What should you do if your child has a fever?

July 16th, 2018 by

In this video, Dr Jenelle shares her knowledge to you for when your child next gets a fever.

What is developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)?

April 20th, 2018 by

Does your child have DDH? Learn the signs to look out for in this video.

Food is Medicine

February 6th, 2018 by

For anyone who still doubts that food is medicine, here is a study of over 7600 children that found a healthy diet is key to a child’s well-being.

Healthy Diets were defined by limiting intake of refined sugars, reducing fat intake, and eating fruits and vegetables. Higher healthy diet scores were associated with better self-esteem, fewer emotional problems, and fewer peer problems. Higher fruit and vegetable intake was associated with ALL indicators of well-being (including parent relations!), fish intake was associated with better self-esteem and no emotional or peer problems; and whole meal intake was associated with absence of peer problems.

And the relationship between food and mood was found to go both ways. Kids who had better baseline well-being scores were also more likely to eat healthier. In particular, better baseline self-esteem was associated with limited refine sugar intake, good parental relations and fewer peer problems were associated with better fruit and vegetable intake, fewer emotional problems were associated with lower saturated fat intake.

BOTTOM LINE: Healthy diets = healthy, happy kids!



  • Healthy Diet Key to Kids’ Well-being

Plagiocephaly and Chiropractic Care

January 24th, 2018 by

Deformational plagiocephaly, or flattening of the head, is an increasingly common condition in infants since the “Back to Sleep” program was initiated to help combat SIDS. Children do tend to grow out of deformational plagiocephaly as they become more mobile, with incidence reported at high as 47% of infants 7-12 weeks old (Mawji et al., 2013) and dropping to less than 5% at 2 years old (Hutchison et al., 2004).

Contrary to popular belief, however, plagiocephaly is not simply a cosmetic issue – multiple studies have demonstrated evidence of developmental delay across the ages of children with an infantile history of plagiocephaly, including language, fine motor, gross motor, and auditory and visual processing. They also had a significantly higher rate of needing special help in school.  (Hutchsion et al., 2009)

Stellwagen et al., (2008) demonstrated a very high incidence of abnormal neck range of motion in infants with plagiocephaly. Lelic et al., (2016) found altered afferentation and cortical activity to be associated with neck dysfunction. Haavik & Murphy (2012) have demonstrated that improved cervical spine function can improve proprioceptive input to the brain.  Haavik has published multiple studies demonstrating the impact of chiropractic care on brain function.  A study demonstrating how chiropractic care affects brain function in infants and children still remains to be done.

A chiropractic study (Davies, 2002) demonstrated significant improvements in plagiocephaly after just one adjustment. Further research is needed to understand the direct benefit of chiropractic care on the resolution of plagiocephaly, and developmental outcomes.

All infants (and children) with plagiocephaly should be checked by a suitably trained chiropractor for neck function to optimise growth and development. Should patients be interested in contributing to research in this area, please visit the website for the Australian College of Chiropractic Paediatrics:



  • Davies, N.J. (2002). Chiropractic management of deformational plagiocephaly in infants: an alternative to device-dependant therapy. Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 32(2), 52-55.
  • Haavik, H. & Murphy, B. (2012). The role of spinal manipulationin addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 22(5), 768-776.
  • Mawji A., Vollman A.R., Hatfield J., McNeil D., & Sauve R. (2013). The incidence of positional plagiocephaly: a cohort study. Pediatrics, 132(2), 298-304.
  • Hutchison, B.L., Hutchison, L.A., Thompson, J.M., & Mitchell, E.A. (2004). Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly in the first two years of life: a prospective cohort study. Pediatrics, 114, 970-980.
  • Hutchison, B.L., Stewart, A.,W., & Mitchell, E.A. (2009). Characteristics, head shap measurements and developmental delay in 287 consecutive infants attending a plagiocephaly clinic. Acta Paediatrica, 98, 1494-1499.
  • Lelic, D., Niazi, I.K., Holt, K., Jochumsen, M., Dremstrup, K., Yielder, P., … Haavik, H. (2016). Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensiromotor integration in the prefrontal cortex: a brain source localization study. Neural Plasticity, 1-9.
  • Stellwagen, L., Hubbard, E., Chambers, C., & Lyons Jones, K. (2008). Torticollis, facial asymmetry and plagiocephaly in normal newborns. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 93, 827-831.


For Men: It’s Okay to Say (how you feel)

December 11th, 2017 by

I was recently asked by an allied health professional “How can Men seek help” and so as Movember has ended – which raises the importance of men’s mental health –  I thought this was an important article to write. If this professional didn’t know, how would other men know this information about how to seek help for their well being?

