New drug dissolves arterial plaque – a major cause of heart disease

An injectable drug, Repatha, has been shown to dissolve damaging arterial plaques in a new patient trial.

Plaque deposits are responsible for clogging up arteries and contribute to blood clots – a major cause of heart attacks. Clots block the blood supply to the heart, leaving the crucial cardiac muscles starved of oxygen. Therefore treatments which can stop or reverse the build up of atheromas, cut heart attack risk and save lives.
Data from a trial of 968 patients, was unveiled at the recent American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in New Orleans, and showed that 64% of those treated with both Repatha and statins saw their atheromas shrink over 18 months.

But of the statins group only 48% experienced shrinkage and to a far smaller degree. Whereas the average patient treated with Repatha had a shrinkringe of plaque of 5.8 cubic mm, more than six times more than the 0.9 cubic mm shrinkage seen among those treated with statins alone.

Researcher Dr Stephen Nicholls, of the University of Adelaide, said the plaque reversal was ‘really quite profound’ – and was more than enough to stop a heart attack.

‘It is the difference in disease progression between those who have an event and those who don’t,’ he told the meeting.

Coronary heart disease, in which the major arteries become clogged, affects more than 2.3million people in Britain, and 69,000 die from heart attacks every year.

US company Amgen which makes the drug hopes that an even larger trial which completes next year , of nearly 30,000 people, will prove that the medicine does stop heart attacks.

Repatha is already available in the UK on the NHS and an estimated 325,000 people in the UK are already eligible to be prescribed it. That approval was made on the basis of trials which showed they reduced cholesterol by about 60 per cent more than statins.

Repatha is one of the first new cholesterol treatments developed since statins launched some 30 years ago – offer the first real alternative for people who cannot cope with the brutal muscle aches that sometimes accompany statins, or for whom statins simply do not work.

They have been approved in the UK for two main groups – those with a genetic condition which means they have dangerously high cholesterol, and people with heart disease who cannot cope with the side effects of statins.

But the new findings suggest the drugs could benefit hundreds of thousands more people – with up to 1.5million people potentially benefitting if the guidelines are changed.

The researchers, led by the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, found patients were still seeing their plaques shrink even when their cholesterol levels had reached very low levels – about a tenth of the level at which British patients are eligible for the drug.

Repatha, which is also known as evolocumab has so far been given to only handfuls of NHS patients, mostly because the of the cost. It costs about £4,400 per patient per year, although the NHS has agreed an undisclosed discount on this price.

Statins are incredibly cheap in comparison, costing the NHS about £20 a year per patient.

But doctors are more likely to start prescribing the drugs based on the new findings, which show for the first time that it has a clinical effect that extends beyond simply lowering cholesterol.

Insurer scraps upper age limit on single trip policies for Europe

Over 50s insurance specialist Staysure has announced the removal of its upper age limit restrictions on its European single trip travel insurance policies.

Staysure couple image

Recognising the challenges older travellers face when searching for affordable travel insurance, Staysure will now expand its cover options to include customers aged 85 and over when travelling to Europe, enabling even more holidaymakers to fulfil their travel plans regardless of their age. While an upper age limit will still remain on some long haul destinations, the company has removed the restriction to allow its older customers to continue visiting their most popular holiday destinations, such as Spain, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.

Staysure Head of Product Alison Longdon said: “We pride ourselves on being able to react to our customers’ needs and go the extra mile in creating products and services that suit their lifestyle. Getting affordable travel insurance in your 80s and 90s can be very difficult and expensive, whether due to age or existing medical conditions, so this change in our service offering for our most popular destinations is yet another step towards making our customers’ travel dreams come true and opening doors that were previously closed to them.”

Staysure CEO Ryan Howsam said: Since the launch of our Sure You Can! campaign, our customers continually tell us of the amazing things they do and what they get up to on their holidays and we’ve genuinely been impressed by the stories they share with us. It just goes to show that our customers really do want to live life to the full and fulfil their travel aspirations and our cover can enable them to achieve it.

