My name is Hilary Brown I work at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. I’m currently studying for a PhD based on the Intestinal Microbiota of the Human Gut. The human intestinal microbiota is largely made up of bacteria in addition to some viruses and fungi and these bacteria act together as a community, so that they work with each other for their own benefit but for our advantage as well. If there is an imbalance in this community and some species increase in abundance or others lessen this can have a negative effect on our health. We want to understand how this community feigns our health and also identify ways to restore this balance again.

The majority of the intestinal microbiota are beneficial but some of them can be harmful and this is why we study them in a CL2 lab.

CL2 stands for Containment Level 2 and that means we have certain safety procedures in place to protect ourselves. If you are taking antibiotics then you’re not allowed to enter the laboratories. This is because antibiotics – while they will kill the bacteria the hell is reaching you sick – they can also kill a lot of the good guys, which causes an imbalance in your gut and leaves you more prone to further infection. Exclusively authorised parties are allowed to work in the lab.

When I register the laboratories I put on a lab coat and gloves. These protect me from any spillages or bacterial taint. Most of the bacteria that live in your gut are anaerobic; this means they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen. Because of this “were working with” the bacteria in anaerobic punks. These boards are sealed.

They are constantly being spouted with anaerobic gas that contains hydrogen, carbon dioxide emissions and nitrogen. This stops all of the oxygen out and intends the bacteria can survive inside them. The first thing I need to do is to enter the anaerobic closet. I target the sleeves over my forearms and then by pressing these pedals, I can suck all of the air out of the sleeves. The other pedal then blows more anaerobic gas into the sleeves.

I repeat this process three times to ensure I’ve removed as much oxygen as possible before opening the doors and penetrating the anaerobic cabinet. To study these bacteria we need to grow them on Agar plates. The Agar that the bacteria develop on contains a lot of nutrients that would also be present in the human gut. When you fleck the bacteria onto a new plate you can often see new provinces flourishing 24 hours later.

Here I have an individual bacterial species grown in a plate.

One of the jobs I regularly have to do is to re-streak these onto brand-new layers. This is because the bacteria will use up all the accessible nutrients. When I’m working in the anaerobic bonnet I have to work aseptically. This represents working as clean as is practicable and trying to prevent contamination of my experimentation.

For instance, if I’m streaking bacteria on to a brand-new layer, I will use an Inoculating loop but I will merely use this loop-the-loop once- after use it I will discard it and I will use a new loop before moving on to the next plate.

The report contains two ways in which I study these bacteria; one is by understanding their phenotype. This involves studying their biology; how they live and grow, how they respond to different environmental conditions. The other is by studying the genotype. We obtain the DNA from the bacteria and then we do whole genome sequencing of this DNA. When the sequencing is finished I then analyse the data on my computer exercising numerous bioinformatic analysis tools.

Using these tools I can look at how closely related these bacteria are to each other and I can also identify brand-new categories that no one has cultured before. Studying the intestinal microbiota is very exciting because it’s moving very quickly from basic research towards therapeutics. This is unusual really for a discipline of biology, often it takes a much longer time before we start seeing new treats and new drugs on the market place ..

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Possibly the most common condition in the world that affects our health is Anxiety. Most people experience Anxiety states for one reason or another. When these states become too frequent or accumulate over a long time period they can become powerful destructive forces that impact upon our health causing us to become unwell.

If Anxiety becomes more chronic(impacting upon our health and functioning for 6 months or more) it becomes more difficult to treat. There are many different approaches to dealing with and treating Anxiety that produce a medicinal effect.

Substances of various nature, legal and illegal have often been the most common option taken by sufferers. However, side effects are usually experienced when it comes to pharmaceutical medications, alcohol or other drugs.

At Boranup Forest Retreat a hollistic and natural therapy approach is the preferred method of addressing Anxiety. For example recent developments in science have focused on the connection between the gut and the brain. The gut has instantaneous affects from Anxiety and repetitive impacts from Anxiety disrupt its good functioning and create broader health problems.

It makes sense to give significant focus to the gut in light of these recent developments. For the past twenty plus years I have used slippery elm bark powder as a natural anti- inflammatory for the gut. It has been used effectively by many people for treating the inflammatory effects Anxiety contributes to within the gut.

Naturopaths especially recommend slippery elm along with other products such as marshmallow root and aloe vera products to sooth and treat the gut. There is plenty of scientific data which shows efficacy for these products in helping the gut in dealing with the impacts of Anxiety.

My experience with patients who have used such treatments in combination with other diet and lifestyle choices has contributed to my preference to using these products at Boranup Forest Retreat. Please feel free to comment on your experiences with products such as slippery elm, marshmallow root and aloe vera products for gut health and Anxiety management.

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Boranup Forest Relationship Retreat

As part of our counselling we encourage open and honest, effective communication. How honest communication is in a relationship is one of the most important aspects of healthy relationships. Frequently in unhealthy relationships effective communication has been replaced by convenience of communication based upon time pressures and competing priorities such as work commitments, family responsibilities or other social relationships and activities.

We offer a range of activities as part of our programs to promote healthy and active relationships. These include bush walking, mountain biking, yoga, massage, ping pong, beach options(swimming, surfing etc). In addition obviously, the local tourist attractions including cafes, restaurants, wineries, caves and other options in close proximity.

Margaret River Relationship Retreats offers counselling and support for couples. Whether you have been experiencing unhappiness or conflict in your relationship with your partner or whether you have begun to grow apart or have never really grown that close together. We offer a variety of professional services run by a Psychologist with over a decade in relationship counselling experience. We offer either weekend or weekday services focused on intensive counselling and therapy based on Gottman Institute model. Support is provided intensively over several days to address issues and attempt to improve or resolve whatever circumstances are hindering healthy and happy relationship functioning.Options include individual couple counselling,day services or retreats held over multiple days whereby we can structure a program to suit your needs and offer accommodation options of various types from camping to chalet accommodation.

Anatole Hudson, Psychologist facilitates Boranup Forest Retreat.Boranup Forest Retreat (BFR) is a 7 bedroom house on a blueberry farm 10 minutes south of Margaret River providing short term accommodation for attending retreats The house is ideally set out with peaceful bedrooms that are separate from the main living areas of the house to allow privacy and peace and quiet. The house overlooks a dam and is surrounded by forest.
He has over ten years of experience in private practice and additionally has worked for another 15 years in injury management and rehabilitation, disability and employment, chronic pain and general mental health. He has a special interest in regenerative medicine, gut health and ADD/ADHD and likes to encourage education and information sharing for mutual benefit. He has over ten years of experience in private practice and additionally has worked for another 15 years in injury management and rehabilitation, disability and employment, chronic pain and general mental health. He has a special interest in regenerative medicine, gut health and ADD/ADHD and likes to encourage education and information sharing for mutual benefit.

Boranup Forest Retreat has been created to promote health and wellness focusing on all major aspects of health: physical, psychological and spiritual. Services include Counselling, Outdoor Activities, Yoga, HeartMath, Sound Therapy, and Massage.

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