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Humanity Will Continue to Live an Inferior Life Than What is Possible Until the Two Halves: All Individuals in Them: That Make It are Absolutely Fundamentally and Jubilantly Equal at Liberty


Year Gamma: London: Thursday: January 04: 2018
First Published: September 24: 2015

Change: Either Happens or Is Made: When It is Not Made It Happens Regardless in Which We Become Mere Logs and Get Washed Away in and by Utterly Mechanical Forces of Dehumanisation: When Made Change is Created by Our Conscious Choices, Efforts, Initiatives and Works: In the Former We Let Go Off Our Humanity So That Dehumanisation Determines and Dictates the Existence of Our Sheer Physiologies: But in the Later We Claim, Mark and Create Our Humanity as to the Change We Choose to Make and Create It Onto Reality: To Nurture, Foster, Support, Sustain, Maintain, Enhance, Expand, Empower and Enrich the Very Humanity That We Are:  As Individuals, As Families, As Communities and As Societies All of Which Now Exist in the Fabrics of Time-Space of What is Called Civic Society: One That Exists by Natural Justice and Functions by the Rule of Law: Ensuring Liberty and Equality, Along with Purpose and Meaning of Existence, Exist in Each and Every Soul Equally at All Times: The Humanion






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Life-Elle Arkive Year Alpha

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Life-Elle Arkive Year Beta 2016


Many in One: St Mark's Hospital

L-R: Dr Ayesha Akbar, Marian O'Connor, Dr Warren Hyer, Dr Naila Arebi and Dr Ailsa Hart

|| July 24: 2016 || ά. 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, Inside Out Stoma Support Group and last but not least, Friends of St Mark’s. ‽: 250716

Access Campaign: MSF Calls on Pfizer to Match GSK’s Move and Offer the Humanitarian Community Access to the Lowest Price Available Globally

Image: MSF

|| September 21: 2016: MSF News || ά. Médecins Sans 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 price.

GSK’s price 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 package.

“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 serve.

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 developing countries.

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 humanitarian organisations.

“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

Image: Finland Government

|| September 19: 2016 || ά. Pirkko Mattila, 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 and immigrants.

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 nutrition.

New 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 63324
Eero Lahtinen, Ministerial Counsellor for Health:Medical Affairs, antimicrobial resistance, tel. +358 2951 63320:

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Teenage Weight Gain Down to Dramatic Drop in Calories They Burn

Image: FAO

|| September 08: 2016: University of Exeter News || ά. 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.

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World Water Week: UNICEF Highlights How Women and Girls Lose Valuable Time and Opportunities Collecting Water

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 || ά. 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 2030.

“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 right.”

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. ω.

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To Pose a Question: Why Do You Pause?

Image: BMA

|| August 07: 2016 || ά. 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 personal relationships.”

What are common symptoms of the menopause?

Menopausal symptoms can include:

hot flushes
night sweats
reduced sexual drive
vaginal dryness
painful intercourse
difficulty sleeping
mood changes
joint symptoms
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 available.

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.  ω.

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Many in One: St Mark's Hospital

|| July 24: 2016 || ά. 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, Inside Out 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

St. 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 rapid progress.

Consultant 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 with IBD.

The 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

Intestinal immunology
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 patients
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.

Members 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 Gastroenterology.

The 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.

The 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.

The Team

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: Consultant Nurse: 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 abdominal pain”.

4. Constipation: “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”. ω.

Images: St Mark's Hospital


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WHO Group Finds Coffee Poses No Cancer Risk: Issues Issues Warning on ‘Very Hot’ Drinks

|| June 16: 2016 || ά. An international 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 hot beverages.

“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 hot beverages.

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 understood.”

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. ω.


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UN Study Urges Governments to Develop Guidelines to Promote ‘Win-Win’ Diets

Image: FAO

|| May 19: 2016 || ά. Only a handful of governments have issued guidelines promoting “win-win” diets that can help tackle two of the most urgent challenges of today: securing good nutrition for all and protecting the environment, according to a new study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization:FAO published today.

