Date of release: Monday, June 16, 2014

Comic books to explain pain 'will change the world' Comic book superheroes used by university researchers to help children understand about relatives who suffer from chronic pain have been named as one of "20 new ideas from UK universities that will change the world".

The accolade was given in Times Higher Education, following a survey which asked the general public about the issues that they most want university research to address.

Twenty UK university research projects were highlighted in the magazine as part of Universities Week, which ran between 9 and 15 June. Of those surveyed, thirty per cent said they wanted improved wellbeing in old age.

Academics at Greenwich, Teesside, Dundee, Aberdeen and Northumbria universities worked with Medikidz, an international company which produces award-winning comics, on the project. Researchers found that it can be difficult for a child to comprehend an adult's physical pain, whether relating to injury or terminal illness, especially if there are no visible symptoms.

Therefore, the comic uses superheroes to put medical information into plain words which children can easily understand.

The University of Greenwich's Professor of Nursing, Pat Schofield, a national expert in pain management, led a team which carried out focus groups and collected information on people's experiences of living with chronic pain. "This is a welcome book of information which can help explain these issues to the very young, in a fun and exciting way," she says.

Teesside University's Professor Denis Martin, who led the Medikidz project, says: "The idea for the comic came about as we were talking to older people to find out their ideas on how to improve the lives of people living with chronic pain. We learned that there was a need to help grandchildren to better understand the experiences of a grandparent living with chronic pain".

To find out more about studying with the university's Faculty of Education & Health:
http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/schools/health

Story by Public Relations