SYC still 1

Staysure’s single trip travel insurance is ideal for holidaymakers looking for a great value, straightforward policy to cover one trip. Comprehensive single trip travel insurance includes cover for medical emergency and repatriation, up to £10m; cancellation, curtailment and trip interruption, up to £5,000; baggage loss, up to £2,000; personal liability, up to £2m and legal protection to cover up to £25,000.

More information can be found at Terms and conditions apply to the age limit for long haul destinations. There is no upper age limit for single trip policies unless you are travelling to the United States of America, Canada, the Islands of the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, Thailand, China or Hong Kong, where you must be 85 or under at the time of purchasing your policy.
Changes will be taking effect from February 2015.

Fluoride in tea is not a health risk

Current tea consumption is unlikely to provide fluoride intakes that exceed safe limits for adults and children according to a new study just presented to the Nutrition Society by Dr Carrie Ruxton, independent public health nutritionist.


Commenting on the research study, author and member of the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), Dr Carrie Ruxton notes: “Current tea intakes do not provide enough fluoride to meet the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for this mineral, and the potential dental health benefits of fluoride cannot be accessed unless tea consumption increases to 3-4 servings/day from the current intake of 1-2 servings a day.

“This latest study helps to put the record straight in the context of a 2013 study that measured the fluoride content of 38 tea bags and concluded that economy versions of tea represented a risk to dental and skeletal health. These conclusions were somewhat surprising given that official bodies view fluoride as a means to deliver dental health benefits when recommended amounts are consumed. Public Health England (PHE), for example, is clear about the benefits of water fluoridation and recommends that the practice is extended.”

Dr Tim Bond from TAP adds: “The 2013 study was also flawed in several respects. Firstly, tea was brewed for 2 minutes – longer than the typical brewing time of 30-40 seconds. Secondly, 2g of dry tea was added to 100ml of water making the infusion more concentrated that a typical tea bag in a cup or mug. Thirdly, the study compared the fluoride intake with the US Dietary Reference Intake rather than the EU Safe Upper Level.

“This latest study replicated the situation of a typical cup or mug of tea in that a single tea bag was added to 240ml of boiling water and brewed for 40 seconds. Tea bags from 49 retail brands were analysed.

“Average fluoride content of black blended tea in this study was 4.91mg/litre and similar to the findings of the 2013 study. However, according to the 2014 NDNS figures, average tea consumption in the UK is 395ml daily and intakes at the safe upper level of intake are 1155ml daily. Fluoride intakes from tea (which is estimated to provide 70% of the UK’s fluoride intake) will likely be lower than the safe upper level of 7mg daily (5mg in children) even among those people with intakes of tea at the higher end of the population. Moreover, this latest study shows that current average intakes of tea do not provide the RDA for fluoride suggesting that tea intake should increase to access the benefits of fluoride for dental health.”

About the Tea Advisory Panel
The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK Tea Council, the trade association for the tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors

Are you fit for work?

It seems that quite apart from the benefits to you personally that healthy living can bring it now seems Britain’s bosses are being urged to take particular interest in the health of their workers.

Britain's Healthiest Company

The move is not a push to reduce accidents in the workplace but stark figures that show that a healthy workforce is a profitable one for their bosses.

Health insurer Vitality Health and consultancy firm Mercer this week launched Britain’s Healthiest Company 2015. The aim is to find and celebrate the country’s most outstanding organisations demonstrating best practice and innovative approaches to looking after the health and wellbeing of their staff.

It is the largest national study in the UK, with the aim of providing employers with insights into the wellbeing of their workers and to celebrate those companies supporting health in the workplace. Companies with at least 50 employees have been invited sign up to participate in the survey which will comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of workplace wellness programmes and the health of the workforce.

The study analyses lifestyle, behavioural and clinical risk factors including weight, diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, stress, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, blood pressure as well as how often people attend health screenings to monitor and understand their health.

Neville Koopowitz, chief executive of VitalityHealth, said: “The pervasive effect our lifestyles have not only on our own health, but that of the economy as well, is startling. When we calculated the Vitality Age of the respondents to the 2014 survey, it was almost four years older than the real age. Our workforce is, in effect, four years older than it should be. This has a dramatic impact on productivity.

“As this is the third time we have conducted the survey the results will be particularly interesting as it will start to show us a direction of travel for employee health.”

