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University of the West of Scotland (UWS) hosted an event bringing together over 50 healthcare workers, scientists, businesses and policy makers to discuss Scotland’s progress towards tackling deadly lung disorder, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).   

The event, held at the University’s campus in Ayrshire - a known COPD ‘hotspot’ - hosted attendees looking to learn more about new research on the lung disease which takes over 600,000 lives in the EU every year. 

The event comes after €7.7 million was granted by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) to experts from UWS, Queen’s University Belfast and Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) for a pioneering cross-border research project designed to better understand and alleviate the impact of COPD.

The project, known as ‘BREATH’ (Border and Regions Airways Training Hub), was discussed at the event, with attendees hearing from several of the key players involved, including UWS academics Professor John Lockhart, Dr Gary Litherland and Dr Iain McLellan.

COPD is now the third biggest killer in Scotland, recently overtaking cardiovascular disease for the first time. Smoking, pollution, genetics, infection and prematurity are among the contributing causes of COPD.
Dr Gary Litherland, Lecturer in UWS’ School of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Gary Litherland, Lecturer in UWS’ School of Health and Life Sciences said:

“COPD is now the third biggest killer in Scotland, recently overtaking cardiovascular disease for the first time. Smoking, pollution, genetics, infection and prematurity are among the contributing causes of COPD. 

“Areas of Southwest Scotland, Dundalk and Northern Ireland are considered to be COPD ‘hotspots’ and the prevalence of COPD cases is up to 68.8% higher in Ayrshire than the GB national average.

“This event was an important forum to discuss progress, and to highlight the opportunities the BREATH Programme brings to connect people and help accelerate research toward patient benefit.”

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