After having a stroke, many people don’t feel like themselves because they’ve lost so much of what they used to be able to do. Lisa Rodio, from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, runs STOKESTRA®, a unique music-making group that combines music and rehabilitation in a way that makes stroke recovery fun, effective and confidence-boosting.
There’s growing evidence that engaging with outdoor spaces promotes health and wellbeing across all ages. Yet as we get older, our changing abilities, motivations and means could prevent us from reaping the rewards of interacting with nature. Professor Birgitta Gatersleben and Dr Ciara O’Brien from the University of Surrey set out to co-design and test a nature-based conservation activity with residents at Whiteley Retirement Village, to see what works best for who, and to empower older people to enjoy the outdoors.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a disease where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the glands, leading to dry eyes and mouth but can affect other parts of the body such as joints, lungs, skin and nervous system. Although we can ease the symptoms, we don’t have any good treatments. Dr Elizabeth Jury, Dr Coziana Ciurtin and Lucia Martin-Gutierrez, with their team at UCL, looked at the blood of patients and found their immune systems behaved in two different ways. Identifying these two groups will help us treat this uncomfortable disease.
Skin wounds that won’t heal are a big problem, particularly for older people, and have a big impact on quality of life. However, current treatments and antibiotics aren’t very effective, running the risk of long-term, chronic infection. Professor Phil Stephens and his team are investigating whether packets of bioactive compounds secreted by stem cells could create an anti-microbial environment that will help skin wounds to heal better.
Music therapy can enhance people’s lives, and stimulate their minds. Dr Fabia Franco and her team are assessing the impact of music therapy on older people’s cognition through a randomised controlled trial. An important factor in this will be the use of human-like robots in addition to the face-to-face sessions, to see whether this is a viable way to deliver the therapy.