Britain’s Healthiest Company 2014 surveyed over 25,000 employees from 82 companies across a diverse range of industries and employer sizes. The research, which was undertaken by the University of Cambridge and RAND Europe, revealed that sick leave and presenteeism (working while unwell) costs companies, on average, 7.7% of their yearly wage bill. This translated into an estimated total cost of lost productivity to the UK economy of over £58 billion per year.

The insurer said the report last year provided a stark warning of a dormant health time bomb, with nearly two thirds (62%) of employees having at least two bad

lifestyle choices that put them at serious risk of future ill health. The findings highlighted the strong link between these lifestyle risk factors, employees’ health and their performance at work, looking at areas such as: absenteeism, productivity, engagement, and presenteeism. It found that employers are typically left to pick up the bill as unhealthy staff take more time off sick and under-perform at work.

The question remains as to what action employers would look to or could take if they found their workforce was below par health wise. It will in the future pay to be healthy and you can expect corporate gym memberships to rise when the results of this year’s research are published.

Brain’s desire for ‘instant gratification’ can wreck future finances

Most of us prefer to the thrill of buying now rather than saving and safeguarding our financial future, according to new research from the Skipton Building Society.

But it may not be all our fault as our brains are not programmed to behave in our own best interests when it comes to money.

Retirement DNA21 (2)

Leading neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis explains the need for us to retrain our brains


As part of a campaign to get under the skin of the nation’s retirees, it’s been revealed this week, by Skipton Building Society, that our brains could have a lot to answer for, when it comes to the nation’s lack of preparedness for retirement.

• Over 50% feel unprepared for retirement 10-15 years out

• 30% have no idea how much is in their pension pot

• Physiological testing illustrates people confused about their futures

• Desire for immediate gratification creates barrier to financial planning

• Our brains need to be retrained to create stronger financial futures

As part of their DNA of Retirement research undertaken earlier this month, (which is believed to be a first for UK financial services) physiological responses were explored to provide a 360 degree insight into hopes and fears surrounding retirement and financial planning for our futures.*

It was revealed that over 50% were feeling unprepared for retirement at 10 to 15 years out, with 30% having no idea how much money is in their pension pot. Worryingly, nearly a quarter of people revealed they don’t have a retirement plan. Overall, anxiety was evident as nearly two thirds of retirees lacked the confidence that they are financially prepared for their retirement.

In follow up, Skipton, the UK’s fourth largest building society, has been working with leading neuroscience consultant and published author of best selling book‘Sort your Brain Out’, Dr Jack Lewis. Together, they can now reveal further insights from the analysis of the research data, which shows that our neurological programming could be a huge stumbling block in our pension planning.

Dr Jack said: “Our brains are not designed to ensure we are financially prepared for the future. In today’s fast paced world our brain is still tuned into instincts honed several millennia ago which encourage us to seek immediate gratification. If I offered a room of people £100 cash today, or £150 cash in a month, the majority would take the “safe” instant £100. This is because our brains are biased in favour of any decisions that give us a quick return. Of course, if we allow every financial decision we make to fall into the ‘live for the moment’ trap – then clearly the nation’s financial preparedness for retirement will be in a dire state.”

This is accentuated even further if we are not clear what our futures look like and confusion around our vision was also a key finding of the DNA of Retirement research. Most people, when questioned, described clear and inspired plans, covering aspirations from wing walking to starting new businesses. However, 64% of people’s physiological responses contradicted their stated desires. For example, what they said they wanted and what their subconscious revealed they wanted were different things.

Other findings of the research were that a significant proportion of the respondents were very aspirational about their futures, and the aspirations they had for retirement were quite elaborate. However, it didn’t appear that these dreams were matched by financial preparedness, thus illustrating a HUGE risk in terms of financial stability of our futures.

Dr Jack added: “The brain is a complex organ. We can shape it and mould it according to any behaviour that we regularly, intensively and consistently perform. However one critical step that is often overlooked is the need to consciously steer ourselves towards behaviours that yield the best return in the long run. As a general rule we tend not to care much for the best interests of our future selves. It is important to spend time vividly imagining the big picture to focus our mind on long term goals. If we never take the time to think about what kind of lifestyle we want to be living in retirement, then we simply have nothing to set our sights on. Asking people to financially plan for something that their brain is not emotionally engaged by is a big ask when we have so many immediate financial concerns. We can re-wire our brains by adopting new habits but to do this we first need to subtly alter our behaviours, beliefs, and motivations according to the best interests of our future selves.”

