Monday, 19 March 2018

Chantelle Millward on Orkambi drug for cystic fibrosis patients

MPs are debating a petition calling for all people with cystic fibrosis to be given the life-changing, but very expensive, drug. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

TV anchor Andrea McLean: 'Give menopausal women M badges'

ITV's Andrea McLean, who reached early menopause, tells commuters to cut hot flush sufferers "slack". via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

What does the inside of your knee sound like?

A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology is developing a stethoscope for your knees. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'Game changer' treatment for Multiple Sclerosis patients

Louise Willetts says she is completely well following treatment that was originally used on cancer patients. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Friday, 16 March 2018

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Platypus milk: How it could combat superbugs

The weird semi-aquatic creature's milk could lead to the creation of a new type of antibiotic. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Bad blood: The rise and fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes

How a woman came up with an idea that could have revolutionised blood testing - if it had worked. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Disabled girl's Hoddesdon home adapted by volunteers

A toddler who was born with a hole in her heart has had her home revamped by builders. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'I take 'smart drugs' despite risks'

Leora is a student who takes a 'smart drug' to help her cope with the pressures of university. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Hawking: Did he change views on disability?

"I think he's done more than anyone else," says a former student. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

First steps taken for vaccine pills

Researchers hope it could pave the way for needle-free inoculations for lots of different diseases. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

PMQs: Corbyn asks May about Hawking on health funding

Jeremy Corbyn quotes the late Prof Hawkins when he asks about finances and staff numbers in the NHS. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'Nappies are like clothes, it's a fashion thing'

How Mexican entrepreneur Ixchel Anaya launched a reusable nappies business that exports around the globe. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Seven years of Syria’s health tragedy

After seven years of conflict in Syria, WHO has renewed its call for the protection of health workers and for immediate access to besieged populations.

Attacks on the health sector have continued at an alarming level in the past year. The 67 verified attacks on health facilities, workers, and infrastructure recorded during the first two months of 2018 amount to more than 50% of verified attacks in all of 2017. via WHO news Read More Here..

Professor Stephen Hawking's greatest wish

The physicist, who has died aged 76, had motor neurone disease. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Chinese takeaway can bust your salt allowance

Some takeaway dishes have half an adult's recommended daily allowance in just one dish, an analysis finds. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Girls' guide to what a 'normal' vulva looks like

The online reference tool, designed by health experts, aims to stem the cosmetic surgery "designer vagina" trend. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

NHS homeopathy ending in London

The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine will stop NHS homeopathy in April. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Mesh surgeon removed ovaries without prior consent

Tony Dixon is currently under investigation by North Bristol NHS Trust and the General Medical Council. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

A boy’s creative response to his mother’s illness

When Noah's mother was diagnosed with cancer, he came up with an idea to express his grief. Now his idea is being made into a book. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

The country where more than 70% of people are obese

Qatar is taking drastic action to help people lose weight and fight diabetes. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Australia fights drug addiction with plane flying lessons

A moment of fear in the air is part of a rehab programme in Australia. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Monday, 12 March 2018

Sugar tax: The Norwegians travelling to Sweden for sweets

Here's why some Norwegians are making a day trip to Sweden to get their sugar fix. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Working together for the health and welfare of humankind

1. We, the Heads of the International Narcotics Control Board, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization are committed to support our Member States to effectively address and counter the world drug problem.

We agree that if we are to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including its health targets, we need to vigorously address the world drug problem with a greater focus on the health and well-being of people. We need a balanced, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach that puts people at the centre of the response and in particular those who are the most vulnerable. via WHO news Read More Here..

Why is spitting so bad?

