Stress in infancy and its link to disease

adorable-baby-black-and-white-207897

Scientists have found evidence to suggest that emotional stress in infancy can have significant and far-reaching effects on the body, resulting in disease later in life.

Psychological stress in infancy dramatically changes the amount of an important class of proteins, called GABAA receptors, which in turn may alter the workings of the heart, lungs, kidneys and bladder.

It was already known that changes in the amounts of GABAA receptors causes some brain disorders, but researchers at the University of Portsmouth are the first to show that stress can also alter their expression in other organs.

The research team in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences studied the way GABAA receptors behave in secondary organs in mice which had first been exposed to stress.

The study provides hope that drugs targeting these receptors can now be developed to treat a range of medical conditions, from hypertension to asthma, and from diabetes to inflammatory bowel diseases.

Researcher Dr Jerome Swinny said: ‘GABAA receptors were known to control brain activity and served as important targets for many drugs used in modern medicine to treat brain disorders, such as epilepsy, anxiety as well as inducing surgical anaesthesia.

‘We were surprised to find these proteins were also found to be expressed so widely beyond the brain.

The dramatic stress-induced changes in the amounts of GABAA receptor compared to what one normally finds is intriguing. It will alter organ function and, we suggest, will contribute to diseases of the organs.’

The research, was led by senior research associate Dr Mohsen Seifi, together with Ethan Everington and Adina Gibbard who were MSc and BSc students, respectively, at the time, in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.

The research was carried out in the laboratory of Dr Swinny, a reader in neuropharmacology and one of the authors.  

He said: ‘It has long been known that childhood adversity, such as neglect or abuse, confers a vulnerability to developing a range of medical conditions later in life, including mental illnesses such as anxiety, and cardiovascular or metabolic disorders.

‘However, precisely how such emotional challenges impact on the normal functioning of different organs within our body remains elusive, which stops the development of effective drug therapies.’

The human central nervous system is designed to withstand stress, he said, and a certain amount of stress allows humans to adapt and survive in an ever changing environment. The problems begin when exposure to stress is constant.

‘A sustained threat is detrimental to our survival. The nervous system of an infant is not mature enough to be able to cope with prolonged exposure to the chemicals which mediate our stress response. As a result, such experiences often confer a vulnerability to changes to the normal development of their body and mind.

‘We know a lot about these proteins in the brain and that’s enabled us to develop drugs for associated conditions such as anxiety. We hope that this new understanding of stress and these receptors can eventually be applied to other parts of the body, to treat a wide range of disorders from hypertension, to diabetes, to an upset tummy.’

Access the research article

Source

Image

Aromatherapy Awareness Week 2018

Aromatherapy Awareness Week runs from 11-16 June and is a wonderful opportunity to show potential clients and employers the many benefits this complementary therapy has to offer.

aromatherapy-awareness-week-2018

To help spread the word, FHT members can:

  • Download the FHT’s free promotional leaflet/poster, to print and distribute in your local area and a cover/banner image for use on your social media profiles*
  • Contact your regular clients and local businesses, offering a discount of your choice on all aromatherapy treatments booked, or being carried out, during Aromatherapy Awareness Week
  • Contact your local newspaper or radio station, or send them a press release, telling them what you are doing for Aromatherapy Awareness Week – remember to insert your special Accredited Register mark
  • Get together with other FHT members from your Local Support Group to organise an event where taster treatments are available. You might want to consider donating all or a portion of the proceeds raised to a local charity or other worthy cause – it is likely whoever you are supporting will help to promote the event in return, which means more people to treat!

Simply log in to the Members area to access your resources or click here

Please be sure to send in a post-event write-up and pictures of your event to the FHT, so that we can give you a mention in International Therapist and on our website! Please email dralls@fht.org.uk, writing Aromatherapy Awareness Week in the subject box. Please ensure that the pictures you take are high-resolution, in case we would like to include these in the magazine.

Happy Aromatherapy Awareness Week!

*You must be an FHT Member and hold a Level 3 qualification in aromatherapy to download the FHT’s Aromatherapy Awareness Week promotional posters, banners and other support material

Having meaningful conversations in health and social care settings

care-hand-hands-45842

NHS England is encouraging those who work in public services across the country to get involved in the ‘What matters to you?’ Day to encourage more meaningful conversations between people in health and social care settings.

