How effective and cost-effective are electronic aids designed to help smokers quit?

It’s getting a bit nippy down here in the Woodland of a morning lately.  I’ve been waking up to a haze of fog and a carpet of leaves.  At least it’s fog of the au naturel kind – better than the cigar fog I used to wake up to from Elder Elf next door!  He’s [read the full story…]

Healthy mums, healthy children: a child obesity prevention programme

We all know that prevention is better than cure, and I was really interested to come across a recent Australian study which investigated a programme aimed at preventing obesity in children through working with first-time mums. It aimed to influence their behaviour in terms of diet, physical activity and TV viewing time, to reduce the risk [read the full story…]

Exercises done within daily activities may reduce falls in older people

As the Olympics draw to a close, I’m turning my attention from amazing sporting feats by those at the peak of fitness to the health and wellbeing of older people, and in particular what can be done to reduce the rate of falls amongst this large sector of society. The BMJ has published the results of a randomised [read the full story…]

Does fear of fat keep people on the fags?

It seems that it often does. For many, fear of putting on weight puts them off trying to quit smoking or leads them to abandon the attempt. It is common for people to gain some weight when they give up smoking. Nicotine speeds up the metabolism, so smokers burn calories faster. On quitting, people may [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…]

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…]

Rethinking physical activity for depression: what’s cost effective?

My cousin the Mental Elf has been looking at some research on exercise programmes and their effect on depressive symptoms. Here’s what he said about it: Exercise is a good thing right? It seems obvious that people who are affected by mental health problems would benefit from getting themselves outside and becoming more active, but [read the full story…]

More evidence for the benefits of Tai Chi from study on people with Parkinson’s Disease

A special offer for Monday morning: a trip to paradise in three square feet of space, lasting thirty minutes, at no cost to you at all. Sound good? Well that’s what Tai Chi proponent Liang Tung-Tsai felt this form of exercise offers, but I’m afraid I don’t have any evidence for that. However, Tai Chi [read the full story…]

Can nicotine patches help pregnant women stop smoking?

Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth and low birthweight. In Glasgow, where one in four pregnant women smoke, researchers have begun recruiting pregnant smokers to a trial to explore whether financial incentives help them to stop. Meanwhile, a large randomised controlled trial, conducted by researchers at the UK Centre for Tobacco [read the full story…]