Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!
See my website
Wilde About Steroids

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Read my Mensa article on Cruelty, Negligence and the Abuse of Power in the NHS: Fighting the System

Read about the cruel treatment I suffered at the Sheffield Dental Hospital: Long In The Toothache

You can contact me by email from my website. The site does not sell anything and has no banners, sponsors or adverts - just helpful information about how salt can cause obesity.


This blog has been exported to a new URL so that readers can leave Comments again. If you want to leave a Comment, please visit my 'new' blog, which has Comments enabled. The 'new' blog is Wilde About Obesity.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

If I lived in London I'd be buying milk from Selfridges.

If I lived in London I'd be buying milk from Selfridges. - That's because, as the Guardian reports here, they are selling raw milk, i.e. milk that has not been pasteurised. Unfortunately, the Food Standards Agency is trying to put a stop to this, because of supposed risks of poor hygiene and microbial contamination. In actual fact, this raw milk is much more hygienically produced than is pasteurised milk, and the taste and nutritional content is far superior to the degraded pasteurised product. I've written more fully on the subject of raw milk before. There is an English dairy farm which produces and sells Raw Milk: Hook & Son.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Freudian Slip by the Department of Health

Freudian Slip by the Dept of Health: see the Guardian article Matthew Freud picks up £1m-a-year contract with Department of Health. The contract is intended to improve public health, e.g. reduce obesity.

Freud is a PR guy whose agency (Freud Communications) works for clients that include Pepsi, KFC, Walkers Crisps and the premium drinks company, Diageo. They are companies whose products could never be accused of being remotely good for public health. And remember Change4Life? - Freud handled that anti-obesity campaign, notable for its spectacular lack of success in reducing the nation's growing obesity problem. Well if Freud and his company have as little success at improving public health as they have so far demonstrated, at least their other clients will feel the benefit in their swelling profits. - Anyone noticed the old enemy, Conflicts of Interest, rearing its ugly head again?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beware Tylenol!

See today's article about Tylenol by Dr Mercola. Many people tend to think of painkillers as pretty harmless, perhaps because they are so easy to obtain, both as prescribed medications and as OTC (over-the-counter) drugs. But they are by no means harmless in themselves and also many kinds of painkiller too often tend to cause addiction, and addiction can easily lead to overdose. So I'd say it's best to try to avoid taking painkillers regularly, and better still, to avoid taking them at all. If you would like to experience a safe, drug-free way to reduce pain, I suggest you try seriously cutting down on salt and salty food. This reduces most chronic (long-standing) pain, e.g. arthritis and back pain. Salt reduction also benefits your health in a great many other ways, including lowering high blood pressure and reducing excess weight. - Why not try it? - It costs nothing and is completely safe. - You have nothing to lose by trying it - nothing but some pain and risk and ill-health and excess weight...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Years ago I fell in love with Comic Sans

Years ago I fell in love with Comic Sans. A friend on the internet introduced us. Previously I had been an innocent user of Plain text, but here was my friend sending me emails in Comic Sans - and furthermore, they were in red! - And so, of course, I took to using the jolly font myself, and looking forward to receiving similarly engaging-looking messages. Since then I have grown up again and soberly use Times New Roman or Arial.

I remembered the Comic Sans interlude last week as I listened to Radio 4's Book of the Week by Simon Garfield. You can read about the book "Just My Type", on the BBC website, and as I write, there is still time to listen again to some of it. The book was excellently read and was so entertaining that I ordered a copy and now have some enjoyable light reading for a while instead of the more serious stuff I usually struggle to get to grips with.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Steroid (Hydrocortisone) Victim wrote to me a few weeks ago

A Steroid (Hydrocortisone) Victim wrote to me a few weeks ago. This is what she wrote (omitting her name and location):

" In August of 2010 I had a brain tumor removed. I am doing well from a neurological standpoint, however the tumor was sitting on my pituitary gland so I developed hypothyroidism and Central Diabetes Insipidis (also known as "water diabetes"). And of course I was put on a steroid- Hydrocortisone- which is what brought me to your website.

I started the hydrocortisone August 26, 2010 and took it until May 5, 2011, so a little over 8 months. And in that time period I gained a total of 153 lbs. I have always been overweight, and then it was like adding the equivalent of an adult to my weight...in a very short time. All of my Dr.s (I had a total of 3- endocrinologist, neurologist, primary physician) all told me the weight would come off once I was off the steroid, and none suggested reducing sodium/salt intake. But the weight did not come off at all. Finally in July, my endocrinologist did suggest reducing my salt intake and also seeing a medical weight loss clinic. From July 22nd to August 25th I lost 10 lbs. But then the Dr. at the clinic cut my calories back and put me on a low calorie diet (1400 to 1600 calories a day) because "I clearly had an increased appetite" (this is the opinion of most drs that I see, due to my size. They usually form this opinion without having asked me what I eat. I do not eat any more than my healthy, 160 lb mother.) I gained the 10 lbs I had lost back, and was becoming so very frustrated with myself, my weight, and with Doctors.

I was so happy when I found your website today. It all made so much sense and it was so nice to read your story and know that someone has gone through what I am going through. Taking an hour to read your website has given me so much more hope than talking to any doctor over the last few months. I am going to try the sodium reduction again, now that I know it can work and I have the confidence that my problem is indeed not my caloric or fat intake, but my salt intake. I am only 21 years old and feel like I am missing out on so much, I use to be so active and outgoing before my surgery, but now I have no ability to do things people my age do or I am embarrassed by my size, but you have given me new hope at a chance to get my old self back.

Thank you for sharing your story and putting so much work into researching and finding the answer."

Fresh sardines make a healthy, nutritious, economical meal

Fresh sardines make a healthy, nutritious, economical meal. Yes indeed. The big drawback to tinned sardines is the added salt, but if you buy fresh and cook them yourself you can avoid adding salt. If you've not cooked sardines before, there are many internet sites that give good instructions about this. One site I thought extremely clear to follow is this one. I bought half a kilo of fresh sardines with my last supermarket order and that cost only £1.50.

When I was a child I was always being told that fish is good for the brain and I'm sure that's as true today as it was then. Being small fish at the bottom of the food chain, they do not carry the mercury contamination dangers that bigger fish do. They are oily fish, packed with healthy nutrients: protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, vitamin E and calcium. They don't contain carbohydrate. And of course they cook very quickly. - Why not give them a try? They are very tasty and they are good for you - and good for your brain!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Consumer Affairs lists Kelloggs and Quaker as Worst Children's Cereals

Consumer Affairs reports that Kelloggs and Quaker are the Worst Children's Cereals. It is good to see publicity being given to this important health information. "In a list published by Consumer Affairs, some popular cereals measured between 41.4 and 55.6 percent sugar by weight." - That's a helluvalot of sugar! - I am sure that if a parent were mixing a bowl of breakfast cereal from scratch for their child to eat, it would be a very rare parent who would make half of it sugar. Similarly, I doubt that many parents would add a lot of salt to the bowl. - Yet that is what these breakfast cereal manufacturers routinely do.

As well as the high sugar content damaging children's teeth by causing decay, and both the sugar and salt contributing to child obesity, this unhealthy muck is likely to give children a taste for over-sweetened, salty foodstuffs that will damage their health throughout life. They will be at higher risk of developing hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, weakened bones, depression, breathlessness and a host of other degenerative conditions that will cause them unnecessary suffering, unhappiness and a shortened lifespan.

