Masters Student Contextualises Rotator Cuff Research
The potential of UKZN masters student Ms Nerissa Naidoo’s study on understanding disorders of the rotator cuff in South African patients has led to her applying for her study to be upgraded to doctoral research.
The rotator cuff is made up of a group of muscles and tendons that attach to the bones of the shoulder joint, and while a wealth of international research has been conducted on rotator cuff pathology, Naidoo’s study does so in the national context.
Co-supervised by esteemed Clinical Anatomy Professor, Kapil Satyapal and Ms Lelika Lazarus of the same Discipline, Naidoo recently presented a subset of her Masters research – titled: “Enthesopathic Patterns of Two South African Female Cadavers” - at the College of Health Sciences (CHS) Research Symposium.
Naidoo found that despite the spontaneous occurrence of unique skeletal manifestations in the cadavers, disorders in the osteology of their shoulder regions were reflective of underlying pathology as they presented as indicators of processes that were either disease-specific or bone-site specific.
‘Although the reporting of these osteological phenomena in clinical literature may assist the clinician with a definite diagnosis to prevent a cascade of degenerative changes which follow rotator cuff pathology, it may also facilitate the remodel of lifestyles of ancient populations in the field of Bioarchaeology,’ Naidoo explained.
She said the results of her on-going research could be clinically advantageous to both the clinician and the patient as it may contribute to advances in reconstructive surgery as well as to enhancing the quality of life.
‘Furthermore, the knowledge of the gross vascular anatomy may also assist in the appropriate therapeutic management of injuries in and around the subclavian-axillary arterial system, thus preventing arterial insufficiency of the upper limb,’ she said.
Naidoo said the field of clinical anatomy was more than just basic science to her. ‘It is an art-form which enables me to develop, present and share my scientific thoughts in a way that combines my two favourite subjects: Anatomy and English.’
‘The past few years of my postgraduate study have been rather exciting and enlightening. My Honours project which essentially focused on the arterial supply to the rotator cuff muscles resulted in the emanation of three papers, all of which were published in the International Journal of Morphology and Folia Morphologica.’
Naidoo said of the four papers emanating from her initial masters study, one was presently in press, the second under review, while the latter two were in preparation for subsequent submission.
In addition to presenting two of the above papers at the CHS Research Symposium 2014, she also presented them at the 42nd Annual Conference of the Anatomical Society of Southern African 2014, as well as the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences Research Symposium 2014.
Naidoo has established herself nationally and internationally through publication, conference attendance and presentation. She is actively involved in on-going research projects in the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy, many of which she has presented on various occasions.
As the Central President of UKZN’s Golden Key International Honour Society, she prides herself on more than just academia. She said she endeavours to uphold the three pillars of a holistic individual in all that she does: ‘academia, leadership and community service’.