Why are people so upset at the video of football pundit Jamie Carragher spitting? via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Crossing the border for a sugar fix

Norway has led the way in introducing a sugar tax - but not everybody in the country is a fan. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Muscle loss in old age linked to fewer nerve signals

Research finds that nerves controlling the legs decrease by around 30% by the age of 75. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Genes have a role in empathy, study says

Scientists say empathy is not just something we learn - it is also affected by our genes. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Women regret casual sex less if they take the initiative

A study finds women have fewer regrets about casual sex if they initiated it and the sex was good. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Concerns over Coventry brain surgeon's operations

Two patients operated on by consultant neurosurgeon Hussien El-Maghraby went on to die. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Why two sisters are both having double mastectomies

A faulty gene means two sisters are at a higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Creative tension and different personalities

The WSJ on the creative tension between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger :

“They’re two really different guys, and that’s what makes it so powerful. It’s like a rubber band pulled really tight. When you release it, it goes flying—that creative tension is what makes it so enduring. They understand that something special happens when the two of them get together. The cognizance of that magic that only comes from the two of them can be frustrating, but also really powerful.”

I wish Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan of Deep Purple had recognized this years ago. We would have gotten a few other brilliant albums in the 1970s and 1980s.

"No band has lasted as long as the Rolling Stones."


The Wisdom of Keith Richards via CasesBlog - Medical and Health Blog More READ

Tumour patient's donor plea over snow-hit blood stocks

Beth Cobbold, 21, from Ipswich, said she would not be alive without blood donations. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

3D nipple tattoos - helping women after mastectomies

Lucy, from Bradford, uses a technique not currently in the UK to produce realistic 3D looking nipples for breast cancer survivors. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Friday, 9 March 2018

Rare identical triplets go home in Kansas City, Missouri

Mother Nicole decided against a Caesarean section, and all the boys are doing well. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Human genome pioneer dies

The death has been announced of the British genome pioneer Sir John Sulston. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'I had a hysterectomy at 28 because my periods made me suicidal'

For years, Lucie was treated for mental health problems - in fact she had a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Dietary Intake of Omega Fatty Acids and Brain Health

Omega fatty acids are well known to be important for the normal functioning of our body. These fatty acids are essential for the formation of the cell membrane. They play a critical role in brain health. In addition, they are crucial for fertility, visual acuity, and optimal cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega fatty acids belong to a group called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). There are several kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, but for humans, three of them are considered to be essential. These are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

ALA is a short-chain fatty acid that cannot be made by our body and thus regarded as essential. EPA and DHA are classified as long-chain fatty acids. Our body can produce them in small quantities and a very inefficient manner. This is why one’s diet should provide enough of the essential and semi-essential omega-3 fatty acids. ALA is the only fatty acid which is present in plant-based food products.

Although EPA and DHA, both of which are particularly essential for brain health, can be produced in the body from ALA, the conversion process is not very efficient. It is believed that only ~15% of dietary ALA can be converted to EPA or DHA. ALA is present in canola oil, flaxseed oil, and in some other plant oils in sufficient quantities, whereas DHA and ALA are mainly present in seafood (various varieties of fish) and found in small amounts in other animal or poultry products.

Research has shown that although fish are rich in omega fatty acids, they are not able to produce DHA or EPA. In fact, they get omega-3 fatty acids by ingesting phytoplankton. Phytoplankton, in turn, get DHA and EPA by eating microalgae that are able to produce these fatty acids. These findings draw attention to two important facts: the importance of fish and animal products in our diet for optimal cognitive health and the importance of preserving the fragile environmental balance where everything is interconnected.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the formation of phospholipids that are in turn required for cellular membranes. DHA is particularly critical for brain health, as demonstrated by its high content in the brain. Furthermore, since DHA helps to reduce the inflammatory responses, it may have a neuroprotective action.

There are lots of studies regarding the optimal intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and their optimal ratio in one’s diet. However, the recommendations in this regard remain inconclusive. Rather than focusing on the total amount of omega fatty acids or the ratio of various fatty acids, one should focus on the overall dietary intake of EPA and DHA.

Although EPA and DHA have been accepted to be essential for wellbeing, healthy aging, and slowing down or preventing neurodegeneration, their levels are rarely assessed in clinical conditions. There is no standardized, universally accepted range, but the most widely accepted normal level is ~3–4% of all plasma phospholipids (for EPA and DHA combined).

