Exercise makes us Happy, No Really!

April 3rd, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Most of us know that when we exercise our body changes – we build muscle, burn fat, increase stamina. Although the effects on our brain and mood are not as obvious.

When we start exercising the brain interprets it as a moment of stress. As our heart pressure increases the brain thinks that we are either fighting an enemy or running away from one. To protect itself and the body from stress the brain then releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and correctable  component to our memory neurons and it functions as a reset switch. This explains why feelings of relaxation, ease and eventually happiness are experienced after exercising.

However BDNF isn’t the only chemical that kicks into action, endorphins are also released into our brain. Researcher MK McGovern wrote that:

“These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.”

The brain becomes more active during and after exercise than when we are sedentary or mentally concentrating on something.

BDNF and endorphins are the reasons why exercise can make us feel happy. What is a little scary is that these chemicals have a very similar addictive nature to heroin, morphine and nicotine. Thankfully exercise is actually good for our body and mind.


Maximise Happiness

A recent study by Penn State University revealed some interesting results regarding happiness and exercise. They found that their test subjects were overall more productive and happier on their day of exercise. It didn’t make a difference whether they exercised regularly or not:

“Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”

Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author has written a book on the subject matter titled “The first 20 minutes”.  In her book she explains how the key to reach optimum happiness levels when exercising, is to be active regularly but for short periods of time as that is when the chemicals reach their peak:

“The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active.”

The great news is that we don’t need to be on the look out for the next killer workout. All we need to do is leave aside 20 minutes every day for some physical activity. Jo Coulston a Research Associate at the University of Bristol, Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences states:

“On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.”


How To Make Exercise A Habit

Put your gym clothes over your alarm clock

Sounds simple and perhaps a little strange but this technique has been proven to be one of the best ones. Arrange everything that you need for the gym in your bedroom and put your alarm clock underneath. Your gym clothes will be the first items that you see and therefore it will be much easier to convince yourself to get up and go.

Log your progress

The key to regularly exercise is to make part of your daily routine. To help you achieve this you need to regularly log what you did, how long you did for and how it made your body feel. This will act as a reminder of how good you felt after exercising. Try fitness apps such as Fitocracy or RunKeeper.


Have Very Very Small Goals

If you start with unrealistic exercise goals they will only make you feel achy and tired which over a short period of time will most likely lead to you giving up on workout all together. The key to success is to start exercising for as little as 3 minutes a day at the start and then gradually increasing your goals.

You can find some more amazing exercise motivation tips in our post Exercise – The mind makes a big difference
It can be hard to include long exercise regimes into our already busy schedules. We, here at WriteUpp, are delighted to learn that we can still enjoy optimum happiness levels if we just do 20 minutes of focused physical activity a day! Winner!

We will definitely be trying the alarm clock tip too.


About WriteUpp

WriteUpp is an effortlessly simple practice management system designed specifically for health and wellbeing professionals. It runs securely on PC, Mac, Tablet and Smartphone and includes a whole host of time-saving features including: text reminders, online booking, notes templates and super-simple invoicing. If you would like to streamline your practice you can give WriteUpp a try free for 30 days with no obligation. Click here to take the trial. Alternatively, take a look at testimonials from our lovely WriteUpp users.

First Facial Reconstruction Surgery With Help of 3D Printer

March 19th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

A man from Cardiff, Stephen Power had a critical motorcycle accident in 2012 which left him hospitalised for months. He experienced serious damage to his maxilla, cheekbones, nose and fractured his skull despite wearing a helmet. When he eventually left the hospital, his face was disfigured, which he explains majorly affected the quality of his life.

Power decided to have facial reconstructive surgery and the surgeons decided to use the most technologically advanced method available: 3D printing. They custom made 3D printed models, guides, plates and implants. He is the first trauma patient to use this technology in all aspects of the reconstruction.

