Aberdeen medic to research ways of helping those with motor neurone disease

An Aberdeen medic has become one of the first people to land a scholarship set up in memory of a motor neurone disease campaigner.

Dianne Fraser, a clinical specialist in motor neurone disease (MND) at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, will receive a grant to research and develop practical improvements for the care of patients with the degenerative condition.

The scholarship was set up in memory of MND sufferer Gordon Aikman, who died last year.

Dianne and Alison Clarke, a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, are the first two recipients of the special scholarship established in Mr Aikman’s name.

The scholarships are being funded with £25,000 each from the Scottish Government and the charity MND Scotland.

After being diagnosed with MND at the age of 29, Mr Aikman raised £550,000 for research into the disease.

Ms Fraser said she has been using a technique called breath stacking to help patients. The method involves an adapted Ambu bag, which is a manual resuscitator used to provide ventilation to help patients who are not breathing or not breathing properly.

She said: “Motor Neurone Disease can affect the ability to breathe and cough.

“I have been using a treatment technique called breath stacking with an adapted Ambu bag, which costs only £32.

“This reduces distress when choking occurs, keeps the lungs elastic and healthy and may reduce hospital admissions.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “I’m really pleased to confirm Alison Clarke and Dianne Fraser are the recipients of the scholarships in Gordon Aikman’s name.

“Gordon valued the relationships that he formed with all those involved in his care, including professionals.

“He was constantly striving to seek out treatments and approaches that would improve the quality of his own and other people’s lives, and the scholarships aim to build on that.”

Alison said: “It was Gordon’s legacy to provide the best possible care for patients with MND in Scotland.

“This project means I can share evidence-based research across respiratory/ventilation services throughout Scotland with the aim to change our current practices.”

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