Just because this crap is convenient, popular, heavily advertised, sold in brightly coloured packs attractive to children, and just because your children clamour for the stuff, it doesn't mean it's healthy or good for children. - It isn't. - And just because it's legal to sell such unhealthy junk, it doesn't mean it's really OK to feed it to children. - It isn't. - Feeding this stuff to your children is good for the profits of the manufacturers; it is not good for your children's health.

One of my webpages is about children and salt. - You may like to have a look at it.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Do you still need to be convinced about the benefits of Vitamin D supplements?

In people with low blood levels of vitamin D, boosting them with supplements more than halved a person's risk of dying from any cause compared to someone who remained deficient, in a large new study.
Read article in The Vancouver Sun (Canada)

Note:Vitamin D3 is the best version of Vitamin D.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Study finds both high and low levels of salt consumption are linked to higher risk of heart attack, stroke and congestive heart failure

Consumption of too much, and too little, salt may be linked to a higher risk of heart-related hospitalisations and deaths, according to a new study.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com

But the researchers seem to me to be confusing association with causation. - When consumers know themselves to be sensitive to salt/sodium and/or know themselves to have high blood pressure, for example, they are likely to reduce their salt intake as a sensible precautionary measure. - Thus their low salt intake is not the cause of their increased risk of cardiovascular events, but the intentional consequence of knowing themselves to be vulnerable to adverse consequences if they were to eat more salt. I myself would certainly have died years ago, had I not reduced, and gradually eliminated, my consumption of any food containing added salt, thereby reducing both my extremely high blood pressure back to 'normal', and my obesity due to fluid retention. See my Mensa article about this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A paralysed man wants the law to be changed so that doctor-assisted suicide would not be classified as murder.

Tony Nicklinson is the man in question, and Fergus Walsh has written an article about this on the BBC News website. My sympathy is entirely with Tony Nicklinson. His life sounds intolerable to me and I'm sure it would seem so to most people. There are always other people, however, who object to the law about this being changed. They often invoke 'the thin end of the wedge' idea or the 'opening the floodgates' analogy to support a cruel, absolutist viewpoint. Thus, if the law were to be changed as Mr Nicklinson desires, the world and his wife would be pressing their grandmothers to clamour for doctor-assisted suicide in order that they would inherit her property sooner than otherwise. - And so, for the sake of those hypothetical grandmothers with their hypothetical, grasping relatives, real people in Mr Nicklinson's position should be compelled to continue to bear the unbearable, without respite, without hope, until the cruel God, in whom I venture to suppose Mr Nicklinson does not believe, finally releases him (and his loved ones) from his torment.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The meds that result in salt sensitivity don't just cause obesity; they damage every system in your body: heart, kidneys, liver, blood vessels, etc.

The many prescription drugs that result in salt sensitivity don't just cause morbid obesity, they damage every system in your body: heart, kidneys, liver, skin, blood vessels, metabolism, etc.

Drugs like tricyclic antidepressants, and like HRT and corticosteroids, and many other drugs, including anti-psychotics and anti-convulsants, cause relaxation of the muscles of the blood vessel walls, with sodium retention as a side-effect. This in turn leads to water retention because extra sodium/salt attracts water to itself. The relaxed state of the blood vessel walls and the impaired kidney function permit a greater blood volume, i.e. permit the incursion of more salt and its accompanying water. If the drugs are taken for long enough, the extra fluid in the body (salt water/fluid retention in the veins = extra blood volume) results both in higher blood pressure (because of the extra pressure on the walls of the blood vessels) and, obviously, in weight gain from the extra volume of blood. The blood vessel walls become weakened and the kidney function impaired by the extra blood volume to have to deal with. A general term for this sort of problem (not always caused by prescription drugs) is salt sensitivity. Since more and more drugs are being prescribed by the drug-oriented medical profession, more and more people are becoming sensitive to salt, and therefore gaining weight, especially if they eat a lot of processed food, well-known to contain a lot of added salt. (I’ve never understood or agreed with the usual claim that relaxation of the blood vessels lowers blood pressure. Maybe this is with people who are not sensitive to salt. – I don’t know.)

Extract from
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284

“Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health. When your sodium levels are low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium. When sodium levels are high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine.

But if for some reason your kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, your blood volume increases. Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced.

Some people’s bodies are more sensitive to the effects of sodium than are others. If you’re sodium sensitive, you retain sodium more easily, leading to fluid retention and increased blood pressure. The extra sodium can even lead to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and congestive heart failure.”

Although the Mayo Clinic mentions arteries rather than veins, people who are extremely sensitive to salt, like me, are far more aware of swollen veins and the problems and pain they cause, since the changes are very obvious and visible, rather than problems with arteries, even if these are possibly more dangerous than the over-stretched, fragile, agonisingly painful veins.

Novartis: Criminal Cover-Ups and Jawbone Damage from Zometa and Aredia

In a devastating blow to Novartis, a federal judge denied a bid to overturn a verdict in which a jury decided the drugmaker failed to adequately warn about the risks that its Zometa and Aredia bone-strengthening meds caused severe jaw bone damage. And in making his decision, he writes that the jury was shown sufficient evidence to conclude a cover-up was undertaken with “the knowledge and approval of high-ranking officials.”
Read article at pharmalot.com

Pfizer Research Scandal: FDA debars fraudster doctor, Scott Reuben

He was accused of faking research for a dozen years in published studies suggesting after-surgery benefits from Vioxx and Celebrex. Last year, he was sentenced to six months in jail plus three years supervised release after pleading guilty to fraud. The former chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center received grants from various drugmakers but never performed the studies, fabricated patient data and submitted info to journals that was unwittingly published. Now, the FDA has permanently debarring [sic] him from providing services in any capacity to a person that has an approved or pending drug product application, according to the debarment order, which was published today in The Federal Register.
Read article at pharmalot.com

Personally, I favour avoiding painkillers. - I've had two major operations and I refused painkillers for both of them. Yes, it hurts a lot when you come round from the anaesthetic, but you know the pain will gradually get less severe and you can steel yourself to cope with it. But with painkillers - especially the 'strong' ones - there are always adverse side-effects. And, as in this case, you cannot be sure that you have been given the facts about drugs. Drug companies indulge in criminality, including bribing key opinion leaders such as Scott Reuben was, to recommend their drugs, falsifying drug trial data, corrupting medical journals, etc. Painkiller drugs in particular seem to be problematic. The most recently publicised settlement for criminality of a drug company of which I am aware is the Merck/Vioxx scandal reported on the BBC News website last Tuesday. (Vioxx was a prescription painkiller.) Sadly, although Merck have had to pay almost $1bn (£640m) in settlement, this will not deter them from their criminal practices. That huge sum is insignificant in comparison to the colossal profits they garner from the sales of their dangerous products. Criminals, in my opinion - criminals whose crimes destroy the lives and health and happiness of millions of innocent people the world over - should be punished with the utmost rigour of the law, and that should, of course, mean imprisonment for the people at the top of the company, the people who instigate, fund and perpetuate the criminality.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I wanted to sing for my father as he lay dying

I wanted to sing for my father as he lay dying. I tried to sing for him, but I could not. Someone's radio was on in the ward and a lovely song from a film musical was being sung. Knowing it was one of 'my' songs, my father asked me to sing it for him. I tried. But I could not manage it because of emotion and tears. I tried, but I could not. He understood. But how I wish I could have sung to him!