As part of their commitment to supporting people in and approaching retirement Skipton has launched a free Retirement Review** service in all branches nationwide, where people can call in and have a chat with a financial advisor to help them start to picture what kind of retirement they want, to then help them plan for it. They are also developing a persona app to help people visualise their future based on their own personal Retirement DNA, which will be rolled out in branch in the coming months.

David Cutter Group Chief Executive of Skipton Building Society, said: “Our research has revealed some worrying trends – we cannot have a country bursting with aspiration whose hopes will then be struck down by apathy or aversion to financial planning.

“As a mutual, we were established 161 years ago to help tackle the prevalent social issue of the time – helping ordinary people to build their own homes. Through our new retirement service, we’re bringing this ethos bang up to date by tackling THE financial issue of today.”

Skipton, the UK’s fourth largest building society, is keen to gain a true understanding of people’s retirement wishes, in order to be able to help them realise their goals, in line with its new Retirement Service.Skipton is currently offering a free will for anyone who has a free Retirement Review in any of its branches.

We continue to lose when it comes to men versus food

As we run up to Christmas comes news from across the Irish Sea which goes to reinforce what I think many of us already know.

This is not a time for stereotypical jokes about the Irish but a very comprehensive and serious report of men’s health from the Irish public health body safefood.
The body undertook research on men’s attitude to food and concluded that, in Ireland at least, that attitude puts us men at a serious disadvantage our female counterparts.

Given Christmas Day it is estimated that the average British adult will put away over 6,000 calories it makes interest reading for all.

The report highlights that men are generally less engaged with food both in terms of food hygiene and healthy eating. It also finds men have less healthy diets, eat more fat and salt, less fruit and vegetables, and tend to see food as fuel.

Men also show greater preference for larger portions of food, are less likely to be aware of healthy eating guidelines and are less likely to regard healthy eating as an important factor influencing their long-term health. And although more men than women are overweight or obese in Ireland, they are less likely to attempt to lose weight or to monitor their diet. At present, 70% of Irish men are overweight or obese, compared with 50% of women.

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health and Nutrition, safefood said “Despite increases in life expectancy in both genders over the past number of decades, men are at higher risk from major chronic diseases such as heart disease and many cancers, mainly due to modifiable behavioural factors such as poor diet, high consumption of alcohol and smoking. Our food environment and societal attitudes around masculinity play a role in influencing men’s food behaviour.

When it comes to food skills such as planning, purchasing, shopping, cooking and cleaning, women are more likely to be skilled in this area and still do most of this work. While there is an abundance of data on men and women’s food intake and dietary patterns, few studies have exclusively examined men’s attitudes and behaviours in relation to food and health. This report identifies how men view themselves and their relationship with food and is of importance for men’s health given their levels of overweight and obesity.”

While the report does not look at the issue of exercise, the benefits of any exercise regime are far more apparent if they go hand in hand with a healthy diet.

The report also found that men are far more likely to be the occasional cook leaving it to a special occasion rather than a daily trip to the kitchen to rustle up a meal.

It seems it is all down to the “hunter gatherer” instinct in the male and that deep down we see the cooking of what we gather best left to the female. Obviously with most females tasked with the weekly shopping the hunting and gathering role is also becoming ever more redundant.

In the UK interestingly the most high profile chefs and television cooks remain male and while it may well attract men into a career in food and cookery it does not look likely have them glued to the food and drink channel.

Indeed the most popular food show amongst men in recent years has been “Man v Food” where host Adam Richman travelled across America to sample some iconic regional dishes and in each episode ended by taking on some daunting food challenges, such as attacking a 13-pound pizza in Atlanta, tucking into the Sasquatch Burger in Memphis, and the aptly named Atomic Hot Wings platter in Pittsburgh.

