Myelopathy Matters, Myelopathy.org’s podcast series, is back for its fourth season. Dr Benjamin Davies and Iwan Sadler are joined by guests from around the world, including people with Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM), scientists, and healthcare professionals, who all share one thing in common: they are taking on DCM – pushing the boundaries to make a positive difference.
These podcasts are all about connecting the myelopathy community with the latest concepts and ideas, targeting education gaps that might benefit our community, but also recognising individuals of any background for their contributions to the struggle. This means past episodes have covered in detail the origins and management of chronic pain, the challenges of poverty as a result of disability, alongside cutting edge research.
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Continue reading to find out why Dr Benjamin Davies created these podcasts and what topics will be covered in upcoming episodes.
Why did you create these podcasts and how have they evolved?
DCM in my view suffers an identity crisis – there hasn’t been a single speciality or organisation taking responsibility for the condition. Most diseases have a clear representative, identified as the lead specialist. For example, for a heart attack, you see a Cardiologist, or for a broken bone, you see an Orthopedic Specialist. This then translates into how those specialists are reached or updated (by their professional bodies), how research is prompted and funded. Unfortunately for DCM, it is not so straightforward. Spine surgeons are held up as the specialists, but few declare a specialist interest in myelopathy. More often, DCM is a small part of a much larger practice. Not all patients reach spinal surgeons, so the diagnosis may be overlooked. Also, it’s important to note that not all DCM requires surgery. For example, for a person with myelopathy to be given timely treatment, it requires a whole chain of professionals to be up-to-date and in sync: from the GP, to the triaging secondary care team (Neurology, Specialist Physiotherapists, Geriatricians, Rheumatologists, Acute Medicine or Emergency Department Physicians), then to a Spine Surgeon and their team.
I have come to see therefore connecting the myelopathy community as Myelopathy.org’s most important role. Importantly, this is not just for professionals. Patients are the single constant throughout this complicated journey, and making them experts is crucial.
A podcast therefore seemed a good idea. Our community is separated by geography, time zones, and/or professional background, but a podcast is accessible anywhere, anytime. Podcasts are popular, amongst developed countries: ~40% of people are estimated to listen to them. We can also reach experts from anywhere, as interviews are recorded over the internet. Past episodes can be archived and searched, so information can remain of use and value.
We are always looking for feedback, and ways to improve, but so far the feedback has been very positive. Our special series with AO Spine reached over 10,000 different individuals, and we have found the act of approaching global experts a good opportunity to raise awareness of Myelopathy.org and its goals.
What is coming up in season 4?