Animation used to help explain the impact of genetics for patients

October 4, 2012, Oxford University

Meet Ossie: a friendly green popsicle who has already been fired through the LHC and frozen to absolute zero in a bid to explain cutting edge science.

In his latest adventure the star of the Oxford Sparks portal ends up getting a close encounter with a broken heart and finds out about the potentially dire consequences of one genetic mistake.

'Genetics has come such a long way, it really does impact on the way we look after patients already and will do so more and more,' said Hugh Watkins, the lead scientific advisor on this new animation.

'But it's the 'simple' end of the genetic spectrum, where a single causes an inherited condition that runs in a family, where we've made most headway so far. And the condition covered, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is one of the most common and important of these.'

Hugh says that, as part of explaining where the latest Oxford research has got to in investigating such conditions, he told 'some stories (one involving a forklift!) to illustrate the way it impacts on patients,' and that this tale made it into the finished animation.

He adds: 'I like the way that the animation and script make an inherently scary condition, and a serious science story, fun.'

Explore further: New guidelines for cardiovascular genetic testing

More information: Find out more about the science behind this animation here.

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