The ‘What matters to you?’ Day is an annual international event, held on 6 June, that encourages and supports a person-centred approach, with meaningful conversations between people who provide health and social care and the people, carers and families who receive it. The campaign is growing, with more than 600 organisations taking part in 2017.

Rather than asking ‘what’s wrong with you?’, the ‘what matters to you?’ conversation is believed to help establish a relationship where those working in health and social care gain a deep understanding of those they are supporting. Through this, they work together to discover what will be of the greatest benefit to that person going forward, to help them live the sort of life that is more meaningful to them.

According to NHS England, the ‘What Matters to you?’ conversation can be started by asking questions, such as:

  • ‘What are the things that are important to you at the moment?’
  • ‘What would you like to achieve as a result of this care or support?’
  • ‘When you have a good day, what are the things that make it good?’
  • ‘Is there anything else you want to tell me that I haven’t asked about?’

Rather than taking more time, NHS England suggests that this approach will reduce demands on those working in health and social care, allowing them to rule out actions that don’t need to be taken and focus on what is needed.

Read more

Image

Six top tips for entering an award

Note-taking

Now in its eighth year, the 2018 FHT Excellence Awards is open for entries and will again recognise those setting the bar in therapy education and practice.

We appreciate that putting together an awards entry can seem daunting, so we have put together six top tips to make the process as easy as possible:

Save the dates
As soon as they are available, make a note of the awards entry opening and closing dates, and when they will be announcing the shortlist. Think positive and also plan your diary around the awards presentation date.

For this year’s FHT Excellence Awards, entries are now open until 30 June, 2018. Our awards presentation will take place at a special FHT Conference to be held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November, where guests will be able to hear from leading experts in education, research and integrated healthcare.

Keep it on file
If completing an online entry form, use a Word document to type up and save the information you intend to submit. You can then copy and paste this into the form when you are ready. It also means you have a back-up, in case you lose internet connection while submitting the form, and you might be able to use the same elements for entering a different awards event.

‘I’m not good at this sort of thing’
The judges are more interested in why you deserve an award than your writing skills, but if you are concerned that you’re not the best person to ‘sell yourself’ or the person you are nominating, ask a friend or colleague to help. A clearly written entry that focuses on the ‘important stuff’ is more likely to stand out from the crowd and impress judges.

Focus on treatment outcomes
The judges will be interested in how you have made a difference to clients. What are the treatment outcomes? Has your service helped to reduce stress, pain or a specific symptom in your clients? How can you evidence that your service has made this difference? Testimonials, client surveys, feedback forms, case studies, and before and after pictures are all useful. Tools such as a visual analogue scale (VAS) and MYMOP are also good ways to measure and report on treatment outcomes.

Other supporting evidence
Your entry can also benefit from other supporting evidence – such as a letter from someone senior at the charity, hospice or centre where you work, or scanned newspaper clippings.

Don’t leave it until the last minute
Allow yourself plenty of time and try to submit your entry a couple of days before the closing date to ensure it arrives safely.

Read more about this year’s FHT Excellence Awards

Closing date 30 June, 2018

 

Children at risk from black henna temporary tattoos

James Colley_low_res

A recent British Skin Foundation survey has found that 20% of children could be in danger of having serious reactions to black henna temporary tattoos.

20% of adults have also put themselves at risk by having the temporary fashion accessory which is popular at overseas holiday destinations, festivals, funfairs and the British seaside during the summer months.

Real henna is orange/brown in colour. Black henna tattoos are not based on henna at all, but a substance called paraphenylenediamine (PPD) which is found in hair dyes. PPD is allowed for use in hair dye, but its use for skin contact products, such as temporary tattoos, is illegal in the UK & Europe.

Shockingly, three quarters of people surveyed were not aware that black henna tattoos contain PPD and that when it’s used on the skin it can be dangerous.

Three quarters of people were unaware that having a black henna tattoo can drastically increase the risk of allergic reaction when using a hair dye in the future.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation spokesperson says, “It’s worrying to see that the public just don’t realise the danger PPD can pose when it is used on the skin. We really want to get the message out there that so-called black henna tattoos are not safe for the skin and should be avoided at all costs. Parents, teens and even adults should stay well away from black henna tattoos this summer on holidays abroad, at festivals, funfairs or the British seaside – it’s simply not worth the risk.”

Student James Colley, 19, got a black henna tattoo on holiday in Zante last summer. What was meant to be a bit of holiday fun left him with a scar on his face.

