Access Campaign: MSF
Calls on Pfizer to Match GSK’s Move and Offer the Humanitarian
Community Access to the Lowest Price Available Globally
21: 2016: MSF News ||
Frontières:MSF welcomes the decision by GlaxoSmithKline:GSK to
lower the price of its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine:PCV for
humanitarian organisations that serve refugee and
crisis-affected children. For seven years, MSF has been in
discussions with GSK and Pfizer, the only two manufacturers
producing the pneumonia vaccine, or access to a more affordable
reduction is a significant step forward in protecting vulnerable
children who are reached by humanitarian organisations like MSF.
MSF now hopes that Pfizer will match GSK’s offer, and that both
companies will additionally reduce the price of the vaccine for
governments of developing countries which still can’t afford to
add the PCV vaccine to their standard childhood immunisation
“GSK has taken a critical step forward for children in
emergencies,” says Dr Joanne Liu, MSF’s international president.
“With this price reduction, our teams will finally be able to
expand their efforts to protect children against this deadly
disease. GSK should now redouble efforts to reduce the price of
the vaccine for the many developing countries that still can’t
afford to protect their children against pneumonia.”
Pneumonia is the leading cause of child mortality worldwide,
killing almost one million children every year. Crisis-affected
children, such as those caught up in conflict or in humanitarian
emergencies, are particularly susceptible to pneumonia. MSF
medical teams often see the deadly effects of pneumonia, a
vaccine-preventable disease, in the vulnerable children we
Until now, neither MSF nor other humanitarian organisations have
been able to purchase pneumonia vaccines at an affordable price;
earlier this year, MSF paid 60 Euros, US$68.10 for one dose of
the Pfizer product to vaccinate refugee children in Greece, 20
times more than the lowest price that GSK and Pfizer offer.
In May, MSF delivered the names of more than 416,000 people from
170 countries who signed a petition asking Pfizer and GSK to
reduce the price of the pneumonia vaccine to US$5 per child, for
all three doses, for crisis-affected populations and for all
With its 19 September announcement, GSK has now pledged to offer
humanitarian organisations a price of about US$09 per child,
US$03.05 per dose,. While GSK’s announcement removes one
significant barrier to humanitarian access to the pneumonia
vaccine, Pfizer’s pneumonia vaccine, PCV13, is still an
indispensable tool in many countries where MSF and other
organisations provide assistance, yet Pfizer continues to refuse
to offer an affordable price for its pneumonia vaccine to
“Pfizer should now match GSK’s move and help build a broader
solution for the humanitarian community by also offering the
lowest global price,” says Liu. Instead of lowering the price
for the humanitarian community, Pfizer has offered only a
donation programme. MSF prefers to have access to affordable and
sustainably-priced vaccines so that the health of vulnerable
children does not rely on the voluntary goodwill of companies.
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United Nations General Assembly
Discusses Antimicrobial Resistance
19: 2016 ||
Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, participates in
the UN General Assembly in New York between September 19-22. On
behalf of Finland, Minister Mattila will address the general
discussion of a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance.
In addition, she will present a comment in a panel on
antimicrobial resistance as a multi-sectoral challenge.
Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem and resolving it
requires international collaboration. Worldwide, antibiotics are
used excessively in the treatment of people and animals and in
growth promotion in production animals. As a consequence, many
bacteria have become immune to antibiotics. Resistance increases
faster than new antimicrobial medicines enter the markets.
Unless immediate measures are taken, the situation may result in
lack of effective medicines even for the treatment of common
infections in future. At the moment, tens of thousands of people
in the EU alone die due to antimicrobial resistance. Responsible
use of antimicrobial medicines and antibiotics, in particular,
plays an important part in finding a solution.
Minister Mattila will also address a meeting on the
implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
and antimicrobial resistance from the point of view of patient
safety. Other themes in the UN General Assembly include refugees
Alongside the General Assembly, Minister Mattila will
participate in a side event on nutrition as a prerequisite for
well-being and health organised by WHO, the World Health
Organisation, and FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of
the United Nations. Finland is committed to improving child
guidelines for day-care centres and schools will enter into
force next year. Cooperation between all sectors of society is
required to improve the level of nutrition. There is also
cooperation with the food industry, retailers and the restaurant
and catering industry in order to reduce the amount of salt,
saturated fat and sugar in food.
In connection with the General Assembly, the Minister will also
meet the ministers of social affairs and health of the other
Nordic Countries and Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
Further information: Outi Kuivasniemi, Ministerial Counsellor
for International Affairs, tel. +358 2951 63117
Anni-Riitta Virolainen-Julkunen, Ministerial Counsellor for
Health:Medical Affairs, antimicrobial resistance, tel. +358 2951
Eero Lahtinen, Ministerial Counsellor for Health:Medical
Affairs, antimicrobial resistance, tel. +358 2951 63320:
|| ‽: 200916 ||
Teenage Weight Gain Down to Dramatic
Drop in Calories They Burn
September 08: 2016: University of Exeter News ||
An acceleration in obesity among young teenagers could be explained by a 12-year-long study which found that the number of calories they burn while at rest drops suddenly in puberty. Research led by the University of Exeter Medical School, published in the Nature journal, The International Journal of Obesity, found unexpectedly that when they reach puberty, both girls and boys experience a rapid drop in the number of calories they burn, at a time when the number would be expected to rise with the growth spurt.
The research by Professor Terence Wilkin, of the University of Exeter Medical School, found that 15-year-olds use 400 to 500 fewer calories while at rest per day compared to when they were 10-years-old, a fall of around a quarter. But by the age of 16, their calorie expenditure begins to climb once again. For comparison, a McDonalds Big Mac contains 508 calories and it would take an hour of Zumba to burn 500 calories through exercise. The study also found that teenagers exercise less during puberty, adding to the calorie excess that underlies obesity. This exercise drop is particularly stark in girls, whose activity level drops by around a third between the ages of seven and 16.
The new findings, which come after the government launched a strategy to tackle the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, may help explain why many youngsters become obese in puberty. The World Health Organisation:WHO regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century. The National Child Measurement Programme:NCMP measures the height and weight of around one million school children in England every year, found that a third of 10-11 year olds were overweight or obese.
Professor Terry Wilkin said: “Child obesity and associated diabetes are both among the greatest health challenges of our time. Our findings can explain why teenagers gain excess weight in puberty, and it could help target strategies accordingly.” We spend calories in two ways, voluntary spend through physical activity and the much larger involuntary spend, simply to stay alive. Thinking, keeping blood warm, and keeping the heart, liver and kidneys working together use up to 1,600 calories per day in adolescence.
This involuntary spend might be expected to rise with body size, and among the children studied, the calorie expenditure rose as expected from the age of five onwards, but researchers were surprised to see the children studied experience a sudden drop in calorie expenditure during puberty, from the age of 10 onwards. This was particularly surprising as it is a period of rapid growth, and growth uses lots of calories.
During the 12-year-long study, between 2000 and 2012, the research team analysed data gathered from nearly 350 school children in the Earlybird study, based in Plymouth. The children were assessed every six months between the ages of five and 16, during which blood samples were given to assess metabolic health and measurements of size, body composition, metabolic rate and physical activity taken. Of this set, 279 children gave data that made them eligible for the latest study.
Burning calories uses up a fixed amount of oxygen. The children rested in a sealed canopy and their oxygen consumption was measured over a period of time, to enable researchers to calculate their calorie use from the amount of oxygen consumed.
The study builds on research published by Professsor Wilkin last year which showed that children are particularly susceptible to weight gain at two stages, once in infancy, probably attributable to diet and lifestyle choices made by the child’s parents, and again in puberty. This second peak was previously unexplained. The new research suggests it may be explained by a drop in the number of calories young teenagers burn while at rest during puberty.
Professor Wilkin said: “When we looked for an explanation for the rising obesity in adolescence, we were surprised to find a dramatic and unexpected drop in the number of calories burned while at rest during puberty. We can only speculate as to why, but it could be a result of an evolutionary trait to save calories for growth that may now contribute to a dangerous rise in adolescent obesity in cultures where food is in abundance. It could be that we have evolved to preserve calories to ensure we have enough to support changes in the body during puberty, but now we they have sufficient calories each day, the drop in spend means excess weight gain”
Proessor Wilkin’s research career spans more than 30 years, with early work in thyroid disease and more recent work on causes and treatments of type one diabetes. The Earlybird study has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and unique data on the behaviour of insulin resistance during childhood.
The study was set up to try to establish why so many young people are at risk of developing diabetes. Some 2.3 million people in the UK know they have diabetes. A further 750,000 have diabetes but don't yet know it. By the time they are diagnosed, half will already have complications. Type two diabetes, so-called ‘adult’ diabetes, is by far the commonest form, and it is of concern that teenagers and even younger children are now affected by it. It has been predicted that, unless present trends are slowed, one in five of children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime, largely because of obesity.
The study involved collaboration with Plymouth University and was funded by the Bright Futures Trust, Fountain Foundation, BUPA Foundation, and the EarlyBird Diabetes Trust.
The paper, “Evidence for energy conservation during pubertal growth: a 10-year longitudinal study:EarlyBird71” is published in the International Journal of Obesity. Authors are Mohammod Mostazir, Alison Jeffery, Jo Hsking, Brad Metcalf, Linda Voss and Terence Wilkin. ω.
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World Water Week: UNICEF Highlights How
Women and Girls Lose Valuable Time and Opportunities Collecting
A Somali woman in
Garowe drawing water from one of the many man-made ponds
dug through a UNDP-supported initiative to bring water
to drought-affected communities. Image: UNDP Somalia:
World Water Day 2016
August 29: 2016 ||
As World Water Week starts off today, the United
Nations Children’s Fund:UNICEF has highlighted that the
opportunity cost from a lack of access to water
disproportionately falls on women and girls who collectively
spend as much as 200 million hours, or more than 22,800 years,
every day collecting this vital resource.
“It would be as if a woman started with her empty bucket in the
Stone Age and didn’t arrive home with water until 2016. Think
how much the world has advanced in that time. Think how much
women could have achieved in that time,” UNICEF’s Chief of
Section of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Sanjay Wijesekera,
said in a news release issued by the agency today.
