In recent months, I’ve written a lot in this section about massive advances in the treatment of all sorts of diseases. Do you remember that old film where a medical team were shrunk and injected into a patient’s veins so that he could be treated? Well, using robots - not people - that is now a reality! A tiny thread-like robot, half a millimetre thin and a few centimetres long, has been developed to be used following a stroke. It will carry and deliver essential drugs to the brain, is magnetically controlled, and even has a laser which can be used to clear blockages in the blood supply.
32,000 people die each year in the UK from strokes and the key to survival is swift action within the first hour after the stroke.
There is no argument on smoking; it is bad for you, will damage your health, and possibly kill you. But the combined effect of educating people on the dangers, restricting the marketing and promotion, and whacking up the cost through taxation, is cutting the amount of smoking in England. Yes, 118 million less cigarettes are smoked in England each month than in 2011, that’s a massive 1.4 billion a year. Only 14.4% of adults now smoke, a record low and the daily average consumption has fallen from 12.4 to 10.6 since 2011.
Vaping has also contributed to the reduction in actually smoking tobacco and the jury is still out on the potential damage that does, but it’s less than tobacco…
I’ve written often about vaccination and will continue to do so while the current mindless fad of not vaccinating children continues. My generation were the first to be privileged with protection via inoculation. Our parents queued up to get us jabbed and as an added protection, if you heard of anyone who had chicken pox, measles or German measles in the area, a party was arranged so other kids were exposed to it to boost the benefit of the vaccination!
Measles, which can be a killer in extreme cases, was eliminated. But that’s no longer so. Greece, Albania, the Czech Republic and now the UK have all lost their measles-free status given by the World Health Authority. The WHO lays the blame for the renewed advance of measles firmly on misinformation on the value and risk of vaccination, but whilst this has always been on the fringes, social media is fanning that misinformation.
I wondered about this being included under ‘Mad’, but that is a jocular look at life, this is too serious for that. Kids can be left with serious disabilities from measles or even die. Put the coffee pot on folks and inhale the vapours!
If I keep this up, I’m going to be offered a medical column in a major publication! Of course, the State has a responsibility to its citizens to give basic advice and no-where more so than on health matters. But telling us how much sleep we all need is going a bit far! That really is nanny state and government; sleep and nannies remind me of a very good joke on politics, but I probably shouldn’t tell it here!
We are all different and at different stages in life, and even need different amounts of sleep depending on the day of the week. But what is sleep? It isn’t just being in bed with your eyes shut and not being aware. Many people who have less sleep but are fit and feel good actually sleep better than those who have more than seven to nine hours a night, which I gather the guidelines will recommend. It’s being said that it is as important as advice on alcohol. But if you stay within the weekly booze suggestions and don’t drink at all for say five days a week and enjoy a few beers at the weekend, you’re accused of being a binge drinker! So, if you prolong your sleep at the weekends does that make you binge sleeper?! Let’s get real here. We all know when we aren’t getting enough sleep and address it. It may be that we’re not sleeping properly… so we find out why. It may be the kids, particularly the teething ones, giving us disturbed nights… but we deal with it as best as we can. We don’t need the government telling us we need more sleep!
I wonder if I should name this long-established and well-respected high street store? But it’s not their fault and I know how difficult getting staff is, especially at the lower end. It was 2.17pm and I was queuing to pay for a paper, a sandwich and a drink. The cashier was a cheerful, efficient, friendly middle-aged lady and I was next to be served when a girl of about 20 appeared at her shoulder. Without turning around until she’d totalled the goods, she said: “I’ll finish this one. Are you almost done as well?”, “No,” came the reply, “I’ve just started but I’m not good at mornings!”
I checked my watch as the young lady gave me my change and looked outside to make sure I wasn’t in some strange time warp and out of sync by 12 hours! As I sat on the seafront fending off the seagulls hovering for scraps, I could not help but muse what was madder… that experience or what I was reading in the paper about THAT Wednesday in the House of Commons!
Now, if you’ve got a woodworking or furniture making workshop in your home, you’ll probably have some sort of kit that snaffles sawdust and shavings, but there will still be dust that hits the floor. And so it has always been in Michael Northcroft’s workshop. He’s 63 now and has been turning out wooden creations all his life. I suspect that years back there was more saw dust and shavings on the floor than now, but his last action every night is to sweep the floor. Yes, sweep with a broom. So, I hear you ask, what’s mad with that and of course the answer is nothing. But the Health and Safety Executive in Leyton, East London, has said sweeping up creates a health hazard. Airborne wood dust is an asthma and cancer risk. Instead of using a broom, he must use an industrial hoover! Not even just a hoover, but an industrial hoover. I understand Michael said the advice is “a load of rubbish” and is keeping his broom.