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R&D Project: Lipoedema and Pressure Garments

Regular readers of our newsletter will remember an article we published last October, inviting our readers to take part in a research project focusing on compression garments designed to alleviate the symptoms of lipoedema. Respondents were invited to fill in a questionnaire about their experiences, the data from which are being used to improve the selection and scope of compression garment materials.

Lipoedema can affect anyone, though females appear to be more susceptible, particularly during periods of hormonal change such as pregnancy and menopause. The chronic condition causes an anomalous buildup of fat cells in the legs, buttocks and arms. Though the cause of the condition is currently unknown, lipoedema is often noticed in overweight and obese people.

The research project is the result of a unique collaboration between Lipoedema UK, Heriot-Watt University and Jobskin. We were initially approached by Dr Lisa Macintyre, the Assistant Textiles Professor at Heriot-Watt, to offer one of her students an opportunity to do some R&D with us. As an SME and with a strong focus on research, we welcomed this opportunity.

Dr Macintyre's reputation is an impressive one: she has printed several papers on the topic of pressure therapy and has presented at the national conference of the BBA (British Burns Association. She introduced us to Ilka Paling, a student of Fashion Technology at Heriot-Watt, who is as personable as she is professional: a delight to work with.  Our funding allowed us to work in close conjunction with both Ilka and Dr Macintyre, as we strive to make a big difference to a misunderstood and often-neglected area of medical advancement.

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