Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The Raynaud’s Unit, the Royal Free NHS Hospital, London. World Class Expert Centre.

The Raynaud's Unit, the Royal Free NHS Hospital, London.
 Raynaud’s Awareness.

##RaynaudsFreeWorld  #Research


Raynaud's is caused by involuntary vasospasm. 

Triggers can include temperature change and / or stress. It is extremely painful and debilitating. There is currently no cure with a desperate need for improved treatments and understanding.

This blogspot platform, raynaudsrf.blogspot.com will provide up to date information about medical research into Raynaud's at the Raynaud's Unit, The Royal Free Hospital, London, led by world expert leaders, Dr Kevin Howell and Prof Chris Denton. 

As well as, raise awareness about this debilitating condition, in the hope to generate funds for medical research into achieving a Raynaud's Free World. 

Fundraising for medical research only, to provide a cure for Raynaud's. DONATE 


About  Dr Kevin Howell:

Contact details: Tel. 020 7472 6550 (answerphone available). 

"I am a Clinical Scientist (BSc Physics Birmingham 1991, MSc Medical Physics with Electronics London 1995, PhD University of Glamorgan 2010) providing the microvascular physiological measurement service to the Rheumatology department at the Royal Free Hospital.

I am a Corporate Member of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), and sit on their Physiological Measurement Special Interest Group (PMSIG). I am also Medical Section representative for the United Kingdom Thermography Association (UKTA). I am a Chartered Scientist (CSci) and an Associate Member of the Royal Institution. 

I am on the editorial board of the journal Thermology International, and represent UK medical thermographers within the European Association of Thermology.

Primarily we use two techniques in the microvascular lab: capillaroscopy and thermography.

Capillaroscopy is the study of the nailfold capillary bed using a microscope. The images are video recorded so that the capillaries may be studied and graded for damage at a later stage.

The capillaries are easier to see under the microscope if a thin layer of oil or clear nail polish is painted over the nailfold beforehand.

Signs of capillary damage include:

Enlargement of capillaries, most obviously in the row nearest the nail.

Loss of capillaries from the nailbed.

Loops which are more tortuous (bushy) than normal.

Extravasation, i.e. the appearance of blood outside of the capillary loops.

Abnormal capillary findings are very common in scleroderma, and also seen in some other connective tissue diseases. Hence capillaroscopy can be a useful diagnostic tool when used in conjunction with other laboratory tests.

Thermography is the measurement and imaging of skin temperature across the human body surface. In recent years this has become easier due to the development of inexpensive but sophisticated thermal cameras.

At the Royal Free most of our thermography measurements are made:

To assess how quickly the circulation returns to the fingers after a simple cooling test to the hands. This is particularly useful to detect Raynaud’s phenomenon.

To detect areas of skin which may be inflamed (and therefore warm) in patients with localised scleroderma (morphoea).

Our thermal imager is the FLIR A320G microbolometer focal plane array.



Information about Raynaud’s phenomenon and scleroderma

http://www.ph.bham.ac.uk/ My undergraduate Physics Department
http://www.smd.qmul.ac.uk/ Home to my MSc course
http://www.medimaging.org / My PhD research department
http://www.royalfree.nhs.uk/ Homepage of the Royal Free Hospital
http://www.ipem.org.uk/ The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
http://www.rigb.org/ The Royal Institution of Great Britain
http://www.hpc-uk.org/ The Health Professions Council – registration for Clinical Scientists
http://www.europeanthermology.com/ The European Association of Thermology
http://www.uhlen.at/thermology-international/ Thermology International, journal of medical thermography
http://www.ukta.org/ The UK Thermography Association
http://www.flir.com Homepage of FLIR Systems

Professor Chris Denton studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital in London and obtained a PhD from University College London and trained in connective tissue diseases in London. Following a Wellcome Trust Advanced Fellowship in molecular genetics at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, USA he was an Arthritis Research UK Senior Clinical Research Fellow 2000-2010.

He has published extensively on laboratory and clinical aspects of connective tissue disease and pulmonary hypertension.

He leads a large clinical programme in scleroderma at the Royal Free Hospital and co-ordinates multidisciplinary care for more than 1400 patients. He was previously chair of BSR's Heberden Committee and currently chairs the UK Scleroderma Study Group (UKSSG).

