Gals on tour – well there is only one girl, and it is a sleep tour so…

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So, the two posts I have done previously have discussed sleep and mental health, and I mentioned this rare genetic syndrome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. I thought it was probably best I elaborate regarding my involvement! Indeed, I am doing  PhD exploring the relationship between sleep and mental health in children and adolescents with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. TICK – makes sense. How do I do that though? Well, thanks for asking.

I use a myriad of complementary techniques. I use psychiatric questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The one we use is called the ‘CAPA’ not ‘KAPPA’ like that sport brand, but ‘CAPA.’ It is the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment. The CAPA is conducted by a trained psychology assistant with the parent or carer of the children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. It takes around 3 hours on average, with variance of timings due to positive responses to questionnaires! The more mental health problems, the more information and thus the longer it will be! That is where I get my psychiatric data from and some minimal sleep info. I have built on the small section in the CAPA regarding sleep but doing my very own sleep study (with significant help!)

I use sleep questionnaires to get subjective sleep perspectives from the children and the parents. I use special watches called ‘actigraphy watches’ which measure the activity and movements of children over a 2 weeks period. They are like less jazzy, glorified Fit-Bits. Cost more, look worse. The children, with assistance from parents/carers, also undertake a sleep diary during the same 2 week period. In addition to this, the pista de resistance is the polysomongraphy (PSG) or ‘sleep study.’ Yeh that is right, I used a superfluous word for sleep study. Oh yes. I do an overnight recording of brain activity, eye movements, muscle movements, heart rate and breathing with the child with 22q11.2 DS and any unsuspecting (yet consenting!) siblings without 22q11.2 DS. This is done in the home to provide a comfortable and reassuring setting, which is especially important where anxiety diagnoses and problems are high in these individuals.

Baring that in mind…this is where I begin. I am going to start blogging about all the different places I visit on my studies. The places I drive and train too, and stay over in ominous looking hotels and motels, or the reassuringly comfortable Premier Inns. I can talk car hires and the driving proficiencies, as well as bed comfort. Ratings of cars and hotels will be provided, as will little nuggets, gems if you will, of information regarding the towns, cities, villages, hamlets, hovels (joking) I visit. I have already visited some places before having this ingenious idea so please respect the following places, and my sincerest apologies for not showcasing you: Coalville, Horley, Ivybridge, Farnham, Leyland, Finchley and Worcester.

Let’s begin. Tomorrow I will showcase the beautiful ‘Market Drayton’. Holllaaaaaa Shropshire renowned party time right?