Would you like to develop your clinical career?
Do you have a good first degree in biosciences, pharmacy or similar?

Physician Associates are skilled members of the health care team who are qualified to provide a wide range of medical services in practice with a licensed physician.

Key facts:
A two-year programme leading to registration as a Physician Associate as required by the NHS.
Taught by practicing professionals and academics in specialist facilities at Medway
Bursaries and scholarships available

Find out more

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Treatment can offer hope for relief of Parkinson’s symptoms

A non-invasive, home-based procedure to stimulate the inner ear and brain functions that control balance and eye movement can offer hope for the relief of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.

Research carried out by the University and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust involving a patient with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) provided evidence of behavioural improvement across some of the disease’s most common and debilitating symptoms.

Now the researchers, led by Dr David Wilkinson, of the School of Psychology, and Dr Mohamed Sakel, director of East Kent Neuro-Rehabilitation Service, are testing if the beneficial effects of the new treatment which involves non-invasive, thermal stimulation of the balance organs are evident in a larger group.

For more details, please go to the Kent News Centre.

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How Exercise and Body Temperature Influence the Gut

The paper, entitled “Zinc carnosine works with bovine colostrum in truncating heavy exercise–induced increase in gut permeability in healthy volunteers”, is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is a prestigious journal; according to their website the “AJCN was selected by the Special Libraries Association (SLA) as one of the top 100 most influential journals in Biology and Medicine over the last 100 years”.

Dr Glen Davison had this to say:
The findings from this study are important because they provide information on how exercise and increases in body temperature influence the gut. We used a human trial that assessed gut permeability in vivo as this allows us to see effects that are real-to-life and have practical implications for athletes or other people who may be exposed to such stressors. The nutritional supplements used provide potential practical countermeasures for those who suffer from gut issues during strenuous exercise but also provide us with useful information on the likely mechanisms and causes.

We also used a variety of advanced in vitro measures (e.g. where cell cultures were studied in conditions designed to mimic those in the body during the exercise) which allowed us to gain more insight into the molecular processes and mechanisms that explain these effects. This provides useful information that helps us to understand (and potentially treat) such issues in athletes (which could help to optimise their performance), but more generally may also help us to understand how the gut responds to other insults or stressors (such as illness or chronic medical conditions affecting the gut) and help us understand and optimise treatment.”

According to the study, ‘Leaky gut’ is a condition where the thin mucosal barrier of the gut, which plays a role in absorbing nutrients and preventing large molecules and germs from the gut entering the blood stream, becomes less effective. It is a particular problem for those taking part in heavy exercise or who are active in hot conditions. It can lead to ‘heat stroke’ (especially in military personnel deployed to countries with high temperatures) and gut symptoms in athletes.

The study involved a collaboration between researchers from the University of Kent, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Leicester and Aberystwyth University.It was found that the exercise (running on a treadmill) caused a number of physiological responses, including an 2-3-fold increase in gut ‘leakiness’ (intestinal permeability) and an increase in body temperature, which may well have been a contributing factor in causing the increased leakiness of the gut.

The study also showed that zinc carnosine improved the performance of the mucosal barrier of the gut, and that this improvement was enhanced when supplemented with bovine colostrum. Bovine colostrum has been studies a lot in the past but this is the first study to examine the effects of zinc carnosine in such a context. Zinc carnosine is readily available from health food suppliers and the research team concluded that zinc carnosine taken alone or with bovine colostrum may have value for those affected by ‘leaky gut’.

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Bacterial infection possible cause of bladder condition

OAB (Overactive Bladder) is a condition where the bladder muscle spontaneously contracts before the bladder is full. In the USA, it is ranked in the top 10 of common chronic conditions, competing with both diabetes and depression, with a reported prevalence of up to 31-42% in the adult population.

The researchers, including the Kent team from the Medway School of Pharmacy, found that some OAB patients had a low-grade inflammation which is missed by conventional NHS tests. This low-grade inflammation may ultimately result in increased sensory nerve excitation and the symptoms of OAB.

The study found that in these patients the low-grade inflammation is associated with bacteria living inside the bladder wall. This was an observational study which means that no conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. However, the findings may prompt the clinical re-classification of OAB and inform future therapeutic strategies. These might include protracted treatment with antibiotics to alleviate the symptoms of OAB in some individuals.

The research, entitled Altered Urothelial ATP Signaling in Major Subset of Human Overactive Bladder Patients with Pyuria is published in the journal American Journal of Physiology .

Principal investigator was Dr Scott Wildman , of the Medway School of Pharmacy, Universities of Kent and Greenwich, and colleagues Alberto Contreras-Sanz, Louise Krska, Dr Claire M. Peppiatt-Wildman and Dr Stephen Kelley.

