Lessons in the "Health" Category

Women facing quarter-life crisis

Today, let’s talk about women who face a quarter-life crisis. They are bright, educated and in their mid 20s and they appear to be the rising stars of the workplace. Yet one in three women is actually suffering from a ‘quarter-life crisis’. They are secretly crying in the office toilets or are so crippled with fear they dread their daily commute.

A report by investment firm Skandia claims that one in three women in their 20s with a university degree is suffering from an anxiety crisis and have even delayed entering romantic relationships as a result. Other symptoms suffered by women included loss of appetite and nightmares. Those in their late 20s were more anxious than younger people – probably because they were worried about saving for a home or providing for their families.

Category: Women / Quarter-Life Crisis / Anxiety

Are mobile phones safe for children to use?

Are mobile phones safe for children to use? That’s the question many parents face when deciding whether they are or aren’t. There are many arguments for and against.

Children’s nervous systems are still developing, and there are fears that radiation could penetrate into their brains. Experts say there is no link between mobile phone use and cancer in adults but there is still widespread uncertainty about the risks children face. Mobile phones have been in use for a relatively short time and yet cancers can take decades to develop.

Most scientists however agree on one thing and that is children may be more vulnerable than the rest of us to their possible ill-effects. Kids have a skull that is thinner, less protective; they have a higher content of water in the brain, so there are many reasons why they absorb more of the same radiation.

Category: Research / Health / Mobile Phones

Economic impact of E. coli on the agricultural industry

‘Fear’ is what is stopping the sales of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables right across Europe following the recent E. coli scare in Germany. The result has had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of farmers across Europe, especially those in Spain. Tens of thousands of tons of fruit and vegetables have had to be destroyed, especially cucumbers, as it was originally thought the E. coli outbreak originated from Spanish cucumbers.

The economic impact has seen a meltdown in the Spanish agricultural industry. Most of the harvest has had to be destroyed or simply ploughed back into the soil. Tests have been ongoing in Germany to establish exactly where and from what the deadly outbreak of E. coli started. The result was that people suddenly stopped buying Spanish vegetables, especially cucumbers. Spanish farmers have demonstrated, demanding compensation from the EU.

Category: Economic / Business / Agriculture

The campaign to clean up dog poo

Today’s theme is about dog poo. I mean, there is nothing worse than stepping on some freshly deposited dog poo, is there? Call it what you like; dog fouling, shit, poop, waste or dog crap, it is very annoying when you put your foot in it. Oh, shite…!

Why don’t the owners pick it up and put it in a dog bin? Yes, some people do. They scrape it up using a plastic glove and plastic bag then pop it into a doggie bin. Others walk their dogs, let their dogs crap on the grass then casually walk away as if nothing has happened, leaving the dog faeces to harden.

When challenged the owners simply deny it was their dog that did it. Later some small child might run on the grass. They could pick up a disease from it. This makes some people’s blood boil, to the point where they decide to take action against the dog owners. Some might leave a note on a spike in the dog poo.

Others like Louise Willows recently got so fed up with dog mess in Crouch End, London that she decided to do something about it. She removed the dog mess then left a drawing of a cup cake in a yellow cup in chalk. She also wrote ‘Dog owners please clear up your mess children walk here’. Ironically, she is facing charges for doing this and she had to wash the chalk off!

Category: Environment / Dogs / Dog Poo

Go to work – on an ostrich egg!

News from the UK advises that Waitrose the supermarket chain has just started selling ostrich eggs. The eggs that can be 24 times bigger than a hen’s can weigh in at almost 2kg (4.4lb). For those hoping to “go to work on an ostrich egg” might think twice and save that particular treat for the weekend, as they can take an hour or two to boil.

You’ll also need a huge appetite to eat a whole one. Described as having a distinctive, light flavour and texture the ostrich eggs are ideal for cooking. They can be fried; hardboiled or scrambled. They also make very good omelettes - using a very large frying pan – just like chicken or duck eggs.

A spokesperson said: “They are very good for meringues because the white is much lighter than chickens’ eggs.” In fact one egg makes 100 meringues or 32 soufflés. Diners are advised that a simple tap of a spoon is unlikely to break the shell. A roasting spike or a domestic drill is more suitable! The reason is that the egg must withstand a 300lb (136kg) bird sitting on it.

