Christmas Cards for Sale

Birdshot Uveitis Society Christmas CardThe Birdshot Uveitis Society’s unique Christmas card, designed for us by Birdshot Uveitis Society member David Bethell are now available for people to purchase.  All profit from the sale of these cards will support the work of the Birdshot Uveitis Society.

Cards measure 150mm x 150mm and are printed on a quality card.  They come in packs of 10 with white envelopes and are priced at £3.95 per pack.  The greeting inside the card is “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.

To order your cards:

Please simply click add to cart button below, type in the number of packs of cards  you wish to purchase, click update and follow the instructions using either a credit card or Pay Pal to pay for your order.




If your order is for more than 6 packs please order by emailing info@birdshot.org.uk and we will send you a Pay Pal invoice  for you to pay which will include the higher rate of postage and packing of £4.95.  Also if you wish to have cards sent to you overseas please email us with your request and we will invoice you with the correct amount to pay via Pay Pal and will dispatch them to you once we have received payment.

You may also order via the post by sending your order and cheque made payable to Birdshot Uveitis Society to BUS Box 64996. London SW20 2BL.

Postage and packing rates

Country Rates
Up to £25 £25.01 & over
UK £3.25 £4.95
Eire & Europe 40% of purchase price, minimum £4
Rest of World 40% of purchase price, minimum £4

Last date for UK orders to allow posting to you before Christmas: 13-Dec-12  Purchases after this date are delivered at your own risk of late delivery

If you want us to send cards overseas, please make sure you allow enough  time for delivery.

Thank you!

 

Quality of Life follow-up questionnaire

Last week we sent out a very short follow-up quality of life questionnaire to participants of our 1st questionnaire who kindly gave us their email address to allow us to follow-up.

We’d really  like to see how things may have changed for you since undertaking the 1st survey.  We do hope that you will all complete this as soon as possible as it will provide helpful data to supplement the original data .

If you have not received the email with the link to the survey and you think you should have, please get in touch with me at annie@birdshot.org.uk so that I can resend the link to you.

Many thanks to all who have already completed it.  We do appreciate your continued help with this useful research.

Annie

Carrots Night Walk Success

A group of Birdshotters and their friends took part in Friday night’s Carrots Night walk raising money towards future Birdshot research.    The walk was organised by the charity Fight for Sight.

BUS are pleased to announce that we will have raised at least £7,000, and probably more, thanks to all the generous support we have received from friends, family and supporters.    This is fantastic news for Birdshotters.   It means that we have made a good start towards helping to get some funding for future research into Birdshot in partnership with the much larger charity Fight for Sight.  Thanks so much to all our supporters and of course to all our walkers!!

It’s not too late to donate!   http://www.justgiving.com/teams/Birdshot-Biobank

 

Lorraine leading the way for the Birdshot team of walkers

More photos of the some of the team and some of the sights from the walk are displayed in the Photo albums on the Birdshot facebook page.

Below a picture of Professor Peng Khaw, Director of Research and Development, Moorfields Eye Hospital and Director of the NIHR Specialist NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre, with Birdshot Uveitis Society founder members Rea, Adrian and Annie before the walk began.

Left to right – Adrian, Annie, Rea and Professor Peng Khaw

Birdshot walkers at the Carrots WAlk

Adrian checking on the map that we are on the right route! left to right, Mikael, Adrian, Lorraine and Monica

Some of the Birdshot walkers left to right: Rea, Adrian Lorraine, Monica, Sue, Sue, Avril, Chrissy, Lesley, Annie and Claudia

 

Digital Dogooders supporting Birdshot Uveitis Society

Six individuals from the online retail and digital industry, known as DIGITAL DOGOODERS are taking part in a tandem sky dive in aid of BUS.  They are helping us to create awareness and publicize the work of  BUS  and also helping us sell tickets for the Winter Benefit on the 3rd November to their colleagues and friends.

The fool hardy folks of Digital Dogooders are – Leon Bailey Green, Jonathan Hall, Gabrielle Hase, Helen Colclough, James Gurd and Fergal O’Mullane.

If you would like to support their jump you can make a donation to BUS  through their Bmycharity page http://www.bmycharity.com/birdshotwinterbenefit

This a great intiative and we are very grateful to this intrepid team for supporting us and helping us in this way.  We hope it will be the first of many adventures!

Thank you so much to the “Digital Dogooders” for your support!

A patients perspective – does anyone want to tell their story?

BUS have been contacted by NB Magazine (the RNIB eye health and sight loss magazine for professionals), and asked if we have any member who might be interested in writing a short article about their experience of Birdshot Uveitis (just 800 words).    This regular column features  the experiences of people with sight loss, covering a different eye condition each time, and describing what it’s like to live with the condition, the support (or otherwise) they have met with along the way, including solutions they have found helpful and what constitutes an ‘ideal world’. It is also an opportunity to feature the work of self-help groups (ie will provide publicity for Birdshot Uveitis Society) .