When someone is near to death I think we should do anything they ask us to, if it is possible, especially if it is something really important to them, something they feel the need to get done before they die, something for which they are using their last precious hours and breath. I loved my father very much but I was young and foolish, and when he wanted to talk to me about some things that he wanted to be done after his death I interrupted him, passionately saying that he mustn't talk about dying: he wasn't going to die. But he knew he was dying. I should have heard him out. There can surely be no more appropriate time to talk of dying than when death is near. - If not then, then when? What needs to be said remains unsaid.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Drugs companies exploit Indian 'guinea pigs'

Illiterate patients say they never agreed to take part in trials run by industry worth £189m
Western pharmaceutical companies have seized on India over the past five years as a testing ground for drugs – making the most of a huge population and loose regulations which help dramatically cut research costs for lucrative products to be sold in the West. The relationship is so exploitative that some believe it represents a new colonialism.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

EU food is still heavily contaminated with dangerous pesticides.

The 2009 EU report on pesticide residues, published today by EFSA, shows food on the European market is still heavily contaminated with cocktails of pesticides. The percentage of EU food in shops and markets with multiple residues remains at a high level of 25.1%, meaning only a slight improvement in the last 5 years of reporting. The highest reported number of pesticide residues in one food item remains at 26: One sample analysed in the Netherlands (raisins from Turkey) with 26 different pesticides!
Read press release at pan-europe.info

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shame on the Royal Society of Chemistry!

In pursuit of a cheap, filling meal in the name of austerity, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has resurrected, and is publicising, an economical dish from Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. The dish in question is a Toast Sandwich. You can read about it in this BBC News report. The 'meal' consists of a slice of thin toast sandwiched between two slices of buttered bread, with salt and pepper added to taste. You can listen to the Today programme's interview with an RSC employee here, and you will find that swapping the butter for margarine instead is even recommended as being more healthy! - I think not!

What an unhealthy meal the Royal Society of Chemistry is advocating! Bread is high in salt and is the main food source of salt intake for the average person in this country, and we are constantly being enjoined to eat less salt in order to reduce high blood pressure, reduce risk of stroke, heart disease and heart attack, reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes and reduce risk of countless other degenerative conditions. And you even suggest adding more salt! - Spot on there, then, RSC, I don't think! - Bread's also high in carbohydrate: wheat flour and sugar. - More baddies, RSC! - Yeast and gluten are other ingredients problematic for many consumers. Factory-produced bread also contains undesirables like flour 'improvers', preservatives and other unnatural ingredients.

You point to bread as containing additives of calcium, iron and B vitamins making it extra nutritious! - Shame on you, RSC! - This is not a nutritious meal! - At an estimated cost of 7½p, this is a cheap travesty of a meal and a cheap way of damaging your health, endorsed and promoted by a respected institution that should know better!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crumpled faces

A couple of weeks ago I watched a very interesting TV programme but found that I was at times distracted by the presenter's face. Such a crumpled face! This was an older man, but by no means an old man. I felt sorry for the owner of the face, as I always do feel sorry for people with crumpled, 'quilted' faces. I think how difficult it must be to wash the face, to clean each wrinkle and furrow, each soft, wobbling line. I wondered why the fellow's face was so crumpled: it could not simply be that he had been out in the sun too much most of his life.

A few days later, by strange coincidence, I came across a possible explanation. Strange, because in all my life I had never heard about it before. The likely answer seems to be GLYCATION. - Go on! - Look it up using your favourite search engine! - It seems that glycation can occur when protein and sugar combine in the body. The Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) that result are undesirable signs of accelerated ageing, which can include wrinkles, cataracts, peripheral nerve damage and many more. So if your poor face has started to look crumpled, or you'd rather like to prevent it ever starting to look crumpled, perhaps you'd like to cut down on the sugar and sugary stuff you eat. Stay as sweet (and young and beautiful) as you are by avoiding the sweet stuff! And reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Black Bin Bags made of Recycled Plastic

Black bin bags made of recycled plastic smell absolutely VILE! I bought some months ago and had to discard them as the smell was so foul and it didn't wear off. Nor was it a rogue pack, because when I got some more they were the same. Better to do without these useful rubbish bags than to be assailed by that noxious smell.

I was reminded of these bastard progeny of the recycling industry when, weeks ago, I encountered carpet underlay made from recycled rubber tyres. - The ghastly stink was orders of magnitude worse even than that of the black bags...)o: And goodness knows what its half-life is! - Several centuries, I'd guess - long, long past the demise of any room or occupants thereof that had to endure its presence...

Recycled paper: I've not got much against that. Recycled cloth: well that has a long and respectable history. - But tell me exactly how poisoning the purchasers of recycled black plastic bin bags and carpet underlay made from recycled car tyres can be justified in the name of saving the environment? - Speaking for myself, I favour natural products unadulterated by synthetic chemicals and with the minimum of processing.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Thousands of deaths caused by clinical negligence in the NHS

The Telegraph reports on the latest statistics about thousands of deaths caused by clinical negligence in the NHS. "The figures cover some of Britain’s worst hospital scandals including up to 1,200 people dying because Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust put Whitehall targets and cost-cutting ahead of care."

Until death because of negligence by NHS staff is appropriately punished, after trial of the negligent individuals in a criminal court, clinical negligence will continue as a prominent feature of NHS 'care'. The present scandalous unaccountability of NHS healthcare professionals naturally does nothing to discourage negligence.

Pringles and other stackable chips/crisps are not good for your health

Pringles and other stackable chips/crisps are not good for your health. They contain carbohydrates processed at high heat and this processing creates Acrylamide, a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical, which you ingest when you eat these snacks. Read what Dr Mercola has to say about this. The more natural and less processed your food is, the better for your health.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Gates Foundation prioritises GM development projects

The Gates Foundation prioritises GM development projects and promotes fertilisers, pesticides and hybrid seeds to small African farmers through bodies such as African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and projects like Harvest Plus that benefit big business rather than promoting proven, low-cost solutions to tackling hunger by sustainable farming.

"As the world population reaches 7 billion GM Freeze says in a new report published today that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s policy on agricultural development to tackle hunger is “swimming against a tide of informed opinion”. The report reveals the Gates Foundation has allocated over 40% of its committed research expenditure from 2005 to 2011 on projects involving risky “silver bullet” GM technology."
Read news release at GM Freeze.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Fancy a Free, Safe Face Lift?

Fancy a Free, Safe Face Lift? - If your face seems to be sagging, with heavy, hanging folds of flesh, don't curse gravity and start to think about surgery to stretch and lift the skin and cut off excess. After all, lots of things can go wrong with surgery and it causes pain and costs a lot of money.

I invite you to consider this instead. - The heaviness of the hanging folds of skin on your face is principally because of excess fluid retention. This excess fluid is in the blood vessels - the veins or the tiny capillaries that are largely invisible except for some reddening of the skin. The excess fluid is excess water held there by some sodium retention/salt sensitivity.

If you seriously cut down on salt and salty food this will reduce the amount of excess water held in your blood vessels. (It just gets excreted in the urine.) So there will be less weight pulling your skin down. - An easy, completely safe face lift! - You will look younger and fitter, and you will feel so much better! - And as well as the 'face lift', you will have lost some of the excess fluid elsewhere on your body too, and so you will have lost some excess/surplus weight. - What's not to like!? - Lose excess weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it!

Thousands of Americans die from an overdose of prescription painkillers

U.S. deaths from painkiller overdose surge
Nearly 15,000 Americans died from an overdose of prescription painkillers in 2008, a record rate that has outstripped fatalities from illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin combined, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.
Read article in the Montreal Gazette (Canada)

Painkillers are not harmless. And many of them are addictive. And just because a drug is prescribed by a doctor, it doesn't mean it's safe.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Artificial transfats damage our sewers as well as our health!