Scleroderma, also called systemic sclerosis, is a severe and potentially life-threatening rheumatic disease that is rare, affecting 1 in 10000 people. There is no cure for scleroderma. 

The Royal Free Hospital has the largest centre specialising in scleroderma in the UK and it is led by Professor Chris Denton. 

Donations to support the clinical and research activity of the Scleroderma Unit are invaluable.





If you would like to add the Raynaud's twibbon to your Facebook / social media, Profile Picture - please Click here     

To view the UK treatment guidelines for Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Click here    

The Raynaud's Unit, the Royal Free NHS Hospital, London, Click here.

To view the EULAR treatment guidelines, Click here      


To view more about the thermograph video equipment, Click here     

To view more about the thermograph image, Click here      

To view Nailfold Capillaroscopy equipment (used to identify possible blood vessel damage), Click here         

My Raynaud’s reality, Click here        

To read My ‘Invisible Disability’ experience, Click here     

Hottest day of 2013 - Im wearing Ugg boots and gloves to try and prevent a Raynaud's attack!

'How to diagnose Raynaud's', Click here    

50 Shades of Blue, Click here    

Raynaud's Awareness 2018, Click here     

Please DONATE to help fund medical research into the cause and cure for Raynaud's, at the Raynaud's Unit, The Royal Free Hospital, UK.  

All of your monies will be used for medical research purposes only, lead by the world trail blazer Dr Kevin Howell.

Dr Howell and I, Sept 2017


Facebook Page: Raynauds Unit Royal Free Hospital
Twitter, You Tube, Instagram: @RaynaudsRf

Living the dream, hoping for a cure ....



Scleroderma Family Day 2020

25th Anniversary Meeting

The Atrium, Royal Free Hospital, London, NW3 2QG

Chair: Professor Chris Denton


09.30 – 10.00           Registration and Coffee

10.00 – 10.20           Welcome                                                   Dame Carol Black
                                                                             Prof Chris Denton & David Abraham

10.20 – 10.40           What is a Biopsy?                                          Dr Kristina Clark

10.40 – 11.05           Dental aspects of Scleroderma                Prof Stephen Porter

11.05 – 11.25           Gastrointestinal problems –                       Dr Fiza Ahmed
shedding new light on old problems 

11.25 – 11.50           Pulmonary hypertension and the heart Dr Gerry Coghlan

11.50 – 12.15           Scleroderma cohort studies –                  Dr Francesco del Galdo
                                 ‘Learning from our patients’

12.15 – 14.15           LUNCH BREAK – see below  

14.15 – 14.45           25 years of progress –                          Prof Chris Denton
from ‘black box’ to ‘positive trials’

14.45 – 15.15           International speaker –                            Dr Madelon Vonk
                                 Scleroderma Management in Netherlands

15.30                        Raffle

Lunchtime Discussions Groups / Demonstrations include:

Clinical Trials                                                                  Rachel Ochiel and team
National Institute of Health Research                            Christine Menzies
Drug Information / monitoring                                        Pharmacy
Massage                                                                         Keith Hunt MBE
Pulmonary Hypertension Education / nursing            Sally Reddecliffe/Adele Dawson
Rheumatology Laboratory                                              Research Laboratory Staff
Scleroderma Education / Nursing                                  Louise Parker/ Joseph Cainap
Thermography                                                                Dr Kevin Howell
SRUK                                                                             Ollie Scott
Sjogren’s syndrome                                                       British Sjogren’s Society 

To Read My Articles:  

Gift in My Will, Click here 

Planning for the Future, Click here  


Rare Disease Day:   

Rare Disease Day 2020: 

Raise awareness and donate to medical research, order your #SclerodermaFreeWorld #RaynaudsFreeWorld tshirt  here   


Rare Disease Day 2019: Leaving a Legacy Gift, Click here     

Rare Disease Day 2019: 11am 97.4RockFM headlines, NO CURE, Click here  

Rare Disease Day 2018 – Research, Taking Part in Clinical Trials. Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease, Click here     

2017 Rare Disease Day Flashback  
2016 Rare Disease Day Patient Voice  
2016 Rare Disease UK Parliamentary Reception     

Rare Disease Day is a fantastic opportunity for the entire rare disease community to shine a spotlight on their reality, combining as one unified voice. Where, at least one commonality presides –  
Medical Research
provides the brightest light,
for the illumination of 
the rare disease patients’ plight.

