News release

Osteoporosis Centre gets royal seal of approval

Ref: 12/219

13 December 2012

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meets Verity Hall with Rowen Hall

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit

The University of Southampton welcomed HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) on Thursday 13 December to see its pioneering research into the cure and prevention of bone diseases.

During her visit The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Osteoporosis Centre, a joint venture between the University and Southampton General Hospital, where she met members of staff and patients taking part in medical studies.

Professor Cyrus Cooper, Director of the MRC LEU, said: “We are thrilled to welcome The Duchess of Cornwall to the Unit. Bone conditions such as osteoporosis predominately affect those in later life and rates will rise as our population lives longer. We are extremely happy to be able to show Her Royal Highness, President of the National Osteoporosis Society, the work we are doing in this important area of medical research.”

The Osteoporosis Centre, which is based at the General Hospital and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is responsible for ground-breaking research into this disorder. For example, the Maternal Vitamin D Osteoporosis Study (MAVIDOS) is a clinical trial that aims to demonstrate whether supplementation of women with vitamin D (compared with placebo) throughout pregnancy will lead to improved bone development in the baby. Earlier this year the trial celebrated its 500th baby being born.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Don Nutbeam added: “We are honoured to have HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visit our MRC LEU today to see some of the pioneering research being carried out and to meet our researchers. The University of Southampton is recognised for being at the forefront of life-changing research for the past 60 years across a broad range of disciplines. We are delighted that we have been able to demonstrate a small part of that to such a distinguished guest.”

The Duchess of Cornwall also met academics and researchers from the University’s Faculty of Medicine, hospital and the MRC, as well as members of the National Osteoporosis Society’s local support group, which also celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The Duchess of Cornwall has been President of the National Osteoporosis Society since 2001 and was Patron between 1997 and 2001.

Claire Severgnini, Chief Executive of the National Osteoporosis Society, said:
“Today’s visit by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall reinforces her dedication to the field of osteoporosis and bone health.

“The National Osteoporosis Society is extremely fortunate to have Her Royal Highness as our President. She works tirelessly to raise awareness of this prevalent and debilitating condition and knows and understands the devastating impact that osteoporosis can have on people as well as their families.”