The message from the UN children’s agency comes as experts from
around the world gather in the Swedish capital of Stockholm for
World Water Week to discuss and develop new solutions to the
globe’s most pressing water-related challenges. The theme of
this year’s Week is ‘Water for Sustainable Growth.’ In the news
release, UNICEF noted that the UN’s Sustainable Development
Goal:SDG for water and sanitation, Goal Six, calls for universal
and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water by
“The first step is providing everyone with a
basic service within a 30-minute round trip, and the long term
goal is to ensure everyone has safe water available at home,”
UNICEF stated. “However, UN estimates are that in sub-Saharan
Africa, for example, for 29 per cent of the population, 37 per
cent in rural areas and 14 per cent in urban areas, improved
drinking water sources are 30 minutes or more away.”
The UN agency noted that the people who are devoting time to
such activities are almost always women and girls. A study of 24
sub-Saharan countries revealed that when the collection time
involved is more than 30 minutes, an estimated 03.36 million
children and 13.54 million adult females were responsible for
water collection. In Malawi, for instance, the UN estimates
women who collected water spent 54 minutes on average, while men
spent only six minutes.
“No matter where you look, access to clean drinking water makes
a difference in the lives of people,” Mr. Wijesekera said. “The
needs are clear; the goals are clear. Women and children should
not have to spend so much of their time for this basic human
UNICEF also noted that spending excess time
for collection considerably shortens the time available to spend
with their families, on child care, other household tasks, or in
leisure activities. For children, water collection takes time
away from their education and sometimes even prevent their
attending school altogether.
Furthermore, water collection can also affect the health of the
whole family, and particularly children: when water is not
available at home and even if it is collected from a safe
source, the fact that it has to be transported and stored
increases risk of disease by the time it is drunk. This in turn
increases the risk of diarrhoeal disease, which is the fourth
leading cause of death among children under five years of age,
and a leading cause of chronic malnutrition, or stunting, which
affects 159 million children worldwide.
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To Pose a Question: Why Do You Pause?
August 07: 2016 ||
A question of menopause is answered by Dr Magdy
Nawar, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at BMI The
Clementine Churchill Hospital and BMI Bishops Wood Hospital. He
answers the question of what is the menopause? as “The menopause
is the end of a woman’s menstruation, when a woman stops having
her periods and is no longer able to get pregnant.
This is the stage when your body stops
producing eggs because the level of the female sex hormone which
regulates menstruation, oestrogen, drops. In the lead up to the
menopause you are called ‘peri-menopausal’, and sufferers
experience both physical and emotional changes. The average age
for a woman to reach the menopause is 50 to 51.
Although it is a natural part of a woman’s life, the menopause
can have a detrimental effect on both women's health and their
What are common symptoms of the menopause?
Menopausal symptoms can include:
reduced sexual drive
recurrent bladder infections
osteoporosis, this is a condition that weakens bones, making
them fragile. It develops slowly over several years and is often
only diagnosed when a minor fall results in a bone fracture.
How do you know if you are menopausal?
Eight out of ten women experience symptoms leading up to the
menopause and of these about half will find their symptoms
difficult to deal with. It’s actually believed that women may
experience similar symptoms much earlier than that age and may
benefit from seeking advice from health professionals. To assess
whether you are menopausal at any age, a blood test to
diagnosethe menopause can be carried out.”
What you can you do to control the symptoms?
“Healthcare professionals have been researching how to improve
women’s quality of life after the menopause for years, as it can
be a period of both physical and emotional stress. Some women go
through the menopause without seeking any medical help, but if
you have extreme or difficult symptoms there are treatments
Treatments for the symptoms include:
Hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT. This is
available as tablets, skin patches, gels, and vaginal oestrogen
in the form of tablets, rings or creams.
We also recommend a change in lifestyle to reduce symptoms, in
the form of eating healthy balanced diet and avoiding weight
gain through regular exercise.
Cognitive therapy is also useful and usually beneficial to women
who are suffering from mental health difficulties, in helping to
improve anxiety disorders and mood disorders.
In addition, natural oestrogen replacement is available, however
it must be known that most of them are not fully researched and
proven to prevent symptoms and osteoporosis.”
Dr Magdy Nawar, MBBCh, FRCOG, is a Consultant
Gynaecologist at North West London Hospitals NHS Trust. He has
more than 15 years experience in Obstetrics & Gynaecology and
also highly specialised in key hole surgery.
|| ‽: 080816 ||
Many in One: St Mark's Hospital
July 24: 2016 ||
In this piece we seek to present an organisation,
a pioneering one in its field, that is many in one and we use,
one of its finest Consultants, Dr Ayesha Akbar MBChB Hons, MRCP
PhD, a Consultant Gastroenterologist at St Mark's Hospital. This
is simply because we have received a piece of her writing which
caused this presentation. Because St Mark's Hospital is not just
a hospital but a home to many institutions that are doing
astonishing works in their specialism in medicine. Under the
name of St Mark's Hospital we have the
St Mark's Hospital which is an
NHS Trust Hospital and from which you find
St Mark’s Institute for Bowel Disease,
St Mark’s Academic Institute,
St Mark’s Hospital Foundation,
Stoma Support Group and last but not least,
Friends of St Mark’s.
Dr Ayesha Akbar joined the St Mark's
consultant physician staff in 2010. Her clinical interests
include general gastroenterology with a focus in inflammatory
bowel disease. She also has an interest in abdominal pain and
irritable bowel syndrome, especially in the overlap cases with
inflammatory bowel disease, and sits on the British Society of
Gastroenterology Neurogastroenterology committee. She is
involved in service development including setting up a community
gastroenterology service with the local CCG and has an interest
in patient care and satisfaction. Ayesha is actively involved in
education, teaching and research. She also holds several
management roles, including the chair of her local LNC. She has
been elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
This piece includes the piece of writing by Dr Ayesha Akbar: It
is to Do with the Bowel, sent to us by someone on her behalf.
She undertook her specialist training in general medicine and
gastroenterology in London, and has gained valuable experience
from leading institutions including Hammersmith Hospital, Royal
London Hospital, UCH and St James's University Hospital.
Her research work at Imperial College London gained her a PhD
entitled "Molecular mechanisms of visceral hypersensitivity in
the colon." She has published her research in peer reviewed
journals and presented her work at national and international
meetings. She is frequently invited to lecture both on IBD and
IBS, and to contribute to advisory boards as a key opinion
leader. She was a clinical advisor for the NICE TAG advisory
board for Lubiprostone in 2014.
Ayesha studied medicine at the University of Manchester and was
awarded an Honours degree. She has an outstanding academic
record graduating top of her class and gaining several
distinctions and honours along with prestigious prizes. Ayesha
was elected chair of the Neurogastroenterology committee of the
British Society of Gastroenterology:BSG in the summer of 2015.
She has also been invited on to the media panel of the BSG and
frequently acts as their spokesperson for national media
including the BBC.
St Mark's Hospital
St Mark’s Institute for Bowel Disease
Mark’s Hospital and the St. Mark’s Hospital Foundation have
recently launched a brand new and revolutionary Institute –
St. Mark’s Institute for Bowel Disease – whose
purpose is to work towards a future free from the fear of
bowel disease. The Institute will combine world-leading
research, education and dissemination of clinical expertise
to offer a bright outlook for people across the whole
spectrum of conditions from early and late-stage bowel
cancer to inflammatory disease. The new St. Mark’s
Institute for Bowel Disease will build on St. Mark’s global
leadership in its areas of specialisation by aggregating
resources to achieve critical scale in a number of strategic
research areas. The St. Mark’s Institute for Bowel Disease
will initially house six Research Centres, each focusing on
one aspect of bowel disease, bringing together all of the
research resources, equipment and skills required to make
Gastroenterologist Dr Ailsa Hart is Director of the
Inflammatory Bowel Disease:IBD unit at St Mark’s Hospital.
While patients can be seen at Northwick Park and Central
Middlesex hospitals, the IBD unit is predominantly based at
St Mark’s. The unit is a renowned worldwide specialist
service, which attracts both national and international
referrals. Dr Hart leads the IBD team, Mr Janindra
Warusavitarne is lead colorectal surgeon and Marian O’Connor
leads the IBD Clinical Nurse Specialist team.
The service has a multidisciplinary approach to patient
care; with a team consisting of gastroenterologists,
colorectal surgeons, IBD specialist nurses,
psychologists/psychiatrists, pharmacists and dietitians.
There is a weekly IBD multidisciplinary meeting:MDM where
the team discuss complex cases and a weekly virtual
biologics meeting:VBM to discuss patients on biological
treatments. Paediatric gastroenterologist Dr Warren Hyer
holds a monthly joint transition clinic for young people
IBD clinical nurse specialist team, led by Marian O’Connor,
offer a telephone advice line, nurse-led clinics (for
patient education, information and support), a dedicated IBD
day care unit, immunosuppressant blood monitoring service,
inpatient care, and an annual open information event:IBD
Open Day once per year.
The Unit has a breadth of Research Work including
Microbiota in IBD and the novel therapy, faecal microbial
transplantation or FMT
Assessment of causes, monitoring and novel treatment of
perianal fistulating Crohn’s disease
Causes and novel treatments for wounds in Crohn’s Disease
Optimisation of surveillance for colorectal cancer in IBD
Assessment of factors involvement in initiation and
perpetuation of pouchitis
Assessment of epigenetic factors involved in IBD
Optimisation of symptom control for IBD patients, including
fatigue, pain and incontinence
The Clinical Research Team also runs clinical trials to
offer to patients with IBD.
of the IBD team frequently lecture on all aspects of IBD
patient care throughout the year nationally and
internationally. The team support St Mark’s postgraduate
teaching terms, academic courses, and our Annual
International Congress: Frontiers in Intestinal and
Colorectal Disease. The team also run an annual IBD course
and IBD Specialist Nurse training day.
