
Professor Phil Kane, consultant neurosurgeon, said: “The scanning centre will provide a base for further investment into neurosciences research in the north east and is an example of how universities and the health service can work together for the good of the community as well as for their own mutual benefit. “
Professor Charles Heywood, head of the Department of Psychology at Durham University, commented: “The new scanner is a marvellous addition to a range of techniques already available at Durham University for research in cognitive neuroscience.
“It allows us to build on our international reputation for such research and to develop substantially fruitful research collaborations between the University and the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.”