Thursday, 21 April 2016

Sugar binging like drug abuse

We already know that sugar sets in motion a strong reward mechanism in the brain, which can lead to addiction and dependence. But this new study takes things a step further.

Neuroscientists discovered that long-term sugar overconsumption changes the morphology of brain cells (i.e. their shape and size!) in a similar way that hard drugs do, such as cocaine or morphine.

The types of sugar to keep an eye on are “free sugars”: those that your body absorb faster, added to foods and drinks, or naturally present in honey, syrup, and unsweetened fruit juices (this includes your freshly-squeezed orange juice!)

Source: © The Health Sciences Academy ®. All Rights Reserved.

Read more:
The types of sugar to keep an eye on are “free sugars”: those that your body absorb faster, added to foods and drinks, or naturally present in honey, syrup, and unsweetened fruit juices (this includes your freshly-squeezed orange juice!).

Those of you familiar with Slimming World will already know that orange juice is considered a syn, this would appear to the reason why.

More about this and other recent research in this Science Catch-up.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Secret Observations Used To Refuse PIP Plus Claimant Deaths Reviews Victory

We now know that a PIP assessor can complete your entire assessment – and score you nothing - days before you even turn up for your medical. Or he can ignore your evidence completely and base his entire report on secret observations he claims to have made.

And allegedly rake in £20,000 a month for doing so.

We also know now that there is absolutely no question of universal credit being scrapped by Stephen Crabb, as many had hoped. He has, however, discovered lots of ‘interesting ideas’ for getting sick and disabled people into work.

And we’ve also come a good deal closer to discovering if the DWP have been ignoring the findings of their own secret death reviews - and costing more claimants their lives as a result.

Secret Observations Used To Refuse PIP Plus Claimant Deaths Reviews Victory

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A 10 point nursing model of practice for patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

There is an urgent need to develop an appropriate model of practice for patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Crawford, Aitken and McCagh (2008) found that nurses still respond more positively to patients with Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis than patients with ME, which they are more likely to wrongly view as a psychological disorder. Nurses are not being educated in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, making it difficult for them to recognise the mistreatment of ME and also making it unsafe for patients with ME to be exposed to a hospital/ medical environment.


A 10 point nursing model of practice for patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Fordingbridge Model Railway Exhibition 2016

Yesterday we paid a visit to Railway Pastimes, the Fordingbridge Model Railway Exhibition 2016 organised and run by The Rotary Club of Fordingbridge at Avonway Community Centre in Fordingbridge. It was a lovely show, packed with a nice variety of layouts. These are just a couple of shots of scenes which caught my eye and imagination.

Sizzled steak with sauce moutarde

A Saturday night treat.

Yes, you can eat this and still lose weight. Recipe is in the May/June 2016 issue of Slimming World magazine.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Always use the correct term to refer to "ME"

Always use the correct term to refer to "ME", if you do not, then you are actively perpetuating a seriously dangerous state of confusion, denial, oppression, mistreatment and medical neglect leading to death. Myalgic Encephalomyeltis/ Post Viral fatigue Syndrome (ME/PVFS) is formally classified as a neurological disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD10:G 93.3; WHO 1992). “CFS”, according to the WHO is only acknowledged as a colloquial, not an absolute term to represent ME. The ICD separately classifies fatigue syndromes as a behavioural (psychiatric) disorder (ICD 10:F 48). What the PACE Trial refers to “CFS/ME” is a condition of “medically unexplained” fatigue that is perpetuated by inappropriate illness beliefs, pervasive inactivity, current membership of a self-help group and being in receipt of disability benefits (PACE Trial Identifier, section 3.9). “ME/CFS” is an umbrella term, subject to many different interpretations, incorporating a wide range of meaning and poorly identified conditions.


Always use the correct term to refer to "ME"

Stephen Crabb: You don’t improve ‘life chances’ by taking a rape victim and a disabled child to...

