CATCH members Chris McDermott, Simon Judge and Zoe Clarke have been involved with the design of a revolutionary neck collar designed to ease pain and make everyday tasks easier for people living with motor neurone disease (MND).

The Head Up collar, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme and the Motor Neurone Association, is the first of its kind and has been brought to market as a result of an innovative five-year project by the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the NIHR Devices for Dignity (D4D) MedTech Co-operative, which is hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Patients with MND helped to design the unique collar which, unlike those currently available, offers personalised support to the collection of small muscles in the neck which are particularly vulnerable to the wasting effects of the debilitating disease.

Following a successful multi-centre clinical trial the collar has been made available to purchase from Chesterfield-based manufacturing company TalarMade, who have more than 30 years’ experience in developing clinical innovations for use in rehabilitative and orthotic practice.

Lead clinician in the Head Up project, Chris McDermott, Professor of Translational Neurology at the University of Sheffield and Consultant Neurologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “MND is a terrible disease, and what we need is a cure that stops people from dying from the condition.

“While something like this collar is not going to change the disease course, we hope it will help improve patients’ quality of life and help them get the most out of what they can do. We listened to what matters to them and what will have the greatest impact on their quality of life.”

Produced in collaboration with NIHR Devices for Dignity (D4D) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), the Head Up collar has already been trialled by over 100 MND patients – 80 per cent of whom felt the collar helped them and they wanted to carry on using the collar after the trial.

For more information about the Head Up collar read here.

For information on purchasing the Head Up collar contact TalarMade