The issue is it seems is that until more men understand that while food is fuel we need to increase the quality not quantity of the fuel we consume then our health will continue to suffer.

Body issues and the gym – the endless dilemma

Now I count myself amongst the lucky ones. Being a journalist has always opened me up to a more than average amount of invitations to lunch, dinner and the pub.

So when after hitting mid-40 the inevitable injury curtailed my footballing days and meant that my running was having to be shelved and I could not get away with “burning off” the excess.

Those of you who have read my posts for the past year will know it ended up in a dangerously high blood pressure level and a warning that I had to shed a fair few stones or face the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.

A spot in the jungle for three weeks on beans and rice via I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here was not really on the agenda so it was a more traditional route of a personal trainer a gym and a modified eating regime – NOT a diet.

Just over a year on and three and half stone lighter I am just about feeling comfortable looking at myself in the mirror. Without a doubt I am now slimmer and trimmer then I have been in almost two decades and the results have spurred me on to keep up the good work.

But this week I was speaking to a personal trainer down at the gym who had approached the reception as I arrived and said to the staff behind the counter “I have a very nervous new client coming in so could you make sure you are really engaging!”

I had to ask what the problem was and the PT said that the female in question was 23-years-old very overweight and as such was extremely nervous of going down the gym as she felt people would stare.

Now I only have to cast my mind back a year when I entered the gym wearing a baggy shirt and expansive shorts thinking exactly the same thing. There I was sweating profusely on a treadmill at a pace I would now view as walking while all around me were these gym goers who look more Venus and Adonis rather than my Billy Bunter.

Now while I do not feel I will ever join the Adonis cadre I feel a lot more comfortable in the gym both on the treadmill and in the weight room.

There are a number of male members of the gym who are larger then I was when I started and some are a lot older but do I look and stare?
No, I like so many of those who go to the gym can understand the journey they are on, the desire to not just lose the weight but also extend longevity, and actually have a huge respect for their decision to do something to change their futures.

Indeed at the age of nearly 50 I have decided I am now ready to join the gym’s boxing club and approached the trainer to ask if it was for experienced pugilists only.

“No we have every level” he said. “We have guys who have been coming for years and they tend to go out of their way to help the beginners and are keen to pair up to offer advice.”

Those, who after the excesses of Christmas, feel they want to get into shape but fear a visit to the gym should think again. So many of us on the bike or treadmill next to you have been on the same road and once heading down it are not keen to return to our starting point. But we certainly remember where it was.

Elixir catches up with Helen Mirren who reveals her saucy side in her latest role in The Hundred-Foot Journey

In The Hundred-Foot Journey Helen Mirren plays the proprietress of a formal Michelin star restaurant in a small French village. She is “très formidable” – especially when she faces competition from an Indian family who start up their own curry house, Maison Mumbai, complete with flashing neon lights.  The smell of curry wafts across the road, along with the Bollywood tunes – just one hundred steps from her maison grastronomique, hence the name of the film.

One Hundred Foot Journey Poster

The Hundred Foot Journey

One Hundred-foot Journey

Marriage is not a limp asparagus!

During the film, which you must go to see, she hardly eats at all. Now we know why – watch the video to find out!

Free skin health test and nutrition analysis from Gold Collagen clinic

Skin nutrition experts, Gold Collagen, are offering a FREE skin health analysis at selected pharmacies in London during January.

Pure Gold Collagen

The analysis will include a test to determine your skin’s structure, age and any damage and how you can act with lifestyle and nutrition to correct any problems.
This is a personal 20-minute session using a Dermalab machine analysis to undercover the extent of any skin ageing. You will be able to see photographic images of what is going on beneath your skin surface. Gold Collagen is a collagen skin booster drink which stimulates the body’s natural repair mechanisms.
To book your appointment click here.
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Loneliness threatens life of elderly as Government mobilises to tackle problem