Artificial transfats damage our sewers as well as our health! Read this excellent Guardian blog article.

Artificial transfats are such an insidious poison. They shouldn't be there in food, of course. They are not necessary for our bodies; they are damaging, of course, and the cumulative damage results in degenerative disease. This degeneration causes personal suffering and public expense in dealing with the avoidable illnesses that result. It's interesting to read in this article how as well as clogging up our blood vessels, these toxins also clog up our sewers and cause nuisance and expense there too.

Are you wondering why poisons are added to food products like biscuits, cakes, fast foods, processed meals, takeaways, etc? It's because transfats increase the shelf life of these products, and thereby add to the profits of the Food Industry. And the government (and, indeed previous administrations too) favours food company profits over public health. - It's the same with salt added to manufactured food, but that's another shameful story.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trainee surgeon's Plastic Bones idea could save NHS cash

BBC News reports that trainee surgeon, Mark Frame's plastic bones idea could save the NHS a lot of money. "Mark Frame realised he could help the NHS cut costs by using freely available software programmes and the internet to create models of bones. A company in the Netherlands transforms 3D CT scan images into plastic models. The bones are used before complex operations to give surgeons a clearer idea of what to expect. The first model of a child's forearm cost £77, and arrived by post in a week."

There is a saving both of cash and time. And it was very good to hear on the radio that Mark Frame is providing this new idea free. He has written a guide so that other surgeons can make their own bones. The guide is being considered for publication by the World Journal of Science and Technology. He is also contactable via twitter: @3Dbones

Friday, October 28, 2011

GM crops have created superweeds

Super weeds 'run rampant in fields near GM crops'.
GM crops have failed to deliver higher food yields but have created dangerous super weeds, a report warns. Health and conservation groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America say that the fast-growing weeds smother other crops planted in fields near where GM crops have been grown.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Screening for Lung Cancer by routine chest X-rays gets the thumbs down

Screening for lung cancer by routine chest X-rays gets the thumbs down from the American Cancer Society. See this CBS News report. - Well that's another bit of good news today! - The fewer damaging doses of ionising radiation people get, the better. I am not in favour of screening by X-rays.

"The 13-year study tracked more than 150,000 Americans between the ages of 55 and 74 and found those who had four annual chest X-ray screenings were just as likely to die of lung cancer as those who didn't get screened. Whether they smoked didn't matter. Screening refers to routine tests in people without symptoms. Doctors still support chest X-rays for diagnosing people with lung cancer symptoms, including coughing up blood and a persistent cough."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm glad there is to be a review of breast cancer screening

BBC News reports that the national cancer director for England, Prof Mike Richards, intends to lead a review of breast cancer screening. Well, not before time! Speaking for myself, I'm not a fan of breast cancer screening, by which I mean screening using mammograms. I believe that routine mammography screening to detect breast cancer does far, far more harm than good. Mammograms have definitely been oversold to women and the disadvantages downplayed. Obviously mammograms will occasionally bring cancers to light that need to be dealt with and this may save the lives of some women and that, of course, is a good thing for those women. But there are far more false positives found, that lead to unnecessary worry and unnecessary surgery, and these are usually cited as the biggest disadvantage to this screening. And there are other big disadvantages: the damage and risk of the radiation itself, and the damage from the great mechanical pressure on each breast when it is painfully squashed/flattened between two metal plates for the X-ray to be taken.

What is rarely mentioned is the possibility that the radiation from the mammography may in itself prove carcinogenic to women being screened. - If you look at this Radiation Chart I think you will be amazed/shocked at how high the dose of radiation from a mammogram is, compared with other X-rays. And breast tissue is extra radiosensitive due to continuous cellular growth activity. - And when you consider that these are not just one-off X-rays... - Well, I consider it pretty risky myself, unless there are symptoms to justify the risk. - But screening refers to routine tests in people without symptoms; it's not about following up symptoms. - And consider the effect of the pressure on the breast of being squashed flat between those metal plates.. - This is usually described by health professionals as 'discomfort', but 'discomfort' it ain't! If the skin of the breasts is thin and there are visible, swollen veins, e.g. as a result of having taken steroids, HRT, antidepressants or certain other prescribed drugs, then it's excruciating pain, and, I would contend, actually causes trauma and permanent damage to that thin skin and those delicate, thin-walled veins. I had a mammogram (not screening) many years ago and you wouldn't catch me having another mammogram, ever. - See also this wise advice about diagnostic technologies. And see Dr Briffa's blog article posted today.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Evan Davis and The Bottom Line on Radio 4 today

I've just been listening to Evan Davis chairing The Bottom Line on Radio 4. "With protests continuing around the world against the financial sector, three guests from that industry swap candid thoughts about it. Evan puts to them a fundamental question: is their industry creating genuine wealth, or is it essentially parasitic, finding clever ways of distributing other people's wealth to its own workers? Joining Evan in the studio are Ken Olisa, chairman of boutique technology merchant bank Restoration Partners; Ian Gorham, chief executive of financial advisory firm Hargreaves Lansdown; Julian Roberts, chief executive of savings and investment group Old Mutual".

Well, give him his due, Evan Davis really homed in, again and again, on the key outrage of the rôle of the bankers in the worldwide financial woes of recent years - namely their lack of accountability. Try as he might, however, and despite his repeatedly drawing attention to the great suffering endured by so many innocent people who were taken for a ride by being allowed/persuaded/conned to borrow money they could not pay back, he could not obtain much sympathy/understanding for the victims. He pointed out that 'Heads we win, tails you (i.e. the taxpayers) lose' was not right or fair, but it was largely a dialogue with the deaf. He was informed that it was a matter of 'Caveat Emptor!' (Let the buyer beware!') and if people were stupid enough to fall for dodgy deals, they must take the consequences.

More about Conflicts of Interest within the Medical Profession

"In 1996, shortly after we began tracking the pharmaceutical industry, we spent time looking at obesity research and the latest diet pills. In doing so, we noticed that a panel that was assembled by the government to develop a guideline for the overweight known as the Body Mass Index. And it was populated by experts, nearly all of whom had a financial tie to a drugmaker selling or developing such pills. The finding, of course, was not all that new, but the practice continues, according to a new study in BMJ, which examined panels responsible for generating clinical practice guidelines on screening and/or treatment for high cholesterol or diabetes in the US and Canada between 2000 and 2010. A good many of the panelists - and panel chairs - had conflicts of interest. But not all were disclosed."
Read article at pharmalot.com
See also Dr Briffa's recent article on conflicts of interest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A call for the arrest of George W. Bush

Ex-president should be arrested, activists say
Lawyers Against War, the Canadian Centre for International Justice, and the Centre for Constitutional Rights have sent a letter to the attorney general of Canada urging him to open a criminal investigation against the former U.S. president for his administration’s alleged use of torture on detainees.
Read article at metronews.ca (Canada)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Daily Mail reports that patients are being struck off GPs' lists just for daring to make a complaint

The Daily Mail reports that patients are being struck off GPs' lists just for daring to make a complaint. The article is commenting on a report by Health Service Ombudsman Ann Abraham.

"In one case, an elderly woman and her husband were removed after she wrote to the practice manager to complain that receptionists did not answer the phone while she was trying to book an appointment for their seasonal flu jabs. In a telephone call the practice manager warned them he would ‘get you struck off for this’. Shortly afterwards they were removed from the surgery’s list."