The Plates, Pyramids, Planet report, compiled in collaboration with the Food Climate Research Network:FCRN at the University of Oxford, concludes that a plant-based diet has advantages for health and the environment.

Yet only four countries – Brazil, Germany, Sweden and Qatar – promote diets and food systems that are not only healthy but sustainable, the study says. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom have since followed suit.

“Growing numbers of people now understand that diets rich in whole-grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables – with reduced consumption of meat and smaller quantities of high-fat and high-sugar foods – are good for our bodies,” explains lead author Carlos Gonzales-Fischer of FCRN.

He said that there is ample evidence showing that such diets have much lower environmental impacts than the unhealthy and unsustainable eating patterns that are increasingly prevalent today. “So by eating well for our own personal health, we’re also doing right by the planet – in essence, it’s a win-win,” he added.

Anna Lartey, Director of FAO’s Nutrition and Food Systems Division, stressed that Sustainable Development Goal 2 makes a clear link between the needs for healthy nutrition and sustainable agriculture. “It’s time that dietary guidelines reflect that relationship,” she said.

More than 80 governments already issue dietary advice, and the number is rising. However, most governments have yet to issue national dietary advice, and this gap is particularly apparent in low income countries – only five in Africa have such guidelines. And most existing guidelines still fail to consider the environmental impacts of dietary choices.

Sweden is providing more detailed advice on which plant-based foods are to be preferred, recommending for example root vegetables over salad greens. Brazil’s guidelines stand out for emphasizing the social and economic aspects of sustainability, advising people to be wary of advertising, for instance, and to avoid ultra-processed foods that are not only bad for health but are seen to undermine traditional food cultures.

The study emphases that, to have a real effect on food consumption, dietary guidelines need to have clear links to food policies that are actually implemented – such as school and hospital meal standards and advertising and industry regulations.

The report’s overarching suggestion is that countries that already have dietary guidelines should begin to consider a process of incorporating sustainability into them. The countries that do not already have them are in a unique position to develop integrated guidelines from the outset.


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How Would You Like Your Cafeteria at Lunch Time?

Marianne Manninen Writing

Image: NaturVention

|| May 04: 2016 || The new curriculum in Finland will emphasize the role of school lunch. Nutritional education will be a part of the new curriculum.

“The children spend a great part of their day at school, which means the school plays a great part when it comes to bringing up the children. In the future the school will be taking more responsibility in guiding the children with nutrition”, says the Development Manager of Fazer Food Services, Erja Sulanne.

The environment of the school lunch will also be updated. The environment is designed to be both inspirational and recovering.

“The premises are an essential part of the lunch moment. There will be different types of meeting places in the dining space compared to traditional educational premises. The cafeteria of the future can be also used as a teaching space outside of lunch hours'', Sulanne mentions.

Fazer Offers the Children an Inspirational Lunch Moment

Fazer wanted its cafeteria concept to better fit the objectives of the new curriculum. The new concept was introduced as a pop up-restaurant in the biggest yearly event of the HoReCa-sector in Finland, Gastromessut. Fazer Food Services wanted to update the cafeteria concept to meet the needs of a 21st century school restaurant. The opinions of the children were heard. Especially the high school students appreciated the comfort the new dining area brings the lunch experience.

The updated cafeteria is inspirational both visually and functionally. The concept is enriched with Naava smart green walls and colorful prints of the Finnish company Vallila. From the different tables the children can choose where they want to dine: in addition to normal tables there are options to eat your lunch while standing or to sit on an exercise ball.

The new concept with the enriched premises will offer the children and teachers enhanced possibilities to recover and relax during the lunch break. By bringing nature indoors, the children have a possibility to breathe fresh air also during the lessons and lunch, not only during their breaks. Having plants indoors has both visual and psychological advantages. The children spend a notable part of their day at school, so the impact of the premises on their development can’t be underestimated.

