Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity

Why we need a better understanding of how PTSD affects families

Why we need a better understanding of how PTSD affects families Shutterstock/fizkes What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “post-traumatic stress disorder”? When I ask this question in public presentations, the answers are along the lines of “the military”, “soldiers” and “war”. Then, when my next slide displays military themed images, it seems as if I have ingeniously predicted the audience’s response. That fact…

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Men over 40 with faulty BRCA2 gene should be tested annually for prostate cancer

Men over 40 with faulty BRCA2 gene should be tested annually for prostate cancer Jarun Ontakrai/Shutterstock Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, are calling for annual blood tests to detect aggressive prostate cancer in men who have a fault in the BRCA2 gene. After researching the effectiveness of the test, Ros Eeles, who led the study, said: “Our research shows very clearly that men with the BRCA2 gene…

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How you experience the menopause may have a lot to do with your family

How you experience the menopause may have a lot to do with your family A group of related women farming. Credit: Yuping Yang, Author provided The menopause happens around the age of 50, and for many women, the end of their fertile life is accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats and anxiety. In the West, it is generally taken as read that these symptoms are a…

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How to be fit in your 60s and beyond

How to be fit in your 60s and beyond Alex Brylov/Shutterstock Ageing is inevitable and is influenced by many things – but keeping active can slow ageing and increase life expectancy. Evidence shows that ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s. And strength, power and muscle mass can be increased, even at this advanced age. So here are my top exercise tips…

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Why it’s better to exercise before breakfast

Why it’s better to exercise before breakfast shutterstock Spectral-Design/Shutterstock Exercise is recommended for people who are overweight or obese as a way to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But people don’t always have time to exercise as much as they would like, so finding ways to increase the health benefits of exercise is important. Our latest research has found a way to do just that, and it’s to do with timing. This means you might be able to get away with doing less exercise if other commitments, such as family and work, always seem to get in the way. To explain how this works, it helps to know a bit about insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. One of…

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For a sustainable future, we need to reconnect with what we’re eating – and each other

For a sustainable future, we need to reconnect with what we’re eating – and each other Jakob Fischer/Shutterstock.com Eating alone, once considered an oddity, has become commonplace for many across the Western world. Fast food chains are promoting eating on the go or “al desko”. Why waste time in your busy day sitting down at a table with others? Surveys indicate that a third of Britons regularly eat on their own. Open Table, an online restaurant booking app, found that solo dining in New York increased by 80% between 2014-2018. And in Japan, the world capital of solo dining, a trend for “low-interaction dining” has taken off. Restaurants are opening which facilitate the ultimate solo dining experience: passing bowls of noodles through black curtains into individual booths. Is this a…

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Cauliflower ear: all you need to know

Cauliflower ear: all you need to know As a young anatomist, I was fascinated by an ancient Greek sculpture at the National Museum in Rome known as Boxer of the Quirinal. The bronze figure has dark voids for eye sockets and very odd ears. The sculptor depicted in great detail the boxer’s cauliflower ear. Watching the Rugby World Cup recently, I was reminded of it. Cauliflower ear is a deformity caused by blunt trauma that is common among rugby players, but it can happen to anyone involved in contact sport, including wrestlers (it is also known as wrestler’s ear), martial artists and boxers . Oddly enough, it has even been reported in piano movers. We do not know exactly what percentage of people have cauliflower ears, but we know from…

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Teen self-harm: rates have dramatically decreased in Denmark – here’s what other countries can learn

Teen self-harm: rates have dramatically decreased in Denmark – here’s what other countries can learn Having better access to mental health support could be one reason for lower self-harm rates among Danish teens. Pressmaster/ Shutterstock Concern has been growing over rising rates of self-harm in teenagers. In the UK and Ireland, increases began around the time of the 2008 economic crash and show no sign of slowing. One study of the UK found rates among teenage girls rose by two-thirds between 2011 and 2014. But some surprising new findings suggest that stress caused by recession and financial uncertainty does not necessarily lead to rises in suicidal behaviour. My colleagues and I examined rates of teenagers treated in hospital for self-harm in Denmark. Contrary to expectations, we found that rates of…

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Self-harm: boys are less likely to be admitted to hospital

Self-harm: boys are less likely to be admitted to hospital Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock Self-harm is one of the most important risk factors for suicide. Although rare in young people, suicide is still the leading cause of death in males and females aged 10-19 years in England and Wales. And with evidence of a rise in rates of suicide among 15-19 year olds in the UK since 2010, it’s important to understand how young people seek help for self-harm and what happens when they do. Most studies looking at where young people who self-harm go for help have only looked at hospital and GP records. While we know that many young people who self-harm won’t contact healthcare services, we wanted to capture the full spectrum of those who do. So for our…

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Six fun facts about the human skeleton

Six fun facts about the human skeleton Burhan Bunardi/Shutterstock Bones are amazing. People are often surprised to learn that bone is a living tissue. It is widely understood that our bones have the ability to repair themselves after breaks and fractures. But they are also constantly removing and rebuilding themselves in response to everyday activity, in a cellular process that we call remodelling. Here are some other facts about the skeleton. 1. Not everyone has 206 bones Textbooks teach that there are 206 bones in the human skeleton as the anatomical norm. But babies are born with over 300 bones, originally made of cartilage, which are mineralised during the first few years of life, and some bones fuse together. Some people are born with extra bones, such as a 13th…

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