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Published: 2023-12-01 Updated: 2023-12-06, 09:49

Umeå at the top of the list of Swedish Research Council funding for clinical therapy research

NEWS Umeå University did very well in the Swedish Research Council's allocation to clinical therapy research with a total of over SEK 30 million. One project in Umeå receives the highest grant of all in the whole of Sweden.

Text: Ola Nilsson

Gauti Jóhannesson, Associate Professor and Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Sciences, receives SEK 19,964,000 over the four-year period 2024 – 2027 for the project Neuroprotective treatment of glaucoma – A clinical randomized trial for evaluation of nicotinamide. It is thus the project of all higher education institutions in the whole country that receives the most funding in this entire allocation of VR.

The project is studying whether supplementation of a form of vitamin B₃, nicotinamide, can be used as a treatment for the eye disease glaucoma, also known as glaucoma. Previous animal studies have shown that supplementation with this form of the vitamin has protected the optic nerve. Today, there is no curative treatment for glaucoma, but it is treated by slowing down the progression of the disease by lowering the pressure in the eye. The nicotinamide study will be conducted on 300 patients at a number of hospitals in Sweden, including Umeå. Despite the similarity in name, nicotinamide has no connection with the neurotoxin nicotine, which is found in tobacco.

"The announcement from the Swedish Research Council was fantastic in many ways, for the research group, for the eye clinic and for Umeå University in general, which came out very well in a national comparison. We have already initiated the large study at several clinics in Sweden and this grant will ensure that we can carry it out according to plan.

Patricia Hägglund, Department of Clinical Sciences, receives a total of SEK 11,993,100 over a four-year period for the project Dysphagia after stroke – a randomized controlled evaluation of oral screen intervention in swallowing dysfunction.

The project is about studying how to train the musculature in the pharynx by training with a so-called mouth shield. Swallowing difficulties are a major problem  among people who suffer  a stroke and can lead to the person getting too little food or that food  and drink that is swallowed incorrectly can end up in the lungs and cause pneumonia, which can be a fatal condition among people with stroke. In previous studies, Patricia Hägglund has shown that swallowing function can be trained, and now it will be evaluated on a larger scale.

"It's a fantastic opportunity that has opened up by being awarded the Swedish Research Council's research grant. This means that we can conduct high-quality and patient-oriented research. If training with a mouth screen can improve swallowing function in people with swallowing difficulties after stroke and provide better quality of life, reduced risk of malnutrition, pneumonia and early death, this would be a breakthrough in stroke research," says Patricia Hägglund.



Gauti Johannesson
Associate professor, senior consultant (attending) physician
Patricia Hägglund
Assistant professor, combined with clinical employment