The Future Clinic: Pondering our Future

As many of you know, I have never been entirely comfortable with the notion of a private clinic; not in the traditional sense at least. The Future Clinic is supposed to be different, accessible to those that need it, forward-looking, and viable all at the same time. The balancing of these elements has been quite a tall order to be honest, and it is easy to find oneself falling into the well-established grooves of seeing our work as a product to be sold. Ultimately, it is of course; to be viable it has to be. But I believe that if we try to make the right decisions along the way, guided by our principles, that the right direction will show itself and the right people will come along.

Three things did actually came along in fact, Three Jewels as the Buddhist might call them; Lyme and Fibromyalgia research, mini-filmmaking, and a new exciting opportunity to coordinate research looking at the benefits of medical cannabis. Each has funnelled my thinking and now we're all in isolation with time to focus, I think The Future Clinic is beginning to find its way. The turning point came with the Lyme and Fibromyalgia research. The results are still being written up, but the actual results aside, this topical, contentious and important question became a jewel because of the people that so willingly became involved. It generated a great spirit of collaboration with help from Professor Puri in Cambridge, Armin labs in Germany, and the most heartwarming support locally with brave volunteering from patients enduring our protocol to my friends and colleagues making the tea, chaperoning, taking blood and blood pressures as well as ECGs. We had donations from individuals, business support from DN Associates by letting us take over their building, and an exciting sense of exploring together. Isn't that what science should be like? Isn't that was community is about? I loved it, and it is the true spirit of the Future Clinic. The second jewel came unexpectedly with Dr Michael Luckmann and I learning how to make our mini-films. The idea of these being to present short informative videos on different aspects of fibromyalgia management and some of the science behind them. To disseminate research and provide understandable summaries. As you will all know, getting useful information when you're first diagnosed is incredibly difficult. We probably had more outtakes than finished product, but a fabulous time making the few films we sent out last year. It was creative and in the process we found a natural on camera with Dr Luckmann. We have been pleased with the response and I love the idea of being able to bring good information to people's homes. Little did I know last year just how important this was going to be in 2020! The final jewel (I was going to try and avoid using jewel again, but as I thought about it, I'd have to change the whole structure of my flow!).The final part, shall we say, came with use being approached by the Island Hemp farm to coordinate a research programme looking at the potential benefits of CBD oil for fibromyalgia. There is much anecdotal suggestion that the use of CBD/cannabis oil is helpful to those suffering with fibromyalgia, but there is a real need for systematic research in this area. There are two key, overarching, features of cannabinoids that may be significant in the management of FM, its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory capabilities. Several researchers have suggested that FM (and other neurological disorders such as MS, MND etc), are linked to chronic neuroinflammation. Factors identified in the causality of this mirror those in the sequence we have suggested for FM i.e., genetic and environmental influences etc., making further research in this area poignant. Much work is needed and we are keen to pioneer this work on the Island of Wight with the unique opportunity to collaborate with and the Island Hemp Farm. Like the lyme work, this is being lead by the Island. It is a very exciting collaboration. Keep and eye out on our website and Facebook page for more details.

So, these three things have taken me to see The Future Clinic as a platform for exploring ideas, conducting research and sharing the knowledge of our work and that of other, in as interesting and accessible way possible. Amid these tricky times we can reflect on what is important and how we can contribute to the world without being caught up in its flow of expectation.... stay safe and look after each other... Gary

PS The picture has nothing to do with what I'm talking about, but it's message is more important than anything I can say........

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