Demystifying support – why talk?

Recognising that you are not feeling good about life, about a relationship or about work is a good first step. Mates can be critical in this process however what if you can’t talk with them? Or they aren’t available when you need them? or the issue is complex, and you think they will listen but not understand completely or give the right advice? Talking with your mates is a great first step as they will also be the ones to offer support as you work out more complex issues with a professional. So, why seek out a counsellor or Psychologist? Well, there are lots of reasons, but I think there are two very important ones. The first point is obvious, that counsellors and Psychologists are trained mental health professionals whom have had to do years of University study and then further practical training under supervision in the field of their profession. We have high standards that we need to abide by every year, otherwise we are unable to practice professionally and ethically. The second, perhaps less obvious, is that people who go into these professions, genuinely care for others wellbeing and want to make a difference in people’s lives. I think this is a really important factor when you are considering “should I talk with someone”. Knowing that the person you are going to see is not going to judge you, will listen to everything you have to say and offer you genuine support may make it easier to take that next step.

So why seek help? We only must look at the concerning statistics to know that “not talking” can have serious consequences that not only impacts the individual but those around them.

Some statistics, taken from the Movember website:

1 in 2 Australian men have had a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

3 out of every 4 suicides are men.

What can we do?

Talk. Ask. Listen. Encourage action. Check in.

Most of us say we’d be there for our mates if they need us.

Most of us also say that we feel uncomfortable asking mates for help.

Something’s gotta change.


How do you access support?

The best place to start is with your General Practitioner. It won’t take long to tell them that you haven’t been feeling good and you would like to talk to someone about it. Helping you with your mental health is common practice for GP’s, they are not just there to help you with the flu and other physical ailments, they care about your complete well-being. Your GP will be able to give you a Mental Health Care Plan which allows you to access 6 sessions with a private psychologist (which is Medicare rebated). Often your GP will know of local Psychologists whom they regularly refer to, however, if you have been recommended a (qualified) professional through a family member or friend you can tell your GP you would like to be referred to them. This is a very easy process. Usually you should be able to have your first appointment in a matter of a few weeks.


Make change for your sons and have an impact on the future generation of Men

One of the most important roles that Fathers can have on their children and on their son’s well-being as they develop, is to role model that it is OK to talk about how you feel. If you won’t do it, how can you expect that your son can, should or would?


Helpful websites:

Beyond Blue

Movember Foundation






Exercise and Mental Health

November 6th, 2017 by

Research into the effects of exercise on mental health are numerous with many suggesting a positive effect on an individual’s mental health, including improvements in anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions (Mikkelsen, Stojanovska, Polenakovic, Bosevski, & Apostolopoulos, 2017; Skead & Rogers, 2016). Exercise can improve mental health via three main pathways; psychology, physiology and immunology (Mikkelsen, Stojanovska, Polenakovic, et al., 2017). The psychology aspect includes self-efficacy and distraction (Skead & Rogers, 2016). These refer to improvements in mental health due to the comradery associated with team sports, improved self-confidence and self-esteem as well as the distraction from daily stress brought about by exercise. The physiological pathway includes the action of endorphins, mitochondria and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis), whilst the immunology pathway includes inflammatory markers and vagal tone amongst others (Mikkelsen, Stojanovska, Polenakovic, et al., 2017). 

Chronic inflammation has been implicated in the development of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders (Dantzer, O’Connor, Freund, Johnson, & Kelley, 2008) and there is increasing evidence demonstrating the link between the immune system and mental health. Immune dysfunction often occurs due to nutrient deficiency which alters neurotransmitter production. Furthermore, gut inflammation triggers an inflammatory response via the vagal/brain reflex which results in increased toxicity in the nervous system (Mikkelsen, Stojanovska, Prakash, & Apostolopoulos, 2017). Research highlights that the beneficial effects of exercise on mental health lie in its ability to reduce inflammation (Petersen & Pedersen, 2005). Specifically, exercise increases the level of anti-inflammatory actions amongst cytokines such as interleukin six (IL-6), a cytokine produced by muscle contractions (Pedersen & Fischer, 2007) and T-helper 2 resulting in an overall reduction in inflammation (Schindler et al., 1990). Moreover, the vagus nerve which facilitates the gut-brain connection, also regulates inflammatory responses through its interactions with the immune system (Mikkelsen, Stojanovska, Polenakovic, et al., 2017). A pro-inflammatory environment is brought about by a weak vagal tone, however high-intensity interval training can decrease the heart rate and increase vagal tone thereby reducing inflammation (Guiraud et al., 2013).

