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Partners to count on maths modelling for better health; Universities working together on project.

Byline: Madeleine Brindley

ANEW all-Wales institute to help create more effective healthcare services using latest mathematical modelling techniques has been launched.

The institute will build on Wales' expertise in mathematical and computational modelling to support medical researchers, NHS Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The health modelling centre - called hmc2 - has been developed by the Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences (WIMCS) and is a joint collaboration between Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan and Swansea universities.

It is hoped the centre's work will help existing and future health services become more effective.

And hmc2 has been designed to help Wales build on existing research collaborations and will focus on research projects that aim to build capacity and deliver specific clinical approaches.

Professor Terry Lyons, director of WIMCS, said: "The increasing sophistication of medical understanding leads to a growing opportunity and even a requirement to use novel mathematics to deliver high quality outcomes.

"Sophisticated imaging to detect cancer, modelling to inform policy decisions and avoid waste, understanding the flow of blood, modelling the biochemical pathways of disease, and even detecting from remote sensors if a vulnerable individual is in need of help while avoiding false alarms, all require and can benefit from current mathematical research and high quality mathematical and modelling expertise.

"This centre will contribute to keeping Wales at the cutting edge in health research and provision."

Healthcare services in Wales, and across the rest of the UK, are already benefiting from the support of mathematical and computational modelling techniques.

Previous modelling projects have helped examine hospital waiting lists across Wales; intensive care provision for the University of Wales Hospital, in Cardiff; operating theatre performance and the modelling of bed-blocking in UK hospitals.

Modelling techniques have also been used to help inform policy on breast cancer screening and targeted screening strategies for chlamydia.

Modelling is also currently being used to help support the improved delivery of ambulance response times for the Welsh Ambulance Service.

And various cardiovascular and respiratory flow modelling projects are helping to improve diagnosis and to reduce clinicians' time.

Efforts are also under way to reduce problems associated with breathing and breathing disorders.

Prof Paul Harper, from Cardiff University's school of mathematics and director of hmc2, said: "Across Wales we have some of the UK's leading experts in mathematical and computational modelling, which has already been used to make services more efficient and effective.

"Establishing hmc2 is a major step forward - not only will it help build on Wales' expertise in this area but, more importantly, become a focus for research to help improve the way health care services are delivered.

"The use of mathematical and computational modelling can actively and substantially contribute the delivery of healthcare services.

"Having a centre like this will help put Wales firmly on the world's healthcare map for mathematical and computational research."

Prof Perumal Nithiarasu, co-director of hmc2, added that: "Translating cardiovascular and respiratory flow modelling to clinical use is one of the crucial issues facing the researchers from both Wales and other countries. Through hmc2 we will make all the effort possible to provide healthcare support to clinicians and patients by improving diagnosis and treatment procedures".
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 10, 2010
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