So making a complaint is punishable by being removed from the doctor's list... I invite you to compare this mean-spirited injustice with the way that complaints are dealt with in the commercial world. If you were to complain to Sainsburys or Tesco or M & S, I think you could be pretty sure that the complaint would be investigated and that you would receive a prompt, polite response with a detailed explanation for what had gone wrong, together with thanks for drawing the matter to their attention, apology for your inconvenience and very probably a voucher as recompense. And you could be absolutely sure that you would not be threatened with being banned from their stores! Decent businesses use complaints to improve their service to the public. Not so the NHS.

GPs are, as near as dammit, unaccountable to the public who pay their bloated salaries. (UK doctors are the highest-paid in Europe.) Even extremely grave errors routinely incur neither censure nor penalty. - Read Can you trust your doctor? The non-accountability of doctors encourages arrogance and increasing careless professional negligence. - Here is my own dreadful experience of the NHS Complaints Procedures. Why do so many doctors give such poor service? - Because they can.

Our present government claims that it is seeking to provide greater patient choice. What nonsense! Patient choice in the UK is, as ever, Like it or Lump it!

Update, Wed 19th October 2011: also see today's Daily Mail follow-up article on this subject.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Study suggests promising results for epilepsy surgery

Study suggests promising results for epilepsy surgery as you can read in this BBC News report. "The most common type of surgery undertaken on people in the study was temporal lobe surgery, which focuses on the area of the brain behind the forehead between the ear and the eye, where most seizures originate. Researchers who carried out the study, published in The Lancet, reported that 63% of all patients were free of seizures two years after surgery (excluding simple partial seizures), 52% after five years and 47% after 10 years." - I can't say I'd consider these percentages very 'promising' myself...

But you may be very hesitant about embarking on brain surgery - and I'd certainly be with you on that! - and you probably wish there could be a third option, i.e. not surgery and not drugs either. - I'd be with you about avoiding anti-epilepsy drugs too because they tend to have undesirable side-effects, don't they? (Though some of the serious side-effects, e.g. weight gain, from anti-epileptics such as Epilim, can be greatly reduced by cutting down on salt and salty food. See amitriptyline and other drugs.)

Well there is indeed a third option, and it has much to commend it. - Maybe you have already heard of it? - The ketogenic diet? - The ketogenic diet is a high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet. Maybe you have heard of it but been advised that it is a difficult diet to stick to, and so you haven't given it further thought. - But compared with brain surgery! - Surely it's a no-brainer as an option to brain surgery!? - Check out this excellent, reassuring article about this kind of diet. As a matter of fact, although I do not suffer from epilepsy, I nevertheless eat a ketogenic diet and have done so for many months now and it suits me very well. You may like to consider it and discuss it with your medical adviser and read further about it on the internet.

Friday, October 14, 2011

You think that painkillers are pretty harmless?

You think that painkillers are relatively harmless? Then I think you may be wrong. See these most recent reports about harm caused by painkillers:

J&J To Pay $48M To Man Hurt By Motrin
A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit to pay $48.2 million to a man who developed a severe skin disorder and blood blisters in his mouth after taking the Motrin over-the-counter pain reliever.
Read article at pharmalot.com

Diclofenac Deaths May Dwarf Vioxx Disaster: Health Agencies Helped It Happen
The world was shocked by the number of deaths caused Vioxx, but that number may be dwarfed by another NSAID, diclofenac. Vioxx was sold only by prescription. Diclofenac is sold both by prescription and over the counter.
Read article at gaia-health.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Disgracefully poor care for elderly patients in some UK hospitals

Today's is but the latest of the litany of shameful reports of Britain's substandard treatment of elderly, vulnerable people in NHS hospitals. In the Telegraph we read: "Unacceptable care has become standard in some trusts, with doctors and nurses talking down to patients, ignoring their calls for assistance and failing to help them eat, drink or wash. After carrying out spot checks at geriatric wards in 100 hospitals, the commission found that 35 needed to make improvements, 18 were failing to meet legal standards and there were “major concerns” at two trusts."

This has rightly been the top news item today, both in print and on the broadcast media. There are always apologists with their ever-ready excuses of insufficient cash/time/nurses/resources, of course, but this will cut no ice with people who have experienced the routine 'uncare' for themselves, or have visited neglected elderly patients on these wards of shame. "Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Yet another report to add to the plethora of other reports, all highlighting the same issues around poor care of elderly patients in hospital. "How many reports do we have to look at and how many times do the public need to hear about this before the right action is taken?”"

Why does nothing improve? - I'll tell you why: because no-one is held accountable. - Remember, despite presiding over the avoidable suffering and deaths of around 400 patients at that infamous, inhuman Stafford hospital between January 2005 and March 2009, Martin Yeates, claiming to be 'ill', was allowed to cry off even attending at the public inquiry into the scandal! Furthermore he received a golden handshake - £400,000 (that's a thousand pounds for each death!) - and has a jewel-encrusted pension to look forward to, as well as being able to apply for other obscenely-highly paid similar jobs in another area! Instead of being tried in a criminal court for the manslaughter of hundreds of his fellow-citizens, this scoundrel has been richly rewarded for his dereliction of duty.

When grave wrongdoing incurs no sanction, there will be no reform. We have read today of hospitals that are 'failing to meet legal standards'. - Very well, let's see the people responsible for this tried in court and sentenced appropriately. That would very soon result in better care for vulnerable patients.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vitamin D is crucial in human immune response to tuberculosis

Medical Xpress reports that Vitamin D is crucial in human immune response to tuberculosis. The researchers "found that T-cells, which are that play a central role in immunity, release a protein called interferon-gamma that triggers communication between cells and directs the infected to attack the invading . However, this activation requires sufficient levels of vitamin D to be effective."

This important finding stirs very mixed emotions in me. In childhood and adolescence I suffered repeated bouts of pulmonary tuberculosis, after which time I was advised by health professionals to avoid exposing my skin to sunshine in case it reawakened the dormant TB germs. Vitamin D is known as the 'sunshine vitamin'. Clearly, in the light of this research finding (published online today,Oct. 12, in the peer-reviewed journal, Science Translational Medicine) the advice that I was given was completely wrong, and since I followed that advice for a long time, it cannot but have compromised my health. More and more, researchers are reporting the many health benefits that vitamin D bestows on us, and the many disbenefits that are caused by inadequate levels of vitamin D.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Can you trust your doctor?

Maybe, like me, you missed this investigative programme on Channel 4 last week. If so, you may like to view it here, as I have done tonight. "GPs are among the most trusted and respected of all professions. They are our first port of call for most NHS treatment with 800,000 people visiting surgeries every day. But Dispatches reveals that failing doctors routinely slip through the system."

The programme shows very clearly that many GPs lack basic diagnostic competence, even with potentially very serious conditions like bowel cancer, breast cancer and angina. Although they are very highly paid and are accorded high status in our country, there are examples of doctors not following diagnostic guidelines in cases in which prompt diagnosis can mean the difference between life and premature death. Britain has one of the lowest cancer survival rates in Europe.

Even when two health professionals, a practice nurse and a doctor, turned whistleblowers about a GP who had fallen well behind with important patient results - blood tests and the like - the PCT (Primary Care Trust) concerned did not properly inform the patients concerned. The PCT's concern was clearly not patient safety.

Nor was the GMC's concern patient safety. (The GMC is the General Medical Council.) But then when is patient safety ever the GMC's concern? Regular readers of this blog will know that the GMC is a worse-than-useless 'regulator' and that in my opinion we would be better served by abolishing it than by attempting to reform such a travesty of a regulator. I think Trading Standards or Consumer Protection would be more appropriate, since these bodies have some concern for public safety, while the GMC is only concerned about the safety of doctors. If you click on the label GMC beneath this post, you will hopefully find on your screen a clutch of blogposts I have written over the years disparaging the GMC.

