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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Quicker arthritis diagnosis for children

1st January 2009

Researchers have devised a new approach that could help school-age children with arthritis be diagnosed more quickly.

And there is now hope that the work carried out at Newcastle University could help speed up access to specialist care for the children affected.

With childhood arthritis affecting15,000 children and teenagers in the UK there are often long delays in diagnosing the condition.

One of the reasons for this is that doctors are not taught to examine joints during training at medical school.

But now a team of local childhood arthritis specialists, led by paediatric rheumatologist Professor Helen Foster, have produced a guide to clinical examination of a child’s joints, depending on their symptoms, which will be used to train junior doctors how to examine joints in children more effectively.

The examination, devised from work funded over three years by the Arthritis Research Campaign, is called pREMS (paediatric Regional Examination of the Musculoskeletal System).

Professor Foster’s team, from the university’s Musculoskeletal Research Group, visited several paediatric rheumatology centres in the UK where children with arthritis are treated to observe and video experts in both paediatric rheumatology and orthopaedics.

Professor Foster said: "Our findings will provide an evidence-based structured musculoskeletal examination for children to help improve training in joint examination amongst doctors and this will benefit children presenting with musculoskeletal problems by giving doctors better clinical skills and hopefully lead to earlier diagnosis and improved access to specialist care.

"This resource will enable trainee health practitioners to learn key clinical skills and examination techniques."


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