Members of the team publish in high impact journals and
contribute to national and international committees
including the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation,
British Society of Gastroenterology and United European
Inflammatory Bowel Disease team: The
Gastroenterologists:medical doctors: Dr Ailsa Hart leads the
IBD service and we are fortunate to have a large team of
gastroenterologists: Dr Ayesha Akbar, Dr Naila Arebi, Dr
Simon Gabe, Dr Adam Haycock, Dr Ian Johnson, Dr Meron Jacyna,
Dr Ashely Barnabas, Dr Mani Naghibi, Dr Jeremy Nightingale,
Dr Sharon O’Brien, Central Middlesex, Dr Max Pitcher, Dr
Brian Saunders, Dr Amar Sharif,Central Middlesex, Dr Siwan
Thomas-Gibson, Dr Wilson, and Dr Warren Hyer, Paediatric.
Colorectal Surgeons: Mr Janindra Warusavitarne leads the
surgical IBD services with his consultant colleagues: Prof
Sue Clark, Mr Omar Faiz, Mr Ian Jenkins, Mr Robin Kennedy,
Mr Peter McDonald, Professor Robin Philips and Miss
Carolynne Vaizey. Marian O’Connor leads the IBD Clinical
Nurse Specialist team and the IBD Day Care Unit.
St Mark’s Academic Institute
St Mark’s Academic Institute is part of the St Mark’s Hospital
Foundation (registered charity number 1140930).
The Academic Institute is dedicated to the continuing discovery
and development of scientific knowledge and clinical skills
applied to intestinal and colorectal disorders.
St Mark’s Hospital and the Academic Institute together form a
centre for coloproctology, attracting practitioners from the UK
and overseas to enable best practice to be spread to other
institutions. We pride ourselves on a multidisciplinary approach
to individual patients, and combine both medical and surgical
expertise with specialist nursing and paramedical skills.
Dean: Professor Sue Clark
Sub-Dean: Dr Ailsa Hart
Administrator: Miss Judith Landgrebe
Course Manager: Mrs Janice Ferrari
Administrative Assistant: Mrs Rasmita Bhudia
Multimedia Consultant: Mr Stephen Preston
Development Manager: Miss Hannah Glen
St Mark’s Hospital Foundation
St Mark’s Hospital Foundation is the registered charity (No.
1140930) which supports the work of St Mark’s Hospital. St
Mark’s Foundation is responsible for raising crucial funds for
research, education and training in disorders of the
gastrointestinal tract and pelvic floor so that treatment
outcomes for patients with bowel conditions can be improved all
over the world.
With the right research, we believe that all categories of bowel
illnesses could be eliminated in the future. As a charity, we
rely on donations from the general public to continue our vital
work. The Foundation welcomes the
support of private individuals, companies, and charitable trusts
in its mission to end the suffering inflicted by bowel diseases.
Friends of St Mark’s
The Friends of St Mark’s Hospital are those
who wish to support the work of this internationally famous
specialist hospital. The Friends make a voluntary contribution
in a variety of ways, with particular emphasis on the welfare of
patients. They get involved mainly by promoting social
activities and raising funds, which are used to improve the
comfort and well-being of St Mark’s patients.
Friends serving on the Committee are elected as Trustees of the
Charity by membership. The Committee meets monthly to conduct
business of the Friends, consider requests, and organise future
activities. There is an Annual General Meeting, which all
members are invited to, held in late June. The Friends also
produce a Newsletter for its member twice a year, providing news
of the Hospital and of the Friends, and including information on
past and future events. The
Friends of St Mark’s is a Registered Charity No. 258233.
Inside Out Stoma Support Group
Inside Out was set up in November 1999, by
stoma patients for stoma patients, to provide advice and help. A
few years later, they were incorporated into St Mark’s Hospital
Foundation. Inside Out’s main aim is to provide continuing
support, reassurance and information to anyone who may have, or
is about to have, a stoma, Colostomy, Ileostomy or Urostomy.
Inside Out provides support to patients, families and carers
before, during, and after surgery. They hold coffee mornings at
St Mark’s Hospital every two weeks; these mornings provide a
safe, enjoyable space to meet other people with similar stomas,
share advice and generally have fun. Occasionally Inside Out
arranges for manufacturers to come to the coffee mornings to
present new products.
Images in order: Dr Ayesha Akbar Consultant
Gastroenterologist, Dr Ailsa Hart: Consultant
Gastroenterologist, Dr Naila Arebi: Consultant
Gastroenterologist, Dr Warren Hyer: Consultant Paediatrician and
Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Marian O'Connor:
And here is the piece of writing by Dr Ayesha Akbar.
It is to Do with the Bowel
Dr Ayesha Akbar: Consultant
Gastroenterologist at St. Mark’s Hospital
1. Inflammatory Bowel
Disease:IBD: “Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic
inflammatory disorder of the gut, and includes Crohn’s Disease
and Ulcerative Colitis. Main presenting symptoms include
diarrhoea, blood in the stool, tummy pains and weight loss. In
addition, IBD can lead to bloating. A major cause of bloating is
gas. Gas can become trapped in the bowels to cause bloating, or
can be expelled as wind. In addition, IBD sufferers may also
experience bloating if they have scar tissue (adhesions) as a
result of previous surgery”.
2. Dehydration: “Bloating can occur as a result of
dehydration. Drinking lots of water can potentially reduce the
likelihood of bloating. This is because dehydration and
electrolyte imbalances can halt digestion as, when your body
attempts to counter-balance the effects of being dehydrated, it
holds on to excess water”.
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome:IBS: “Although the bowels and
intestines of someone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) look
normal, unlike IBD where we can see inflammation, this is not to
say their digestive system is working normally. Our digestive
systems are made up of a complicated system of nerves and IBS is
caused by a loss of coordination within this system and the way
the bowel works. Therefore, sufferers of IBS have nothing
structurally wrong but something functionally wrong. IBS is
characterised by constipation and/ or diarrhoea, bloating and
“Constipation may be the most obvious reason as to why you have
a bloated stomach. Constipation can lead to stool remaining in
the intestines, therefore giving you a hard-feeling stomach,
pain, discomfort and gas. Causes for constipation include eating
too little fibre, not drinking enough water, lack of physical
exercise, side effects of medication and stress”.
5. Hormonal changes: “Premenstrual syndrome:PMS can lead
to a bloated stomach, as it makes you prone to constipation and
fluid retention. This can occur before, during, or after the
menstrual cycle, and for some women not at all. In the early
days of a women’s cycle, oestrogen levels rise while the uterine
lining thickens. This can lead to bloating, which can become
stronger as ovulation occurs and more fluids and blood build up.
Usually, the bloating goes away when the excess fluid and blood
is shed when the woman has her period”.
6. Food Allergies or
Sensitivities: “Food allergies, sensitives or intolerances
can lead to bloating. The two most common forms of food that
lead to bloating are dairy products and foods containing gluten.
Even people who are not officially diagnosed as being ‘gluten
allergic’ (coeliac disease) can often experience sensitivity to
these foods and experience constipation and bloating. Other
foods can lead to bloating, for example apples and avocados”.
7. Lack of Sleep: “Lack of sleep affects us in many way.
With lack of sleep, our bodies release a stress hormone called
cortisol. Cortisol can disturb our digestive system to cause
things like bloating and constipation”.
8. Eating Too Fast: “Eating too fast can lead to
bloating. If we eat too quickly, it is possible that we inhale a
lot of air. Therefore, we end up with large volumes of gas and
sitting in our stomach that can manifest as bloating”.
9. Stress: “There is
much discussion around the link between IBS and stress. The guts
are very richly innervated, and stress can lead to a prolonged
stimulation of the bowel. Even if not related to IBS, stress can
put pressure on your stomach, leading to bloating”.
Images: St Mark's Hospital
WHO Group Finds Coffee Poses No Cancer
Risk: Issues Issues Warning on ‘Very Hot’ Drinks
June 16: 2016 ||
working group of scientists convened by the World Health
Organisation:WHO has concluded that coffee should no longer be
considered a carcinogen, although it found limited evidence that
drinking very hot beverages can cause oesophageal cancer.
A summary of
the final evaluations by the working group, which was convened
by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer
agency of WHO, was published today in The Lancet Oncology, and
focused on the carcinogenicity of drinking coffee, maté and very
“These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one
probable cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the
temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to
be responsible,” said Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of the
International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The working group found no conclusive evidence for a
carcinogenic effect of drinking coffee. However, the experts did
find that drinking very hot beverages probably causes cancer of
the oesophagus in humans. No conclusive evidence was found for
drinking maté at temperatures that are not very hot.
Specifically, drinking very hot beverages was classified as
probably carcinogenic to humans. This was based on limited
evidence from epidemiological studies that showed positive
associations between cancer of the oesophagus and drinking very
Studies in places such as China, Iran, Turkey and South America,
where tea or maté is traditionally drunk very hot, at about 70
°C, found that the risk of oesophageal cancer increased with the
temperature at which the beverage was drunk. In experiments
involving animals, there was also limited evidence for the
carcinogenicity of very hot water.
“Smoking and alcohol drinking are major causes of oesophageal
cancer, particularly in many high-income countries,” Dr. Wild
emphasized. “However, the majority of oesophageal cancers occur
in parts of Asia, South America, and East Africa, where
regularly drinking very hot beverages is common and where the
reasons for the high incidence of this cancer are not as well
Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common
cause of cancer worldwide and one of the main causes of cancer
death, with approximately 400,000 deaths or five per cent of all
cancer deaths, recorded in 2012. The proportion of oesophageal
cancer cases that may be linked to drinking very hot beverages
is not known.
The working group also found that cold maté did not have
carcinogenic effects in experiments on animals or in
epidemiological studies. Therefore, drinking maté at
temperatures that are not very hot was not classifiable as to
its carcinogenicity to humans.
That finding was based on inadequate evidence in humans for the
carcinogenicity of drinking cold or warm maté and inadequate
evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of cold
maté as a drinking liquid.
In addition, the group found that drinking coffee was not
classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. The large body
of evidence currently available led to the re-evaluation of the
carcinogenicity of coffee drinking, previously classified as
possibly carcinogenic to humans by International Agency for
Research on Cancer in 1991.
After reviewing more than 1,000 studies in humans and animals,
the working group found that there was inadequate evidence for
the carcinogenicity of coffee drinking overall. Many
epidemiological studies showed that coffee drinking had no
carcinogenic effects for cancers of the pancreas, female breast
and prostate, and reduced risks were seen for cancers of the
liver and uterine endometrium.