An inspiring and activating space also supports learning. A diverse and stimulating space supports the cognitive capabilities remarkably better than a lean-designed space.


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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.[1],[2] 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.

[1] 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.

[2] Howson CP, Kinney MV, Lawn JE, editors. Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2012


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 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.


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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


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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.


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WHO: All This Sugar, All This Diabetes


FAO, WHO Welcomes General Assembly Proclamation of  the Decade of Action on Nutrition


Nearly 800 million people remain chronically undernourished

159 million children under 5 years of age are stunted.

Approximately 50 million children under 5 years are wasted

Over two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies

1.9 billion people are affected by overweight of which over 600 million are obese.

The 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 high-risk disease.

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 pending condition.

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 aid.

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 as well.”

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) 2008-2012

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 no labels.

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

About Merisent
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 Diabetes


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Searching for Water in the Solar System and Beyond for Water is Life

Image Credit: NASA:ESA

















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 evidence that 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)


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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 index.

“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.


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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 successive governments.

Report key findings

Key areas covered by the report include:
Awareness and diagnosis
Funding levels
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 under-funding.

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 recommendations seriously."

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 disabilities.

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 approach.

Read The Report


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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 curriculum.

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’ Hospital today.

“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.


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British Heart Foundation Says: Happiness Can Break Your Heart, Too

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 or parent.

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.”


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'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 investigated.”

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 include:

“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 over 50.

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.

Ovarian Cancer


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Call to Highlight Drinking-While-Pregnant Risks

Image: BMA

Clichéd Thinking Instilled by the Billion-pound-worth Alcohol Advertising Industry

The very 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 physical excitement.

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 drink). Readmore: People Drink a Lot Less Water Than What is Necessary in the UK; Gemma Francis Writes

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 of illnesses.

It is absolutely not 'cool' to drink alcohol.

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: ''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.

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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 syndrome).

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 pregnancy.

‘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 during pregnancy.

Read further on Alcohol and pregnancy: Preventing and managing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders


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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 cancer.

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 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 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 behaviour.

''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 cancer.”

For further contact: Penny Mitchell at BMI Healthcare T: 020 3283 6644 | Mob: 07342073155 | Email:

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 surgery.

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.


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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 'terrible weather'.

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 yourself.


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Life Elle for Life Living Health Well Being and Homeostasis

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 main thing.

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

And 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 greater outside/Universe.

How to be such a happy one?

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







The Lake Eden Eye





The Window of the Heavens Always Open and Calling: All We Have to Do Is: To Choose to Be Open, Listen and Respond




Imagine a Rose-Boat

Imagine a rose floating like a tiny little boat on this ocean of infinity
And raise your soul-sail on this wee-little boat and go seeking out
All along feed on nothing but the light that you gather only light
Fear shall never fathom you nor greed can tempt nor illusion divert
For Love you are by name by deeds you are love's working-map



Only in the transparent pool of knowledge, chiselled out by the sharp incision of wisdom, is seen the true face of what truth is: That what  beauty paints, that what music sings, that what love makes into a magic. And it is life: a momentary magnificence, a-bloom like a bubble's miniscule exposition, against the spread of this awe-inspiring composition of the the Universe. Only through the path of seeking, learning, asking and developing, only through the vehicles and vesicles of knowledge, only through listening to the endless springs flowing beneath, outside, around and beyond our reach, of wisdom, we find the infinite ocean of love which is boundless, eternal, and being infinite, it makes us, shapes us and frees us onto the miracle of infinite liberty: without border, limitation or end. There is nothing better, larger or deeper that humanity can ever be than to simply be and do love. The Humanion


Poets' Letter Magazine Archive Poetry Pearl

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The Humanion Online Daily from the United Kingdom for the World: To Inspire Souls to Seek

At Home in the Universe : One Without Frontier. Editor: Munayem Mayenin

All copyrights @ The Humanion: London: England: United Kingdom: Contact Address: editor at thehumanion dot com

First Published: September 24: 2015