In the UK, we live in a country where you can read that the Work and Pensions secretary has pledged a ‘relentless focus’ on improving life chances and that the DWP is spending £100,000 on lawyers to fight a rape victim and the family of a severely disabled child. What does that tell us about our society?

Stephen Crabb: You don’t improve ‘life chances’ by taking a rape victim and a disabled child to...

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Migraine, ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia - Low Oxygen, High Lactate Disorders?

That makes a recent migraine study highlighting hypoxia (low blood oxygen levels) and increased lactate – two intriguing possibilities in ME/CFS and FM – all the more interesting. A recent blog suggested that increased lactate levels in the brains of ME/CFS patients could set the stage for increased fatigue. Several studies, in fact, suggest that increased lactate levels exist in the brain, muscles and perhaps guts of both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patients.


Migraine, ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia - Low Oxygen, High Lactate Disorders?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Standing stones and old mine workings

The Hurlers and old mine workings

Where the farmland gives way to moorland. What could be more Cornish?

Image © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Fibromyalgia Doctor Touts Ketamine for Pain and Depression

Ketamine has also, though, been successful in the difficult to treat chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS). It achieved remission in about half the patients in a small CRPS trial. It works so quickly in depression that it may become the first anti-suicide drug. For some people who had about reached the end of their rope ketamine has proved to be a life-saver.


Fibromyalgia Doctor Touts Ketamine for Pain and Depression

Pillboxes at Porthkeres

Pillbox above Finnygook Beach

If The Cornish Engine House was an essential for the area, then a World War II pillbox or two will be even more indispensable for both the time and the place we're modelling. Cornwall, with its huge stretch of coastline and numerous beaches suitable for amphibious landings by enemy tanks and troops, became a fortress with lines of pillboxess, as this map shows.

Two useful links: War in Cornwall and Fear of Invasion tell us more.

A set of two WW2 pillboxes. Type 22 - A hexagonal pillbox and Type 26 - A square pillbox

For these, we'll be using this N Scale Type 22 & Type 26 Pillbox kit from Metcalfe. There will ideal places for them to be sited on the rocks alongside the port and for more ideas on placement, see: World War II Pillbox Cornwall Stock Photos and Images

Image: © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Published, independent review of the PACE trial‏

The PACE Trial Invalidates the Use of Cognitive Behavioral and Graded Exercise Therapy in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Review: The main findings reported in the PACE trial were that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) were moderately effective treatments for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), and fear avoidance beliefs constituted the strongest mediator of both therapies. These findings have been challenged by patients and, more recently, a number of top scientists, after public health expert Tuller, highlighted methodological problems in the trial. As a doctor who has been bedridden with severe ME for a long period, I analyzed the PACE trial and its follow-up articles from the perspectives of a doctor and a patient. During the PACE trial the eligibility criteria, both subjective primary outcomes, and most of the recovery criteria were altered, creating an overlap of the eligibility and recovery criteria; consequently, 13% of patients were considered “recovered,” with respect to 1 or 2 primary outcomes, as soon as they entered the trial. In addition, 46% of patients reported an increase in ME/CFS symptoms, 31% reported musculoskeletal and 19% reported neurological adverse events. Therefore the proportion negatively affected by CBT and GET would be between 46% and 96%, most likely estimated at 74%, as shown in a large survey recently conducted by the ME Association. Medication with such high rates of adverse events would be withdrawn with immediate effect. There was no difference in long-term outcomes between adaptive pacing therapy, CBT, GET and specialist medical care, and none of them were effective, invalidating the biopsychosocial model and use of CBT and GET for ME/CFS. The discovery that an increase in exercise tolerance did not lead to an increase in fitness means that an underlying physical problem prevented this; validates that ME/CFS is a physical disease and that none of the treatments studied addressed this issue.


