Manchester socks it to diabetes

18.10.18 Artist Christine Wilcox-Baker launches Seven Thousand Feet at Central Library, Manchester Science Festival

A Manchester Science Festival art installation containing seven thousand socks is highlighting the grim annual toll of diabetes-related limb amputation – and the city’s pioneering steps against the condition.

Built using socks donated by Diabetic UK support groups and lower limb amputees, Seven Thousand Feet will raise awareness of the risk of amputation presented by ulcers that can go undetected due to nerve damage and poor circulation. Patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes risk unknowingly developing ulcerated pressure sores, with more than 8,500 lower limb amputations each year in the UK among people with diabetes.

However, Manchester Science Festival will also showcase the ground-breaking steps being taken by academics and scientists in Manchester to prevent amputations and fight diabetes.
Breakthrough projects include international research into apps and pressure sensors capable of detecting diabetic foot ulcers, and a driving simulator that uses sensors on the accelerator pedal to judge whether diabetic patients’ driving is affected, all of which have been developed or clinically trialled by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Seven Thousand Feet was devised by artist Christine Wilcox-Baker in consultation with Dr Martin Rutter, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Physician, University of Manchester, and clinical lead for Manchester Diabetes Centre, Manchester RoyaI Infirmary.

It is part of an exhibition of artwork inspired by the fight against diabetes and can be seen at Manchester’s Central Library throughout the Manchester Science Festival and beyond (Thursday, 18 October to Wednesday, 14 November). Other work has been created shown by Manchester Metropolitan University art undergraduates.

Christine Wilcox-Baker said: “While the message delivered by Seven Thousand Feet is deliberately stark, Type 2 diabetes is often preventable through changes in lifestyle and diet. I am delighted to be helping raise awareness of the pioneering scientific work being done in Manchester to reduce the impact of diabetes.”

Clare Howarth, Head of the North at Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes-related amputations are on the rise. Every hour someone with diabetes has a toe, foot or leg amputated in the UK, yet with the right care and swift action many of these can be avoided.

“When you have diabetes, even something small like a blister can lead to an amputation but most complications can be prevented by knowing the signs to look for. It is vital that people with diabetes are aware of the risks and get their feet checked regularly and should you have any concerns speak to your healthcare professional immediately.”

Seven Thousand Feet is a collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Manchester and Diabetes UK.

Manchester Science Festival Highlights Fight Against Diabetes – See website for more details:

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