I am pleased to say New Pathways issue 108 is now landing on doormats across the country! As always we have a packed issue, full of all the latest multiple sclerosis (MS) news and research, including drug updates and the latest cannabis study findings.
As the sunshine begins to make an appearance, we get topical with lots on vitamin D. MSer Ian Cook puts vitamin D tablets and sprays to the test (see page 30) and Kahn Johnson reveals what happened when his vitamin D levels became toxic on page 16.
Also in this issue, MS Nurse Miranda Olding discusses sexual dsyfunction and what can be done to help (page 14) and we have the big interview with the star of Channel 4 programme 'The Search for a Miracle Cure' Mark Lewis (page 24).
I hope you enjoy reading this issue, and please do email me your comments and letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor, New Pathways
P.S. Don't forget New Pathways is available to read on the go. Download the My MS-UK app from the App store on your phone or tablet device today!
MS-UK’s Wellness Centre, Josephs Court works closely with the University of Essex to support occupational therapy students (OTS) by providing role-emerging placements while they train.
Each year the Josephs Court team is invited to speak at a symposium with the new OT recruits about role-emerging placements at its Wellness Centre in Colchester, Essex and increase their knowledge of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Diana Crowe, Head of Services, said: ‘We took the opportunity to promote all of our services, but focused on what we deliver at Josephs Court, such as the exercise equipment and the benefits this brings to clients.’
‘There was good interaction and we were asked about the social activities we provide, so we discussed the MS-UK Social Group in Colchester, which has regular coffee mornings and other events such as bingo!’
‘Due to recent headline news regarding HSTC there was an interest in how this treatment could impact on us as a charity and our clients. Just like everyone else we will have to wait and see how the treatment develops, but we will continue to support people with MS for as long as they need us.’
‘We split into groups, which gave us a chance to speak in more detail with some of the students,’ explains Dean Jeffreys, Centre Manager. ‘The students were interested to know about APS Therapy, how we link up with other services and how politics impacts on our strategy.’
Speakers from St Helena’s Hospice spoke about its gardening project for those at the end of life and Craig, from Pots the Soldier, spoke about his post-traumatic stress diagnosis after leaving the army and how he found a love of pottery thanks to the support of OTs – very inspirational!
‘It was great to see the students so interested in the work MS-UK does and we hope to continue to work with Essex University over the coming years. Who knows one day we may have our own MS-UK Occupational Therapist,’ adds Diana.
In his latest humorous guest blog Doug Ankerman champions an easy form of exercise for MSers and those of a certain age...
Warning: This post contains pictures that may frighten young children. Please ‘exercise’ caution. People workout for their pecs, abs, bi's, tri's, traps, delts, lats, quads, hammy's and glutes - but they rarely exercise the muscles...of their face! Did you know you have 43 muscles in your face just waiting to be used? Instead, we let gravity take its toll by pulling and stretching our faces downward. Skin sagging...till we begin to look less like ourselves - and more like Droopy Dog! Forget all those age-reducing potions and the creamy-crap you smear on every day. Start looking younger from the inside out by toning up the muscles of your grill. Exercising your face is goofy-fun, easy-to-do and even those of us with MS can do it! I've put on my headband and 1980's Gore-Tex running suit to show you how...
Make your face rrreeeeaaaalll small. Squeezing your eyes shut, pursing your lips like you are sucking a lemon.
Then, make your face big. Big as ever. Eyes wide. Mouth open (watch for flies). And do it over again several times.
Make a face to your right.
And then, take it to the left. Do it again and again.
Wiggle your eyebrows. Puff out your cheeks. Crinkle your sniffer. Smile big. Smile bigger.
Move your lips like you are making out with your favourite movie star. (Mine is Clint Eastwood - maybe I'll rethink that one!) You can't go wrong because ANY exaggerated movement is GREAT for your face. And you'll feel instant results. Your face will be tighter, firmer and toner (wait, is that a word?) You can exercise your face in just two minutes. And you can do it anywhere, except maybe in public! Get started now. You will thank me later. Doug
You can read more of Doug's hilarious posts on his blog 'My Odd Sock'
Tomorrow we’ll be closing our latest Choices leaflet survey!
Thank you for your help!
Diana Crowe, Head of Services
On Saturday 28 October our clients at Josephs Court got together for our swinging 60s cyclothon – and it was a great day!
Thank you to everyone that got involved…you managed to clock up over 300 kilometres! Check out the Facebook photo album now.
