A new test predicts whether breast cancer will spread

A new test predicts whether breast cancer will spread

When I used to smoke 80 Marlborough Reds a day I had no fear of dying from lung cancer. I knew that it generally takes a few decades to develop, so I was confident there would be a cure by the time I needed one. Back then, most people thought of cancer much like TB or polio – a single disease that would eventually respond to a single treatment or immunisation. Now, of course, we know that cancer...

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It’s cute to be greedy – as long as you’re thin

It’s cute to be greedy – as long as you’re thin

I woke on the sofa in the middle of the night to find a rerun of The Nanny on TV. Fran was crying and, to comfort her, the butler was putting something like cupcakes into her mouth. Apparently, one of the things that makes her so irresistible is her inability to resist food. It reminded me of Will and Grace, where Grace’s ability to eat everyone else under the table is a recurring plot...

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Binge eating disorder – or just inevitable dieting misery?

Binge eating disorder – or just inevitable dieting misery?

This article makes some interesting points about eating disorders, and binge eating disorder in particular. Surely everyone who has ever been on, and then ‘broken’, a diet would recognise the symptoms – eating quickly, feeling out of control and being unable to stop, then feeling deeply ashamed afterwards. Isn’t that the body’s natural response to what it sees as starvation? And surely that’s a...

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Exercise can help beat the binge – but forget the idea that you have to enjoy it

Exercise can help beat the binge – but forget the idea that you have to enjoy it

 I think Joanne Gerr is spot on in her post when she says: “Weight loss is an “inside job” — that is, individuals who desire to make a real change in their lives have to understand the emotional patterns behind eating behaviors to be able to make healthy choices that promote well being. Achieving weight loss and making peace with emotional eating has very little to do with food. Indeed,...

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Mindless eating is no fun

Mindless eating is no fun

I see that the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab are keeping up the good work of studying the psychology behind the way we eat. Their latest research suggests that we think that expensive food tastes better than less expensive food, even if it’s exactly the same. I find all of this stuff fascinating. I have long been a fan of Brian Wansink, the director of the Cornell Lab, and often quote...

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Bruised but not broken – thanks to vitamin D?

Bruised but not broken – thanks to vitamin D?

Yesterday I noted on Facebook that this article suggests that vitamin D can help you stay upright. I can only presume that poor Professor Mason was a bit flustered when she suggested that  there was ”overwhelming” evidence that adequate vitamin D with calcium was important in reducing falls as well as fractures. Well I have strong personal evidence that they don’t keep you on...

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Keep on working after 65 – but where?

Keep on working after 65 – but where?

The need for a higher retirement age appears to be irrefutable. In Australia the over-60s are growing in number at approximately four times the rate of other demographic groups. At current trends, by 2050 there will only be 2.7 working Australians for every citizen over 65. In the 1970s, the ratio was 7.5 workers for each older Australian*. We can’t just ignore the fact that there’s a lot less...

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Daydream believers

Daydream believers

It’s become something of a cliché that people often have their best ideas in the shower. But, these days, the shower is one of the few places where your mind is free to wander – presuming you resist the lure of the waterproof radio, of course. Technology has made it so easy to be entertained or engaged every minute of the day that it’s practically the norm. But, as this this Guardian...

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When cruelty costs money why wouldn’t you stop?

When cruelty costs money why wouldn’t you stop?

Some farmers have absolutely no interest in animal welfare but wouldn’t you think they’d be interested in saving thousands of dollars a year? I recently interviewed Don Mudford of Parkdale Merino Stud, who breeds ‘bare breached’ sheep that don’t need to be mulesed. This is a horribly cruel practice of cutting off skin under the tail which theoretically prevents fly strike, but even mulesed sheep...

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GP dismisses breast symptoms. Can you believe that’s still happening?

This media release from the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation makes disturbing reading, and not only because the number of women diagnosed last year hit a new high. It includes the information that one of the 3003 women diagnosed in 2012 was 47-year-old Nicki Hayles, of Christchurch. Between mammograms, Nicki felt some pain in one breast. When it grew worse, and she noticed some redness on...

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