A physiological aspect called the endorphin hypothesis suggests that exercise creates high endorphin levels which assist the body to combat pain and stress. This is referred to as ‘runner’s high’ in athletes (Mikkelsen, Stojanovska, Polenakovic, et al., 2017). However, this difficult to prove since endorphin levels are measured via the blood which may vary from nervous system levels. Furthermore, it is an invasive procedure which may itself alter mood. Another physiological aspect involves the mitochondrial role of cellular homeostasis. Dysfunction of this system is said to be linked to multiple diseases including depression (Bansal & Kuhad, 2016). This occurs since mitochondria are important for brain neuroplasticity which is vital for modulating mental health. Aerobic exercise also increases the production of mitochondria thereby increasing oxygen capacity (Viña et al., 2009). The HPA-axis is a system that enables the body to adapt during stress by altering hormone release from the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary gland particularly during exercise (Droste et al., 2003). Overactivity of this system is implicated in anxiety and depression (Landgraf, Wigger, Holsboer, & Neumann, 1999).

Whilst the benefits of exercise on well-being are widely accepted, too much exercise may impact mental health negatively (Mikkelsen, Stojanovska, Polenakovic, et al., 2017). Exercising to manage weight may lead to compulsive and distressing outcomes particularly when associated with eating disorders (Dalle Grave, Calugi, & Marchesini, 2008). Individuals who become exercise-obsessed are at increased risk of exercise-induced injury, finding it difficult to curb their exercise routine due to withdrawal effects similar to those experienced in substance addiction (Li, Nie, & Ren, 2015). In conclusion, whilst exercise seems to be beneficial overall, Shakespeare’s words hold true, you can have too much of a good thing. 



  • Bansal, Y., & Kuhad, A. (2016). Mitochondrial dysfunction in depression. Current Neuropharmacology, 14(6), 610-618. doi:
  • Dalle Grave, R., Calugi, S., & Marchesini, G. (2008). Compulsive exercise to control shape or weight in eating disorders: Prevalence, associated features, and treatment outcome. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 49(4), 346-352. doi:
  • Dantzer, R., O’Connor, J. C., Freund, G. G., Johnson, R. W., & Kelley, K. W. (2008). From inflammation to sickness and depression: When the immune system subjugates the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(1), 46-56. doi:10.1038/nrn2297
  • Droste, S. K., Gesing, A., Ulbricht, S., Müller, M. B., Linthorst, A. C. E., & Reul, J. M. H. M. (2003). Effects of long-term voluntary exercise on the mouse hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Endocrinology, 144(7), 3012-3023. doi:10.1210/en.2003-0097
  • Guiraud, T., Labrunee, M., Gaucher-Cazalis, K., Despas, F., Meyer, P., Bosquet, L., . . . Pathak, A. (2013). High-intensity interval exercise improves vagal tone and decreases arrhythmias in chronic heart failure. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45(10), 1861-1867. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182967559
  • Landgraf, R., Wigger, A., Holsboer, F., & Neumann, I. D. (1999). Hyper-reactive hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis in rats bred for high anxiety-related behaviour. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 11(6), 405-407. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2826.1999.00342.x
  • Li, M., Nie, J., & Ren, Y. (2015). Effects of exercise dependence on psychological health of chinese college students. Psychiatria Danubina, 27(4).  Retrieved from
  • Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Prakash, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). The effects of vitamin B on the immune/cytokine network and their involvement in depression. Maturitas, 96, 58-71. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.11.012
  • Pedersen, B. K., & Fischer, C. P. (2007). Beneficial health effects of exercise – the role of IL-6 as a myokine. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 28(4), 152-156. doi:10.1016/
  • Petersen, A. M. W., & Pedersen, B. K. (2005). The anti-inflammatory effect of exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(4), 1154-1162. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00164.2004
  • Schindler, R., Mancilla, J., Endres, S., Ghorbani, R., Clark, S. C., & Dinarello, C. A. (1990). Correlations and interactions in the production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-1, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in human blood mononuclear cells: IL-6 suppresses IL-1 and TNF. Blood, 75(1), 40-47.
  • Skead, N. K., & Rogers, S. L. (2016). Running to well-being: A comparative study on the impact of exercise on the physical and mental health of law and psychology students. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 49(Part A), 66-74. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2016.05.012
  • Viña, J., Gomez-Cabrera, M. C., Borras, C., Froio, T., Sanchis-Gomar, F., Martinez-Bello, V. E., & Pallardo, F. V. (2009). Mitochondrial biogenesis in exercise and in ageing. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 61(14), 1369-1374. doi:

Food Allergies and Anxiety

June 25th, 2017 by

Food allergies are becoming an increasingly prevalent health issue, with an estimated 1 in 10 Australian children currently experiencing a food related allergy (Osborne, 2011, as in Sanagavarapu, 2011). Whilst many people are aware of the physical ramifications associated with allergies, fewer people are aware of the significant psychosocial implications for allergy sufferers and their families.