Category: Lifestyle / Eggs / Ostrich Eggs

Britain’s dementia shame: 50,000 forced into care homes

Getting old is a thing most people dread. As we get old people develop different forms of illnesses. ‘Pill popping’ becomes the norm. Young people take little notice of the old, preferring to enjoy life. Yet one day they too will become old.

One particular illness older people suffer from is dementia. The most common is either Alzheimer’s disease, in which brain cells deteriorate or vascular dementia that is caused by the supply of blood to the brain. About 75% of people diagnosed with dementia will have either one or the other or a combination of both.

Category: England / Healthcare / Dementia

The bacteria time bomb in your home

Most of us never give a second thought to how long we’ve had that chopping board, or that hairbrush or those pillows. But while they may all look clean and serviceable enough, these seemingly innocent household items can actually harbour potentially harmful bacteria if used too long, regardless of how often they’re cleaned. So with that in mind let’s look at how often you should consider spring cleaning those everyday household items – and when it’s time to throw them in the bin.

Wooden spoons should be replaced every five years. They are more porous than plastic or metal ones making them more susceptible to germs and bacteria. A nasty kitchen bacteria is E. coli that’s usually picked up from raw meat or children with poor cleaning habits!

Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months otherwise this could lead to heart disease, a stroke or arthritis. An average toothbrush contains 10m germs! Bath towels can be used indefinitely if washed at high temperatures without damage otherwise bacteria from your skin can be transferred to your towel and if you have a wound could lead to infection.

Category: Living / Bacteria / Household Bugs

Brushing teeth halts heart disease

When was the last time you visited the dentist? How often do you brush your teeth? If your answer to the latter question is twice a day then this, according to dentists, is the right answer. People who fail to brush their teeth twice a day are putting themselves at risk of disease, say researchers.

A recent study in Scotland of more than 11,000 adults found those with poor oral hygiene had a 70% increased risk of heart disease compared with those who brushed their teeth twice a day. The British Medical Journal study backs previous work showing a link between gum disease and heart problems. But a charity said oral health was just one factor in good heart health.

It is known that inflammation in the body, including in the mouth and gums, has an important role in the build up of clogged arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. But this is the first time researchers have looked at whether the frequency of teeth brushing has any bearing on the risk of developing heart disease. If you don’t brush your teeth, your mouth can become infected with bacteria which can cause inflammation.

Category: Medical English / Dentists / Teeth

Patients die in Britain as foreign doctors can’t speak English properly

Patients have died in Britain because British MPs failed to ensure foreign doctors working out-of-hours shifts can speak English properly. The matter hit the headlines recently in the British press. Alarm bells were sounded by some senior British MPs who stressed: “The next government must ‘as a matter of extreme urgency’ demand changes to a 2005 EU directive governing the free movement of labour in an effort to prevent more deaths at the hands of incompetent foreign GPs.”

The report criticised NHS bodies for failing to use other vetting powers. MPs said it was wrong that Britain was sticking rigidly to EU rules, which outlaw checks on overseas GPs’ language skills – while France openly flouted them. The Commons Health select committee also poured scorn on the Government for agreeing to GPs’ demands for a lucrative contract which makes it too easy for them to opt out of responsibility for out-of-hours care. This has forced the NHS to bring in doctors from abroad.

Cream coloured carrots make a comeback

Ask anyone what colour a carrot is and the chances are they’ll tell you it is orange. Recently however the humble carrot in the UK has had a makeover. Now cream coloured carrots have made a comeback. They are crisp and crunchy in texture and sweeter in taste than their orange cousin. The new carrots are grown in Scotland in the Moray Firth area by local farmer Steven Jack.

The new variety called Crème de Lite has started to be sold by British department store Marks & Spencer. The organically grown root vegetable went on sale in mid October. The new cream coloured carrots might easily be mistaken for other similar coloured and shaped vegetables like parsnips or swedes. Carrots were originally white, cream and purple.

The first carrots were cultivated in Afghanistan. They were then brought to the Mediterranean area more than 2,000 years ago; becoming popular with the Greeks and Romans. Carrots only became orange through cross-breeding 400 years ago. The orange variety was developed by Dutch growers aiming to produce a less bitter version. It was adopted by the royal family in Holland, where orange is the national colour.

Category: Lifestyle / Vegetables / Carrots