However serious the incidents of professional negligence, however many patients suffer and die before their time because of lousy doctors, nothing ever improves. I sometimes think of this as the proud motto of the NHS: We will never willingly improve. - Why don't you try to get something done about our flawed healthcare system and what is, effectively, the unaccountability of doctors? - After all, you, or someone you love, could be the next victim...

Friday, October 07, 2011

Anxiolytic and hypnotic medications linked to increased risk of death

Taking sleeping pills or medication for anxiety is linked to an increased risk of death, according to a study by a University of Laval researcher in Quebec City.
Psychologist Geneviève Belleville found a rise of 36 per cent in the mortality rate among Canadians who reported having used anxiolytic and hypnotic medication to treat insomnia or anxiety at least once in the previous month.
Read article on the CBC News website (Canada)

Years ago I took prescribed sleeping pills and experienced many adverse side-effects, the most harmful and distressing of which was probably memory loss. I also found they were extremely addictive and it took me about 8 months of great struggle to get off them. Some months ago I started to take melatonin and have found these helpful and without any side-effects.

Vitamin D deficiency in cancer patients

More than three-quarters of cancer patients have insufficient levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxy-vitamin D) and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancer, according to a study presented on October 2, 2011, at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
Read article at medicalxpress.com

Monday, October 03, 2011

Taking prescribed oral steroids? You may have a severe deficiency of vitamin D.

People taking oral steroids are twice as likely as the general population to have severe vitamin D deficiency, according to a study of more than 31,000 children and adults by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Their findings, in the September 28 online edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggest that physicians should more diligently monitor vitamin D levels in patients being treated with oral steroids. Read this Medical Xpress report.

""When doctors write that prescription for steroids and they're sending the patients for lab tests, they should also get the vitamin D level measured," said study lead author Amy Skversky, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein."

And remember, steroids include HRT and other oestrogen-containing drugs. And remember also that research in recent years has found that low vitamin D levels are very common indeed. And children are at even higher risk than adults are from adverse steroid side-effects.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Is the unaccountability of NHS staff the greatest threat to the health of UK citizens?

Is the unaccountability of NHS staff the greatest threat to the health of UK citizens? - Certainly many people would be of that opinion - especially if they have had personal experience of serious NHS negligence or a member of their family has suffered because of it. - Until you experience the NHS Complaints Procedures for yourself you can have no conception of how useless, evil and corrupt they are: how the NHS routinely and literally gets away with murder. Read in today's Telegraph report how despite presiding over the avoidable suffering and deaths of around 400 patients at that infamous, inhuman Stafford hospital between January 2005 and March 2009, Martin Yeates is not even going to appear at the public inquiry into the scandal. Like many another overpaid apology for a public servant he is claiming to be too ill to be questioned. - That 'illness' is Cowardice.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If your medication causes sodium retention you will gain weight and may become obese

There are many medications that cause sodium retention/fluid retention/water retention/weight gain/obesity/edema/swelling. Here are some of them: steroids and HRT, most antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-epileptics, anticonvulsants, and more.

If you have become overweight/obese because of drug-induced sodium retention, you need to reduce your salt intake in order to lose weight. If you do not reduce your salt intake you will continue to gain weight, regardless of how many or how few calories you eat.

Ann Widdecombe on Richard Bacon's afternoon radio show

It was good to hear Ann Widdecombe, former Conservative politician, in conversation with Richard Bacon on Radio 5 this afternoon. It is uncommon these days for someone in public life to have unambiguous principles and to have the moral courage to state them unambiguously and to defend them. Ann Widdecombe does this and it is admirable. You know where you are with such a person. I don't agree with all her opinions, or even, perhaps, many of them. But I definitely like and admire her straightforwardness and honesty, and her attention to detail. She does not hold her views in any lazy sort of way. She has definitely given them a lot of thought.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cancer specialists warn about the high costs of excessive unproved cancer treatments

BBC News informs us that a "group of 37 leading experts from around the world say the burden of cancer is growing and becoming a major financial issue... Lead author Prof Richard Sullivan told the BBC: "It's not just pharmaceuticals. Biomarkers, imaging and surgery are all getting through with very low levels of evidence - the hurdles are set too low." The report calls for a proper evaluation of the relative merits of conventional surgery and less invasive robotic surgery."

This is a view that certainly finds favour with me. With the incidence of cancer so much on the increase, it is more and more clear that cancer prevention is of paramount importance. Most people know that smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. As well as cigarette smoke, many other chemicals, including household chemicals, are carcinogenic. Also radiation, so avoid scans unless they are strictly necessary. - See http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Cancer-What-Causes-Cancer?.htm And be wary of artificial sweeteners. And do you know that breast feeding reduces cancer risk in mothers? There is a great deal more information about cancer prevention on this page.

Added later: I forgot to draw attention once again to the need for a legal ban on food manufacturers adding transfats to so many of their products. Transfats have been linked to breast cancer risk, as well as to many other health problems. So these cancer experts may like to consider pressing Andrew Lansley, the 'Health' Secretary, to get transfats banned pdq, instead of leaving it to the food industry to go at their own, s-l-o-w, voluntary rate of reduction.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Warping of Wisdom: Evidence or Opinion?

There seems to be a view these days that one person's opinion is as good as another's, regardless of whether the opinion is an informed opinion or an uninformed opinion. This may well not do too much harm in itself, but the boundaries have become smudged and too many people now confuse opinion with facts that are well supported by evidence. My especial concern is in the matter of whether more exercise reduces obesity in people in general and in overweight children in particular.

We are in the happy position of being able to check out research on this matter. Researchers from the University of Glasgow found no evidence that exercise either prevented obesity in children or promoted weight loss in children who were already overweight. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/oct/06/health.food where we read that the research was lead by John Reilly, a professor in paediatric energy metabolism at Glasgow University. His "team set out to establish whether greater physical activity would prevent children from becoming overweight. They recruited 545 children in their last year at 36 nursery schools. Half the schools instituted three extra half-hour sessions of physical play and activity every week, and parents were given information packs encouraging them to give their children more activity and less television. The other half had no extra activity or information. All the children were regularly weighed and measured and their body mass index (BMI - the relationship between weight and height used to check for obesity) was calculated, and there was no difference between the groups. "Despite rigorous implementation, we found no significant effect of the intervention on physical activity, sedentary behaviour or body mass index," wrote the researchers. The BMJ article about the research is here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1647320/

Dr John Briffa is a UK medical doctor with a particular interest in nutrition and he also has an interest in weight loss for people who are overweight/obese. Here is one of his blog articles, entitled Does exercise promote weight loss? No. He examines the evidence and gives references to relevant scholarly studies. His conclusion is, "There are plenty of good reasons for taking regular exercise. Weight loss isn’t one of them."