For more than 20 other cancers, the evidence was inconclusive,
according to the working group. The working group’s evaluation
is in line with the WHO Technical Report Series 916 on Diet,
Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, which states
that people should not consume drinks when they are at a
scalding hot temperature.
UN Study Urges Governments to Develop Guidelines to Promote ‘Win-Win’ Diets
|| May 19: 2016 ||
May 04: 2016 ||
Kangaroo Mother Care? Do Not Ask But Let MSF Answer
A new mother performs skin-to-skin care, which helps her pre-term baby grow by keeping it warm, promoting breastfeeding and bonding, and reducing the risk of infection. Dasht-e-Barchi public district hospital in Kabul. Image: Kate Stegeman/MSF
|| April 26: 2016 ||
Prematurity and low birth-weight are two of the biggest threats to neonatal survival worldwide. In Afghanistan, neonatal mortality remains high at 36 per 1,000 live births, and the country ranks ninth for deaths due to complications due to premature birth., When Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened its maternity service – in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health – at Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in the capital of Kabul just over a year ago, the neonatal unit was prepared for significant admissions of small babies with some special needs.
Care in the neonatal unit focuses on treating sick newborns as well as preventing complications in newborns at risk. Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), or skin-to-skin care, is highly valued as a therapy that can benefit both. The newborn, wrapped together with its mother and held skin-to-skin against her chest, is kept warm, protected from infection, and able to breastfeed regularly. Evidence shows that when prolonged—more than 20 hours per day skin-to-skin, with regular feeding—kangaroo mother care reduces mortality. But even for shorter periods, skin-to-skin is a beneficial, ‘low-tech’ mode of care that is encouraged around the world.
Dr Nikola Morton, paediatrician, and Laura Acheson, a neonatal nurse, were both passionate about consolidating skin-to-skin practice in Dasht-e-Barchi. They shared their experience of how skin-to-skin has become standard in MSF’s thriving Dasht-e-Barchi neonatal unit.
When Morton and Acheson consulted the mothers and caretakers they met in the hospital, the idea of skin-to-skin was well received. In fact, many mothers were already practising it with smaller babies in the home. In Dari, a variety of Persian spoken principally in Afghanistan, they called it “Baby growing with the warmth of the mother”.
Skin-to-skin care needs a safe and comfortable environment, as modesty and comfort are often cited as a barrier to implementing it. As in all other MSF maternal projects in Afghanistan, the Dasht-e-Barchi neonatal unit had anticipated this, dedicating a separate small room with five adult beds. With some simple modifications such as soft furnishings, and ensuring the door was closed for privacy, it was transformed into a welcoming space for the mothers and their babies.
Morton and Acheson also continued the emphasis on skin-to-skin as a routine part of newborn care in the neonatal unit. Rather than something “extra” for a stable baby, skin-to-skin should be supported whether a baby is on oxygen therapy, or fluids, or nasogastric feeding (through the nose). In Dasht-e-Barchi, the doctors now systematically prescribe “KMC” in their daily orders, and the nursing staff are also trained to initiate it with the mothers.
The success of implementing routine skin-to-skin care is exponential. The mothers themselves become the biggest advocates. They bond more closely with their babies, and are empowered as crucial caregivers for their babies, which is so important during an often dis-empowering experience when a newborn is premature and/or unwell.
 You D, Hug L, Ejdemyr S, Beise J, Idele P. Levels and trends in child mortality. Report 2015. Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. New York: UNICEF, 2015.
 Howson CP, Kinney MV, Lawn JE, editors. Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2012
Allergy Awareness Week: April 25-May 01
|| April 26: 2016 ||
Summer is just around the corner and whilst this brings sunshine, barbeques and ice cream in the park, to millions around the UK suffering with food allergies it’s also the time most challenging to resist triggers. The number of people suffering with allergies has risen sharply over the last 20 years, and with today marking the start of Allergy Awareness Week (25 April to 1 May), now is the time to find out why and raise awareness of the causes.
Allergies are a global, widespread problem affecting around a third of people worldwide at some stage in their lives. Recent research confirms a significant increase in the incidence of allergies, including food allergies - in the UK, it is estimated that as many as 50 per cent of children are diagnosed with an allergic condition at some point in their childhood.
To shed light on the reasons why allergies are becoming more common, how and when to get an assessment for diagnosis, and the treatments available to manage an allergy, we’ve been speaking to Dr Michael John Radcliffe at BMI Sarum Road Hospital in Winchester:
What is an allergy?
“An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system responds to something that to most would be a harmless substance. Many people are allergic to pollens and house dust mite, and there are various common food allergies to things like peanuts and eggs. However, almost anything can be an allergen.
For the majority of people these materials cause no problem at all but in those who are allergenic, their immune system identifies the substance as a’ threat’ and subsequently produces an inappropriate reaction.
“When someone comes into contact with an allergen the immune system triggers an antibody response and releases a substance called histamine. Histamine is the chemical that causes the irritating, uncomfortable symptoms associated with allergies – such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and swelling.”
Why are allergies becoming more common?
“There is a widely-held belief that people are more likely to suffer from allergies if they have been exposed to fewer germs in childhood. This is known as ‘the hygiene hypothesis’ and whilst it has been talked about a lot recently, it is inaccurate and continues to mislead people to think that modern hygiene standards are bad for our health. However there are main causes for allergies, and these include:
Genetics: A child born into a family where parents/siblings suffer from allergies has a higher chance of developing an allergy themselves.
Environment: Current research shows that the allergy genes may be ‘switched on’ or ‘switched off’ by external environmental factors, such as viral infections.
Antibiotics: Using antibiotics reduces the diversity and frequency of the bacteria on your skin and in your gut, making it more difficult for your immune system to function normally and distinguish harmful bacteria from harmless. Antibiotic prescription and use continues to rise in the UK and this could account for part of the increased incidence of allergies.
Childhood diet: There is some evidence that the foods you are exposed to as a child can determine whether you have an allergy when you are older. Early introduction to common allergenic foods can prevent you from developing an allergy to that food. For example, eating peanuts in the first 11 months of your life can cut the risk of peanut allergy by up to 80%. As parents are more fearful of allergies they exclude common allergens from their child’s diet and as a result the child has a higher risk of becoming allergic.”
How can you get diagnosed if you think you may be allergic?
“Tests which measure the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies are used to diagnose allergies. The two most common tests are the skin prick test and the specific IgE blood test. However, detecting the antibodies only indicates that you have been exposed to an allergen, and many people will test positive for IgE antibodies even if they have not experienced a reaction. Therefore a reliable allergy diagnosis depends on both testing and on an allergy focused history. If the allergy history and the allergy tests give a conflicted result a provocation test may be necessary. This is carried out in hospital, and you are exposed to the suspected allergen under closely monitored conditions to see if you have an allergic reaction.”
What treatment is available?
“Treatment depends on the severity of the allergy - you may be able to manage it by avoiding the allergen, or you may need a form of medication or therapy. Most allergic reactions are not extreme and the impact of an allergy can be reduced effectively by reducing exposure. Treatments offered include antihistamines, steroids and emollient creams, which all work by easing the symptoms rather than curing the condition and can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.
“A small number of people experience a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis which is usually triggered by exposure to insect stings, drugs or certain foods. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition which requires immediate emergency treatment using adrenaline. The adrenaline decreases the swelling caused by the anaphylaxis and stimulates the heart. The sooner the adrenaline is given the better the health outcome for the patient, which is why people who are at risk of this condition carry auto injector devices such as Epipen, Jext or Anapen.”
Dr Michael John Radcliffe practises at BMI Sarum Road Hospital in Winchester.
Preventing Disease Through Healthy Environments: A Global Assessment of the Burden of Disease from Environmental Risks
|| April 21: 2016 || The main message emerging from this new comprehensive global assessment ( Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks ) is that premature death and disease can be prevented through healthier environments – and to a significant degree. Analysing the latest data on the environment-disease nexus and the devastating impact of environmental hazards and risks on global health, backed up by expert opinion, this report covers more than 100 diseases and injuries.
The analysis shows that 23% of global deaths (and 26% of deaths among children under five) are due to modifiable environmental factors. Sixty-eight percent of these attributable deaths and 56% of attributable DALYs could be estimated with evidence-based comparative risk assessment methods, the assessments of other environmental exposures were completed through expert opinion. Stroke, ischaemic heart disease, diarrhoea and cancers head the list. People in low-income countries bear the greatest disease burden, with the exception of noncommunicable diseases.
These assessments should add impetus to coordinating global efforts to promote healthy environments – often through well-established, cost-effective interventions. This analysis will inform those who want to better understand the transformational spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by Heads of State in September 2015. The results of the analysis underscore the pressing importance of stronger intersectoral action to create healthier environments that will contribute to sustainably improving the lives of millions around the world.
WHO Report: Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks
Read the Report
Epilepsy Drug May Not Increase Risk of Birth Defects
||April 09, 2016, Minneapolis||Babies born to pregnant women taking the epilepsy drug lamotrigine may not be at an increased risk of birth defects, such as cleft lip, cleft palate or clubfoot, according to a study published in the April 6, 2016, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Lamotrigine is an epilepsy drug used on its own or in combination with other medications to control seizures; it is also prescribed to prevent mood swings for those with bipolar disorder. Maintaining effective epilepsy treatment during pregnancy is important because seizures may cause harm to the fetus.
“An initial study of this drug showed an increased risk for cleft lip or cleft palate, but a number of other studies since have not, and our previous study showed an increased risk of clubfoot,” said study author Helen Dolk, PhD, of Ulster University in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. “This particular study had a much larger population size―more than double the size of our previous study.”
For the study, researchers looked at data on more than 10 million births during a span of 16 years. Of those, there were 226,806 babies with birth defects. Within that group, researchers found 147 babies who were exposed to the drug lamotrigine within the first trimester of pregnancy and who had non-genetic birth defects. Researchers found that babies with cleft lip, cleft palate or clubfoot were not significantly more likely than babies with other birth defects to have been exposed to lamotrigine in the first trimester.
In the general population, one in every 700 babies is born with cleft lip or cleft palate, or 0.14 percent. Nearly one in 1,000 babies is born with clubfoot.
