Dr Cathal O’Connor.

Top prize for dermatology department

A Cork dermatology department has been awarded for their research tool that helps children who have a skin disease.

The dermatology department in the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH) Cork was awarded this prize at the recent annual meeting of the British Association for Pediatric and Adolescent Dermatology.

Dr Cathal O’Connor, clinical research fellow in pediatric dermatology, presented the department’s research into ‘novel multispectral imaging versus clinical assessment to assess disease activity in pediatric morphoea’ which was performed under the supervision of Dr Mary Bennett, consultant dermatologist.

Morphoea is an inflammatory, fibrosing skin disorder that causes severe thickening of skin and can even involve muscle or bone. The Cork researchers tested a new form of technology, called multispectral imaging, and found that it was extremely helpful in assessing whether the skin was currently inflamed or not.

Dr Cathal O’Connor explained that “morphoea can be progressive and debilitating, and early treatment can make a massive difference to outcome. Our research shows that this novel imaging is very useful in helping us to decide if children with morphoea need additional treatment, or if their skin inflammation has settled.”

Dr Mary Bennett added: “The next stage of this research will involve collaborating with multiple international centers to validate the results and compare it to other forms of assessment.”

The study is also due to be submitted for publication in a leading dermatology journal.