Developing a new targeted treatment for people living with anxiety and hypermobility

Disease - Hypermobility, mental health

Lead applicant - Dr Jessica Eccles

Organisation - University of Sussex

Type of grant - Foundation Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £225,000

Start date - 1 May 2018

Reference - 22001

Public Summary

This project is jointly funded with mental health charity, MQ. Versus Arthritis is contributing £125,000 and MQ is contributing £100,000. 

What are the aims of this research?

The aim of this research is to create and test a new therapy to treat anxiety in people with hypermobility.

Why is this research important?

Hypermobility affects 20% of the population; this simply means that joints have a greater range of movement. However, some people with hypermobile joints may have symptoms such as joint or muscle pain and may find that their joints are prone to injury or even dislocation. Anxiety is greater and more frequent in people with hypermobility than in the general population, however there are currently no specific targeted treatments for this group of people.

This research project will allow the development and testing of a treatment aimed at reducing anxiety in people with hypermobility. The treatment involves helping people manage feelings of anxiety linked to changes in their bodies (such as increased heart rate). A pilot trial will be carried out with people living with anxiety and hypermobility, comparing the new treatment with a more standard anxiety treatment. Some of the people on the trial will also undergo brain scans to help understand how the treatment works, and also to look at how it could be improved

How will the findings benefit patients?

There are currently no targeted treatments for anxiety in people with hypermobility. This project will lead to improved understanding of the mechanisms of anxiety and its alleviation in joint hypermobility. Development of this new treatment will help people manage their anxiety, and improve quality of life for these patients. In addition, the project will provide proof of concept data for a future trial of this treatment.