In order to recreate facial symmetry, doctors created CT scans of the man’s skull. All of the features that needed to be reconstructed had to be carefully mapped out and planned. The surgeons reported that this method allowed them to create very accurate parts as they were able to measure everything correctly. This eliminated the guesswork involved in reshaping facial features. They believe that 3D printing will likely become the normal course of treatment in these kind of procedures.

Once all of the pieces had been designed, the specifications were sent to a firm in Germany which specialised in manufacturing 3D printed parts. They printed them using medical-grade titanium. Once the parts were manufactured surgeons spent 8 hours in surgery, reconstructing Power’s face. His cheekbones were re-broken in order to insert the guides and an implant was used to hold the bone in it’s original location.

Below is a BBC video which documented Power’s operation and development. Please be aware that there are graphic surgical images, therefore please view with discretion.



We at Pathway Software believe the potential for using 3D printing in healthcare is staggering. With every passing day there are amazing examples of the application of this technology ranging from incredibly sophisticated uses like this one to rather more straightforward uses like the production of customised Orthoses while a customer waits. We are keeping a very close eye on this technology and looking for opportunities to interface with it via our Patient Record System

About Pathway Software

Pathway Software (www.pathwaysoftware.com) specialises in the design and development of patient information systems for Allied Health professionals.

Its flagship product, Therapy Manager, is an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system specifically designed for Therapy Services to provide decision makers with the ability to track and manage clinical activity and analyse cost of care by patient, episode or service. The system also demonstrably reduces administration time and the costs of managing Therapy Services.



Therapy Manager-Web – Coming Soon

March 6th, 2014 by Bob Bond

tmwAs many of you will know Therapy Manager, our established EPR for AHP’s is widely used by therapists both in England and Wales. Soon we will be launching Therapy Manager-Web (TMW) which will be a web-based variant of Therapy Manager and will include many of the features that have made Therapy Manager one of the most popular EPR’s for AHP’s in England and Wales.

The web-based interface means that TMW can be used on any device (including tablets and phones, subject to Trust/Health Board security) capable of running a web-browser. It also means that Community provision can be transformed by being able to log into TMW (and see your notes) when out in Schools, Care Homes or other locations, again subject to appropriate security measures being put in place.

In the first instance TMW will be available to Orthotics departments but by early 2015 it will be available for Multi-disciplinary AHP teams.

If you would like to get Early Access to TMW you can register your interest here

When TMW is publicly available we will get back in contact with you and provide you with a username and login so that you can see how it might work in your organisation.

People Are More Prone to Obesity Depending on Their Geographical Location

March 5th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

According to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Arizona, Tuscon, people living in cold climates have bacteria in their guts that prompts obesity.

“The blue represents the proportion of obesity-related bacteria in the gut, while red is the proportion of bacteria associated with slimness.”

It is known that obese people have a different proportion of microbes in their guts. They have more Firmicutes and fewer Bacteroidetes than those of normal weight. New research has discovered that people living in northern latitudes have more Firmicutes associated with obesity, and lower proportion of Bacteroidetes than people living farther south.

It is not clear why the microbe proportions differ however it could be that they have evolved with people in order to better extract energy from food in colder climates.

The researchers analysed the gut microbes of over a thousand people from around the world. The results showed that people living in the northern latitudes had more Firmicutes, the bacteria that is linked to obesity than those living farther south.

The comparison and analysis of six studies was published this month in the online journal Biology Letter by University of California Berkeley graduate Taichi Suzuki and Biology Professor Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona.

“People think obesity is a bad thing, but maybe in the past getting more fat and more energy from the diet might have been important to survival in cold places. Our gut microbes today might be influenced by our ancestors,” said Suzuki. One theory is that obesity linked bacteria helps to extract energy from food.

“This suggests that what we call ‘healthy microbiota’ may differ in different geographic regions.”

“This observation is pretty cool, but it is not clear why we are seeing the relationship we do with latitude,” Worobey said. “There is something amazing and weird going on with microbiomes.”

