Want to quit smoking? Review finds health professionals can help

Smoking simply isn’t sexy any more, is it? There’s been much discussion in the media lately about smoking being increasingly unacceptable and it feels like we have come a long way since men such as Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra were crooning these lyrics: “I dim all the lights and I sink in my chair. [read the full story…]

Reach for the tissues – still no cure for the common cold

As we experience the wettest drought on record, I bet lots of you are also having unseasonal colds. Once again, zinc has been in the news as a possible treatment for the common cold. So what does the research tell us? Last year, a Cochrane review of randomised controlled trials comparing zinc with placebo (no zinc) [read the full story…]

It’s Walk to Work Week, so will you?

This week is Walk to Work Week. Obviously, I always walk to work; what else would I do in a woodland? Ok, I sometimes skip, if I’m feeling particularly cheery. I do use a bike sometimes too, but the choices are limited. The majority of you, though, will get in the car and perhaps you feel that your [read the full story…]

Increased risk of cardiovascular side effects with varenicline for quitting smoking not significant says review

It’s great when we hear about a drug which seems to work but we also need to know whether it might cause us harm. ‘Adverse events’ or ill effects from a drug might be mild nausea, for instance, or something much more serious. Last month I blogged about a major update to a Cochrane review, [read the full story…]

Overweight children at risk of high blood pressure in teens

I’m afraid there isn’t really any way to soften this: children who are overweight are at risk of becoming unhealthy adults. A new study from Australia, highlighted in the BMJ, looked at obesity levels in a group of nearly 1200 children, followed from birth. They found that: 14 year olds with lifelong high adiposity (fatness) [read the full story…]

Poor evidence on hearing protection in the workplace but protecting hearing remains key

Here we are on Day 3 of Deaf Awareness Week; a good moment to point out that hearing loss due to noise is: permanent irreversible the second most common self-reported occupational illness or injury PREVENTABLE So what’s the size of the problem? And how can we protect people’s hearing in the workplace? Worldwide, 16% of [read the full story…]

Preventing hearing loss – and helping those who have it

Mouths covered by whiskers, hands or masks, tannoy systems, background noise, windows, cubicle curtains,  telephone booking systems and lack of awareness. These are just some of the hazards that lie in wait for people with hearing loss engaging with our healthcare system. Challenges for patients with hearing loss and their health practitioners Today sees the start of Deaf Awareness [read the full story…]

Support for stopping smoking through a telephone quit line – a new trial

“Mr Watson, come here, I want you”. These are the first intelligble words transmitted over a telephone, by Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant, back in 1876. Nowadays, any observer of ears in the street will see a large proportion attached to mobiles; most of us are never far from our phones. Their high accessibility [read the full story…]

Stretching exercises seem to have little impact on muscle soreness

We’re celebrating May Day here in the woodland; a day when even normally sane people have the excuse to swap their suits for bonnets, bells and breeches and prance through town and countryside and generally make merry. But if dancing’s not for you, you might consider going for a walk today, for today sees the [read the full story…]

Internet-based programmes can help problem drinkers

When you’ve got a problem, where do you look for help, support and information? Here in the woodland we have, of course, got a wise owl to consult, but we also love the internet. When it comes to seeking help for health-related problems, it offers many obvious benefits, including anonymity, access to specialist centres regardless [read the full story…]