Plasma or serum fatty acid values are not very accurate, as they may change according to the content of recent meals. For this reason, many researchers recommend checking the content of EPA and DHA inthe red blood cell membranes, as this can give the approximate average of the last 120 days. At present, for European and American populations, 3–5% of EPA and DHA in erythrocyte membranes is considered in the normal range. In the Japanese population for example, where consumption of seafood is much higher, these numbers may be much higher too.

So what are the dietary recommendations for Omega-3s?

At present, for a healthy brain, it is recommended to consume 1.6 g of omega-3s daily for males, and 1.1 g daily for females. As mentioned earlier, specific attention should be paid to the content of DHA and EPA in food items. Flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and walnuts are all rich in ALA. However, DHA and EPA are mainly present in fish, seafood, and poultry. Considering that only a small amount of ALA can be converted to DHA or EPA, it puts vegans at risk of developing a deficiency in these omega acids and thus raises the risk of neurodegenerative disorders.

To counter the deficit of DHA in plant-based products, many manufacturers have started to fortify soy beverages, juices, and milk products with DHA. Dietary supplements are another way of obtaining sufficient amounts of DHA. However, as most dietary supplements are based on fish oil or krill oil, if a person is strictly vegetarian, they can take algal oil-based supplements.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-12 indicates that most of the population in the US are obtaining enough dietary omega-3 fatty acids. However, the majority of omega fatty acids are coming from a plant-based diet, meaning that American food is rich in ALA but deficient in EPA and DHA.

Diagnosing the omega-3 deficiency is not an easy task, as there is no lower cut-off value. Researchers don’t currently know at which level an omega fatty acid insufficiency may start causing problems. Things get complicated further by individual differences. Present scientific data are insufficient to know at what level there is a risk of neural deficits, visual impairment, or alterations in immune responses. However, some people may develop specific dermatological signs in the omega-3 deficiency, like scaling of the skin or unexplained dermatitis.

Classical omega-3 deficiency is rare in the US, but considering the importance of DHA and EPA for healthy aging and cognitive capacity, one may suppose that strict vegans, vegetarians, or those who don’t eat fish may be at higher risk when compared to those that do eat fish without supplementation.


Dyall, S. C. (2015). Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00052

McNamara, R. K. (2010). DHA Deficiency and Prefrontal Cortex Neuropathology in Recurrent Affective Disorders. The Journal of Nutrition, 140(4), 864–868. doi:10.3945/jn.109.113233

Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Weiser, M. J., Butt, C. M., & Mohajeri, M. H. (2016). Docosahexaenoic Acid and Cognition throughout the Lifespan. Nutrients, 8(2). doi:10.3390/nu8020099

Image via pixel2013/Pixabay.

via Brain Blogger Read More Here..

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Aberdeen scientists identify 'club foot' gene

Research at the University of Aberdeen could eventually help children avoid unnecessary treatment. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Russian spy: What are nerve agents and what do they do?

A nerve agent was used to poison a Russian former spy and his daughter. What are they and what do they do? via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

How a single punch changed soul singer Only Girl's life

Ellen Murphy's boyfriend sustained brain damage in an unprovoked attack. She turned to music to help. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Xanax: The anxiety drug putting lives at risk

Counterfeit Xanax tablets laced with a deadly painkiller are being used as a party drug via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Gender equality must be at the core of ‘Health for All”

On this International Women's Day, we imagine a world where every woman and girl has access to quality and affordable health care, a world in which women and girls can freely exercise their sexual and reproductive health rights, and one where all women and girls are treated and respected as equals.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is the “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”; and today is a good day for each and every one of us to speak-up for gender equality and women’s rights. via WHO news Read More Here..

Guess how many calories are in your lunch

Newsbeat went to find out if people could guess how many calories are in typical lunchtime meals. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Tom Rebair wins ambassador award after overcoming anorexia

Tom Rebair has won a Prince's Trust award for turning his life around after developing anorexia. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..