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Wed, 9th July 2014

A guy recently said to me "Each day you wake up, jump (or crawl) out of bed, and make a decision. Either it will be a good day, or a bad one. The choice is yours. What follows is then up to you". The guy is right.

Each day, each hour we face options. Certainly circumstances vary, and so will outcomes. But the more positive the focus, the higher the chances of good events. Everybody at some point becomes immersed in misery and self pity. Some are professional wallowers in the mud of doom and gloom.

If this seems to be looming on the horizon, a few simple tips may bring the sunshine. Jump out of bed, have a wash, and keep moving. Do not sit, stare and let the miseries set in. Start talking to somebody as soon as possible. Ideally begin with positive thoughts, not despairing negative ones. Trying to get the lighter side of the topic is a great start, either with partner, the kids or even the cat and dog.

The more people communicate the better. It gets the endorphins in the brain working. This is natures free cheer-up drug, which can quickly take over and bring cheer to the gloomy.

If possible, get out and walk. Greet as many on the way as possible, whether you know them or not. If a regular walker, faces soon become familiar. Even a wave of the hand to passersby can set you on the upward spiral.

Sure work may be boring and a challenge, with others moaning and groaning on all sides. Ignore this, and sustain the cheer mode. Email a friend, ring if there is time, pass on a joke, and you may get an even better one in return. More muscles (and energy) are involved in scowling and looking miserable than in smiling. A caffeine jolt can also give the brain a surge, but please not too many, especially after noon. Caffeine, the only legal drug of addiction readily available, continues its euphoric way for up to 16 hours, and good sleep at night is also essential.

Don't rely on booze as a spirit enhance, rather a modest drop here and there. Music is well known to dispel evil mods. So is sensible food, and plenty of water. But friends probably head the list.



What are your views on hearing aids?


Hearing aids have made a huge impact on the positive enhancement of life for tens of thousands. As the electronic era surges forward, so do improved models which continue to appear. Today, their unobtrusive size, colour and efficiency can help create a new life for those with hearing impairment. Certainly some are expensive, but the price range is enormous, and for many there is substantial government funding support. Many talk to friends who have already been helped before making the final choice.

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Today, with all the scare stories about the toxin levels in fish, it is difficult to know whether this should be eliminated from the diet altogether.


Scare stories continue, and will proliferate forever. There are media, specially TV programmes dedicated to instilling fear in our minds. Most contain a little bit of truth, but being presented as the "norm" often blows it out of proportion. There is a risk in all actions in life, be it food, travelling, flying or even existing. In fact, all are guaranteed a death certificate ultimately, whatever precautions are taken. A sensible spread of eating priorities and all activities is suggested.

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If anyone in our house becomes ill, there is a tendency to rush to the net to see what it has to say. Usually there is such an abundance of information, including the common cold, it is impossible to obtain a concise simple answer.


With simple symptoms like a cough or cold, everyday home remedies are often worth a trial run. The local pharmacist can often offer some tips (and will invariably sell you something), but if symptoms worsen in a few days, please visit the family doctor for some specific examination and a simple management plan. A ten minute consultation is better than spending two days searching on the net.

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Measles was once considered a minor childhood ailment, but now people become petrified if the kid down the road has it.


Childhood measles may cause a long term brain infection which may suddenly come on overnight. From a normal teenager, one becomes a partially paralysed "idiot" which is terrible to see. Hence the fear, and also why measles immunization is so important in early life. It is essential. If you have any fears, or your child in not yet vaccinated, please talk to your doctor or the local council health department.

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We often hear about new drugs to treat breast cancer. Where do we stand on this controversial subject?


New drugs such as herceptin and others continue to be developed, but their long term value will take ten or more years to be worked out, and who is the best candidate for the intervention. In time it will all be sorted out. Today, the main advice is regular mammograms for all women over the age of fifty (some states forty). Cancer in younger women is very aggressive. Self examination is also carried out, but imaging has taken over as the first line priority. It is largely government funded, and there are centres in many places.

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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



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Dr James Wright is associated with lovely Vimiera Retirement Village ( in the leafy Sydney (NSW) suburb of Eastwood. It is operated by Mediaid Centre Foundation (, a non-profit Public Benevolent Institution which provides housing for the elderly, as well as providing a large amount of health information.

Waiting to hear from you Dr James Wright.