An allergy can be defined as the body’s adverse immune response to proteins within foods or other substances. For some this response can be mild, but for others ingestion of the allergen can lead to anaphylaxis and include symptoms such as hives or skin rashes, swelling of the throat and mouth, vomiting and loss of consciousness (Evans & Rouf, 2014). The most common food allergens in Australia at present are milk, eggs, peanuts, treenuts (e.g. walnuts and cashews), sesame, fish and shellfish, wheat and soy. There is no cure for food allergies and patients manage their condition by avoiding contact with the allergen and treating any reactions using antihistamines and administering adrenaline, in the form of an Epipen (Sanagavarapu, 2011). Many children will grow out of their allergies with time, but for other children and adults it is a lifelong condition that can adversely impact upon their quality of life.

While avoiding certain foods may seem simple, living with an allergy is anything but. Allergy sufferers and their families have reported a range of psychosocial concerns including stress and anxiety, post-traumatic stress, fears regarding safety and worries about bullying (AAAMI, 2016). Many families help to ease these fears by avoiding eating outside of the home, restricting social activities and even declining invitations to birthday parties or school excursions where unknown food and peer pressure may be present. Children often feel excluded and different and this may negatively affect their self-esteem and self-confidence (Evans & Rouf, 2014). Psychologists can help families to think of allergies as not just a medical issue but also a social one. Furthermore they can assist families to develop positive coping strategies and sufferers to accept and adjust to having a medical condition (Evans & Rouf, 2014). Having a psychologist involved in the care of allergies can be overwhelmingly beneficial.

Here at Synaptic Health we are fortunate to have psychologist Emma Warner as part of our multidisciplinary team. Emma is not only very knowledgeable on the psychosocial implications of allergies, but is also the mother of a child with severe food allergies herself. Call us on 6162 2058 to make an appointment, or to discuss how our services may be of assistance to yourself or your family.



  • American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. (2016, March). Mental health concerns among youth with food allergy. Retrieved from
  • Esselman, M. (2016, June). Allergy’s high anxiety. How to tame kids’ fears of food reactions. Retrieved from
  • Evan, K. & Rouf, K. Living with severe food allergy. The Psychologist, 27, 334-337.
  • Sanagavarapu, P. (2011, December 11). Psychosocial affects of food allergy: What do they mean for educators pracrice in early childhood settings? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Food Allergy Management

May 8th, 2017 by

Synaptic Health’s Emma Warner is honoured to be a guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Cambridge. She will be presenting on:

  • Food Allergies and Managing the Social and Emotional Impact of Living with a Food Allergy.
  • Anxiety, stress and worry are common feelings for food allergy families. Learn how to cope and adapt your approach to food allergy management through your child’s life stages and critical transition periods (commencing Kindergarten and High School).
  • Understand the importance of positive language to use with your children as they develop an awareness of their food allergies.


Presented by Emma Warner, a Registered Psychologist and mother of a child with severe food allergies.

Presentation Date & Time: Wednesday 17 May at 8.50 a.m. for 9.00 a.m.
Venue: Cambridge Bowling Club, Chandler Avenue, Floreat
Enquiries: Jeanette Wood: 0413 190 412 or
Cost: Gold Coin donation for coffee

HBF FUN RUN – May 28th

May 8th, 2017 by

Synaptic Health is organising a team for this year’s HBF fun run and will be hosting training sessions leading up to the event.

All funds raised will be donated to the ‘Black Dog Institute’, an educational and clinical mood disorder clinic dedicated to creating a mentally healthier world through science, medicine, education, public policy and translating knowledge.

We encourage anyone to join the team. There are varying distances that can be walked, jogged or run!
If you would like to participate but are unable to physically join the team, please feel free to contact us to make a donation.

Essential Oils Workshop – Body Beautiful

May 8th, 2017 by

You do not want to miss out on learning a few simple skills which will change your life! Discover how to care for yourself without using harsh and
toxic ingredients and enjoying the healing benefits of essential oils.

  • WHEN: Thursday 25th May
  • Time: 6:30PM – 8:00PM
  • Where: Synaptic Health; 20/2 Kilpa Court, City Beach WA 6015
  • Price: $55


Includes DIY recipes and demonstrations for skin and hair care including cleansers, moisturisers, toners, masks, night creams, shampoos and more, all using your essential oils, sweet almond oil and pantry ingredients

Call us on 6162 2058 to secure your spot or book online!