Welcome and thank you for visiting our blog. The British Heart Foundation Jersey Branch was established in 1972 to support the life saving research of the BHF. We have created this page to help Islanders keep up to date with local events, activities and ways in which you can support our local fight against heart disease.
It’s not all fun and games. Sometimes it’s really important to remember what we are working for, take the time to understand where and why money is being spent and appreciate the ground-breaking discoveries enabled thanks to our community supporting and fundraising for the BHF.
This week, our local Fundraising Manager Summer Parkin and Branch Vice Chairman Liz Purgal visited Imperial College London, where some of the BHF’s life-saving research is taking place. We wanted to see exactly why it is so important we support the BHF as an Island.
Ground-Breaking, Life-Saving Research #LabTrip
The BHF’s research into cardiovascular disease at the Imperial College totals £53.5 million. During our trip, these amazing BHF funded researchers were kind enough to show us their latest discoveries and explain how some of the equipment they use has already transformed the pathway to victory against heart disease - the nations biggest killer.
Dr Michela Noseda and Dr Marta Abreu Palva guided us around the different areas on the third floor. Here, we saw the custom-built industrial robot that is used to clone adult cardiac stem cells. Automated production enables many hundreds of conditions to be compared in miniature droplet-sized cultures. We saw a computer controlled microscope used for looking at the gene profiles of individual cells. By looking at these genes, researchers can learn more about how cell types form, and what processes the cells are involved in. We looked at special chips called microfluidic cards, which allow scientists to look at dozens of cells, all at the same time. We were also able yo see through colours which genes are present in a tissue.
Dr Professor Sian Harding went on to explain how we’re studying heart cells in detail to further our knowledge of heart disease. On this floor we looks at heart cells and how their function changes after heart failure. Fluorescent dyes are used to study heart muscle cells derived from stem cells.
Dr Graeme Birdsey showed us how laser scanning microscope is used to visualise cells and tissue samples. This microscopes allows the study of specially marked proteins inside cells and how they behave when wounds close. It also enables a visualisation of the growth of blood vessels providing insights into the formations of the vascular system.
The main laboratory is home to an imaging device which is used to quantify the amount of particular proteins that are produced by cells in response to various treatments. Hopefully one day in the future, we will put a stop to cardiovascular disease taking away our loved ones all together.
CPR – Literally Saving Lives
Whilst in London, we refreshed our CPR knowledge with a group session. This was a really emotional part of the day, with some participants reflecting on their personal experiences – some of which not coming to a happy ending. This was a real reminder as to why it is SO important we take the time to know how to administer CPR.
There was one family in this session who featured in a short video which luckily did end well; Mr Hobbs had woken up to find his wife Mandy stone cold and had thought she had passed away in the night. Luckily their daughter Sam had recently learned CPR and instantly jumped to attention. If it had not been for her quick thinking, her mother wouldn’t have survived – you can see this video and hear their story here:
You can refresh your CPR skills now by watching this short video!
The day was closed with some special Heart Hero Awards for volunteers nominated across the nation by our BHF Fundraisers for their amazing contribution and support to the charity.
We can’t stress how important it is that we keep fighting to beat this awful disease which claims one in four of our loved ones, prematurely. Many Islanders and friends across the nation would not be alive today without the work of the BHF!