“We cannot exclude a small risk, but we estimate the excess risk of cleft lip or cleft palate among babies exposed to the drug to be less than one in every 550 babies. Since excess risks of cleft lip or palate have been reported for a variety of antiepileptic drugs, we recommend that for all mothers with epilepsy, whatever their drug exposure, special attention be given to examining the baby for cleft palate,” said Dolk. “We did not have specific information on lamotrigine dosage so additional study is recommended, especially of high doses.”
The study was funded by a grant from Glaxo Smith Kline, which approved the protocol for the study prior to contract, but was not involved in the conduct or management of the study, analysis or interpretation of data, or preparation of the paper.
WHO: All This Sugar, All This Diabetes
FAO, WHO Welcomes
General Assembly Proclamation of the Decade of
Action on Nutrition
million people remain chronically
children under 5 years of age are stunted.
Approximately 50 million children under 5
years are wasted
billion people suffer from micronutrient
billion people are affected by overweight of
which over 600 million are obese.
prevalence of overweight and obesity is
increasing in nearly all countries.
||April 09, 2016||World
Health Organisation (WHO) urges critical measures need
to be put in place to reduce the risk of diabetes: Could
low calorie sweeteners be part of the answer to
prevention and management?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is
marking its annual World Health Day (7 April), which celebrates
the Organization’s founding in 1948, by issuing a call for
action on diabetes
The number of people living with diabetes and
its prevalence are growing. In 2014, 422 million adults (or 8.5%
of the population) had diabetes, compared with 108 million
(4.7%) in 1980
Two studies have been issued on the role of
low calorie sweeteners in our diet and how they can help reduce
their total calorie intake during the day, preventing and
maintaining the risk of diabetes
As well as reducing sugar through straight
substitution - the studies found that people who consume low
calorie sweeteners do not compensate by eating sugar-based foods
during the day and in fact steer clear of them
Brits who used low calorie sweeteners
consumed 13g of sugar (equivalent to 3.25 teaspoons) less a day
than those using sugar
Over a month this would equate to over 100
teaspoons* of sugar (nearly 1,500 calories) when added up over
two years - this would convert into 10lb in weight
Low calorie sweeteners, such as Canderel, are
a key component of sugar substitution, allowing consumers to
reduce their calorie intake without having to sacrifice taste
The Health Day and WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is
marking its annual World Health Day (7th April), which
celebrates the organisation’s founding in 1948, by issuing a
call for action on diabetes.
With the rise in obesity over recent years,
these factors have driven the alert, with the organisation
revealing the number of people living with diabetes has almost
quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. In its first
“global report on diabetes”, the organisation highlights the
need to step up prevention, management and treatment of the
Recent research shows that low calorie
sweeteners, such as Canderel, can curb sugar cravings and reduce
calorie intake. With WHO releasing its guidelines on diabetes
prevention and management, never before has the role of low
calorie sweeteners in a daily diet been more relevant.
WHO has urged that critical measures need to
be put in place, including the expansion of health-promoting
enviroments to reduce diabetes risk factors and strengthening
capacities to help people with diabetes receive the correct
council, treatment and care they need to manage current or
The proportion of the world’s diabetes cases
are type 2 and thus largely preventable. Although some risk
factors for type 2 diabetes are heriditery, or down to ethnicity
and age – which are not modifiable. On the flip side, causes
such as obesity, an unhealthy diet, insufficient exercercise and
smoking are through lifestyle and behavioural changes, which can
prevent or at least delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people
who are deemed as high-risk.
In the case of managing or prevention, sweet treats can seem
like a distant memory and act as a barrier to a healthy and
balanced adopted diet. Encouraged to eat less free-from and
sugar-based foods, this can be somewhat challenging – and
sometimes, only something sweet will do.
For those needing to keep their blood glucose
levels stable, low-calorie sweeteners could act as a supporting
Registered nutritionist, Angela Dowden BSc
Hons RNutr explains: “Excess calorie consumption leading to
obesity is strongly linked with increased risk of diabetes, and
sugar (especially sugary drinks) has been particularly
implicated. It’s not realistic to cut all sweet enjoyment out of
your diet though - people are much more likely to throw in the
towel with healthy eating if they have strict diets that don’t
tickle their taste buds. Using table top sweeteners, such as
Canderel, to sweeten up porridge, yogurt or hot drinks can make
your diet much more enjoyable without adding calories and
without increasing diabetes risk. These sweeteners can work well
for occasional treats like home baked cakes, scones and biscuits
A study from the University of Birmingham,
and an observational study exploring data from the National Diet
and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) 2008-2012, show that low calorie
sweeteners do in fact help reduce sugar intake by curbing their
sugar cravings and therefore consuming less energy in calories.
Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE said: “The NDNS
analysis found that those who didn’t consume low calorie
sweetener ate on average 13g (3.25 teaspoons) more sugar per day
than those who did. When added up over six months this would
equate to 9516 calories or nearly 3lb in weight.
“It is these small changes that can have a
profound effect on weight over time – in this case saving the
equivalent to around 10lb in weight gain if these calories are
over and above our daily needs or allowing the same weight loss
if we made this one simple saving each day over two years.”
National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS)
The research was commissioned to investigate
whether UK low calorie sweetener consumers eat less, more or the
same amount of sugar overall than non-consumers.
The sample of 2083 adults, which was
representative of the UK population aged over 18 years old,
recorded every item of food and drink consumed over four days,
including use of low calorie sweetener - consumed by just over
one in ten adults.
The study also investigated if intake of
various sugary foods and drinks differed between consumers and
non-consumers of low calorie sweeteners and also monitored their
total energy intakes.
The NDNS found the mean difference of sugar
intake of non-low calorie sweetener consumers was 13g more sugar
per day than those who consumed low calorie sweeteners. It also
found that those eating low calorie sweeteners ate less table
sugar and preserves and also drank fewer caloric soft drinks.
Because of all this they ate less calories
overall which helps with weight management, therefore acting as
an aid for type 2 diabetes management and prevention.
Independent Research Director Sigrid Gibson
said about the study: “The overall effect of consuming low
calorie sweeteners will depend on how people use low calorie
sweeteners in the context of their overall diet.
“However, the NDNS observational study showed
that those who consumed low calorie sweeteners, such as Canderel,
do not compensate by eating more sugar in other forms. In fact,
low calorie sweetener users reduce their sugar intake from
caloric soft drinks as well as table sugar, syrups and
preserves. They don’t appear to compensate by eating more sweet
foods such as biscuits, cakes, confectionery and puddings. All
of these factors are vitally important for weight management.”
School of Psychology, University of
Birmingham study February 2015
A laboratory based study from the University
Of Birmingham researched whether people compensate at the next
meal for the reduced calories in foods sweetened with low
calorie sweeteners versus sugar.
Participants were monitored when eating a
mid-morning snack of yogurt and orange juice with either low
calorie sweetener or sugar. To investigate whether perception of
low calorie sweeteners leads to perceived hunger, half of the
participants had the snack presented with labels and half with
Two hours after eating the snack the
participants were offered a buffet lunch where their food,
hunger and energy intake at lunch were assessed. The findings
showed that total energy intake over snack and lunch were
significantly less (141 calories) after consumption of a snack
with low calorie sweetener ingredients versus a snack with sugar
as an ingredient – despite whether their snack was labelled as
sweetener or not.
The study also showed that those who consumed
low calorie sweeteners did not feel hungrier, and their mood did
not alter, than those who consumed snacks with sugar.
Similar to the NDNS analysis, there was also
no evidence that knowledge of low calorie sweetener intake means
that they will be craving sugar or get a ‘sweet tooth’.
Dr Suzanne Higgs, from the School of
Psychology, University of Birmingham, said: “There have been
studies of low calorie sweeteners which assessed intake of foods
without knowing they are having sweeteners. This study wanted to
investigate firstly if people compensate at the next meal for
the reduced calories in foods sweetened with low calorie
sweeteners versus sugar, and secondly what the effect of knowing
that foods contain low calorie sweetener on later eating?
"The study found that those who ate the
sugary snack ate significantly more calories than those who
consumed Canderel. There was also no effect of low calorie
sweetener versus sugar on a sweet appetite.”
This piece has been produced by Merisant
Merisant was formed in March 2000 to manufacture and market the
world’s most popular tabletop sweeteners; Equal® and Canderel®,
and over a dozen other products. The company employs over 400
staff worldwide and is committed to diversity.
World Health Organisation Global Report on
Searching for Water in the Solar System and Beyond for
Water is Life
April 04, 2016: As NASA missions
explore our solar system and search for new worlds, they are
finding water in surprising places. Water is but one piece of
our search for habitable planets and life beyond Earth, yet it
links many seemingly unrelated worlds in surprising ways.
Perhaps the most surprising water worlds are the five icy moons
of Jupiter and Saturn that show strong evidence of oceans
beneath their surfaces: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto at
Jupiter, and Enceladus and Titan at Saturn. Scientists using
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recently provided powerful
Ganymede has a saltwater, sub-surface
ocean, likely sandwiched between two layers of ice.
In this artist’s concept, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant
planet Jupiter. The Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on
the moon generated by Ganymede’s magnetic fields. A saline ocean
under the moon’s icy crust best explains shifting in the auroral
belts measured by Hubble.
( Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA)
Exercise May Slow Brain Aging by 10 Years for Older
People: New Research
March 24, 2016: Minneapolis: Exercise
in older people is associated with a slower rate of decline in
thinking skills that occurs with aging. People who reported
light to no exercise experienced a decline equal to 10 more
years of aging as compared to people who reported moderate to
intense exercise, according to a population-based observational
study published in the March 23, 2016, online issue of
Neurology, the medical journal
of the American Academy of Neurology.
“The number of people over the age of 65 in the United States is
on the rise, meaning the public health burden of thinking and
memory problems will likely grow,” said study author Clinton B.
Wright, MD, MS, of the University of Miami in Miami, Fla., and
member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Our study showed
that for older people, getting regular exercise may be
protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer.”
For the study, researchers looked at data on 876 people enrolled
in the Northern Manhattan Study who were asked how long and how
often they exercised during the two weeks prior to that date. An
average of seven years later, each person was given tests of
memory and thinking skills and a brain MRI, and five years after
that they took the memory and thinking tests again.
