I graduated in 2009 with a BSc (HONS) in Biomedical Science. I became fascinated by the impact of nutrition on health and well-being, and in 2010 I went back to university to study post-graduate dietetics. I’m now a current Trainee and a Senior Dietitian at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with a special interest in intestinal failure. I hope to understand how the nutritional treatment for intestinal failure (parenteral nutrition) contributes to the development of various co-morbidities such as liver disease and sarcopenia, and the impact this has on the quality of life of patients.
Ageing affects each and every one of us. We are living in an ageing society with increasing multi-morbidity. Unfortunately, intestinal failure is a disease that accelerates the ageing process and no matter the age of the individual, it almost always co-exists with a range of co-morbid health conditions such as sarcopenia and metabolic bone disease.
I studied Biomedical Sciences at an undergraduate level between 2006 and 2009. Throughout the course I became increasingly interested in the impact food has on health and went on to study postgraduate dietetics. Since 2012 I have worked in the NHS, specialising in 2014 to a senior post within liver disease, intestinal failure and home parenteral nutrition. Working with such patients and witnessing the struggles of themselves and their families inspired me to undertake a clinically focussed PhD to understand the factors associated with poor QoL, and how we might treat them.
In England, there are over 2500 intestinal failure patients being treated with home parenteral nutrition and numbers are rising by 20% each year. My eyes have been opened to the struggles faced by patients and their families. The treatment of parenteral nutrition is time-consuming, invasive and radically changes lives. Patients struggle with ongoing symptoms of their underlying condition, live with multiple health problems, and are required to manage a range of drug and lifestyle management regimes. This inevitably has severe consequences for their quality of life. Understanding how intestinal failure, parenteral nutrition, and the associated co-morbidities affect the quality of life of patients is the essential first step towards a patient-led, clinical service that supports patients to live their longest and best life. The gains from my research will extend beyond intestinal failure and cut across many chronic conditions and age-related illnesses.
I’m a huge foodie and a long-distance runner so I love living in a vibrant city full of excellent restaurants but also being able to travel just a short distance for runs in the countryside.