Gwen Fernandes’ research is establishing the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis in former professional footballers and identifying associated risk factors of pain, structural degeneration, total joint replacement and other biomarkers. Her research is funded by the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis to work on a five year project (2013-2017) in former professional footballers which has involved the largest database of professional footballers in the UK and worldwide (n=1200) and men from the general population (n=4000) as comparators. They have also secured external funding from FIFA’s Medical Assessment and Research Centre (FMARC), the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), SPIRE Healthcare, Arthritis Research UK (conference award) and FIFA (travel award). As the primary research lead for this project, Gwen has supervised the research team (PhD studentship, research intern, metrologists and admin support) and part of this work has been submitted as a thesis, that was successfully defended by Dr Sanjay Parekh (Feb 2017). The team’s current work is focused on the prevalence of foot and ankle pain and osteoarthritis, associated risk factors and the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases in former players compared to general population controls (2018-2020).
Gwen is a co-investigator, database manager and sits on the management committee for the Knee Pain In the Community study alongside Professor Michael Doherty, Professor Weiya Zhang, Professor David Walsh and Dr Ana Valdes. Since 2014, they have established a cohort of 9500 men and women from the East Midlands region and have conducted biomechanical and gait assessments, muscle strength, radiographic assessment, quantitative sensory testing and biomarker profiling from bloods and urine samples.
Gwen has been involved from research ethics applications and is currently responsible for data acquisition, data management and analysis. Her current work is focused on pain profiling and subsequent management with an emphasis on neuropathic pain and associated risk factors.
Gwen is part of several projects related to safety and efficacy of topical NSAIDs, capsaicin and paracetamol. I supervise Dr Jaspreet Kaur on her PhD project which includes a systematic review and meta-analysis of paracetamol and will include the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) on the adverse events related to its prescription (2017-2020).
Her PhD was focused on the biomechanics (kinetics and kinematics) and patient centred outcome scores of patients with medial knee osteoarthritis (2009-2012). As part of her PhD, Gwen conducted a randomised controlled trial (RCT) which evaluated the effectiveness of laterally wedged orthoses and footwear in 105 patients with medial knee OA. Her PhD was fully funded by the Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC, Welsh Assembly) and she is an alumni of the RCBC Community of Scholars.