Ester Ranzen, chair of Silver Line
A co-ordinated effort, bringing together care agencies and local authorities, to tackle loneliness amongst the elderly has been launched by the Government.
 For the first time local authorities will identify areas where older people suffer most acutely from loneliness to allow them to tackle the growing problem of social isolation and its harmful effects, announced Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
By mapping areas where loneliness is high, better care can be targeted at those who need it most – including older people.
Research clearly shows us that loneliness can affect health – it increases the risk of heart disease, puts people at greater risk of blood clots and dementia, and makes them more likely to exercise less and drink more. Socially isolated and lonely adults are also more likely to undergo early admission into residential or nursing care.
The new measure of social isolation, launched as part of the updated Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework for 2013/14, is part of a package of plans to address the challenges of caring for an ageing population – including £20m announced today to help thousands of older people stay warm and healthy over the winter.
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:
“Tackling loneliness, by giving people better care and improved services, is another step towards making the UK one of the best places to live in Europe for older people.
“I want the highest standards of treatment and care in our hospitals, in our care homes and in the community – and that means looking at whatever is needed to drive improvements.
“We need a measure of loneliness to shine a light on this problem and to know what we are dealing with.  Once we have this solid evidence, local communities will have new tools to come up with the right, targeted solutions to the problem.”
Further research shows that:
  •  more than half of those over the age of 75 live alone – with about one in ten suffers ‘intense’ loneliness;
  • half of older people – more than five million – say that the television is their main company;
  • 17 per cent of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week, and 11% are in contact less than once a month;
As a result of this new measure, local authorities will be able to compare data about how lonely or isolated the people in their area report to be. This information will help them identify how serious the problem is in their communities and what action is needed to tackle it.
Laura Ferguson, Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness said:
“Loneliness is a major health issue. An effective measure of isolation and loneliness is an important step to improving the lives of the hundreds of thousands of older people who are chronically lonely. This national measure can only help those making local health and care decisions to prioritise loneliness as a health issue, and one that they will tackle.”
Chair of The Silver Line, Esther Rantzen CBE said:”Loneliness creates a loss of confidence, an erosion of self-esteem, so that the front door becomes as solid as a brick wall and as impossible to break through. Some older people told me that they have nobody to speak to at all for weeks on end.  
“And yet there are many varied projects and organisations all over the UK, often staffed by volunteers, who could break through this life-threatening isolation, if older people knew whom to contact.   That is why we are in the process of creating a special helpline for older people, The Silver Line, which pilots from the end of November for three months and will launch nationally next year, and which will offer advice, information and friendship. We will have an important role in linking callers to the existing services in their local areas and we hope that our high profile will enable us to reach people who are at the moment totally isolated. Our slogan will be, “No question too big, no problem too small, no need to be alone.”  
Paul Najsarek, ADASS and Corporate Director for Adult Services at London’s Harrow Council said:
“The development of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework for 2013/14 has been a genuinely collaborative process between the Department of Health and local government. We strongly support the emphasis on the greater alignment of the framework with the Public Health and NHS Outcomes Frameworks – shared outcomes will drive the more efficient use of resources, and more seamless, joined-up care pathways. 
“The framework’s focus on people’s experiences of care and support is welcome – in particular, a new measure of social isolation among users of care and carers will bring a renewed focus to efforts to support people to maintain the connections to their communities which are so vital to their wellbeing. This year’s framework marks a significant step forward, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Department to build on the framework in future years”.
This announcement comes as Jeremy Hunt revealed that thousands of people across the country will benefit from a share of £20 million of Government money to help them stay safe and well during the cold winter months.
Council projects will receive a total of £20 million from the Warm Homes, Health People fund. This will help them run innovative schemes to help vulnerable people keep warm and safe and prevent people needing to go to hospital during the winter months.
The new measure forms part of the new Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework and updated Public Health Outcomes Framework for 2013/14. The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework measures the quality of our care and support, and how well that care helps people to stay well and independent, and able to play an active role in their communities.   As the problems of  loneliness and social isolation can affect everyone, not just users of care services and carers, the Department of Health is working to develop a population based measure of loneliness.
The updated framework includes:
  •  Social isolation – a new measure of social isolation for users of care and support and carers, in response to the key White Paper commitment to address loneliness and social isolation (shared with PHOF)
  • Dementia care – a new measure to promote joined up working across adult social care and the NHS, to improve the quality of life and sustain the independence of people with dementia (shared with NHSOF)
  • Integrated care – a new measure on people’s experience of seamless, integrated care (shared with NHSOF)
  • Reablement – a new measure of the effectiveness of reablement care in supporting people to maintain their independence
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Little Book of Tea reveals big health benefits

A new ‘little book’ has reviewed recent research on tea and its contribution to health. Published by the Tea Advisory Panel  (TAP), the ‘Little Book of Tea’ draws together reviews of studies conducted by this expert panel. It also provides additional information about how tea is used in the UK, which is mainly black tea, and offers tips for health and wellness.



