Triumphant, she exulted.
Another night throttled.
Dead at her feet.
She set herself
to attack the dawn.
Her hair, falling out,
screamed as it fell.
Seeing its distress,
“My poor, suffering child!”
(she to each strand).
“How I have loved you!”
She stroked her skin,
dry and broken.
It turned on her,
With perfumed oils
she smoothed it,
But it craved real food.
“Would I could feed you banquets,”
“but eat we may not.”
As she rose, so she fell.
At her bidding,
her body crawled,
into another day.
Margaret Wilde © 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
We tend to think of the painkiller acetaminophen, aka Tylenol or paracetamol or Calpol (sickly pink liquid containing paracetamol plus sweeteners, flavourings, preservatives and colourants, formulated to appeal to toddlers) as fairly safe, don't we? But I'm beginning to realise that's probably wrong. Even if you've never taken more than the recommended dose or taken too frequently, and never actually noticed any ill-effects from it, it's nonetheless an unnatural substance for the body to metabolise and so there there is the risk of cumulative liver damage. It has also been found to have a link with the risk of childhood asthma.
I've written previously about the dangers of giving paracetamol/Calpol to toddlers (serious liver damage).Parents will find this article particularly arresting. Sometimes Tylenol can even cause death. Since these products can be bought OTC - over the counter - as well as obtained on prescription, and since, increasingly, painkiller addiction is becoming an illness in its own right (see here and here and here) I suggest that such painkillers need to be resorted to with caution, especially as far as children are concerned.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Radio 4's Law in Action asks: Legal aid changes: long overdue reform or denial of justice? I listened to this programme today. There isn't an iPlayer version available unfortunately, but the programme will be repeated on Thu 23 Feb at 20.00 on BBC Radio 4. ""The single biggest attack on access to justice since the legal aid system was introduced". That's the view of the Law Society on the government's controversial proposals to reform the civil justice system. But the government argue that the legal aid system has become unaffordable and along with no win no fee has helped create a litigious society. They say the current system is a boon for lawyers, while draining resources from organisations like the NHS and leaving many small businesses in fear of legal action." It is clear that the intended changes to the legal aid system will have a disproportionately harsh effect on medical negligence victims and their families, who are already abysmally and inhumanly treated by the NHS and their scandalously futile Complaints System. I constantly wonder why Kenneth Clarke (Justice Secretary) is so astonishingly hard on medical negligence victims. I remember he was of the same mind when he was Health Secretary over 20 years ago. His bluff, faux-reasonable style cuts no ice with me.
Why does it never occur to anyone in government that the best way - incomparably the best way - to reduce the costs of medical negligence, both the financial costs to the victims and their families and to taxpayer funds, and the terrible cost in pain and suffering to the damaged victims, is to reduce the ever-increasing incidence of clinical negligence? - And the best way - incomparably the best way - to accomplish that is make health professionals ACCOUNTABLE for their negligence.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
You see I see
The world in absolutes.
Oh yes I know that
There are sepia photographs
Blur-edged with romance; that there are
Soft-focus tinted dreams.
And in the real world too
It is the case that
Many shades and shadows juxtapose.
There are no blacks and pure whites.
And what is red but a preponderance of light waves
Of a lower frequency than blue?
Attract me so.
They are so clear-cut, potent,
- Not many-faceted,
Nor even straight two-faced.
Know what I mean?
Margaret Wilde © 1996
Dr Mercola has published an article today about the testing of dangerous drugs and vaccines on children. He has a passionate concern to protect children from the serious harm that these drug trials can cause. "The first principle of the Nuremberg Code—that doctors must obtain voluntary informed consent from the person about to be experimented on—appears to be frequently ignored, especially when it comes to clinical trials of experimental vaccines. In recent news, the Argentinean Federation of Health Professionals accused GlaxoSmithKline of misleading participants and pressuring impoverished, disadvantaged families into enrolling their children in clinical trials of the experimental Synflorix pediatric pneumonia vaccine. Fourteen of the children participating in the experimental vaccine trial died." I urge you to read his article.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
"Diets don’t work – or do they? We’ve all known people who’ve had success losing pounds upon pounds following one diet or another. But what happens long term? Do they maintain their new weight for ever or do they slip back into old patterns, feeling out of control around food, putting the pounds back on, and starting yet another diet. Jane talks to a listener who has tried every diet under the sun and is still not happy with her weight. She is also joined by three people with radically different approaches to the question of dieting - Dr Susan Jebb Head of Diet and Population Health at the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, Dr John Briffa, author of Escape the Diet Trap and Sue Thomason, a life coach specialising in body image and disordered eating."