Professor Worobey found the results fascinating from an evolutionary biology perspective.

“Maybe changes to your gut community of bacteria are important for allowing populations to adapt to different environmental conditions in lots of animals, including humans,” he said.

Recently there have been many studies on gut microbes carried out among scientists as the amount of different bacteria and microorganisms in the gut seems to be linked with diabetes, obesity and cancer.

In obese people and obese mice the dominating group of bacteria are Firmicutes whilst in slimmer people and mice it is Bacteroidetes.

“Bergmann’s Rule — that body size increases with latitude for many animals — is a good one and presumed to be an adaptation for dealing with cold environments,” stated Suzuki’s advisor Michael Nachman, Professor of Integrative Biology and Director of UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Suzuki has been carrying out studies on how rodents adapt to living at different latitudes.

“It was almost as a lark,” Woroby said. “Taichi thought that if Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes are linked to obesity, why not look at large scale trends in humans. When he came back with results that really showed there was something to it, it was quite a surprise.”

Suzuki used the data from six previous studies from 23 populations in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Europe. This data on gut microbes provided statistics of the numbers and types of bacteria and Archaea in peoples digestive system.

He discovered that the amount of Firmicutes increased with latitude and the amount of Bacteriodetes decreased with latitude despite of their gender and age.

The same patterns were found in African Americans as Europeans and North Americans. The patterns of Africans living in tropical areas were different.

Nachman said “Whether gut microbes also help explain Bergmann’s rule will require experimental tests, but Taichi’s discovery adds an intriguing and completely overlooked piece of the puzzle to this otherwise well-studied evolutionary pattern.”

News Source

About Pathway Software

Pathway Software (www.pathwaysoftware.com) specialises in the design and development of patient information systems for Allied Health professionals.

Its flagship product, Therapy Manager, is an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system specifically designed for Therapy Services to provide decision makers with the ability to track and manage clinical activity and analyse cost of care by patient, episode or service. The system also demonstrably reduces administration time and the costs of managing Therapy Services.


iPad brain rehabilitation app is proving to be very successful

March 5th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Many stroke and traumatic brain injury sufferers experience difficulty speaking or understanding what other people are saying.

Thankfully the brain is able to repair itself to some extent, with the help of cognitive and speech therapy programs.

However the rehabilitation process is very expensive and often requires weekly visits of specialty clinics.

A startup business called Constant Therapy transformed years’ worth of aphasia rehabilitation research at Boston University into a digitized cognitive-communication therapy program that patients can use on iPads from the comfort of their homes.

The Boston based company have received their first round of outside funding from Boston University, TiE Angels Boston and serial entrepreneur Andy Palmer to continue developing and marketing the program.

Constant Therapy designed their program for people who have had a traumatic brain injury or stroke. The app allows speech and language therapists to create, modify and monitor customized therapy programs that patients can access anywhere as long as they have internet access.

The app is cloud-based and features more than 50 different tasks and 10 levels of difficulty from which therapists can choose when building the custom programs. As patients progress in their rehabilitation the program can be modified accordingly.

There is a number of communication apps already available that have been developed with stroke patients in mind.

Constant Therapy’s is based on research conducted by Swathi Kiran at the Aphasia Research Laboratory at Boston University where it is currently being tested on 50 patients. So far the app  is very sucesful as the patients have demonstrated “remarkable positive treatment outcomes,”

CEO and co-founder of Constand Therapy, Veera Anantha said that study is on track to be finished in the next few months.

A free trial is available for download in the App Store.

News source

About Pathway Software

Pathway Software (www.pathwaysoftware.com) specialises in the design and development of patient information systems for Allied Health professionals.

Its flagship product, Therapy Manager, is an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system specifically designed for Therapy Services to provide decision makers with the ability to track and manage clinical activity and analyse cost of care by patient, episode or service. The system also demonstrably reduces administration time and the costs of managing Therapy Services.