To read about medical research at the scleroderma unit, Click here   

Although rare disease patients are few in number, eg. 2.5 million scleroderma patients worldwide, (the World Scleroderma Foundation), the commonalities and golden hallmark for each rare disease patient are the same overall. 

For optimum patient care, 3 hallmarks preside:

supported by a medicaldream team’ 
(expert specialist as the clinical lead).


To read my articles:  

Celebrating 20 years of being a patient at the Scleroderma Unit, Click here

2019 New Challenges, Click here
NIHR Video: 'My Experience of Clinical Trials', Click here 

If we only had more RESEARCH investment for Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease, Click here   

The Importance of Medical Research and Awareness to the Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease patient, Click here  

2018 Scleroderma Awareness Raising and Medical Research, Click here    


Importance of an early diagnosis, Click here   
Taking Part in Clinical Research Trials, Click here     

The Importance of a Multi Disciplinary Medical ‘Dream Team’, Click here    

Expert Specialist Centres, Click here      
My Skin is Cured from Scleroderma, Click here   
UK Guidelines for Managing and Treating Scleroderma, Click here        

Fatigue, Click here         

Mobility, Click here      

Diet and nutrition, Click here      

Raynaud's- How to Diagnose, Click here        

'All you need to know', 2016 Awareness Video, Click here    

Global Patient Profiles 2018 Video, Click here    

Unmet Medical Needs, Click here     

Calcinosis Video, Click here    

The scleroderma tooth fairy, Click here     

Skin Cancer and scleroderma, Click here   


Sept 2017

Prof Chris Denton and I, Sept 2017

June 2019

This year, 2020, I am celebrating 22 years of being a patient at the Scleroderma Unit, The Royal Free Hospital - a world leading expert specialist, research centre.  

Read more, here.    

I am eternally grateful to the global scleroderma trail blazers Dame Prof Black and Prof Chris Denton, whose commitment and dedication to unlocking the scleroderma enigma, is nothing other than, superhuman. Along with the Raynaud's world trail blazer, Dr Kevin Howell.  

I am truly humbled and inspired by their work ethic and commitment to their patients.  

I am wholly appreciative for Prof Denton’s continued medical expertise and support, especially during my barrister qualifying years, 1997 - 2004. 
1st March 2004, I qualified as a self employed practising barrister. Further to having been told in 1997, by my original diagnosing doctor, that I was looking at a 15month prognosis. 


Chat Magazine May 2019

I very much hope to utilise my professional skills and qualifications along with my patient experience, to help achieve the #SclerodermaFreeWorld dream, hoping to improve understanding and best practice, in the meantime. Read more, here     


World Scleroderma Day 2018, Click here  

World Scleroderma Day 2017, 29th June, Click here    

World Scleroderma Day 2016, 29th June. Origins of the date, Click here   

World Scleroderma Day 2015, 29th June.  

James Carver, myself, Prof Chris Denton
I had the pleasure of being a presenter and part of the European co-hort who gave a presentation at the European Parliament, Brussels, in honour of World Scleroderma Day 2015.  

I am immensely grateful to James Carver, former MEP, for organizing this event in memory of his late wife Carmen, who sadly passed from Scleroderma.  

To view the presentation, Click here 

For latest updates follow / subscribe:  



Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, YouTube, Facebook Page:

#SclerodermaFreeWorld           #RaynaudsFreeWorld    #Research 
Please DONATE to help fund medical research at The Scleroderma Unit,The Royal Free Hospital, London.  

100% of your monies will be used for medical research purposes only. NO wages or admin costs. Thank You. 

Last Update: Feb 2020. 

HUGE thanks to Dr Howell, Prof Denton and the entire team at the Unit and the Royal Free Charity for all that they do:

#RaynaudsFreeWorld  #SclerodermaFreeWorld. 

The Raynaud's Unit, the Royal Free NHS Hospital, London.
 Raynaud’s Awareness.

##RaynaudsFreeWorld  #Research

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