PhD Dissemination Event Success

This week saw healthcare professionals from all over the country come together in Leeds to find out more about the pioneering Jane Tomlinson Appeal Funded PhD.

Almost three years ago the Appeal came together with Leeds Beckett University to begin a fully funded PhD study into the use of Kinesiology Taping to manage cancer related symptoms.

Jane left few instructions for her husband Mike before she died in 2007. How to work the washing machine being one, another was to ensure that once enough money had been raised, to fund some research into Kinesiology Taping to see if it could help other cancer patients in the same way it had helped Jane.

Over the last three years the team at Leeds Beckett University Centre for Pain Research have been carrying out work in this area. Supervised by Prof Mark Johnson and Prof Michelle Briggs, PhD Student Gourav Banerjee has carried out in depth research, which was shared at this week's event.

Jane's Physio, Alison Rose, has been involved in the PhD as an advisor. She originally applied the technique to make a huge difference to Jane's quality of life in the year before she died. She spoke at the event revealing she had learned of the technique through a chance conversation with a colleague in Scotland over a glass of wine.

Delegates came from a wide range of settings and disciplines and were presented with the findings of the PhD, which will be published later this year.

Kinesiology taping is a technique that has become popular in recent years, especially in the context of prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. The technique uses an elastic, waterproof, porous, adhesive therapeutic tape, with a thickness of 0.5 mm and varying shapes, sizes and colours. Kinesiology tape is applied to various sites of the skin to apply mild tension to underlying structures. It is claimed that kinesiology taping improves muscle strength and tone, circulation of blood and lymph, and decreases pain.

Recently, it was estimated that 50% of people in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Therefore, there is an ever increasing need to find effective approaches to manage symptoms resulting from the disease and its treatment.

Some practitioners have started to use kinesiology taping to manage cancer-related symptoms. However, there has been very little research so far on the type of symptoms that respond best to kinesiology taping and what is the most effective clinical technique in this setting.

The Leeds Beckett project has involved a number of phases including reviewing published research to identify what type of symptoms kinesiology taping might be useful for; a survey to assess the extent of current use of kinesiology taping in cancer settings; experiments to gain insights into the physiological effects of kinesiology taping on healthy human volunteers; and clinical studies to determine whether individuals with cancer find kinesiology taping acceptable and beneficial.

The findings of the research study will be used to inform practitioners about the use of kinesiology taping for people with cancer and provide investigators with information about the direction for future research. 

Kate Goldring, Appeal Manager, said "It was such an interesting and important day for all at the Appeal. Hearing more about the research and seeing the responses from such a range of professionals was fantastic. We look forward to sharing the results in October"

The room had the opportunity to help shape the research by adding a variety of perspectives to the discussion. Attendees came from as far as Preston and Bristol and we were thrilled with the response to the research the team were able to share.

Many areas were discussed including barriers to using the technique and potential impact of the technique on lymphedema and respiratory issues.

Prof Mark Johnson, PhD Supervisor said "I am extremely proud of Gourav as he was instrumental in instigating, organising and delivering the event in partnership with Kate Goldring, the Jane Tomlinson Appeal Manager"

"I believe that our research award students should be given as many opportunities as possible to present their research in formal settings. They find this daunting but extremely valuable. I am always amazed by how well our research award students present their findings in formal settings and Gourav continued with this tradition."

"The project and partnership with the Jane Tomlinson Appeal has been very successful and we have already published a number of research articles from the project, including a seminal case report. The project has 6 months before completion although we are hoping to continue the research and the partnership for many more years."

The Appeal would like to thank everyone who attended the event this week for helping to take this research forward. We look forward to sharing the results of Gourav's studies later in the year.

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