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Wed, 3rd June 2015

The Botox band wagon winds restlessly on. Tens of thousands now worship the Great God "B", the greatest success story for beauty and improved looks since the invention of skin. Now it is probably the most popular facial intervention of all time and it really took place largely by chance. It has been known for years that a potential chemical called botulinum toxin could paralyse the body and rapidly kill. This came from a germ which causes botulism, a terrible and potentially fatal condition. That's why canned food products must always be checked for freshness before use. If there is an outward bulging of the ends, it means the food inside is probably infected with the germ and eating the food is potentially lethal.


Nothing new about this. It is also known for years the toxin paralyses nerve endings, leading in turn to paralysis of the muscle fibres to which it is going. Again nothing new. It was then discovered by chance that very tiny concentrations were apparently non injurious and could be targetted at specific muscle fibre groups. In the early stages, it was used as medical treatment. Those with severe spasm appeared to benefit. Some suffer from unilateral contraction of the neck muscles. Injecting the fluid seemed to stop the contraction and provided relief. Then it was found to be similarly effective in those with recurring spasms of the muscles around the eye, which often occurred on one side only. Again, the spasmodic twitching vanished. Writers cramp, due to spasm of certain hand muscles then came to attention, and a "cure" took place. But it was noted the positive results gradually wore off, so that repeat treatments were often needed every three months or so. There appeared to be minimum or no adverse side efects.


Then someone decided it would similarly relax muscle fibres underlying facial wrinkles and creases. Then the flood gates opened. Now "cosmetic enhancement" is probably the main reason botox is injected. Again, creases vanish, skin becomes smooth. At around $300 a hit, it seemed to many, a small price to pay for instant beauty. It takes a few days for the positive outcome to be noticed. Again, it lasts 10-15 weeks. Some claim it reduces facial character features, as normal smiling may also be compromised, as similar muscles fibres may be involved. Long term effects, if any, are at present unknown. Injection site may bruise, infections may occur but seems risk is minimum. Allergan, the giant US company manufacturing the product, continues to pump it out at a massive pace. Although it seems nearly anybody can inject the fluid, ideally talk to your GP before you embark on treatment and be guided by specific advice.



I suffer from dry eyes and throat, and sore joints. I have been diagnosed as Sjogrens.


Sjogrens Syndrome is often picked up in eye or arthritis clinics. It means the body's inbuilt immune system is malfunctioning and tends to attack itself. Fluid secreting cells above the eye and throat are often affected, along with joints. Instilling liquid tears and gels helps. Gargling throat with body warmth or salty water, chewing gum, sucking ice all help marginally. Paracetamol for sore joints, or minimum use of the NSAIDS (doctor prescribed is best) all help. Nothing will cure, but most people do satisfactorily.

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Many continually complain about medical services, but heavens, I would rather be around now than 150 years ago when all services were either non existent or totally useless, essentially being Morphine or Alcohol.


Few consider the current level of health and medical services, and compare them with the past. Even fifty years ago in comparison it is amazing, when it was mostly smoke and mirrors and black magic. Median age in London mid 1800s was 26 years, which indicated the enormous death rate especially amongst babies and infants. Today, majority can expect to live well into their eighties. Or course, better housing, sanitation and modern drugs and surgery have revolutionised the picture. It will continue to improve. The revolution for good has only just commenced. Of course improvements in everything are possible, but our standards are currently very high.

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I read incredible claims in advertisements for black cohosh as the immediate cure for most female problems.


The "complementary (alternative) medicine" scene is forever expanding. Western medicine tends to reject most of it, although there has been a definite softening in recent years. Alternative medicine was the only method available for centuries, and is still used by 80 per cent of the world population who cannot afford western medicine. There is little doubt that many of these old remedies can assist many people, and it is certainly available for those who wish to give it a go. But reality is nothing like the fantasy land of advertising. This applies to all medicines, whoever prescribes them.

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Years ago when attending the doctor, one was invariably examined, blood pressure taken, chest listened to, and there were a few pokes and prods here and there. But today, doctors seem, unwilling to "touch" the patient. Most simply order a raft of tests and then look at the computer screen and hardly ever look into your face.


The impersonal side of medicine is about to increase, as technology takes over. In truth, investigations can now pick up a huge amount of information. Nevertheless, older doctors tend to carry out the "physical examinations", for often the diagnosis becomes quickly apparent. If you are not satisfied with your GP, you have free choice to go elsewhere. You might even check with the office if the doctor carries out physicals. Fortunately today we have options.

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We are told to eat grains each day, but with the plethora of products around how does one know?


Simply compare the nutritional panels which most cereals now display on the box. All grains are good, including wheat, the most comon, oats, barley, rye. Weet-Bix (now almost a generic word) is simply a handful of wheat cooked, rolled and compressed into biscuits, with minimum additives. 2 x 15 G biscuits a day provides a lot of energy and fuel. Preferably go for products that are low in sugar, high in fibre and natural product. Add minimum sweetening. Preferably go for low fat milk, or many prefer hot water. Milk which is high in calcium is best for children.

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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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