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
You and Yours discussed organ donation and whether the system should be changed so that more organs would be available for donation
Radio 4's You and Yours discussed organ donation and whether the system should be changed so that more organs would be available for donation.They asked "Should everyone be forced to donate their organs?" Personally I'm not in favour of changing the opt-in system to an opt-out.
There were some moving contributions from listeners who had experiences both good and bad in the matter of organ donation. And there was mention of some donated organs being, in effect, wasted on recipients who, for example, continued drinking too much alcohol, like George Best, and damaged the donated organ.
There was no mention of the doctors who waste donated organs. Here is an example I blogged about in 2006: "Michael had had damaged kidneys and had patiently lived on a very low salt diet for years while waiting for a new kidney. Then he was overjoyed at last to receive a new kidney. The doctors in the hospital told him it would now be OK for him to eat an ordinary diet, not salt-restricted. And so while still in the hospital he was given an ordinary diet. At the same time they put him onto steroids. The consequences have been dire. He put on a lot of weight and his new kidney now has impaired function. He said to me that he would never go to a doctor again in his life - that he would rather die than have any further contact with doctors. I believe that there are many damaged people who would rather die than have further contact with doctors...)o:" For details of the harm done by eating salty food while taking steroids, see Steroids Cause Salt Sensitivity.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Why, I wonder, did the retired vicar not direct his remonstrations and threats to the dental staff who were responsible for my continued suffering and who could easily have dealt with the abscesses for me and ended my pain and sleeplessness? - That's an easy question to answer: he didn't have the guts. - He did say to me once that he had written to an important churchman he knew - a Dean of a Cathedral - and asked him if he would help me to get the treatment I was being refused! - This other guy - the Dean - also lacked guts. - He'd written back that he would ask the negligent dentists to deal with the toothache for me if I would first obtain a certificate of sanity that he could show people so that he didn't get into trouble for intervening on my behalf! - The retired vicar then toddled round to me and asked me if I'd let him have a certificate of sanity!
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Yes, you recognised that, "When sorrows come, they come not single spies But in battalions," is a quotation from a speech by Claudius, in Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is something most of us have experienced: something goes wrong, something else goes wrong, and so on. Or as the saying goes, It never rains but it pours.
I am particularly aware of the way that troubles seem almost to breed, when I think of the adverse side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Adverse effects of drugs are often spoken of as rare or infrequent. I do not believe this to be the case. They are unfortunately common. For example, consider the many drugs, including including prednisolone (also sold as Pediapred®), prednisone (also sold as Deltasone®, Meticorten, Orasone, SK-Prednisone and Sterapred®), methylprednisolone (Brand names Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol), cortisone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone (Brand name Decadron), betamethasone, beclomethasone, fludrocortisone, triamsinolone, desonide, fluprednidene, clobetasone, alclomethasone, momethasone, desoxymethasone, fluosinonide, budesonide, fluosinolone, triamcinolone (trade names Kenalog, Aristocort, Nasacort, Tri-Nasal, Triderm, Azmacort, Trilone, Volon A, Tristoject, Fougera, Tricortone, Triesence) and other corticosteroids, Advair - a combination drug that contains Fluticasone, a corticosteroid, HRT and other medications containing oestrogen - like Premarin and Prempak, and like some birth control medication (contraceptives) - amitriptyline, doxepin and some other anti-depressants, some anti-psychotic drugs, including Zyprexa (aka olanzapine) and other psychotropic drugs, and some anti-epileptic/anticonvulsant drugs, notably sodium valproate (trade name Epilim), that cause sodium retention.
In effect, sodium retention means that the blood vessels have become distended/swollen with extra sodium and water, and therefore the blood volume is greater than normal. That greater blood volume obviously means that the person's weight is increased by the weight of that extra fluid in the bloodstream. And because the walls of the blood vessels have become stretched, they must also be thinner and weaker, and so the blood volume may more easily fluctuate as the person ingests more, or less, salt/sodium and salty food. This in turn makes blood pressure more variable, and also adds to the variability of blood sugar concentration and increased variability of concentration of other components in the blood. Greater variability of blood sugar concentration is a factor in increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The weakening of the blood vessel walls increases the risk of stroke and of heart problems.
