Award will allow RADAR-CNS researcher to extend project to rheumatoid arthritis

Dr Faith Matcham, a researcher from King’s College London, has received a special award which will allow her to conduct early research into how the RADAR-CNS platform for wearable technology can be used to assess rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Dr Matcham is coordinating development and implementation of the depression element of RADAR-CNS.  Her background is in health psychology, and she has previously worked on research projects exploring the connection between mental and physical health.

“One of the exciting things about the RADAR-CNS project is that the platform is being designed from the outset to be flexible, so that it can be applied to conditions beyond the three that we’re focusing on,” says Dr Matcham. 

“The Independent Researcher Award I’ve received will allow me to set up a pilot project exploring how the RADAR-CNS platform could be used to assess people with rheumatoid arthritis, a painful long-term condition which affects people’s joints and mobility.”

Similarly, to the other conditions being studied in RADAR-CNS (depression, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis), rheumatoid arthritis often has episodes where symptoms temporarily worsen, known as flare-ups.  It has no cure, and although medications are available which reduce the frequency of flare ups and delay disease progression, it is a long-term condition which can affect patients’ quality of life and mental wellbeing.

“Although rheumatoid arthritis is a very different type of condition to the clinical disorders being studied in RADAR-CNS, the fact that it is a relapsing-remitting disorder means that it may also be amenable to measurement, and perhaps ultimately treatment, aided by wearable technology,” adds Dr Matcham.

“The interface between mental and physical health is a major focus of research here at King’s College London, and the work I’ll be doing as a result of this award is just one example of how we are improving our understanding of how these areas are linked.”

Dr Matcham’s Independent Researcher Award is sponsored by the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, a research institute which is part of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.  The awards recognise an exceptional independently-developed grant proposal for a small pilot study.