If there are any members of BUS who would like to do this please get in touch with us as soon as possible.  Ideally they are hoping it can be done for 11th September deadline which is short notice!   info@birdshot.org.uk

Supplements to help with Birdshot Uveitis and Eye Health

This is  the 3rd post on the subject of nutrition supplements and eye health from BUS member Nick Bucknall.  Here he talks about supplements that he believes are helping his eye health and Birdshot Uveitis.  To back up his ideas he provides links to related research papers.

“A balanced diet rich in fresh ingredients should provide most of the vitamins, minerals and trace elements needed for good health. But some of us are getting older or recovering from an illness, or have a natural imbalance, and we also have to deal with the side effects of medication, so if you wish to supplement your diet, here is a list of supplements I have tried and found to be beneficial.

NOTE:  The process of extracting the active ingredients from natural sources in order to manufacture dietary supplements may reduce their efficacy so make sure they are as fresh as possible.

Saffron

Saffron is widely used in some parts of the world to treat a variety of eye conditions. I find it gives a rapid improvement, reducing floaters and blurring within hours! It can be added to food as a cooking ingredient or added to tea or coffee. Put a little in the bottom of the cup and soak for a minute or two in hot water before pouring tea. Saffron is expensive but you only need a pinch in each cup – a gram (about £4.50) should last up to 2 weeks.

Here are links to 3 research papers about the benefits of Saffron for the retina – the part of the eye which is damaged by Birdshot.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20688744

http://www.iovs.org/content/49/3/1254.abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20951131

Tumeric

Turmeric (Curcumin) is a traditional remedy for uveitis and can either be used as an ingredient in cooking or can be taken in a capsule. It takes a few weeks to produce results but is very cheap.

For research, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18421073 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569223

Psyllium husk

Psyllium husk is a natural product derived from plantain and is a dried source of fibre which slows digestive transit, protects the stomach lining and improves digestion. It can be taken as a food additive or in a drink – I take it with fruit squash and aloe vera juice. Some anecdotal evidence has suggested that gastric problems may be a trigger for Birdshot and this has also been mentioned by my eye specialist.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera juice is another natural anti- inflammatory. As well as helping digestion, it is also good for skin problems, digestive irritation and indigestion, all of which are common side effects of prednislone.

Omega-3 fish oil

Omega-3 fish (EPA) offers a range of benefits including skin, nerve function and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. If you eat oily fish regularly, you should be getting enough of this but taking it as supplement does no harm and may be helpful if you don’t like oily fish! Also, it’s a good source of vitamin D. For research, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20664801

Glucosamine, Chondroitin & MSM

This anti inflammatory combination is often taken by arthritis sufferers but may also help with other inflammatory conditions like Birdshot. For research, see:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18719082

Vitamin D

Recent research has shown vitamin D to be helpful in treating uveitis. We normally ingest it partly through eating the right foods (oily fish, almonds and green vegetables) and partly through sunlight which our bodies convert to vitamin D. It regulates levels of calcium and phosphate in the bloodstream and is closely linked to bone health. Recent research about the benefits of vitamin D for Birdshotters was discussed at the Birdshot Patient’s Day in March, and can their research paper can be found at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22217419

Pycnogenol

Pine bark extract is a powerful anti-inflammatory which has been shown to protect the retina. For research see:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19916788

NB also see comments below.

Benfotiamine

Vitamin B1 has been shown to be helpful in treating uveitis. For research see:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=benfotiamine%20uveitis

Lutein

Lutein is a caratenoid found in green vegetables and is known to be good for the eyes. For research see

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22465791?dopt=Citation

I take all these on a daily basis and feel that the results make it worth the trouble and expense – I have been in remission without any medication for nearly 2 years. But I still pay close attention to my diet – supplements cannot be a substitute for a good diet.

 

How to make your diet less inflammatory

This is the 2nd article in a series of 3 about food and supplements by BUS member Nick Bucknall.

Below he lists some tips on how to make your diet less inflammatory.

