PRIZE. Kaisa Mannerkorpi, Professor of Physiotherapy specializing in pain and the organs of locomotion, has been awarded the 2016 grant in memory of Nanna Svartz. Mannerkorpi was chosen as this year’s recipient for her research on physical activity in fibromyalgia patients. The SEK 50,000 grant was presented by biopharmaceutical company Pfizer in cooperation with the Swedish Rheumatism Association and in conjunction with the lectures held during the recent World Arthritis Day in Stockholm.
Kaisa Mannerkorpi is a professor of physiotherapy at Sahlgrenska Academy specializing in pain and the organs of locomotion. Mannerkorpi has been named the recipient of the 2016 grant in memory of Nanna Svartz in recognition of her successful, pioneering research on physical activity in patients suffering from fibromyalgia and generalized pain. Previously, physicians were skeptical towards recommending physical exercise to fibromyalgia patients, but Mannerkorpi’s research has done much to help change this attitude. After initially studying the effects of low-intensity forms of exercise, such as aquatic exercise and walking, she went on to demonstrate the positive effects of both aerobic exercise and resistance training. She has also shown that planned exercise promotes health in fibromyalgia patients, so long as it is planned in consultation with the patient and is adapted to suit their current physical condition, resources, and objectives.
“Kaisa Mannerkorpi’s research is clinical and patient-focused, and she has applied it in practice by developing a ‘pain school’ called Knowledge for Life (Kunskap för livet) in cooperation with the Swedish Rheumatism Association and Sweden’s primary healthcare service. She also combines research in physiotherapy and rheumatology in a new way that has already benefited patients,” says Yvonne Enman, Research Officer at the Swedish Rheumatism Association.
“I’m very proud and honored to receive this award. I’m especially pleased that it highlights the physiotherapy perspective on the treatment of fibromyalgia and other forms of chronic pain. The condition of many patients with chronic pain gradually worsens. Intuitively, you might think that rest is what’s needed when a person is in pain, but inactivity causes physical function and health to deteriorate over time. That’s why it’s important to receive help in getting started with an exercise program,” says Mannerkorpi.
This year’s Nanna Svartz grant was presented on Sunday, October 16 in Stockholm.
About the grant in memory of Nanna Svartz
Since 1999, Pfizer AB and the Swedish Rheumatism Association have jointly awarded an annual grant in recognition of outstanding research in rheumatology. The award was founded in honor of Sweden’s first female professor of medicine, Nanna Svartz, who developed one of the world’s first anti-inflammatory drugs for treating rheumatism.
Previous recipients of the grant:
1999 – Kerstin Eberhardt, Lund
2000 – Björn Svensson, Helsingborg
2001 – Ola Nived and Gunnar Sturfelt, Lund
2002 – Ingrid Lundberg, Stockholm
2003 – Ingiäld Hafström, Stockholm
2004 – Christina H. Stenström, Stockholm
2005 – Solbritt Rantapää Dahlqvist, Umeå
2006 – Thomas Skogh, Linköping
2007 – Eva Kosek, Stockholm
2008 – Tore Saxne, Lund
2009 – Hans Carlsten, Gothenburg
2010 – Lennart Jacobsson, Malmö
2011 – Charlotte Ekdahl, Lund
2012 – Solveig Wållberg-Jonsson, Umeå
2013 – Pierre Geborek, Lund
2014 – Stefan Bergman, Spenshult
2015 – Elisabet Svenungsson, Stockholm
Fibromyalgia is a life-long illness that mostly affects women. The disease often first appears early in life or during middle age. Its symptoms include pain in the soft areas of the body. Abnormal fatigue and intestinal problems are also common. Fibromyalgia’s cause is still largely unknown. Studies have shown that people suffering from the disease display changes in muscle tissue and an increased pain response in their central nervous systems. Often, the disease is also associated with psychological overload. Treatment focuses on finding ways to help each individual manage their illness and on alleviating pain. Pain schools where sufferers learn to manage their discomfort have yielded good results. Physical activity has also been shown to provide benefits equal to those of medical treatment. Other treatment alternatives include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and acupuncture.
About the Swedish Rheumatism Association
The Swedish Rheumatism Association is Sweden’s largest patient organization, with around 50,000 members. The association represents the more than one million Swedes who suffer from a rheumatic disease, fibromyalgia, or osteoarthritis. Since 1945, the association has worked to increase public awareness about rheumatic diseases and other diseases of the organs of locomotion and to lobby decision-makers at every level. Its research fund supports research aimed at solving the mystery of rheumatism. Over the last five years, the fund has distributed over SEK 100 million to researchers. Visit www.reumatikerforbundet.org for more information.
As one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, self-care, and vaccine companies, Pfizer aims to help people live longer and get more out of life. In Sweden, the company’s vision is to cooperate with local agents to find new pathways to creating world-class healthcare. The company’s global research and development efforts focus on areas where there is a major need for treatment alternatives, such as within oncology, immunology and inflammation, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, neuroscience and pain, rare diseases, and vaccines. Visit www.pfizer.se, www.pfizer.com, and www.älskaattåldras.se for more information.