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Speed of breast movement linked to breast pain

The speed at which breasts move during exercise could be key to understanding breast pain, according to an expert at the University of Portsmouth.

Sports scientist, Dr Joanna Scurr, who is setting up Britain’s first Research Group for Breast Health, is undertaking a ground breaking study looking at the impact of the velocity and force the breast is under when it moves. She believes that damage to breast tissue is much more likely to relate to the speed the breast moves rather than the amount of movement itself.

“It’s not the degree of movement which is important but how fast it moves,” said Dr Scurr, who is presenting her research at the annual conference at the American College of Sports Medicine this week.

Dr Scurr studied over 100 women running on a treadmill with sensors attached to their breasts. She measured the distance travelled by the breasts and calculated the speed at which they moved up and down, in and out and from side to side.

Dr Scurr said: “We discovered that the speed at which the breasts move changes during the running cycle. And we found that the subjects’ experienced the greatest degree of pain and discomfort during the points at which the breast was in the process of accelerating or decelerating.

“Little is understood about the causes of breast pain but studying how and why the breast moves is fundamental and speed could be a huge factor. This research could have implications for millions of women who suffer from exercise-related breast pain and could have significant implications for bra design.”

Dr Scurr, who has built up an international reputation for her work on sports-related breast movement, has set up what is believed to be Britain’s first Research Group for Breast Health which will be based at the University of Portsmouth.

“The group will utilise expertise across a range of fields and promote research into breast health from a biomechanical, physiological and clinical perspective with the aim of improving our knowledge in this field,” said Dr Scurr.

“Breast health is an under-researched area and we hope to broaden our understanding, raise awareness of an important quality of life issue and establish a centre of excellence here within the department of Sport and Exercise Science.”

Lisa Egan | alfa
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