Published, independent review of the PACE trial‏

Friday, 8 April 2016

Why 40 years of official nutritional guidelines prescribed a low-fat diet that promoted heart disease

A masterfully told history of the life of John Yudkin, once the UK's leading nutritional expert, turns into an indictment of the nutritional scientific establishment, which coalesced in a cult of personality around Ancel Keys, who was convinced that fat made you fat and cholesterol raised your cholesterol, and belittled and marginalized anyone who disagreed, including Yudkin, who believed that sugar, not fat, was the cause of obesity and heart disease.

The sugar conspiracy

Via: BoingBoing

Treating sugar addiction like drug abuse

Millions of people globally are overweight or obese and sugar is considered a major factor. Now a world-first game-changing study suggests drugs used to treat tobacco addiction could work for sugar addiction too.

Treating sugar addiction like drug abuse

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Beans and lentils to lose weight

This systematic review analysed 21 clinical trials ... ound that eating about 132 grams a day of cooked pulses led to greater weight loss: 0.34 kilograms (0.75 pounds) in 6 weeks, compared to a diet that didn’t contain any pulses. It’s thought that this is due to their low-glycaemic, high-fibre, high-protein content, which promotes fullness and helps regulate blood sugar.

Beans and lentils to lose weight

Microstructural Havoc: The Immune System, Fatigue and the Brain - An ME/CFS and FM Scenario

The authors believe these changes reflect changes in, get this, lactate – which we’re seeing more of in both ME/CFS and FM – and pH in this region of the brain. Increased lactate or lactic acid levels appear to be present in the brains, muscles and possibly guts of fibromaylgia and ME/CFS patients. Increased lactate levels also predicted which GWS patients were able or unable to exercise. Increased brain lactate levels also appears to be triggering migraines when low oxygen conditions are present. High lactate levels, then, are showing up in several related disorders. That’s good news for those looking for a common thread in these disorders. It turns out that the basal ganglia are “exquisitely vulnerable” to several factors that could be occurring in ME/CFS/FM – hypoxic (low oxygen level induced injuries), viral invasion and neurodegenerative processes. Given what we know low oxygen conditions could fit very well with what is happening in ME/CFS.


Microstructural Havoc: The Immune System, Fatigue and the Brain - An ME/CFS and FM Scenario

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Four stone loss

Getting to this milestone hasn't been easy with ups and downs in weight and stalled weightloss through a bout of illness, but I got there. However, just last week I read that those who lose the most weight are most likely to keep it off and keep losing.

Maximus Under Threat, Space Invaders And PIP Failure

What will life be like for claimants with Stephen Crabb as secretary of state for work and pensions?

We should get our first real indication on 12 April, when Crabb will give a speech setting out his vision.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times is claiming that Crabb plans to try to get out of the current work capability assessment contract with Maximus and also look again at the PIP assessment contracts held by Atos and Capita.

At this stage a renegotiation looks more probable than simply sacking Maximus – who else is likely to be willing and able to take on the job now?

So, any changes to the current WCA contract are more likely to be aimed at saving the DWP cash than making things fairer for claimants.

Crabb is apparently also instructing the DWP to stop blocking freedom of information requests relating to universal credit. But this is almost certainly not the dawn of a new age of openness at the DWP. Instead, it is a chance for the government to discredit IDS by showing just what a mess UC is currently in.

Nor is it likely to be the beginning of the end for universal credit, just an opportunity to increase the timescale for full roll-out even further whilst heaping the blame on IDS.

According to the Times, Crabb will also say that his aim is for work coaches delivering universal credit to be held in the same esteem as NHS nurses.

Given the role of work coaches in pushing people onto forced labour schemes and helping to impose sanctions on claimants which have led to suicides, this seems like a bizarrely far-fetched idea.

And it is, perhaps, this IDS-like disconnection from reality that gives us the best indication of what a dire secretary of state Stephen Crabb is going to be. There’s definitely no point in looking to him for any understanding of what life is really like for sick and disabled claimants.

In the meantime, the work of dehumanising claimants continues at every level of the DWP.

