Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity

Drug experts on the new guidance for medicinal cannabis

Drug experts on the new guidance for medicinal cannabis shutterstock/Canna Obscura It’s now one year since the government announced they would allow access to cannabis-based products for medicinal use, and guidelines advising doctors how to prescribe have now been published. Opening up access to medicinal cannabis was welcomed by many as a bold policy move, but this hasn’t been matched by the reality for those trying to obtain these products.…

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Myths about only children debunked

Myths about only children debunked YanLev/Shutterstock Only children get a bad rap. They are often perceived as selfish, spoiled, anxious, socially inept and lonely. And my profession, psychology, may be partly to blame for these negative stereotypes. Indeed, Granville Stanley Hall, one of the most influential psychologists of the last century and the first president of the American Psychological Association, said that “being an only child is a disease in…

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What is a psychopath?

What is a psychopath? Can you feel what I'm feeling? Andrey Popov/Shutterstock Millions recently flocked to the cinema to watch Joker, the origin story of Batman’s notorious nemesis. Many have commented that the film is a portrait of a textbook psychopath. But perhaps the bigger question is how many among the audience have similar traits? Indeed, is it possible that you are a psychopath yourself? To answer this question, we…

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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 fault are at increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and that regular PSA testing could go some way to improving early diagnosis and treatment.” The PSA test is done using a small amount of blood to detect raised levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). Yet, despite its relatively low cost and ease of administering, it is not offered for routine…

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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 normal part of the menopause. But cross-cultural research suggests that menopause symptoms are not necessarily inevitable. For example, Japanese women rarely report hot flashes, whereas for European women they are a common complaint. As a result, scientists have begun to focus on what causes this difference in experience and the potential impact that behavioural and lifestyle factors, such as smoking,…

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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 for people in their 60s and older, at different levels of fitness. For lifetime fitness fanatics If you fall into this group, you are in the minority. You are robust, likely to be a “super-ager” and you are doing wonderfully. You are certainly optimising your chance of living longer and ageing successfully. Generally, this is when you reap your reward…

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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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