Of the group, 90 percent reported light exercise or no exercise.
Light exercise could include activities such as walking and
yoga. They were placed in the low activity group. The remaining
10 percent reported moderate to high intensity exercise, which
could include activities such as running, aerobics, or
calisthenics. They were placed in the high activity group.
When looking at people who had no signs of memory and thinking
problems at the start of the study, researchers found that those
reporting low activity levels showed a greater decline over five
years compared to those with high activity levels on tests of
how fast they could perform simple tasks and how many words they
could remember from a list.
The difference was equal to that of 10 years
of aging. The difference also remained after researchers
adjusted for other factors that could affect brain health, such
as smoking, alcohol use, high blood pressure and body mass
“Physical activity is an attractive option to reduce the burden
of cognitive impairment in public health because it is low cost
and doesn’t interfere with medications,” said Wright. “Our
results suggest that moderate to intense exercise may help older
people delay aging of the brain, but more research from
randomized clinical trials comparing exercise programs to more
sedentary activity is needed to confirm these results.”
The study was a collaboration between the University of Miami
and Columbia University and was supported by the National
Institutes of Health and National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke.
Brain Tumour Research Funding Inadequate and Not Given
Sufficient Priority: The Petitions Committee Report
Image: House of Commons
The report concludes "patients with brain
tumours are failed at every stage – from diagnosis and treatment
to research funding", placing the onus on the Government to take
remedial action to correct decades of under-funding.
March 14, 2016: The Petitions
Committee publishes its report "Funding for research into brain
tumours", revealing the distressing experiences of people whose
lives have been affected by the disease, as well as exploring
the reasons behind the historic underfunding of research under
Report key findings
Key areas covered by the report include:
Awareness and diagnosis
Barriers to research
Setting research priorities
Burden of disease
Availability of therapeutic drugs
This is the Committee’s first ever report. The petition
"increase funding into brain tumour research" now has over
120,000 signatures, and will be debated in Parliament.
Background to the report
The inquiry was triggered by a petition started by Maria Lester,
whose brother Stephen Realf lost his life as a result of a brain
tumour. The Committee took evidence on diagnosis and awareness
of the condition, as well as on current funding levels, research
priorities and the challenges facing brain tumour charities.
The report now calls for the Government to give a clear
statement of whether it believes that current levels of funding
are adequate, and if not, asks what it will do to ensure that
funding for brain tumour research increases.
The Committee heard moving examples of the difficulty that
patients had had in being diagnosed with a brain tumour, as well
as clinical evidence on the challenges involved in identifying
the condition early. It recommends that measures be immediately
taken to increase awareness amongst health professionals of the
symptoms of brain tumours. The report concludes "patients with
brain tumours are failed at every stage – from diagnosis and
treatment to research funding", placing the onus on the
Government to take remedial action to correct decades of
Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions
Committee, said: "The Petitions Committee’s first report makes
clear recommendations to the Government about the lack of
funding for research into brain tumours. As part of this inquiry
we heard testimonies both from victims of this terrible disease,
and from clinical specialists working in the area.
The evidence was clear – something must be done to improve
outcomes for patients, and barriers to research must be removed.
This report was initiated by the public; it is a vitally
important issue and I hope the Government takes our
Maria Lester, who started the petition with the support of the
charity Brain Tumour Research, said: "Brain tumours are the
biggest cancer killer of people under 40, and it is vital that
funding for research is swiftly increased. I welcome this
important report by the Petitions Committee, and would like to
thank its members for the care and hard work that has gone into
compiling it. The evidence makes for powerful reading, and I
hope that it will pave the way for fast and meaningful action.
I would urge the Government not to turn a blind eye, but to look
at ways in which the UK could become a world leader in brain
tumour research. It may be too late for my brother Stephen, but
it is not too late to save others from this cruel disease."
Summary of the Report
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and
people under 40. In terms of the numbers of life years lost, it
is the most fatal of all cancers. In spite of this, research
into brain tumours has been underfunded for decades. As a
result, survival rates for brain tumours - unlike those for many
other cancers - have improved very little in the last thirty
years. Those who do survive can suffer life-altering
Brain tumour patients have been let down by a lack of leadership
from successive governments. The Governments response to the
petition which prompted this inquiry gave us little reason to
believe that the Department for Health had grasped the
seriousness of this issue. The Government’s position seems to be
that it has no role to play in identifying gaps in research
funding for specific cancers and taking decisive action to
provide funding where it is needed. The already-stretched
voluntary sector is left to find and fill the gaps in research
funding. In doing this, successive governments have failed brain
tumour patients and their families for decades. The Government
must now put this right.
This is a public-led inquiry started by a petition which was
signed by over 120,000 members of the public. The creator of the
petition, Maria Lester, told us that she was “disappointed with
the initial response from the Department of Health, which spoke
not in terms of life and death in children but of criteria and
process.” The Committee hopes that the Government will respond
to this report and its recommendations with a different
Read The Report
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Thomas' Hospital to
Highlight Mental Health
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Jonny
Benjamin: Image: St Thomas' Hospital
March 13, 2016: The Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge visited St Thomas’ Hospital today (Thursday 10
March) to meet an inspirational mental health campaigner as part
of their focus on suicide prevention and support for those
bereaved by suicide.
They met Jonny Benjamin, who returned to St Thomas’ where he was
cared for after he contemplated taking his own life on Waterloo
Bridge in 2008, and Neil Laybourn, the man who talked him down.
After receiving help, Jonny launched a social media campaign
called #FindMike, with the charity Rethink Mental Illness, to
find the man who saved him in order to offer his thanks. The
campaign succeeded and Jonny was reunited with Neil.
Jonny believes that if he had received help for his mental
health challenges earlier in life he would not have reached his
crisis point. His aim is to break the stigma associated with
mental health and put mental health education on the national
Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS
Foundation Trust, says: “It was an honour to welcome the Duke
and Duchess of Cambridge and Jonny and Neil to St Thomas’
“Mental health is a huge priority at our Trust, and we’re so
supportive of the positive awareness that is being raised.
“In the eight years since Jonny was brought to our A&E
Department, we have established a dedicated team of mental
health professionals to ensure our patients are kept as safe as
possible, and receive the most appropriate care.
“Alongside their work in A&E, they also work closely with
community-based mental health services and offer psychological
care for families of people with mental illness.”
The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry are making mental health a
major focus of their work in the year ahead. The Duke of
Cambridge is particularly keen to better understand the
difficult issues around suicide, bullying, and the mental health
of young men. These are issues he has been exposed to in both
his official role with homelessness charities and in his work as
an air ambulance pilot.
British Heart Foundation Says: Happiness Can Break Your
But nothing could break
this heart, other than time, weather and elements!
For someone's heart was
imaginative enough to get a chalk and draw a heart
on a tree somewhere in London
Happy events can trigger a heart condition known as takotsubo
syndrome, according to research.
The condition is also called acute stress cardiomyopathy, broken
heart syndrome and apical ballooning syndrome.
Research published in the European Heart Journal (1), studied
485 takotsubo syndrome patients worldwide, where there was a
definite emotional trigger, and found 20 (4%) had been following
happy and joyful events. The vast majority (96%) had occurred
after sad and stressful events, such as death of a spouse, child
Takotsubo syndrome is a temporary condition where your heart
muscle becomes suddenly weakened or ‘stunned’. The left
ventricle, one of the heart’s chambers, changes shape developing
a narrow neck and a round bottom.
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart
Foundation, said: “Takotsubo syndrome is a rare event in which
people experience heart attack-like symptoms and show signs of
heart muscle weakness.
"Fortunately, unlike a heart attack, it usually recovers
completely with no long term damage to the heart. The cause of
Takotsubo is unknown but it can be triggered by a recent
stressful event, such as a bereavement, which is why it is
sometimes referred to as the broken heart syndrome.
"This study suggests that in a very few cases the triggering
event may be a happy one. Much more research is needed to
understand how such emotional events can trigger temporary heart
damage in a few susceptible individuals.”
'Silent Cancer' Awareness in Necessary
March 04, 2016: This week the spotlight has
shone on ovarian cancer after concerns about possible links to
talcum powder use following the death of a woman in the US.
Although uncertainty remains over whether talc does cause
ovarian cancer, the news sparked concern about the lifestyle
factors associated with the common cancer, asking why so many
cases go unnoticed.
While ovarian cancer is most common in women
who have been through the menopause, it can affect any woman at
any time in her life. Spotting the signs and an early diagnosis
can mean the difference between life and death for women across
the UK. As the fifth most common cancer, more than 7,100 women
are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the UK, and
devastatingly, the majority of those - three-quarters of cases -
are only noticed once the cancer has spread.
Professor Gordon J.S. Rustin, Consultant Medical Oncologist at
BMI Bishops Wood Hospital argues that more needs to be done to
encourage early diagnosis, and urges younger women to take the
time to find out the symptoms of the cancer, with 20 percent of
cancers affecting those under the age of 50.
“Ovarian cancer is any cancerous growth that arises from the
different parts of the ovaries”, explains Professor Rustin. “The
majority of the cancers we call ovarian cancer actually arise
from the outer lining, called epithelium, of the fallopian tube
or ovary. In the UK, ovarian cancer is the 5th most common
cancer among women, after breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung
cancer and uterine (womb) cancer. Unfortunately, patients
frequently present with advanced disease after the cancer has
spread throughout the abdomen. Only a quarter of these cancers
are caught early and removed before they have spread, which
means more awareness of the symptoms and the need for early
diagnosis is needed.
“Early diagnosis is crucial,” Prof Rustin continues, “ovarian
cancer is often called the ‘silent cancer’ as patients do not
develop symptoms until after the cancer has spread, causing a
more advanced tumour that is more difficult to locate and treat.
The symptoms are similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome,
but a patient who develops new symptoms of bloating, swelling,
change in bowel habit or abdominal pains needs to be
On how to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer, Prof Rustin
explains, “While we don’t know the exact causes of ovarian
cancer, there are a few things that women can do to take control
of their risk. The factors that are known to increase your risk
“Age - your risk of ovarian cancer goes up as you grow older.
