Hospital joins international gout study
|Waikato Hospital staff members are joining an international study on gout and its causes.
Rheumatologist Dr Douglas White and laboratory senior scientist Sean
Munroe are leading the hospital’s involvement, which they hope will see
better diagnosis and treatment of gout. The painful joint disease
affects 1-2 per cent of the population.
Gout is usually characterised by attacks of acute inflammatory
arthritis – a red, tender, hot, swollen joint, often in the big toe.
It is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. The uric
acid crystallises, and the crystals deposit in joints, tendons, and
Mr Munroe this week said the Waikato Hospital laboratory and staff
had passed a qualifying test – confirming they were up to international
standard – and he expected they would start collecting samples for the
study early next year.
“This really is a big study and to be involved in worldwide
collaboration is quite exciting,” said Mr Munroe, who is involved in a
quality control programme for other New Zealand labs. Teams from
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are also involved.
He has worked in the hospital lab – a sea of gowned-up technicians,
testing equipment and screens – for 10 years and has a special interest
Waikato Hospital laboratory senior scientist Sean Munroe with a positive gout test on screen.
“We are relishing our role in this study. It’s really good to get into studies like this – you have to have a level of expertise to be invited.”
Waikato’s role involves the study of synovial fluids taken from joints, and will include looking at genetic markers and biochemical issues.
Dr White and Mr Munroe recently had a paper published internationally on their observations of an unusual arthritic knee, and have jointly presented on synovial fluid crystals at a national meeting.
Date: 21 November 2012
Waikato District Health Board
021 712 663