Get The Happiness Habit – or at least, get this book by Christine Webber, recently re-published as an e-book (£1.79) – if you’re suffering from the January blues, and give yourself a chance at feeling brighter. […]
Welcome to my website Under the Scope where you can focus on health matters, find facts or listen to the heartbeat of life-in-general. Join the blog debates, browse the archives, engage, enjoy.
Dawn Faizey-Webster is a remarkable woman who I was lucky enough to interview in 2014 for the Daily Telegraph. Last night, that account was commended in the Guild of Health Writers Award, which was really pleasing.
Of course, it is nice to get recognised by your peers for your work, but mostly it gives me a chance to highlight her story one more time.
Dawn has Locked-In Syndrome; she cannot speak or move much more than a slight lift and turn of the neck, or control more than her intensely expressive left eye, and its immediate facial muscles. Yet she has wit and warmth, and her intelligence is undimmed. When we spoke, Dawn had just been awarded a 2:2 honours degree in history, a course she studied painstakingly over six years, using a sophisticated computer programme that picks up words when she stares at them for a sufficient number of seconds.Read more
Flesh Wounds is a memoir written by Richard Glover, a best-selling author, presenter on 702 ABC Sydney, very funny chap and also – full disclosure – my much-loved cousin. Currently available in Australia or via Amazon, its appeal is worldwide, I think, partly because the subject matter takes us with Richard to Lancashire on his search for his English roots. Partly because the elements explored in the book are so universal: family; love; abuse; Tolkein. (Note to publishers: how about an English edition?)
The book itself is an ‘anthropological’ exploration through Richard’s family; a mapping of the historical whys and wherefores as well as the practical geography of his childhood in suburban Australia with parents who drank, partied, argued and parted, all the time seeming to ignore the small boy who they happened to share a house with.Read more
After alternately scowling and then nodding in agreement at Iain Dale’s short book The NHS; Things That Need to Be Said (Global; £8.99), I have to hand it to him: this will be uncomfortable reading for some.
I was – to be fair- quite surprised at how often Dale and I agree: we both think that staffing needs to be looked at more closely. That there are managers who are paid far too much, a creeping tendency to over-qualify all staff, and that if we don’t find ways to get women back into general practice (indeed all specialities) after maternity gaps, the country is throwing away knowledge and skills.
I don’t agree with him about NICE – I’ve interviewed scientists and doctors around the globe who envy us NICE. They salivate over a scientifically respected truly independent group of experts who are prepared to make the hard choices the rest of us baulk at.Read more
Nicola Hill visited Joanna Hall’s Walkactive Training Camp in Spain and tells Under the Scope of the four days that changed the way she walked (and talked.)
“It’s not a ballet point, it’s not a closed ankle, it’s an open ankle”. As I repeated this mantra to myself I wondered how many Spanish women spent their holidays in English car parks learning how to walk properly. For this is what I was doing in Spain, trudging up and down a piece of gravel wasteland, concentrating on my strides. I did however have a beautiful view of the Mediterranean sea as I tried to ensure my foot was flexing, my hips were lifted, my shoulders were down and my stomach was doing something called an Ab-J. All these instructions were part of the system of Walkactive, a very different way of moving that I was trying to learn over a four day break in La Manga, Spain.Read more
Chain of Hope is the charity set up by British cardiologist Sir Magdi Yacoub to offer disadvantaged children across the globe access to heart surgery. Its most recent – and probably most high profile – patient was Hala al Massri, a three year old girl with Tetralogy of Fallot, one of the most common congenital heart defects in children. Hala was suffering from a decreased blood flow to the lung, a hole between the two ventricles (or main chambers) in the heart, displacement of the aorta (the main artery) and increased thickness of the right ventricle.I met her two weeks after surgery and found her to be a delightful scamp; full of hope and life.Read more
As the Olympic Games get underway tonight, a fascinating look into the mind and life of one of our greatest