Most cases of ovarian cancer happen after the menopause, which
is why around eight in ten cases of the disease are in women
Height and weight - the risk of ovarian cancer is higher in
women who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30, but haven’t
been through the menopause yet. Research has also found taller
women are more at risk of ovarian cancer than shorter women.
Although a woman cannot reduce her height, she can reduce her
weight and avoid obesity to reduce her risk factors.
Smoking - smoking increases the risk of mucinous ovarian
tumours. If you stop smoking, your risk will eventually go back
down to normal.
Family history - if you have at least two close relatives - your
mother, sister or daughter - who have had ovarian or breast
cancer, you have a higher risk of developing the condition.
Hormone replacement therapy - HRT has been shown to be linked to
a rise in the risk of ovarian cancer, especially when using
oestrogen only preparations. There is no increased risk in past
users, which suggests that women who need hormone replacement
therapy for menopausal symptoms should take them for as short a
time as possible.
Breast cancer - if you have had breast cancer, you could have
twice the risk of ovarian cancer compared to women who haven’t.
This is because sometimes breast cancer and ovarian cancer are
linked to the same faulty genes.
Fertility - when your ovaries release an egg each month, the
surface bursts to let it out. Every time this happens your ovary
has to repair itself, which means cells need to divide. The more
times your ovary produces an egg, the more times it needs to
repair itself and the greater the chance of abnormal cell
growth. This could be why your risk of ovarian cancer falls if
you take the pill, have multiple pregnancies or breastfeed.
During these times, your ovaries do not release eggs.
Call to Highlight Drinking-While-Pregnant Risks
Instilled by the Billion-pound-worth Alcohol
concept of 'to drink alcohol' to 'chill out' is an
absolutely untrue thing to say, think and do. No one
can 'chill out' drinking alcohol for it is a
chemical that would excite one's body (and
consequently alter the state of mind) and make it do
things that a natural human body in a 'relaxed' and
'natural state of homeostasis' would not do. It is
simple. One does not and cannot 'relax', 'chill
out', 'enjoy' by drinking alcohol. It simply offers
One, on the other hand, would
relax and enjoy if one drinks water for one is made
of 67% of it. A lot of people complain of being
tired and exhausted at work or after work. Chances
are they are so because they (most people do not
drink enough water) are dehydrated throughout the
day because they have not drunk enough water
(because no one spends money making water
'fashionable' so people do not drink enough water).
Drink enough water (common sense would tell you that
it should be 67% of your total 'food' intake of the
day: some of the water would come from the solids
but most of the water you need, you would have to
People Drink a Lot Less
Water Than What is Necessary in the UK; Gemma
Additionally, to 'treat oneself'
(because you deserve it'), 'pamper yourself', 'have
me time' etc are all advertising clichés that offers
ruinous way of 'brewed' thinking because no one
poisons themselves when they 'treat themselves but
drinking alcohol is precisely that. No one 'pampers
themselves' by ensuring they are chemically
imbalanced and their body is facing chemical turmoil
because they have drunk a lot of alcohol. And 'me
time' what is this me time! This is the lowest form
of cliché that has ever been invented!
The NHS and the entire 'force'
working in it ought to start a 'crusade' against
these myths and take on the alcohol industry's
advertising power (and it has absolutely substantial
power of money!) for the largest expense on the NHS
is made by alcohol related casualty treatments and
the treatments and care of alcohol related multitude
It is absolutely not 'cool' to
It is cool to do and find
something as astonishing as discovering the human
genome, it is cool to discover Polonium and Radium
and Pluto and the Planet 9. Or find a link between a
disease and its cause as in this:
suggests a different mechanism for amyloid plaque
genesis. Our findings support the hypothesis that
amyloid plaque pathology is related to the presence
of axonal damage produced subsequent to the TBI.''
It is not cool to be led by
advertisements but cool to go and volunteer with a
charity or go and read to elderly people living at
homes or go to an inner city school and work as a
'Mentor' during lunch break.
If you want to have 'me time'
then go and do something where you simply forget to
think about yourself because the joy of what you are
doing is so immense, wonderful and immeasurable that
you would have no time thinking about yourself or
that me. Think about the most happy time of your
life and you would find in that time you simply were
not even aware of yourself.
Let us direct you: you became a
mother and the nurse gave the baby to you for the
first time. Those moments: nothing else existed (not
even your own self to your own awareness) but that
tiny little face and her tiny little sparkling eyes
looking at you and her tiny little fingers pressing
on your fingers. That is me ( Mindful Eternity),
that is the best of that me when it becomes
everything else without the ego or the selfishness.
That is the light. That is the Clair de lune of
life, that is the Moonlight Sonata of life, that one
must seek, that humanity must seek.
Grasp that Mindful Eternity in
your moments and seek the Mindful Infinity in your
work and creations (another MI) and between the
spread of the Mindful Eternity and Mindful Infinity
you are a Soulful-Being, an infinity unfolding
itself and that is an awe in the Universe.
Life Elle: P: 080216
4 February 2016: Government and society need
to do more to address attitudes to alcohol and drinking during
pregnancy in light of the impact on unborn children.
The BMA has updated a 2007 report, Alcohol and Pregnancy:
Preventing and Managing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
The association is urging all UK Governments to do more to
highlight the risks of drinking during pregnancy, which can
result in anything from mild cognitive impairment to significant
developmental disorders associated with FAS (fetal alcohol
Revised guidelines published in January by the UK chief medical
officers advise men and women to drink no more than 14 units of
alcohol per week.
A unit will typically equate to half a pint of ordinary-strength
beer, lager or cider at 3 to 4 per cent volume or a small (125
ml) glass of 12 per cent-strength wine.
A commitment to doing more to tackle FAS was approved at last
year’s BMA annual representative meeting. As a result, the
association has updated and republished its 2007 report.
BMA board of science chair Baroness Sheila Hollins said: ‘It has
long been known that maternal alcohol consumption can have
damaging effects on the fetus.
'Yet the stark reality is that a large number of children are
born every year in the UK with life-long physical, behavioural
and cognitive disabilities caused by alcohol consumption during
‘There is still a scandalous lack of support for many of these
children, who live and grow up with the impact of their
impairments without the education, emotional and social support
they require to fulfil their potential.
'Too often they go without diagnosis or are misdiagnosed.’
The BMA recommends that women should avoid drinking altogether
Read further on
Alcohol and pregnancy: Preventing and
managing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
The Dangers of Seeking Sun Tan from Sun Beds
|Dr Andrew Birnie
There has been a significant rise
in skin cancer cases in the UK over the last 30
years, a statistic that is clear from the
year-on-year increase in referrals we have been
seeing to our urgent skin cancer clinic. There is no
question that sunbeds increase the risk of
developing melanoma – the World Health Organisation
has classified them as carcinogenic. We need to
improve awareness of the need for responsible
tanning. Too many teenagers and women are
prioritising their looks over their health, and
failing to recognise the long-term damage they could
be doing to their bodies. What you need to remember
is that tanning of any intensity is the body's
response to DNA damage caused by UV light. While
winter is darker and colder and people can feel they
need a boost to their spirits during these months,
using a tanning bed is not a healthy solution. I
would never advocate anyone to intentionally seek a
tan and thus increase their risk of developing skin
Dr Andrew Birnie
Consultant Dermatologist and
Dermatological Surgeon at BMI The Chaucer Hospital
In the depths of January, a summer holiday
and glowing heat can seem endlessly distant. While the summer
brings thoughts of long days drinking cocktails by a pool,
winter bring associations only of dark, cold days and pasty
white skin. A glowing tan is no longer acknowledged as simply a
benefit of a summer holiday - sun-tanned radiance is sought
after all year round, regardless of the weather outside. For
those of us not lucky enough to be able to escape to the
Caribbean for a winter break, many will be looking at ways to
get that glow through less healthy, unnatural means.
The number of women jumping onto sunbeds to top up their tan is
rising, and skin cancer remains one of the highest priority
health concerns for men and women living in the UK. Malignant
melanoma cases in the UK have increased more rapidly than any of
the ten most common cancers that we face today. Incidence rates
of malignant melanoma have continued to increase since the 80s,
with cases for women having increased by more than triple (253%
increase) since then, and for men have increased by more than
six-fold (518% increase).
These figures represent a real and significant threat to the
health of the UK population, and the increase is linked to
changes in behaviour and attitudes towards the sun and sun-beds.
A study published in December 2011 concluded that 86% of
malignant melanoma cases in the UK the previous year were linked
to exposure to UVR from the sun and sunbeds, signifying the
significant risk caused by the use of sunbeds.
Dr Andrew Birnie, Consultant Dermatologist and Dermatological
Surgeon at BMI The Chaucer Hospital, comments on the new threat
to young people in the UK, blaming sunbeds for the increased
risk of melanoma development, and advises on how and when
sunbeds can be safe.
“There has been a significant rise in skin
cancer cases in the UK over the last 30 years, a statistic that
is clear from the year-on-year increase in referrals we have
been seeing to our urgent skin cancer clinic. There is no
question that sunbeds increase the risk of developing melanoma –
the World Health Organisation has classified them as
''We need to improve awareness of the need
for responsible tanning. Too many teenagers and women are
prioritising their looks over their health, and failing to
recognise the long-term damage they could be doing to their
bodies. What you need to remember is that tanning of any
intensity is the body's response to DNA damage caused by UV
light. While winter is darker and colder and people can feel
they need a boost to their spirits during these months, using a
tanning bed is not a healthy solution.
''I would never advocate anyone to
intentionally seek a tan and thus increase their risk of
developing skin cancer.
Dr Birnie continues, “I would never advocate the use of
commercial tanning beds to any of my patients, given the risk of
skin cancer. However, UV therapy can be prescribed by some
dermatologists for the treatment of inflammatory skin disease.