The Mirror carried a story this week showing a huge poster in a jobcentre plus entitled ‘Yardley ESA challenge’. ESA claimants are depicted as aliens in an old style Space Invaders game, being destroyed by shots from what must be Jobcentre Plus staff.

One of those saintly work coaches pulling the trigger, perhaps.

Finally, we have the unsurprising news that PIP is turning into another grand DWP failure, with the intended 20% savings compared to DLA now being predicted to be just 5%. After the costs of the PIP assessment regime and additional appeals are taken into account, the final savings are likely to be tiny.

6 April 2016 update

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Brace yourself for the next assault on the sick and disabled

So the plan is to continue using the discredited perversion of ‘biopsychosocial’ theories (that claim illness is a personal choice and is all in the mind) as the basis for any assessment of a claimant’s illness; to put anyone with “mild or moderate” health conditions such as cancer or Parkinson’s on the welfare-to-work treadmill, with sanctions applied if they fail to participate (even if that failure is due to their illness); and to have all sickness benefit reduced to the same level as Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Brace yourself for the next assault on the sick and disabled

Do you know dog law?

You should probably know by now that compulsory microchipping comes into force tomorrow, 6th April 2016, in England, Scotland and Wales. After that date, all puppies must be microchipped and recorded on a microchip database by the time they are 8 weeks old. (We can board them once they're vaccinated, house-trained and at least 6 months old.)

For more information, see the government's official information Get your dog microchipped. Also useful is the site Chip It, Check it! and Petlog's Compulsory Microchipping - FAQs

Did you also know that there were Changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act that came into effect in England and Wales on 13 May 2014. This Advice for Owners states:
Section 3 of the Act applies to every single dog owner in England and Wales. Under this section, it is a criminal offence for the person in charge of the dog to allow it to be ‘dangerously out of control’ in a public place.

A dog doesn't have to bite to be deemed dangerous in the eyes of the law.

Generally if a dog bites a person, it will be presumed to have been ‘dangerously out of control’, however even if the dog does not bite, but gives the person grounds to feel that the dog may injure them, the law still applies.

Not many dog owners are aware of this, and it is important to hold that thought when looking at the changes.
Download this advice sheet (PDF-29KB)

It is a criminal offence (for the owner and/or the person in charge of the dog) to allow a dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ in a public place, a place where it is not permitted to be, and some other areas. A ‘dangerously out of control’ dog can be defined as a dog that has injured someone or a dog that a person has grounds for reasonable apprehension that it may do so. Something as simple as your dog chasing, barking at or jumping up at a person or child could lead to a complaint, so ensure that your dog is under control at all times.

See this government advice on Controlling your dog in public which tells us:
You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.
Another part of those recent changes was that the Act now also covers incidents on private property in addition to public spaces, so there's now a need to manage dogs when you answer the door and ensure they aren't able to harm someone who comes into your garden. We always do the former, usually isolating any dogs we have boarding here either behind a kiddy gate or in a separate room before we answer the door to callers. We also supervise time in the garden.

The licencing officer at New Forest District Council advised us strongly to carry out all dog walks on lead, no matter what owners want. And in light of the wording of this law, you can see exactly why they issue this caution. Even the best behaved dogs might not obey relative strangers (us) and it's much harder for a dog to be accused of any menace when it's on the lead. So we do all walks on lead, not to deprive them of fun, but for your dog's safety and protection.

There's more information on these and other aspects of dog law in:

Do you know dog law? from The Kennel Club (PDF)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Is chronic fatigue syndrome finally being taken seriously?

If you take Epstein-Barr virus, which causes glandular fever, only about 10-15% of people tend to go on to have a prolonged case of the disease leading to CFS. But why do this set of individuals have this type of response to certain viruses while others don’t? Are there genetic factors, is it actually a completely different pathogen which we haven’t discovered yet?

Is chronic fatigue syndrome finally being taken seriously?


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