There is evidence that obesity is 'set before age of five'. Professor Terry Wilkin, of the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, the lead researcher in this research, said, "When they reach the age of five the die seems to be cast, at least until the age of puberty. What is causing it is very difficult to know." He said there must be a factor now that was not there 25 years ago which is making today's children obese. And, given the young age, this is likely to be in a child's home rather than school environment and linked to upbringing rather than schooling. Rather than lack of physical exercise, he believes diet could be to blame. "

As obesity in childhood is an increasing problem, it is most important that advice about remedial measures be supported by evidence, rather than hallowed by tradition, authority and unsupported assumptions. The evidence is clear. The belief that exercising more 'must' bring about weight loss - while fervently and sincerely held by many people - is wrong. It is disturbing therefore to have Bupa, a health insurance company, suggest that exercise helps overweight children lose weight. And of course there is a preponderance of doctors and other health professionals who continue to claim that exercise helps reduce obesity despite the fact that this is incorrect. When authoritative people give flawed information and advice, they bear a heavy responsibility for the harm that results.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Need More Vitamin D

Vitamin D has emerged as the nutrient of the decade. Numerous studies have found benefits for nearly 100 types of health conditions. These health benefits include reduced risk of bone diseases, many types of cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus, bacterial and viral infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, neurological conditions such as cognitive dysfunction, and improved athletic and physical performance.
Read news release at orthomolecular.org

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Prescription pain and anxiety drugs now cause more deaths in USA than traffic accidents

The Los Angeles Times reports: "Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.""

A big part of the problem is that so many of these drugs are highly addictive. And of course when drugs are 'legal' drugs, and when it is legal to advertise them, people are more likely to think of them as 'safe'. But these powerful pharmaceutical drugs, which include OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma, are very clearly not safe. Pharmaceutical drugs have adverse effects/side-effects, one of which can be addiction, and another of which is premature death.

It is best to avoid prescription drugs as far as you can, and if you feel you must take them, then take them at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest necessary time. Always check out the possible side-effects and cautions and look out for these side-effects. Obesity and degenerative health conditions are often side-effects of prescription drugs: see HRT and other prescribed steroids and amitriptyline and other antidepressants.

A safe, drug-free way to reduce pain and anxiety is to optimise your nutrition and, as far as you reasonably can, cut down on salt and salty food. You will feel so much better. - Dieting is a frequent cause of ill-health, pain and depression, so avoid dieting. If you are overweight, lose excess weight the safe, easy way, without drugs or dieting.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

EU court bans GE-contaminated honey

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that honey contaminated with genetically engineered pollen cannot be sold on the market.
Read article on the Greenpeace International website

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dr LeFanu talks sense about the effects of advertising antidepressants

Read Dr LeFanu's article in the Telegraph. You will see that brand advertising techniques have been the main driver in increasing the prescribing of antidepressants. I remind you that antidepressants work no better than dummy pills but unlike dummy pills, antidepressants can and do cause many harmful side-effects, including weight gain and breast tenderness. It shocks me that bearing all these facts in mind doctors still prescribe this pharmaceutical junk and, indeed, that they are allowed still to prescribe antidepressants. The health service could save a lot of money by no longer prescribing these pills and by no longer having the consequent adverse side-effects on health to have to deal with. More importantly, if these harmful pills were no longer prescribed it would save a lot of avoidable illness and suffering.

MIND, the mental health charity, recommends a walk in the country as being helpful in lifting depression. I personally would also recommend avoiding salt and salty food and optimising nutrition. And very importantly, if you are dieting by eating less food than your body requires, I urge you to give it up! - Dieting is harmful to your health. It is a frequent cause of depression and does not reduce obesity.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Poisoned for Profit: Toxic Transfats still Allowed in UK Food

The Independent has a feature article about the continued scandal of UK food manufacturers being allowed to add transfats to their food products. "Within many shop-bought pastries, cakes, doughnuts, crisps, processed meats, soups, frozen food, biscuits, chocolate bars, breakfast cereals and takeaway food, exists an ingredient that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared toxic in 2009. It's hydrogenated vegetable oil, otherwise known as trans fat, and it doesn't even have to appear clearly on ingredients labels. Have a look, and you might find it called 'shortening', or 'hydrogenated fats', maybe 'hydrogenated vegetable oils' (HVOs), perhaps 'partially hydrogenated vegetable oils' (PHVOs), or... not mentioned at all. " Outrageous, isn't it?

Trans fats are useful to the food industry principally because they increase the shelf life of the harmful products they sell as food. But trans fats are not food. They are manufactured substances that do not exist in real food. - Real food, i.e. the natural fresh food that's good for you, tends to go off once it has been kept too long and is no longer fresh. Food that can be stored 'safely' for very long periods of time by means of highly unnatural processes is not really 'safe' at all. - If even germs and other microbes turn up their little noses at it, it should have no place in our stomachs! Since trans fats cannot be metabolised by the body they can only get up to a heap of no good once we've eaten them.

Why are consumers being sold this garbage then? With the health damage (individual suffering and national financial cost of treating the diseases caused) that inevitably accompanies it? Thousands of people dying before their time? - It's pretty clear we have Andrew Lansley, the Dark Lord of UnHealth, to thank for this lamentable state of affairs. His evident conflict of interests leads him to favour food company profits over the health of the citizenry (his ostensible job). Some other countries have managed to Ban Transfats from food despite the blandishments of big business. Our country should do the same. If you want to sign a petition about it you can do so here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/330 though to be honest, I don't think it will do any good.

Friday, September 09, 2011

What qualities would make you think of someone as a saint?

I used to know a disabled Irish lady called Marie. I used to call on her on Saturday mornings to do a bit of shopping for her. She had been a nurse, I think, but her life had changed utterly one day. As she was coming down the stairs on a bus that fateful day, the bus had lurched and she had lost her footing and fallen down the rest of the curved stairwell. The damage to one of her feet entailed surgery. Then further surgery. Then more. A complicated bone problem developed. She couldn't walk much and was in pain and often lost her balance and so spent most of her days in her flat. When she fell down, she would, as she put it, 'say a little prayer and get up again'.

She asked me once to make a phone call for her. I did so and during the call I explained to the person on the phone, that Marie was a cripple. It was a crass expression to use and not one I would use these days, but I knew no better at that time. - Marie quietly interrupted me: "Say that I'm disabled, dear, not crippled."

She had a brother but he did not live nearby - except in her heart. Every week she would record a cheery little tape to send to him and he would do the same for her. They had both mastered whatever arts there are to making a tape recording sound pretty much like a normal conversation.

Marie was a courageous woman, kind and truthful, patient and cheerful in adversity. Years ago when I went to her (Roman Catholic) funeral, the priest described Marie as a saint, and I realised that he was right.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Female and got Big Feet?

I heard the item about women's big feet on Woman's Hour a few weeks ago and resolved to write about it, but being so tired, I've only just got round to it. (At the bottom of the webpage you can click on "CHAPTER 4" and listen to the item on big feet.) "New research has found that most women with size 8 or 9 feet are ashamed by their shoe size, and nearly half lie about how big their feet are. So, why all the fuss? Jane chats to Keren Miller a long time sufferer of big feet blues who has taken matters into her own hands, and asks podiatrist Lorraine Jones whether big footed women are fast becoming the norm."

Keren spoke about difficulties in buying shoes for bigger female feet and mentioned particularly the distress caused to her teenage daughter (who has size 11 feet) by the reaction of tactless staff in a shoe shop that did not have shoes big enough for her feet. Ms Miller enterprisingly and laudably decided to do something about the situation and now has this helpful website: http://www.prettybigfeet.co.uk/

My own feet/footwear problems lie not in large size as such, but in the fact that my once size 5½ width AA (i.e. narrow) feet have become much bigger. They are now size 7 and are wide - probably extra wide. Podiatrist Lorraine Jones explained how obesity causes bigger feet because with increased weight to carry, the arch of the foot gets more flattened and splays out, making the foot longer and wider. She also spoke of how insoles are helpful to her patients. I fully agree with her there; properly fitted cushioned insoles can makes shoes much less painful for the overweight wearer.