The cyclothon event is part of our FES Appeal. We are aiming to raise £22.5k for a brand new FES bike for Josephs Court. This is our Essex based wellness centre for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis in our local area.
Thank you again for a groovy day everyone!
Diana Crowe, Head of Services
We are refreshing our Choices leaflets for people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) and we need your real life experience to help shape them!
We want to always provide people with the fullest range of choices available to them; not only drugs but all types of treatments and lifestyle changes. We hope that by including your experiences, our leaflets will truly resonate with people who turn to us for help.
Please be assured that any comments you give us will remain anonymous when published in our Choices leaflets.
Thank you for your help!
The MS-UK Helpline team
Number 3 in our list is exercise...
Experts advise you not to exercise if you’re feeling under the weather, but when it comes to staving off colds exercise can act as a preventative.
Exercise can improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, mobility, balance and coordination. It can also improve mood, increase energy levels and help with weight management.
Studies have shown that regular exercise will help prevent the common cold. In one study women who exercised regularly were found to have a 50% less risk of colds compared to those who don’t work out.
Check back tomorrow for our blog about relaxation!
In our latest issue of New Pathways, we look at strength training (page 18), pilates and MS (page 30) and our regular feature writer Ian Cook sceptically took on the gym (page 20). You can read these articles by subscribing to New Pathways on our website.
I am really pleased to announce that we have secured funding from the National Lottery for our Essex based service, Josephs Court.
The funding will span the next five years and totals £499,300. This will go towards the running costs of Josephs Court, and help us support even more people in our local area affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
Josephs Court has a range of specialised exercise equipment and expert professionals on hand enabling people living with MS to exercise and manage their condition regardless of their levels of mobility. The Big Lottery Fund will support 72% of the costs of providing the service.
It is business as usual at Josephs Court, but thanks to the Big Lottery Fund we are definitely here to stay for the long term!
Amy Woolf, CEO
In this guest blog, Niamh and Sarah talk about what they are doing at Josephs Court, our wellness centre based in Essex…
Hi we are Niamh and Sarah, we are undertaking a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) at the University of Essex. We are half way through completing our final role emerging 8 week placement at MS-UK (Josephs Court) until the beginning of September. As this is a role emerging placement, there is currently no Occupational Therapist within this setting. Therefore, it is our ambition as OT students to promote our profession amongst the MS-UK community.
‘Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.’ (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2017)
We are thoroughly enjoying building a rapport with clients, family, carers and staff. It has reinforced for us the importance of viewing clients and individuals we meet holistically and delivering client centred care.
Both of these concepts are reflected in the core underpinnings and ethos of the OT profession. We are excited to continue to work within this inspiring team. Our aim is to design interventions that may improve the quality of life of the clients that we meet, identify clients potential and where possible collaboratively work to overcome barriers through engaging in activities of daily living and occupations.
Our role as OT students within this setting has consisted of us using transferable skills such as communication, professionalism and listening in conjunction with core OT skills and implementing these at MS-UK.
We have been tasked to identify and develop an occupational focused service development that targets clients’ needs and enables clients to improve their health and well-being. Using our skills we have ascertained that falls is a barrier to engagement in activities of daily living.
After conducting some research within Josephs Court regarding incidences and prevalence of falls, we have ascertained that falls is a barrier for engagement in daily occupations and may be impacting people’s psychological health. As a result, we will facilitate a falls prevention information session. This will take place in Josephs Court. Where possible we shall signpost clients and carers to alternative services, support and equipment to enhance client’s pathways of care. We will continue to make suggestions on self-management techniques.
We are encouraged to adopt the positive mind-set that is so evident from both clients and staff within this community.
‘Occupational Therapy practitioners ask, ‘what matters to you?’ not, ‘what’s the matter with you’.’ (Ginny Stoffel, AOTA President)
Tomorrow is the last chance to take our survey all about the MS-UK Helpline, and let us know your opinions if you have used the helpline at all in 2017.
We would like to know why you chose the MS-UK Helpline, whether or not you found the information and support from our team useful and your opinions about our opening hours and accessibility.
This survey is for people who have used the MS-UK Helpline this year (2017). By completing this survey, you are helping us to improve the MS-UK Helpline in the future, so your feedback is invaluable!
As a thank you for sharing your thoughts, one lucky person will be selected at random to win a £50 Love2Shop voucher!
The closing date for this survey is tomorrow (09 August 2017), so don’t delay!
Thank you – and good luck!
Diana Baxter, Head of Services