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Thursday, 15 January 2015

2015 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine - deadline 31st January

Poetry and medicine features as the theme for an excellent review by Alastair Gee in this week's issue
of the New Yorker. His article ranges from discussion of historical use by Arab physician Avicenna of poetry to aid learning in his treatise medicine – to current interest by medical journals in publishing poetry on their areas of special interest.

The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine features in the article, at £5000 (~USD 7,500) the most valuable international award in the world for an unpublished poem.

Entries have already been received from 20 countries, from Australia to the USA, for the 2015 awards, for which the closing date is 12 midnight GMT on 31st January.

There is also a further £5000 first prize for the Hippocrates NHS prize for the poetry and medicine and £500 for the Young Poets award.

Judges for the 2015 Hippocrates Prize Open and NHS Categories are Poet Rebecca Goss, author, journalist and broadcaster John Humphrys and Psychiatrist Femi Oyebode.

Enter the Hippocrates Awards online

More about the Hippocrates Awards

Read the New Yorker article

Sunday, 4 January 2015

What works as healthy lifestyle for losing excess weight?

A good time to get weight in trim? New Year is a familiar time for people to make resolutions and aims to improve lifestyle.
However advice on how to lose excess weight may be confusing and contradictory. Here is some helpful information on why overweight may be unhealthy and what works to help to reduce overweight.

Why bother about overweight?
Excess weight increases the burden of cardiovascular risk (high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and diabetes mellitus); causes premature ageing of arteries, leading to heart attacks, strokes and other serious disorders of the heart, brain and circulation; contributes to risk of sleep dusturbance and sleep apnoea syndrome; causes premature joint ageing with arthritis; non-alcholic fatty liver disease is the commonest cause worldwide of liver damage; and increased risk of cancers - weight gain and overweight estimated to be linked to 1 in 5 cancers.
People who have no difficulty in maintaining normal weight may find it difficult to understand the challenges. For those who are currently overweight, the challenges in regaining a more healthy weight include beating the psychological, physical and social addiction to causes of overweight, and resisting peer pressure.

Getting started
Importants steps on the path to reducing excess weight include being ready to think about action, to think about taking action and to prepare to take action. That might mean telling friends and family you are serious about losing weight, and to seek whatever help may work - e.g.  family doctor or nurse or other health professional, and support groups for the overweight.

What works? 
What works best is to combine increased activity with reduced energy intake – much more effective than either approach on its own.
Smaller portion size, cutting down on processed foods and increasing exercise are the big 3 factors that help. Keep a weight chart and if possible find a friend with whom to lose overweight. Wear a belt. Pace your eating and drink water with your food. Eat regular small meals. Avoid snacking, Research evidence suggests that successful measures include recording weight regularly, knowing the approximate energy intake of what you eat, and regular activity.
It is also clear that insight into the personal health risks of overweight provide extra incentive to lose weight. Better of course to reduce excess weight before serious clinical effects of overweight occur.
There are many support groups and diet plans available to order, often at high cost.

Research evidence suggests that success in maintaining weight loss is associated with clear strategies for coping with life stresses and with 'continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies, low levels of depression and disinhibition, and medical triggers for weight loss'. In contrast, unsuccessful weight maintainers are erratic or inconsistent in recording their weight and being vigilant in keeping to healthy types and amounts of food and in continuing regular activity.
Once overweight people have maintained a weight loss for 2-5 years, the chances of longer-term success in maintaining a healthy weight are much greater.
 There an increasing variety of 'apps' for smartphones and PCs, that reinforce the combined impact of healthier dietary intake and maximising exercise. Many are free, with myfitnesspal an excellent example. These and other free lifestyle apps are like your personal health bank. The more active you are, the more energy balance you have towards losing weight, the more you eat, the less reserves in your health bank.

Updated from an earlier post in December 2011 © DRJ Singer