Birgit Juul-Kristensen

Birgit Juul-Kristensen

Physiotherapy (Denmark)

I am associate professor, a physiotherapist, and working at the Research Unit of Musculoskeletal Function, at University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, in Denmark.

My research in this area focuses on clinical, physiological and epidemiological aspects of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome-Hypermobility type (EDS-HT), hypermobility syndrome (HMS) and Generalized Joint Hypermobility (GJH) in the general population. I have been working within this area for about ten years now, and have performed research on children as well as adults.

My first research projects on this area were reproducibility studies on the Beighton and Brighton criteria, since by that time (and still today) there is no consensus on which tests, criteria and procedures should be used for adults and children when diagnosing GJH.

Later I performed longitudinal and cross-sectional studies on children to find whether GJH was a risk factor for development of joint pain (which it seems to be), and injuries (which is doubtful in a general children population, but less doubtful for children participating in specific sports), in addition to looking for differences in neuromuscular performance (GJH have different movement and muscle activity strategies, but same or increased performance). The same differences in neuromuscular performance seems also to be present in adults with GJH, however, they often have decreased performance in many activities. Since prevalence and further development of this condition over time for adults is important, there is a need for self-reported outcomes for use in population-based studies. Regarding treatment we are in the planning phase of randomized controlled studies on treatment of EDS-HT and HMS for the adult population, and have performed preliminary surveys on the most frequent physiotherapy practice on these patients.

I collaborate internationally on hypermobility with Prof. R. Engelbert (The Netherlands), Assist. Prof. Lies Rombaut (Belgium), Assist prof Ulrik Roijezon (Sweden), Assist. Prof Silje Mæland (Norway), Assoc prof Leslie Nicholson (Austr) and the previous criteria group of 2010.