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Women offered chance to help world-first breast study

Graphic shows the figure of eight movement of women’s breasts even when walking

Why women’s breasts vary and one bra design doesn’t fit all is to be examined in the first study of its kind in the world, led by the University of Portsmouth.

Scientists will use MRI scanning to determine women’s breast proportions of fat and glandular tissue and whether this proportion helps determine why and by how much some breasts sag.

The large-scale study is being run by the Research Group in Breast Health at the University and co-hosted at St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre, Portsmouth, over two days in December.

Senior Research Associate Dr Tim Blackmore said: “This research will be the first time scientists will have evidence on whether the density of breasts affects their movement.

“The results will allow us to better understand the demands different women’s breasts put on bras and, for example, why one bra design won’t work for every woman.”

Volunteers will have an MRI scan of their chest area while also having their breast movement analysed while on a treadmill, and scanned by an Artec Eva 3D scanner.

The Research Group in Breast Health has for a decade led the world in breast health studies. Its scientists have worked with lingerie manufacturers, the military, the NHS and other organisations to test bras and to inspire changes in their design and, critically, to safeguard women’s health.

The MRI scans will be carried out by trained radiographers in an MRI facility provided by Cobalt Medical, which will be hosted in St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre’s car park.

Penny Daniels, hospital director at St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre, said: “This is a worthwhile project, as not only may it allow greater comfort for women everywhere at the end of a very long day at work, but it may also reveal valuable insights into women’s health and wellbeing.

“I would encourage women to consider participating, as scans will take no more than 30 minutes, and parking at the centre is easy.”

All volunteers will be given £30, and volunteers will also be asked to visit the Research Group in Breast Health laboratory for 90 minutes.

To find out more, or to take part, either visit the group’s pages and click through to “get involved”, or email


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