''This is carefully regulated with precise
wavelengths and dosages to minimise the risk, whilst gaining the
benefit of treatment. Without a medical prescription, there is
no benefit great enough to outweigh the downsides of the
''However, people cannot forget that sunbeds
are not the only cause, the sun itself can be extremely
dangerous for certain people if used irresponsibly - short
intense bursts of UV, whether this be from sunshine or tanning
beds, play a major role in the development of the cancer. Whilst
a tan may be a by-product of living an active lifestyle, it is
important that regular use of sunscreen of an SPF of 30 or
greater is promoted to minimise the risk of sunburn and skin
For further contact: Penny Mitchell at BMI Healthcare T: 020
3283 6644 | Mob: 07342073155 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About BMI Healthcare
BMI Healthcare is the UK’s largest private hospital group in the
UK with 59 private hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales,
plus four private treatment centres. All are equipped with
advanced medical equipment and facilities, and all meet
stringent Quality of Care standards. This includes its
commitment to ensuring minimum risk of contracting any
hospital-related illness, such as MRSA and treatment in a
same-sex environment. Consultants practising and treating
patients at BMI hospitals have fulfilled rigorous eligibility
criteria that are used to ensure patients receive the highest
possible standard of care, and work attentively to ensure best
practice with their patients.
About Dr Andrew Birnie
Dr Andrew Birnie is the longest established Mohs surgeon in Kent
and lead clinician (clinical director) for dermatology for East
Kent Hospitals covering an area with one of the highest
incidences of skin cancer in the UK. He received excellent
experience in skin cancer management during his training in
Nottingham and fellowship in Cardiff. He is passionate about
teaching and has regularly taught on national and international
courses. Dr Birnie also spent a year in Durban, South Africa
where he set up a skin cancer centre, offering free treatment
for those who could not afford care, from which he trained the
local dermatologists in both basic and advanced skin cancer
In addition, Dr Birnie has created Altruist Dermatologist
Sunscreen, a very high quality SPF 30 sunscreen with extended
UVA protection, in partnership with some of the best formulation
scientists in Europe, to provide premium quality sunscreen at an
affordable price. This sunscreen has received fantastic feedback
from fellow consultant dermatologists around the UK. Dr Birnie (
from the sale of this product) seeks to offer financial
contributions to to the charity Under the Same Sun, which
supports people with Albinism in Africa. Altruist’s mission is
to reduce the incidence of skin cancer through increased use of
quality sunscreen together with better education and awareness.
Life Elle : Un-clichéd Thinking: There is
No Such Thing as Winter Blues Unless We are Looking for Them
Everyone has thought, spoken and expressed
the negativity about, say, winter or rain and there appears a
'culture' of thinking the same thing with the same ideas and
expressing them with the same words and in the same manners: so
that there is winter blues, so there is 'horrible rain' or
Winter is as much necessary to humanity and
life on earth as the summer, autumn and spring. Or rain for that
matter as much, if not more than, light itself. Winter is
neither blue nor dreadful. Without winter the earth and the life
she supports to spring about soon after winter, there won't be a
spring for the earth requires regeneration.
Having been compressed to the core with the
cold and when suddenly this cold-clasp is let go the earth, the
soil opens up; softening so that life could grow out of it. If
this does not happen the earth won't be able to sustain the life
that must grow in the Spring for us to be able to sustain life.
Look at winter without prejudice and see how
it is for yourself and do not use the clichéd
thoughts/expressions/words/even the way you look into things and
there is no winter blues as there is no such blues in any
season. There is none whatsoever. There is no blue Monday and
Black Sunday or Manic Monday vice versa. These terms are made up
by agencies wanting to sell, to make something fashionable so
that money could be made.
If they are giving something absolutely FREE
no one needs to run and create a mayhem rushing there if they
really stop and ask: do I need it! You bought a jacket just
before Christmas, do you need to run and create a public
disorder situation at a Mall even if they are giving jackets for
FREE (let alone they are on sale)? Do you need all these
jackets? But people do not think like this: they want to save:
how is one saving money if they are spending it? Can anyone stop
to really explain this puzzle for us? How can one save when one
is spending money ( and often they are spending the money that
they did not have). Do you save by borrowing money and then
paying interests/charges on them?
So there we go: one has a life and one ought
to look to opportunities to live it. One ought to begin by
celebrating the fact that one is alive and from there, with
grace and thankfulness for being alive one then seeks out the
avenues of light and the dark through which one becomes
connected to the wider life and life-flows.
The Grammarians do not write or make up
Grammar, the languages themselves create them; the Grammarians
simply codify them for us. So abandon the arrogant assertions by
the so called pundits, saying, here is how you should live,
think, do, speak: you go about without prejudice and see for
Life Elle for Life Living Health Well Being and
Life Elle is
about Life, Living Health and Well Being for Achieving Homeostasis: except
it would like to challenge clichéd thinking; a whole lot of propaganda is
made, thought out and written in such a way as if to suggest that it all
came out of a trained 'robot'. That what is made 'fashionable' has been done
so because a lot of people/companies spent a lot of money to make something
'fashionable' so that they can recover the money they had spent in making it
''fashionable' and then, the most important part, they can make profit out
of it. According to this clichéd view of health and well being, it seems,
that humans are just bodies that one needs to pump them up with this and
that pills/foods/drinks/supplements to achieve well being.
Life-Elle section would present a view of well being, what we would like
call as homeostasis (Medicine uses the term slightly differently but with
the same principle), different than the clichéd expression of it that has
saturated every place where health is uttered. And in all this there is
created a false image of a, what we would term as, macho image that is
divided into: a macho he and a macho she. It is the same thing except that
propaganda has created it: both expressions are the same: macho being the
The problem is humanity has nothing to do with macho: being male and female
is not political thing; it is a matter of nature.
In water there is 2:1 hydrogen and oxygen like in humanity there is 1:1
(roughly) male and female. So long water remains water no one can separate
hydrogen and oxygen from water yet both are there in the water inseparably.
Like so, so long male and female are in the water of humanity they can be
felt being there yet humanity cannot be separated into two kinds: for male
and female are like the hydrogen and oxygen of the water of humanity.
Therefore, the most dreadful thing that has happened in society is this
creation and marketing of this machos: macho he and macho she. And they are
nothing but bodies to which they are told to pump in all that they could to
ensure 'health and well being'; yet it won't arrive for if one stands at the
wrong platform with the wrong ticket one would not only fail to reach one's
destination but also, at the same time, waste all one's life, wasting and
being miserable at the wrong place, at the wrong time at the wrong space.
Imagine, a fountain.
There are three elements to a fountain
The structure that has the mechanism to hold the system in a way so that the
water could run smoothly
The flowing water that runs through the fountain
the outer Universe in which the fountain structure and the flowing water
find themselves working in.
There is no fountain without the structure of the fountain, no fountain
without the running water and there definitely is not fountain unless there
is Trafalgar Square where the famous fountain is situated and runs on (
Trafalgar Square is the Universe for the purposes of the fountain).
A human is such a fountain with three parts: its physiology, its mind/soul
and the Universe in which it must operate, live and be. The fountain
structure is our physiology that must be kept in a well managed and healthy
state, the flowing water that is the 'soul' of the fountain is the human
mind/soul and the Universe against which the fountain must find its
harmonious equilibrium and a human mind/soul must do so, too, in order to
achieve homeostasis; peace and serenity in other words. Those who promote a
parroted view of humans as piles of bodies that need to be fed with
pills/supplements/junks of this and that could never achieve or show a way
for humans to be happy for they are missing the very plot. If the fountain
structure is the best possible design and creation of architecture and there
is no running water there is no fountain. If there is no Universe or it is
impossible for a static structure to stand because the earth is shaking or
the storms/tornadoes etc are shattering everything or the wind brings in
poisonous gasses that destroy the structure of the fountain or the sun dries
the water too quickly etc than there would be no fountain. And if everything
there is what is to be there except the running water, there is definitely
going to be no fountain. That is the soul of the fountain, that is the life-elle
of the fountain. If it is not there or it is not running well or it lacks
the right pressure etc it simply won't run.
A human mind/soul is the
architect of the whole human being and that architect decides on the nature,
course and means and mechanics of becoming a fountain and that means it must
seek continually to achieve, maintain, sustain, foster, enhance and carry
forward: homeostasis. Human health and well being is not absolutely a
physical thing. What people mean when they say, she/he died simply because
he/she had lost the will to live. This is what it is: it is the will to live
that seeks its hardest to live. The will is not the body nor the outer
Universe; rather it is at the connecting point of the two: bringing the
Universe to flow towards the body and the body to flow towards the Universe
and in this process this human mind/soul is played as a reed/flute/violin
and the music of humanity is created.
There is a possibility
that one could ask the wrong question and if one does so one will not get
the answers that one needed.
Suppose, someone needs to
get to London Victoria Station from Leamington Spa and one goes to the Train
Station and asks the Woman at the Counter: what do the trains do?
The answer to the question
might come with some sarcasm from the Officer but it won't help the person
asking the question who needs to get to London Victoria.
So, when one asks what
would make one happy, one is asking the wrong question; since nothing could
make anything happy because happiness is simply not a matter to achieve,
acquire, own or hold a lot of things under one's possession.
When a fish is in the
natural water in the Pacific Ocean in which, suppose, the water is as nature
intended the water to be, it would he happy except it simply won't ask or
seek to be happy: it simply is 'happy'. This being happy is being at
homeostasis, in harmony with oneself and the outer, wider, deeper and
How to be such a happy
A human is like the bubble
that blooms momentarily achieving its homeostasis against and with the
forces of the Universe and it exists as long as it could achieve, maintain,
sustain, foster, enhance and carry forward the homeostasis. As soon as it
loses that state it simply vanishes.
And one does not achieve
homeostasis by eating too much, drinking too much, sleeping too much,
working too much, buying and piling up too much and too many things etc
It is not a matter of what
or how; rather it is a matter of how one understands oneself. Going back to
Socrates: know thyself and you would find you are spread into the Universe
that would like to sing through you and you would like to sing through the
Universe: one being the violin of the other. When the human soul lets
herself become the violin of the Universe to be played or finds herself in a
position to accept the Universe being the violin for her and she plays there
cannot be but music. Metaphorically speaking, that is the homeostasis a
human soul should seek ( and having reached it, as the Fish in the Pacific
Ocean, that soul would simply forget to ask or seek happiness for it simply
is so because it is now being created into music and creating music into
both it is becoming: human.)
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February 02, 2016