The women (and men too) whose feet have become longer and wider because of increased weight often have the additional extremely painful problem of their feet being swollen. Specifically, the swelling is swollen veins resulting from sodium and water retention, aka fluid retention. In my case the fluid retention was caused by inappropriately-prescribed prescription drugs. Prescribed medication is a very common cause of fluid retention/swollen feet/obesity. The swelling can be reduced by seriously reducing salt intake: see here. And see Obesity and the Salt Connection. See also prescribed HRT and steroids and prescribed antidepressants.

People whose feet are swollen, rather than just naturally large, do not need shoes with just extra length and width, they need extra depth too, especially in the toes region. Otherwise the already painful swollen veins will be squashed and become even more painful and damaged. There are special shoes, etc for painful, swollen feet. Cosyfeet is one such supplier. And Ecco and Hotter make shoes with very well-cushioned insoles. I'm sure there are many other good makes too. It is very important to get shoes that are big enough. It is better to shop for shoes later on in the day because swollen feet become more swollen as the day wears on and gravity sends more fluid to the feet.

Friday, September 02, 2011

New warning about high salt content of bread

BBC News reports that Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) campaigners are warning again about the high salt content of bread. "A third of breads contain more salt than recommended under guidelines being introduced next year, a survey found. Most breads were within the current guidelines of 1.1g of salt per 100g - but this is being cut to 1g per 100g. Campaign for Action on Salt and Health (Cash), which looked at 300 breads, said it was "outrageous" that bread contained even the current level."

These are the groups of people who are vulnerable to salt. If you are vulnerable to salt you may like to consider cutting down on the amount of bread you eat. At any rate, you could benefit your health by choosing a lower salt bread, using the information given on the CASH website.

The Department of Health remains complacent: "The Department of Health said "considerable" salt reductions had already been made." - That's as in 'considerable' salt reductions from the scandalously high levels of salt most bread has contained for many years. The bread industry has assuredly played a major part in the distressingly high incidence of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and obesity in modern times. It has also helped to cause most people in our country to develop a taste for salt - like an addiction - such that food with little or no added salt tastes too 'bland' to them.

"British Retail Consortium food director Andrew Opie said retailers and manufacturers are to fund independent research to look for ways of meeting the 2012 target - "while still making foods which consumers want to buy"." - I'll translate that for you. - It means that they are doing their damnedest, by means of additives and technology, to lower the salt content by the minimum they can get away with, while retaining the same degree of salty taste in order to keep their customers addicted to salty bread.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Just say No! to GMO: like Hungary, India, Poland

Just say No! to GMO: like Hungary, India, Poland

Like Hungary:
Some 400 hectares of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added. Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary.
Read article at allaboutfeed.net

Like India:
Citizens say no to GM food and multinational seed corporations promoting them
NEW DELHI: On Quit India day, Greenpeace projected “Monsanto Quit India” on the India Gate highlighting the national opposition to the multinational seed companies like Monsanto.
Read press release at greenpeace.org
India Sues Monsanto Over Genetically-Modified Eggplant
Read article at forbes.com

Like Poland:
Polish president vetoes bill allowing GMO seeds
Read news report at reuters.com

Low vitamin D linked to earlier menarche

Low vitamin D link to earlier first menstruation, a risk factor for health problems throughout life
A study links low vitamin D in young girls with early menstruation, which is a risk factor for a host of health problems for teen girls as well as women later in life.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

I remember many years ago reading that high sugar intake was associated with starting periods early, but no doubt there are many associated factors.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nurofen Plus Recall: Sabotage suspected

BBC News reports that in the matter of Nurofen Plus recall of stock, sabotage is suspected in some packets. "Four packs were found to contain Seroquel XL 50mg. The packs were bought in Victoria, Bromley and Beckenham in south London. Another tampered pack, containing a prescription medicine for epilepsy, was uncovered in Northern Ireland." Seroquel is an antipsychotic drug. "Most people who take one Seroquel will just experience sleepiness, but those on sedatives could feel stronger effects."

So there are dangers, hopefully small, if anyone mistakenly takes Seroquel or possibly an anti-epilepsy drug, and this prudent, well-publicised product recall will minimise those dangers. - But I would like to point out that Nurofen Plus is itself a dangerous drug, despite being an OTC (over-the-counter) medication. - It is a highly addictive painkiller, which should not be taken for more than 3 days because of this highly addictive quality. In overdose, it can also cause serious liver damage and death. It is a mistake to assume that painkillers are harmless drugs. They are not.

Hospitals still cover up poor standards and neglect and still give scant regard to complaints

UK hospitals still cover up poor standards and neglect and still give complaints scant regard. See this Telegraph report. I strongly suggest reading the comments beneath the report too. Unaccountability shames our health service and ensures that its many failings continue. I know from horrifying personal experience the cruel futility of complaining about NHS treatment.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Overprescribing of powerful painkillers soars in UK, leading to addiction and to death by overdose

The Independent has a report on massive overprescribing of powerful painkillers by UK GPs, leading to addiction and to death by overdose among their unfortunate patients. It is, or ought to be, well-known by doctors that chronic pain is often unresponsive to painkillers. When patients return for more and more pills in order to take a higher dose it should be obvious that the pills are not working and should be gradually discontinued. - A safe, non-drug way to reduce chronic pain is to lower sodium intake, i.e. eat less salt and salty food.

Study links high salt intake by elderly people with increased risk of dementia

A Canadian study links high salt intake by elderly people with increased risk of dementia, as the Daily Mail reports. So salt can impair brain power and memory, as well as increasing blood pressure, risk of stroke, heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis, asthma, kidney damage, liver damage, most cancers, osteoporosis, increased risk of fractures and many other degenerative health conditions.

The good news is that if you have had your health damaged by eating too much salt, you can immediately, dramatically and safely improve every aspect of your health and every organ of your body by seriously cutting down on salt and salty food. - And if you are overweight or obese you will also lose weight when you reduce your salt intake. - Go on! - Try cutting down on salt and salty food! - You will feel sooo much better...(o:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pregnant? The Horizon programme on BBC2 tonight could be of special interest to you

BBC2's Horizon programme tonight at 9pm is about the crucial importance of those nine months in the womb. Those months may well be the most important time of life, may critically determine the destiny, especially the health, of the unborn baby.

"Horizon explores the secrets of what makes a long, healthy and happy life. It turns out that a time you can't remember - the nine months you spend in the womb - could have more lasting effects on you today than your lifestyle or genes. It is one of the most powerful and provocative new ideas in human science, and it was pioneered by a British scientist, Professor David Barker. His theory has inspired a field of study that is revealing how our time in the womb could affect your health, personality, and even the lives of your children."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fat and fed up of feeling hungry and tired but still not getting slimmer?

Fat and fed up of feeling hungry and tired but still not getting slimmer? It's not fair, is it? - It's definitely not fair!

Now what to do about it, you're wondering? - Well I've some suggestions to make which I truthfully think you will find helpful. - Give up the dieting! - Give up the strenuous exercise you've been (vainly) hoping would 'burn off' some fat! - In other words, give up the deliberate and unhelpful hunger and exhaustion, and instead try seriously cutting down on salt.

I think you'll find that by eating less salt and salty food you will lose weight easily, safely and quickly. I have a webpage that tells you about which foods are high and which are low in salt/sodium. And I promise you that however much or little weight you lose this way, you will certainly feel a lot better and will be in better health. It won't make you hungry and it won't make you tired, but it will give you a very good chance of becoming slimmer and fitter. - What's not to like? - Go on! - Give it a try!