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Wed, 23rd December 2015
 

Everybody knows that overweight is over the top. Women's magazines thrive on it, companies make zillions producing foods, and rigorous routines to solve the crisis, governments despair as they spend more millions (our millions) telling us what we already know. Doctors sit there and pontificate and hand out the same old cliches. Eat less, get more exercise, reduce alcohol and stay eternally miserable. A life ridden with guilt is no life. Get a life! If you are overweight, that is that.

Countless research shows all the self-will in the world is not going to make any lasting difference. Maybe there is a case of laissez fair. Once over a five year period, I conducted my "Obesity Clinic". Word spread and people from far and wide lumbered into my office. Some had to be pushed through the door. I had trekked around the world, studied the literature and had the wonder bullet, as we all thought.

To start with, all were happy and bright. The routine was stunningly successful. Each was given a realistic goal. They would congregate in the waiting room which usually began at 6 am and lasted until the last person vanished. The buzz of happiness was extraordinary. Each kept diaries, with food and exercise regimens filled out. All knew that once the magical figure had been reached, they were onto happiness unimagined, and would live forever.

What was the ultimate outcome? I am sorry to say, not really good. As the weight melted, the happy voices lowered, finally to stop. The happiness faded, as the bodies looked more jaded. Misery, anxiety, depression gradually then rapidly took over. The cheery smiles as the booklets were ticked and encouraging words spoken started to fall on deaf ears. As each person achieved their goal, and most did, they were instructed to return on a given date to "recheck progress".

And then? The majority vanished, but that is not the end of the story. Most eventually resurfaced often two years later, happy, jubilant, effervescing, as most large people are. Happy, happy in the fact they had returned to their original weight. Anxiety, despair, depression had vanished. Most came to say "Thanks - we at least tried". Then disappeared to buy another Maggie XOS special gear to make them look good.

Yes, weight loss is on the Agenda for medicine, governments and the captains of industry. Really, if you are big (as your parents in most cases), the genes are unlikely to change and you cannot buy happiness! It sure beats depression. Is it time to "rethink weight loss"?

 
ALDARA

Q: 

A friend has been prescribed Aldara cream to apply to skin marks which are possibly skin cancers, but has been cautioned by another friend it could be carcinogenic in itself.

A: 

Some claim Aldara interferes with the immune system and caution against its use. Some claim it causes anaphylactic shock, skin sores, autoimmune disorders, general ill health and reduced blood counts. There are adverse side effects to all medications. Risks must be weighed against benefits. With any sort of cancer, I prefer it be cut out and checked under the microscope to make sure it has all been taken. "If in doubt, cut it out" is a long time surgeons motto.

 
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MASSAGE

Q: 

I received a letter in the mail from a local practitioner who is into massage therapy. It claims to help sleeplessness, anxiety, stress, reduce pain and muscle spasm, increase circulation, cramping, improve digestion, keep muscles healthy, keep joints functioning, reduce arthritis pain and relieve sinus pain. Gee - why do we need doctors?

A: 

Massage, and use of " trigger points" and many other related techniques have been around for centuries. It reached its height in the 1800s and the Kellogg era when modern medicine was unknown, doctors prescribing opium, foxglove, strychnine and alcohol (various forms) for most disorders. A skilled practitioner can certainly bring relief for many of the items mentioned but it takes time, usually several one hour sessions, so is commercially non viable for most. A script for some pain killers is quicker and simpler, even if more dangerous. Massage does not have adverse side effects.

 
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POST POLIO

Q: 

Fifty years ago polio was wiped from the western world with mass immunisation, however, many still suffer from recurring symptoms. I have a friend so affected.

A: 

This is called "Post-Polio Syndrome" and most people affected are now well into their seventies and eighties. In time, it should gradually vanish from the western world. There is recurring pain and weakness. Many doctors have never seen it. Log onto www.post-polionetwork.org.au for up to date information and follow the links. This is a non profit organisation which can offer a lot of valued information and advice. Polio is still rampant in non industrialised world, just at our doorstep. Mass global vaccination of children is the only total answer.

 
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BED SOAPS

Q: 

I've read in this column some "old fashioned advice" that placing a couple of cakes of soap between the sheets may help prevent leg cramps. I've tried it and it seems to work. But how?

A: 

I am neither a biologist, scientist, nor purveyor of quack medicine, so am uncertain. However, many old time simple remedies seem to bring relief. Another is placing camphor blocks between the sheets or elevating heavy blankets with a pillow placed between the feet. Does the body absorb homoeopathic (very tiny) amounts of the product? Does blanket elevation allow normal circulation often reduced when lying down? Who knows. My view is that if any procedure does no harm and brings relief, give it a try.

 
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DARK CIRCLES

Q: 

What causes dark circles under the eyes?

A: 

Apart from a black eye from a fight or accident, stagnating blood is the main culprit. Infections or allergy swelling of the lining of the nasal and sinus air spaces may impede normal facial circulation, blood becomes oxygen depleted turning from red to bluish. Treat the cause, improve blood flow and circles vanish. Lack of sleep and fatigue are other causes. So is smoking, probably the worst.

 
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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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