  • Try to eat more fresh fruit & vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, wholemeal bread, fish and seafood, nuts & seeds. Broccoli, spinach and kale are very beneficial as are sweet potato, onion, garlic and ginger
  • Try to buy organic – insecticides, preservatives and other food additives may be inflammatory or even trigger Birdshot. Besides, organics taste better!
  • Avoid red meat and processed meat like bacon, sausages and salami. Cheap or takeaway chicken is likely to contain growth hormones and antibiotics – best avoided
  • Oily fish like wild salmon, mackerel or sardines are rich in omega-3 oils and are very beneficial as well as being a tasty alternative to meat
  • Choose fresh food over processed food, brown bread over white, hard cheese over soft
  • Drink green tea or filtered water rather than fizzy, sugary drinks and milky hot beverages
  •  Your choice of cooking oil can make a big difference – olive, rapeseed and grapeseed oils are all helpful, while sunflower, corn and groundnut oils are generally considered inflammatory
  • Most sources choose red wine over other alcoholic drinks, dark chocolate over milk chocolate, and low fat versions of all dairy products.
  • Foods best avoided altogether include fizzy drinks, crisps, processed meats, sweets and deep fried, fatty foods.
  • Some people benefit from excluding ‘nightshade’ vegetables (potato, tomato, aubergine, peppers). Tomatoes in particular can be inflammatory. Others feel better if they exclude all dairy products – milk doesn’t agree with me. No two people are the same and it certainly pays to experiment.
  • Note: Different foods and ingredients can be described as having a positive or negative Inflammation Factor. This is a way of judging which foods are more likely to cause inflammation and which are more likely to prevent it. Some foods vary in this respect according to how they’re prepared. For instance, garlic is very anti-inflammatory eaten raw but must be crushed to release the beneficial parts. However it’s much less beneficial after cooking.

Further information can be found on the   Inflammation Factor website, www.inflammationfactor.com.

You may also find  “Dr Weil’s  Anti-inflammatory Food Pyramid” of interest. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02995/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Food-Pyramid.html

Nick’s third post follows.  It is about supplements that might improve eye health

 

 

 

Why changing your diet could help control Birdshot Uveitis

This is the first in a series of 3 posts about diet.   It is written by  BUS member  Nick Bucknall.  Nick is not a nutritionalist but he has taken a great interest in his own diet and and how it might possibly affect his eyes. The article is based on the information that he researched for the “Food and Supplements” stall that he and his wife Caroline ran at the 2nd Birdshot day last March.  Here he explains why he believes that changing your diet could help you control Birdshot.

“Birdshot is one of many inflammatory, auto-immune conditions. It is rare but seems to have much in common with more frequently encountered conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, Lupus and Psoriasis – certainly the same drugs are widely used in treatment. It also seems good sense to find out what else besides these drugs has benefited people with these similar conditions – after all, there are literally millions of ‘them’ and only a few thousand of ‘us’.

Birdshot is also relatively new. As far as we know, we are the first generations to be affected, and it has only been observed in people living a modern lifestyle in the developed world. Nobody knows what triggers Birdshot but it is difficult not to wonder if a modern disease might not have a modern trigger?

Obviously, much research needs to be done but if we look to our fellow sufferers of auto-immune, inflammatory disease, the overwhelming advice seems to be that inflammatory conditions can be helped by close attention to diet.

I know a healthy lifestyle and diet are not a substitute for medical treatment but can greatly reduce our dependence on it. We all benefit from a healthy lifestyle – regular meals, exercise in the fresh air, a good night’s sleep and the avoidance of stress, etc.

“We are what we eat” is a cliché, but it is hard to dismiss when so many people have found relief from their symptoms by avoiding the known ‘inflammatory’ foods and seeking out the known ‘ anti-inflammatory’ foods. You could call this a ‘therapeutic’ diet, which is to say it’s a healthy diet with adjustments to reduce inflammatory elements. It isn’t difficult, it isn’t expensive. It may help and certainly won’t harm us. Worth a try? I thought so, and sincerely believe I have benefited.”

Nick’s second post which follows talks about how to make your diet less inflammatory.   the foods to avoid and  ones to eat lots of.

Nick’s third post is about supplements that might improve eye health

 

 

 

 

Microneedles improve drug delivery

Recently New Zealand member Matt drew BUS’s attention to  research into the use of micro needle technology for the delivery of therapeutic drugs to the back of the eye . This link that takes you to the article found in “Gizmag”.

This procedure has yet to be trialled on humans, but if it works as it does in the animal study, it  could well open the door for better treatment via eye injections.   It should provide a less invasive and more targeted way of getting injections into the eye, and will open the way for slow-release drug design. Of particular note,  the injected molecules did not reach the lens or front part of the eye in significant amounts decreasing the chances of side effects such as cataracts which commonly occur with this type of treatment.

Details of the study were published in the July 2012 issue of the “Journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science” where you can read the abstract for free, but you need to pay or be a member to access the full paper.

Authors:  Samirkumar R. Patel1,Damian E. Berezovsky2,Bernard E. McCarey2,Vladimir Zarnitsyn1, Henry F. Edelhauser2 and Mark R. Prausnitz1  from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia (1) ; and Emory Eye Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia (2).