The weight gain will continue if the offending drugs continue to be taken without reducing sodium intake (and this is usually the case because physicians rarely warn their patients about the dangers and consequences of eating added salt when taking these drugs). So obesity, or even morbid obesity, is a very real possibility. The patients are then likely to be told to eat less and take more exercise in order to lose their excess weight. Taking this advice would cause them further harm because their excess weight is the result of the prescribed medication and their intake of added salt (even if it is only a modest intake of salt), and not because of over-eating or taking in too many calories and expending too few calories. If the person then tries to diet/eat less food than their body requires this will exacerbate the nutritional deficits they are already experiencing as a consequence of sodium retention depleting the body of essential minerals (principally calcium, but also magnesium and potassium). A host of health problems tend to develop because of this malnutrition. They may include nerve damage, excruciating cramps, osteoporosis or even osteomalacia, and therefore very weakened bones and much greater risk of fractures, weaker muscles and reduced mobility.
The swollen blood vessels/veins will proliferate, causing the skin to look redder because of the blood vessels close to the skin surface; the skin itself will be thinning and be becoming weakened and overstretched by the greater volume/mass of the person's swollen, heavier body with its increasing fluid retention. The kidneys become over-worked and their function impaired by the greatly increased blood volume and similarly the heart becomes enlarged. The enlarged heart takes up too much room in the thoracic cavity so that breathing becomes more laboured and the person begins to suffer from breathlessness.
And I haven't even mentioned yet the insults of the ignorant, who add to the emotional problems of the victims of drug-induced sodium/water/fluid retention and obesity, the social isolation, the constant misunderstandings, the fatigue, the pain from the over-stretched blood vessels and over-stretched skin and weakened bones. - Have I sketched out for you enough of the battalions of troubles/sorrows/degenerative health problems/adverse side-effects that can and do come from taking certain pharmaceutical drugs when they are too readily prescribed, by prescribers ill-informed about their side-effects and insufficiently informed about the many possible contributory factors involved in causing obesity? I feel sure that, following my lead, you will be able yourself to think of many more adverse consequences from taking these powerful and highly dangerous drugs, with their insidious cumulative damage. Best avoid them if you can!
See obesity and the salt connection, amitriptyline and sodium in foods.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Monday, February 06, 2012
Today is International Day of Awareness for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. On Woman's Hour Jane Garvie spoke to Sister Fa, Senegalese campaigner seeking to inform people about the harmful consequences of female genital cutting. "To celebrate progress made, as well as to outline the opportunity for further abandonment, there will be an event in the House of Commons. One of the speakers will be the Senegalese hip-hop artist, Sister Fa. As a ‘cut’ woman herself, and a successful, inspiring role model for women, she uses her music to help end FGM/C; and last year she won the prestigious Freedom to Create prize for her work."
Saturday, February 04, 2012
She was in hospital after having had a little operation and was unable as yet to perform little personal tasks like cutting toe-nails. It was unfortunate that the nurse cut off her foot by accident.
As the nurse said: "It was a particularly tough nail. It could have happened to anyone."
They got distinctly cross with her for making a fuss about it. If her feet were so important to her she should have waited till she was home again and able to cut her own toe-nails. Anyway it was done now. No use crying over spilt milk. She must look forward, not back.
Her friends were very kind and helpful. "Never mind," they said. "You’ve got another one. It was only your left one after all. You’ll soon get used to it. Footloose and fancy free, eh?"
She found it difficult to keep her balance. Her many falls damaged her arms, her other foot and the left leg itself, which had to be amputated.
Again she was assured she would soon get used to it. "You’ll soon be hopping around like a two year old."
They were a long time in providing a false leg. She tried to hurry them up, pointing out that if she hadn’t previously had to wait so long for the artificial foot, perhaps she’d have had fewer falls and not have had to have her leg amputated.
"You cripples are all the same! – You just think we’re here for your convenience. You had quite a nice solid artificial foot – a bit heavy perhaps – and you’ve had hardly any wear out of it. – Scandalous waste! – And now you chivvy us for an artificial leg. Wait your turn. You’ll probably only go and fall and break it anyway. I don’t know why you can’t be more careful, so’s you don’t fall. You’d think we’d nothing better to do than to make false limbs for clumsy folk like you."
"But it’s not my fault. It was the Health Service robbed me of my foot and that’s why I lost my leg."
"Back to that again! You’ve got a persecution complex. You ought to see a psychiatrist: always looking for someone to blame. – Well you can’t see one. You’re getting more than your fair share of attention as it is."
"Stir your stumps; and for goodness’ sake learn to stand on your own two feet!"
