College of Medicine announces dates for this year’s food conference

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Food on Prescription 2019 is the latest in a series of food conferences, run by the College of Medicine, that have become a leading UK event on food, lifestyle and medicine for all healthcare professionals, who want to create a healthier future for patients, communities and the nation.

Held on Thursday October 24 at the Royal Society of Medicine, the conference will focus on:

  1. The latest insight on the biome and the relationship of food to our major lifestyle conditions
  2. Supporting healthy eating throughout our communities and nation
  3. Transforming the clinician and patient relationship including the 10 min consultation
  4. Creating a stronger coalition of stakeholders to reverse the current situation whereby those who most need healthy food are the least likely to be able to either access it or want it.

The Conference will include presenters who represent some of the leading experts and leaders in food, lifestyle and medicine as well as senior politicians from the largest political parties.  As in previous years, it is a conference that will ‘walk the talk’ including a healthy lunch and positive interaction with the audience but with a sharp focus on bringing about effective change at every level.

Vist the College of Medicine website for more information and to book tickets

A small knee bone is making a comeback

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A small bone more common in clients with arthritis is making a comeback, according to an article published in the Journal of Anatomy.

The fabella is a small independent bone located behind the lateral femoral condyle that is common in non-human mammals. It is absent in many humans who have lost the bone through evolution.

However, a recent systematic review examining medical literature over the past 150 years has found an increase in its prevalence. The findings show that the fabella is now three times more common than it was 100 years ago and is present in 39% of people.

Scientists believe that this increase could coincide with the global increase in human weight and height due to improved nutrition over the past century. Increased weight and height leads to larger calf muscles and longer shinbones, putting more pressure on the knee, and in turn leading to the formation of the fabella.

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Diane Leopard discusses inspiring photo project on UK Health Radio

Diane Leopard 3.jpgFHT Fellow Diane Leopard was recently interviewed for UK Health Radio to discuss a photography project she has launched to raise cancer awareness and help support those affected.

Interviewed by UK Health Radio’s Jenni Russell for the Her Health and Happiness show, Diane told her how she had purchased a camera with prize money from winning an FHT Excellence Award in 2015.

She then joined an adult education class to learn how to use the camera and was required to complete a final project about ‘a journey’. Diane decided to use this opportunity to reflect on her own personal cancer journey, by taking outdoor photographs that were symbolic of the different stages of her cancer journey and the emotions she had experienced.

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Diagnosis – This picture of Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland represents how Diane felt when the consultant told her that she had breast cancer. In the foreground of this picture you can see people going about life as normal while Diane’s life came tumbling down.

After presenting the project to her classmates, Diane was overwhelmed by the response and felt compelled to expand the project, first taking it into a local hospice and Pink Sisters, a breast cancer support group. Diane has since given a talk at a Stoke-on-Trent FHT Local Group meeting and has spoken to hospice staff on several occasions about the emotional impact of cancer and how they can help to support clients/patients.

In the interview Diane goes on to talk about her journey with cancer, how her life became uncertain after a diagnosis, and discusses the meaning behind each photo.

Speaking about the project, Diane says, “As a complementary therapist working with cancer patients I thought I understood cancer but nothing had prepared me for the emotional impact of a diagnosis. Since then I have taken a series of nature photographs to represent the emotional impact of cancer called ‘Focus on Emotions’. This represents not only my story but also emotions and feelings that have been shared by many other cancer patients all with different stories to tell and my family.  The images are natural, unedited other than the occasional crop and not staged.  They are often everyday scenes for example sunrise, sunset, flowers, beaches things most of us have experienced.  During the presentation I explain at little bit about each image and why I chose it. I then let the  audience have a few moments to reflect on what the image means to them.

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Tunnel of treatment, this is a poisonous laburnum arch with purple allium flowers standing tall and strong below. The laburnum represents chemotherapy and the allium are the medical staff who care for patients during treatment. The light at the end is where everyone hopes to be after treatment. Taken at the Dorothy Clive Gardens.

“I deliver the talk and exhibition to health care professionals, cancer patients, work colleagues and the general public. I want people to understand the devastating emotional impact cancer has on lives.  If people can have an insight to our emotions I am convinced that cancer patients will have an improved quality of treatment and recovery.  Cancer changes lives but that’s not always a bad thing.  I now see the beauty that surrounds us all yet many of us take for granted.

“The response from health care professionals, cancer patients and the public has been amazing, it has resonated with so many people.  Comments have included: – ‘that is one of the best presentations I have ever heard’ and ‘thank you, you’ve helped me to understand what my father must have gone through’.

“By looking at these images people seem to able to relate to their own emotions which may be cancer related or relate to other difficult life experiences such as bereavement, divorce and life changing illnesses.”

Listen to the full interview here

In addition, Diane has also published guest blogs on the project, highlighting her work on various websites, including Baba Baboon and Ticking Off Breast Cancer.

Protein reduces the risk of frailty in older women

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Adequate intake of protein is associated with a reduced risk of frailty and prefrailty in older women, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital. Adequate protein intake was defined as at least 1.1 g per kg of body weight. The findings were published in European Journal of Nutrition.

Frailty is a multidimensional condition common in older adults, and those affected are at an elevated risk of dependence and mobility loss, fall, fracture, multimorbidity and mortality. Evidence shows a strong link between frailty and malnutrition, and protein may be the most important nutrient at play, mostly through its effect on muscle health. The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (2012) suggest protein intake of 1.1-1.3 g per kg of body weight as adequate for preserving physical capacity in older adults. However, there is a paucity of data regarding the association of protein intake with frailty. The newly published study examined associations between protein intake and protein sources with frailty status in older women.

Participants were 440 women aged 65-72 years enrolled in the Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention–Fracture Prevention Study. Their protein intake in g per kg of body weight was calculated using a three-day food record at baseline in 2003-2004. At the three-year follow-up in 2006-2007, frailty phenotype was defined as the presence of three or more, and prefrailty as the presence of one or two of the following criteria: low grip strength, low walking speed, low physical activity, exhaustion (defined using a low life satisfaction score), and weight loss of more than five per cent.

The study shows that getting the recommended amount of dietary protein was associated with a lower risk of frailty and prefrailty in older women. Moreover, the consumption of animal protein was associated with a lower likelihood of frailty. The recommended protein intake (1.1-1.3 g per kg of body weight) for an older person weighing 70 kg corresponds to a minimum intake of 77 g of protein. To illustrate, the protein content of a chicken breast per portion is 25 g, one boiled egg 6 g, and two slices of whole grain bread 6 g.

‘The public health recommendation is to eat an optimal diet with an adequate intake of protein. Adequate protein intake is important for muscle health and, according to the new results, may also prevent frailty. However, further research is still required in this area,’ Senior Lecturer Arja Erkkilä from the University of Eastern Finland concludes.

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Insomnia and loneliness may be reduced with physical education

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Physical education classes in school could reduce insomnia and feelings of loneliness in children, according to a study.

The above findings  were from a gender analysis of the impact of physical education on the mental health of schoolchildren in Brazil, published online by the open access journal, SSM – Population Health.

Scientists analysed data from more than 40,000 ninth grade (14-15-year-old) children from 3,160 schools across Brazil. The children were asked to complete a questionnaire, which included questions on whether they attend physical education classes, feel lonely and have difficulty sleeping.

The results showed that physical education reduced loneliness and insomnia in both boys and girls, but had a greater effect on boys. It has what the researchers call ‘a protective effect on mental health’.

Access the full study