Winston Churchill Fellowship

Sensory Fashion Stress Management Tools To Prevent A Bipolar Relapse​

 

In 2013, Jenny was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in the STEM category but soon moved into the Mental health category. This came about after writing an article on 'Emotioning Fashion' in the Cambridge Bipolar Group newsletter in 2012, and later on ShIMME , an independent research project funded by the NIHR (under its Research for Patient Benefit) which focused on shared decision making in psychiatric medication management (a collaboration between Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, local psychiatrists and service users). 

 

Jenny travelled to the east and west coast of America (in 2014) to explore Sensory Fashion stress management tools that are worn close to the body to help reduce the risk of an acute bipolar disorder relapse and benefit other affective disorders (i.e. social anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder).

 

Her Fellowship focused on eScent®, an empowering sensory device that is worn discreetly in jewellery and clothing and emits evidenced-based fragrances triggered by a sudden change in mood, stress levels or disturbed pattern of sleep. It forms a localised 'scent bubble';  an area of constant, detectable scent for the user based on a change in vital signs and biometric feedback, i.e., HRV, galvanic skin response,  stress-related body odour, blood pressure, pulse, EEG, movement, facial, iris and voice recognition.

 

eScent®’s unique ‘scent bubble' received positive feedback from psychiatrists and psychologists in America. It was described as a "prodromal" scent intervention that could be used to help individuals manage triggers by recognising, avoiding and therefore preventing the risk of an acute mental health relapse (such as bipolar affective disorder) through the use of stress alleviating and sleep enhancing scents [1].

 

eScent® can also be used to treat behavioural problems in individuals with dementia [2], and also to encourage appetite and recall autobiographical memories. Alternatively, if pulsed intermittently, it can be used to test our smelling capabilities and potentially help diagnose the early stages of Huntington’s or Alzheimer’s disease, since the sense of smell is the first sense to deteriorate in such diseases.

 

Further feedback received from the mental health community in America claimed that as a tracking device and self-management sensory product, eScent® is likely to attract high levels of acceptability, and as a ‘de-stigmatising’ fashion item will be easy to integrate into everyday items.

 

Jenny’s finding will help incorporate the sense of smell into the realm of wearable technology, a field that has been unexploited but has wide-reaching applications in digital healthcare and preventative healthcare.

 

In May 2015, Jenny presented a poster introducing her fellowship at the Churchill Fellows day at Blenheim Palace. This was a day of celebration marking the 50th Anniversary of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust which was set up in 1965 as Sir Winston's national memorial  and living legacy. Five thousand British citizens have traveled overseas in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a variety of social issues. The day brought together Fellows from across the last five decades.

 

 

[1] Sarris, J & Byrne, GJ.  A systematic review of insomnia and complementary medicine, Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2011, 15: 99-106.

 

[2] Fung, JK, Tsang H, Chung, R.  A systematic review of the use of aromatherapy in treatment of behavioral problem in dementia.  Geriatrics Gerontology International.  2012, 12: 372-382.

Travel To Make A Difference:

 

 

1.   Philadelphia: Monell Chemical Senses Center

2.   Boston: MIT Media Lab (Affective Computing Group)

3.   New York City: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

4.   New Jersey: Research Institute of Fragrance Materials

5.   Baltimore: John Hopkins Medicine (Mood Disorder Centre)

6.   San Diego: International Bipolar Foundation

7.   San Diego: University of California San Diego

8.   San Francisco: University of California San Francisco

9.   Berkley California: Berkley’s start-up Cluster

10. San Francisco: Posit Sciences (Neuroscience)

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”

 

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”

 

Winston Churchill

Sensory Design & Technology Ltd

 

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