Margaret Wilde © 1985
Do you choose to have the flu jab in winter? - I don't. - And that is despite the fact that I had pulmonary TB for years as a child and adolescent.
I've been taking vitamin D3 supplements for a couple of years now because I was deficient in Vitamin D, and while I have been taking it I've not caught a cold or flu or any other infection. Making sure you get enough vitamin D is a very good way to reduce the risk of respiratory infections. It is widely reported that most people in this country are not getting enough Vitamin D, and this is obviously even more of a problem in the winter months when there are more respiratory infections like colds and flu about, and no summer sun to garner vitamin D from by its action on the skin. So you may like to consider whether you are perhaps in need of vitamin D supplementation.
A few mornings ago Justin Webb (one of my bêtes noires...(o:) was interviewing someone about the fact that in the winter months there are more deaths of older people than there are in the summer months. I think his interviewee was a spokesman for Age UK. This man was explaining that when it is very cold, deaths from respiratory and circulatory problems increase. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I remember correctly he was drawing attention to the inadequate heating in the homes of many old people. You can read about this on The Poverty Site, where you will see that "Older people occupy much of the substandard housing in Britain, and the link between ill health and housing is strong for this group. This is particularly important because many older people spend such a lot of time at home. Respiratory diseases are often caused or made worse by damp and cold conditions at home. Inefficient heating and insulation are factors driving the high level of winter deaths in Britain: there are 30,000-40,000 more deaths in winter than summer months, and old people make up the vast majority of that excess. 1 The indicator used here is the 'number of excess winter deaths' amongst older people."
Unfortunately, this important point was obscured by Justin Webb butting in to say that it is important for older people to have the flu jab to protect them from catching flu - implying that the flu jab would reduce the extra deaths of old people when it's very cold.
No, Mr Webb; that is not true. - There is no evidence to support the view that the flu jab protects the over-65s from flu. See this article in The Lancet. It is entitled "Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Personally I'd far rather hear what the interviwer has come on a programme to talk about, than have Justin Webb coming in with his uninformed twopennath!
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Should sugar be taxed to reduce health problems like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes? BBC News reports today that "Sugar is as damaging and addictive as alcohol or tobacco and should be regulated, claim US health experts. According to a University of California team, new policies such as taxes are needed to control soaring consumption of sugar and sweeteners. Prof Robert Lustig argues in the journal Nature for major shifts in public policy." And this is countered by the Industry body the Food and Drink Federation saying that "demonising" any particular foods is unhelpful. - Well that's true inasmuch as it's unhelpful to the Food and Drink Federation and its profits!
The Food and Drink Federation like to sell addictive food and drink to their customers. Addicts return to buy again the products to which they are addicted - to buy them over and over and over again. - I heard the subject of whether sugar should be taxed - because its heavy consumption is causing widespread damage to people's health - being discussed in the last minutes of Radio 4's PM programme today. I think the interviewer was Eddie Mair.
There was Prof Robert Lustig on the phone from America, supplying the voice of reason, and suggesting a heavy tax on sugar stuffs in order to produce a really significant reduction in consumption. And there was a guy from the Food and Drink Federation spouting his ritual rhetoric about sugar not being the baddie - many factors are associated with non-infectious diseases, not just sugar. Think of insufficient exercise, sedentary life-styles, etc. - We need a balanced diet, more exercise, etc etc. - There's no evidence that sugar causes disease... Burble Burble. Burble Burble.
Actually I wondered whether this robotic guy was deaf? - Prof Lustig (Eddie Mair kept calling him Dr Lustig) was explaining that there is actually a great deal of evidence that sugar is definitely being consumed in too high quantities, that it is addictive, that it is actually toxic in that it causes serious metabolic changes to the body - fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, etc. - Prof Lustig knows his sugary science (listen to his lecture The Bitter Truth) and he knows his sugary statistics, but his unheeding interlocutor continued burbling about no evidence to support the taxation of sugar, and repeating that it's a matter of a balanced diet, no new evidence, burble, burble, burble. - I think I can hazard his idea of a balanced diet - the sort of balanced diet the Food Industry might find profitable to supply the products for: a Sugar-crammed, intensely sweet cereal breakfast with additive-laden fruit drink, balanced by a salt-laden sandwich for lunch and an over-salted processed ready meal for tea, with snacks throughout the day of biscuits (high in sugar and salt), crisps and maybe a token apple (high in pesticides) added to impress the 'healthy food' brigade.