GPA have been awarded a grant by CRN East Midlands to undertake a small post-marketing survey to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of the Alpha-Stim AID in the management of anxiety in patients presenting to primary care. The research project will be taking place from August 2020 to March 2021, with the trial use of Alpha-Stim devices between August and December 2020.
What is Alpha-Stim?
Alpha-Stim is an innovative cranial electro-therapy device which is used to reduce anxiety. It works by using a low electrical current which then increases brain activity related to relaxation. Many people have already found this to be effective. It is drug free, easy and safe to use and a person can engage with it when they choose to. Patients recruited to this project will be loaned an Alpha-Stim device for free and will work alongside a Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW) who will speak with them at the start, middle and end of their time using the device to ensure their competency and confidence in using it.
Having had time to talk about the project, what taking part might involve and an opportunity to ask questions, the participant will be asked if they would like to take part and provide their consent. The patient will be sent their Alpha-Stim device and will have a virtual consultation with an SPLW. The participant will be asked to attach the device to their earlobes for one hour a day for a period of 6 weeks. The effect will be measured by the SPLW using some standardised questionnaires at weeks 1, 3 and 6, after which the device will be returned. Feedback and evaluation will then be completed with the SPLW.
The link below provides a short YouTube video demonstrating usage of the device:
Why is a Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW) involved?
An SPLW can provide valuable support and guidance to the participant, clarifying queries, building confidence and utilising other techniques and support services to benefit them whilst using Alpha-Stim. They are also a vital link between the participant and their GP to ensure smooth transparency of services and participation within the project.
What happens when the project is finished?
After the loan period, if the participant has found using the device effective in reducing their anxiety, they do have the option of purchasing an Alpha-Stim for personal use (average cost £500). There may be the opportunity to receive a discount on the purchase price after participating in the study.
Further details can be obtained from an SPLW or the website listed below.
Developing a hub and spoke medical research network across the federation and installing research as a leading area within our board structure, Dr Azhar Zafar is GPA Director and Principal Investigator for Medical research in the federation.
Dr Azhar led his practice to become one of the very few primary care centres in the county to be accredited as a research hub; active in commercial and non-commercial portfolio studies, teaching and training practice. Incorporating research, teaching, and training as one of the core strategies for overall service development enabled him to turn around the practice.
- Successful deployment of GENVASC research study. This has increased practice income and members have the opportunity to earn an extra £16 at the point of delivering an NHS Health Check. This has also helped to increase NHS Health Check uptake in our area.
The aim of the GENVASC Study is to try and improve our ability to identify individuals who are at increased risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
The large number of subjects that will be assessed in a systematic manner for cardiovascular risk and who will all have blood samples routinely collected provides an ideal scenario to add to a research project at marginal cost and effort to practices, that can help determine whether inclusion of genetic information and will be useful in predicting CAD risk in clinical practice. The aim of the study is to recruit in excess of 30,000 participants by March 2022.