Jeremy D.P. Bland, MB ChB, FRCP, Receives 2021 Distinguished Researcher Award
The Distinguished Researcher Award is characterized by a member who has made continuous significant contributions to clinical neurophysiological, NM, or MSK research. This year, this honor is awarded to Jeremy D.P. Bland, MB ChB, FRCP, a consultant in neurophysiology at East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust in Canterbury, United Kingdom. In addition, he is an honorary lecturer at King’s College in London.
Dr. Bland has been practicing neurophysiology since 1989, just over 37 years. He has been a member of AANEM since 2003. His research interests lie primarily with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). His dedication to CTS research was first sparked by a patient in his practice who had suffered a failed carpal tunnel surgery. “This remains a distressingly common problem, even after 70 years of surgical refinement of the procedure,” explains Dr. Bland. “This is one of the major factors which led me to spend 30 years exploring the ramifications of diagnosing and treating CTS.” While he believes that research in exotic genetic disorders has a place, he hopes to see more attention paid to the “mundane, every day, medical disorders which affect many people’s everyday lives.”
Dr. Bland points out that he is not a typical “researcher” in the sense of a man in a white lab coat. “I’m more of a data and systems analyst,” he expresses. “I became interested in computers at medical school when the mainframe still needed feeding data and programs on punched cards. Ever since then, I have been fascinated by the way that the accumulated experience of many patients can be represented mathematically, and constantly surprised by the frequency with which things that you ‘know’ to be true turn out not to be when evaluating the numbers.”
Dr. Bland created his own administrative and clinical records programs for running his own department and has used these for over 30 years to collect clinical data for analysis. He subsequently set up the webpage carpal-tunnel.net, something he considers a proud accomplishment. This site helps to diagnose CTS using artificial intelligence methods, tracks symptom severity and response to treatment for patients, and can help to predict outcome from surgery. The site won an NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Diagnostics in 2013. It has also been highly rated in several academic studies for online patient information. Today, he tries to keep it the most comprehensive and up to date CTS patient resource available.
Currently, Dr. Bland’s research focuses on ways of determining which patients will respond best to nonsurgical treatments of CTS, primarily by looking at the best practice for using steroids in treatment. Over the last 15 years, he has also developed a strong interest in US imaging of peripheral nerve.
As a neurologist and a neurophysiologist, Dr. Bland has several dreams he hopes to see come to fruition. One long term goal has been to create a successful example of an integrated medical service where patients are diagnosed, counseled, and treated in one location.
“Interacting with the endless parade of new patients, no two of whom are ever quite alike, has been
something I have always loved about my career,” states Dr. Bland.
Dr. Bland will be honored at the annual meeting in Aurora, Colorado. He states that he has always enjoyed attending the AANEM annual meeting and looks forward to reconnecting with his many colleagues from around the world.