Dr Susan Scholes is Research Associate in the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering. Below we learn more about her ageing research her links with other groups within, and outside of Newcastle University.
I have been a Research Associate for 17 years now and I still enjoy every day! My research area is Biomedical Engineering and my research interests at the moment are in the measurement of artificial hip implants that have failed in the body and resulted in the need for further surgery.
In 2015-2016 there were over 98,000 hip replacement surgeries performed in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man and approximately 9% of these were revision operations (where a failed artificial hip joint is removed and replaced with a new artificial joint). It is important to determine the key mechanical causes of failure of these joints. Many of these operations are performed on the older patient.
For a patient with an artificial joint, all activities that are undertaken will result in wear of the articulating surfaces. Several companies produce different designs for the artificial hip joint and these designs provide different amounts of wear. I am currently using a co-ordinate measuring machine to measure the wear that has occurred in these explanted joints (joints that have been removed from the body due to failure) to compare how these different designs perform in relation to each other.
Engineering is vital in many aspects of health and ageing. It is essential in the design process and the monitoring of the performance of many products used to alleviate the pain and immobility caused by many diseases/injuries; making our lives easier and more enjoyable.
Much of my research is done with colleagues in the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering along with equipment located at the Freeman Hospital. Future collaboration with other School or Departments (for example the Medical School) will potentially offer a fuller understanding of the reasons for failure of these joints allowing us to help to reduce the suffering caused to many patients and prevent the need for more surgery.
Originally published on 3rd March on the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing webpage.