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The challenge of microbial resistance and appropriate use of antimicrobials

Jerome Durodie was invited to present an overview of appropriate use of antimicrobials and the present problem of microbial resistance by Practitioners Associates at their Advanced Practitioners’ Summer School held at South Bank University 7th – 8th July. Introduced as a ‘national expert’ to the attendees (who had asked the organisers to re-arrange the meeting timetable to enable as many of them as possible to attend Jerome’s talk as an important ‘present day hot potato topic’!), Jerome discussed the basics of antimicrobial pharmacology and use together with the ongoing and developing problems associated with resistance patterns worldwide in the context of the present UK 5 year antimicrobial planning strategy and its detailed application in clinical practice. The wider use of antimicrobials in other industries, such as agriculture / veterinary was also set into context. Jerome used case studies and a quiz to help open up discussion. Positive feedback was received both for content and enthusiasm, confirming Jerome’s reputation at such clinical meetings.

The organisers have expressed their interest at inviting Jerome back at future occasions to enthuse (nursing) professionals with relevant up-to-date topics.

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Medway Supporting British Council Funded ‘Science in Schools’

Medway PhD students travel to Lyon to deliver hands-on scientific workshops to secondary school students.

Medway PhD students Filip Kunc and Colin Moore travelled to Lyon from 7 – 11 December to deliver hands-on scientific workshops to secondary school students as part of the British Council competitively-funded ‘Science in Schools’ programme. Both students are studying for PhD’s in the Chemistry and Drug Delivery group under the supervision of Dr Vladimir Gubala and Dr Andrew Hall. Over the course of the week, the team travelled to 9 different schools to deliver 2-3 hour workshops through English.

The team conceptualised and delivered their interactive ‘Atmosphere in a Fishbowl’ workshop aiming to provide a fun, interesting perspective on role the Earth’s atmosphere plays in our daily life. Importantly, the workshops coincided with the historic COP21 climate change meeting in Paris. By performing experiments in fishbowls, the team demonstrated how specific physical, chemical and biological atmospheric are being influenced by the consequences of climate change and pollution.

Speaking about the week, Filip and Colin said: ‘Organising, describing and demonstrating experiments to children that do not speak English as a first language was a big challenge and made us focus on different styles of communication. However, their English levels were actually very good and made our workshops very interactive and fun. We are extremely grateful to the support provided by Carole Hemard and Irene Damour from the British Council. Without their help and organisation this week would not have been a success.’

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Acute Kidney Injury: Clinical Training Session and Research Seminar

Thursday 21st April 2016, University of Kent’s MEDWAY campus

The Kent Academic Primary Care Unit is pleased to be hosting a clinical training session and research seminar on the subject of acute kidney injury (AKI) at our Medway campus on Thursday 21st April 2016 from 2.00pm to 4.45pm.  This event is free and primarily aimed at GPs, although colleagues with an interest in research and management of acute kidney injury will be interested in this exciting afternoon.  Please see our flyer for further details.

A free sandwich lunch and refreshments will be available from 1.30pm to 2.00pm and free parking permits can be sent upon request.

For further information or to book a place, please contact Helen Wooldridge,

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BBC film – history of people with learning disabilities

The BBC have recently commissioned and just finished filming with Dr Janet Carr, Honorary Senior Researcher, at the Tizard Centre.  Dr Carr has assisted in the making of a film about the history of people with learning disabilities at Normansfield Hospital, due to be shown later this year.  The hospital was founded in 1868 by John Langdon Down, after whom Down syndrome was named.  It was finally shut in 1997 and the building now houses the Down Museum; illustrating a history of the care of people with learning disabilities and the history of the Normansfield Hospital and its residents.

Dr Carr is known for completing a famous longitudinal study of people with Down Syndrome, starting as a young researcher her study looked 54 babies living with their families in a part of south-east England and has continued to follow the families up over a period of 50 years.

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“Looking into abuse: research by people with learning disabilities”

On 24 February 2016 Prof Ruth Northway accompanied by her colleagues, Victoria Jones and Lynne Evans gave a very interesting talk at the Tizard research evening seminar.  Prof Northway focused on the how the research was carried out (participatory approach) and the findings resulting from this.  The project looked at what people with learning disabilities understand by abuse and what support they need if they are abused.

The video (slide presentation and audio only) is available to watch on Youtube

The Tizard Centre run a series of research seminars each academic year which are all advertised on our web page   Alternatively you can email us ( and request to be added to our database of contacts.

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“Sleep problems in children and adults with intellectual disabilities”

The first of our taster sessions is being held on 21 April 2016, 0930-1300 hrs in the Woodlands Annex, Tizard Centre, UoK.  Dr Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou will be looking at sleep problems in children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Sleep deprivation can affect the way people behave as well as their cognitive functioning (memory, attention etc…).  During the session the most prevalent sleep problems will be looked at and the effectiveness of sleep interventions will be discussed.

To book a place please email the Centre (

Other sessions will be held on 11 May 2016 “people with learning disabilities and the Criminal Justice System” (Prof Glynis Murphy) and on 8 June 2016 Dr Michelle McCarthy will be holding a session looking at domestic violence and women with learning difficulties.

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