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A CARE home, which pioneered the first successful treatment for people with a rare obesity disorder, is now at the forefront of a major study by Cambridge University.

Gretton Homes in Northamptonshire is not only funding the three year study to help improve the lives of people with Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) but will also put day to day life at its care homes under the microscope to help with the research.

In a fly-on-the-wall approach, which will focus on the daily routines of residents and staff, PhD student Rebecca Hawkins of Cambridge University’s Developmental Psychiatry Section will be spending time at three Gretton Homes houses. The university’s Professor Tony Holland will supervise the research.
Clients taking part have given their written consent to the project going ahead.

Myles Kelly PWS Liaison Officer at Gretton Homes said: “This new study will provide valuable information, which will offer a better understanding of the needs of people with PWS. This will be particularly helpful for health care professionals.” He continues, “The study will look at the specific challenges and benefits involved in caring for someone with PWS in the kind of environment that we offer. It will also look at how having PWS shapes the individual’s environment and social life, the activities residents participate in and what interests them.”

PWS causes a variety of symptoms but the most well known is excessive weight gain caused by obsessive eating. Some people with PWS feel hungry throughout the day as the part of the brain which registers hunger never switches off.

Gretton Homes is also sponsoring the publication of a booklet, which will gather recent scientific news and research findings from the UK and around the world. The booklet will be produced by the Prader Willi Syndrome Association (UK) and will be sent to a variety of health care professionals as well as other researchers.

For further information about PWS call Gretton Homes on 01536 770325 or the Prader Willi Syndrome Association on 01332 365676.


Photography available by email of PHD student Rebecca Hawkins with Gretton Homes residents Sally and Stephen. Contact JM Marketing on 01536 414555 or email

9th June 2005

Notes for editors:
Gretton Homes is one of just three residential centres in the UK specialising in the care and treatment of people with PWS. Maurice Reynolds, senior partner and founder of Gretton Homes’ PWS treatment programme, was in 2003 awarded the MBE for his achievements. PWS affects one in 20,000. Gretton Homes has its main centre and headquarters in the village of Gretton and several semi-independent homes in nearby Kettering.

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