James says, “Had I known the dangers of black henna tattoos I would have stayed away. It never crossed my mind that it might cause such a severe reaction. There was a lot of pain involved in the aftermath which is still fresh in my memory. My advice to people this summer is to stay away from black henna tattoos – no matter how much fun it seems at the time, you will regret it.”

Dr Christopher Flower, Director-General CTPA says, “There is no such thing as ‘black henna’. A large number of people are not aware that so-called black henna temporary tattoos may contain the hair dye PPD. In the UK and EU, this use of PPD is illegal. Black henna temporary tattoos can cause serious issues. Not only can they trigger extremely painful damage to skin, they may also result in life-long allergy to hair dyes. We want to warn of these dangers, and what may seem to be harmless fun for children could have serious long-term consequences.”

 Source

Six good reasons to enter professional awards

pic

If you haven’t put yourself forward an FHT Excellence Award before, here are six good reasons why you should give it a try…

  1. Promoting the therapies you love

With awards comes publicity, which is a great way to show potential clients, employers and healthcare commissioners the amazing benefits different therapies offer. If you are uncomfortable with the thought of putting yourself forward for an award, think of it as putting your favourite therapy forward instead. If you work for a charity or similar, this will gain recognition, too. And remember – those who are shortlisted or highly commended can often gain just as much publicity as the award winner.

  1. Promoting best practice

In our annual FHT survey, we always ask, ‘What concerns you most as a therapist?’ and two key issues always come to the fore. The first is poor standards in training and practice, and how this impacts the reputation of professional therapists. The second is lack of recognition from medical and other professionals, which can hinder integrating therapies into mainstream care.

Belonging to the FHT and being listed on our Accredited Register helps to demonstrate your professionalism, but awards also play an important role. Publicising the story behind each winner shows the world at large what best practice looks like, and how therapists can work as part of a multi-disciplined team to help improve patient-centred care and treatment outcomes.

  1. Promoting excellence in education

Awards that centre around education, such as FHT Tutor of the Year, help to champion those training providers who are going the extra mile to ensure students completing their courses enter the industry with the skills to practice competently and professionally. This is vital in helping to protect the industry’s reputation and public safety.

  1. Funding therapy services and research

Sadly, many therapy services rely on charitable donations and other sources of funding in order to continue supporting their clients. An award can help demonstrate the value of your work and strengthen your application for further funding. Similar benefits can be enjoyed by those involved in therapy research.

  1. Good for business

Winning an award is a great way to boost your business. There is nothing vain or selfish in gaining some recognition and publicity for your hard work. Local media usually has a strong appetite for success stories involving members of the community. Being shortlisted or winning an award could mean appearing in the press or on local radio, gaining good exposure for your business and hopefully some new clients. If applying for work opportunities, it will also boost your CV and help to ‘set you apart from the rest’.

  1. Good for existing clients and staff

Entering an award means stepping back and looking at your business from the outside in. It will help you identify what you’re doing well and what could be improved. Even if you don’t win, this is a really useful business exercise. If you do go on to win, knowing that you have been recognised as ‘the best’ in industry will impress clients who already use your services, and could encourage repeat business and recommendations. If you’re an employer, celebrating and sharing your award success with staff can be inspiring and motivational. An award can also be a great way to attract new talent if you’re looking to grow your team.

For advice on how to submit a winning entry and to enter the 2018 FHT Excellence Awards, visit:

www.fht.org.uk/awards

Closing date: 30 June, 2018

Radio interview and short video promote the FHT and new Complementary Therapy Awards

As well as running our own 2018 FHT Excellence Awards, this year we are delighted to be supporting the new Complementary Therapy Awards, organised by Chamberlain Dunn.

As platinum sponsor of these awards, the FHT is working closely with their media partner, UK Health Radio, to provide expert guests to talk about the many benefits of complementary therapy.

In the first of these radio interviews, Janey Lee Grace interviews FHT President Paul Battersby about what complementary therapies have to offer, if they are safe, what to look for when choosing a therapist, and more.

In addition, the FHT has produced a short video, explaining how supporting the new Complementary Therapy Awards will not only help to demonstrate best practice, but also highlight the important role therapists can play in creating a more sustainable healthcare system.

Listen to Paul Battersby’s interview with Janey Lee Grace >>

Enter the FHT’s Excellence Awards and Complementary Therapy Awards >>