Graham David Hughes is a British adventurer, filmmaker, television presenter and Guinness World Record holder. Hughes was the first person to visit all 193 United Nations member states and several other territories across the world without flying. He did so over a period of nearly four years and completed the task in November 2012. While on his journey he presented the television program Graham s World on the National Geographic Adventure channel, a weekly look into his ongoing quest to break multiple world records by visiting every country on earth without flying. The Odyssey Expedition spanned 1,492 days and over 220 countries and territories... so much material it s far too much to cram into one book so it is being published in 3 volumes!
The discovery of ‘sticky blood’ (commonly known as antiphospholipid syndrome or ‘Hughes Syndrome’) came out of years of observation of patients who had developed lupus. Many specialists in the 1970s were interested in the neurological aspects of lupus, and Dr Hughes, among others, spent a number of years studying the mechanisms of brain inflammation.
In the mid 1970s, Hughes observed a number of young women with a form of viral paralysis, where interestingly many of them carried an antibody in their blood actually directed against ‘phospholipid’ – one of the components of brain and spinal cord. It quickly became apparent that individuals who had "anti-phospholipid antibodies" suffered from a tendency not only to develop brain and spinal cord symptoms, but also a tendency to develop both vein and artery thrombosis.
As investigation continued it became apparent that these symptoms were not just confined to lupus patients, but occurred in others too, specifically those with severe migraines, with repeated strokes, with memory loss, and in women with recurrent miscarriage.
Many people are unaware of the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of lupus. It is important that these topics are highlighted for many reasons. For example, a greater understanding of the symptoms of lupus will enable patients to recognise the symptoms earlier, and get treatment faster; before any serious damage is done. Similarly, awareness of preventative measures may reduce the number of cases of lupus that occur.
From a different perspective, it would be of great use to have an easily accessible source of information available to lupus patients that would highlight issues such as treatment options and sources of support.
In summary, although knowledge of lupus is growing, greater awareness of the disease amongst both patients and the general public is an issue that needs to be addressed.