Commenting on the ‘Little Book of Tea’, Dr Carrie Ruxton from TAP notes: “An increasing number of studies have linked regular tea drinking – both black and green teas – with benefits for heart health, cancer prevention, oral health and cognitive function. Natural plant compounds, called flavonoids, explain the beneficial impact of tea on health.


“This ‘little book’ highlights key benefits of tea in hydration, heart health, cancer prevention, oral health and cognitive function. It is a common belief that caffeinated drinks, such as tea, may adversely affect body hydration levels and advice is sometimes given in magazines that caffeinated drink consumption should be limited. In the ‘little book’ we explode this myth with evidence from clinical trials showing that drinking up to 6 mugs of tea daily actually has similar hydrating properties to drinking plain water. So, people can reach for a cup of tea whenever they feel thirsty.”

TAP report 12 front cover.jpg


Caffeine, in amounts of 30-400mg a day, equating to one to eight servings of tea daily, also has benefits in terms of physical and mental performance. In these amounts, caffeine is not dehydrating and helps to reduce fatigue. Negative effects of caffeine have been observed in studies looking at high dose caffeine pills, not tea, the new book points out.


Turning to other health benefits, the ‘little book’ says that three or more servings of black tea each day have been shown in research studies to have a positive impact on health, particularly a reduced risk of heart disease. Intakes in the range of one to eight cups each day are linked with health benefits and no adverse events.  The publication also points to emerging evidence from a small number of studies linking tea drinking with reduced risk of colon cancer and improved bone health and mental performance.


Benefits of tea in potentially reducing the risk of diabetes are also highlighted with benefit seen in the range of one to four cups each day. Tea could also reduce the risk of stroke, but the number of studies is still small.


Dr Ruxton adds: “Health benefits from drinking tea can be explained by the presence of its major active substances, the flavonoids, plant compounds from the polyphenol family. A further misconception about tea drinking – that milk reduces the availability of the beneficial flavonoids – is also laid to rest in our ‘little book’.  Adding milk to tea does not appear to influence bioactivity in the human body in the majority of studies which examines this issue.”


“Green tea often hits the headlines for its benefits but not everyone knows that all teas are in fact derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their common origin, black and green teas offer similar health benefits.  In fact, both black and green tea have the potential to reduce the risk of dental caries, diabetes, heart disease and possibly cancer. “

In summery, the ‘little book’ demonstrates that drinking around four servings of black tea daily may help to protect against a range of conditions from heart disease to diabetes and dental caries while improving mental health. It also points out that tea is hydrating and intakes in the range of one to eight cups daily is linked with health benefits and no adverse events.


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FREE tickets for The Vitality Show at London’s Earls Court

The Vitality Show, in association with Activia, is the UK‘s largest health, beauty, fitness and wellbeing event for women and is guaranteed to make you feel revitalised, beautiful, fit and healthy. And this year it is bigger and better before and kicks off on Thursday 22nd March at London’s Earls Court 2.
Elixir has 4 pairs of free weekend tickets (entry on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 March) for the show, worth £40 for two,  to give away. 
If you would like to receive a pair of tickets please send your name and email address to us at – your name will be put into a draw. Winners will be informed on Wednesday 21 March and will be emailed their tickets. Please note that no money equivalent is being offered and the Editor’s decision is final.
The Vitality Show, is the UK’s largest health, beauty, fitness and wellbeing event for women. With hundreds of top brands and unique products not found on the high street, 100 inspirational speakers, 60 free fitness and yoga classes, free cooking demos, health advice and dozens of ways to get in shape, Vitality Show is guaranteed to make you feel revitalised, beautiful, fit and healthy.

There’s everything you could possibly want to look good and feel great: take part in a free fitness or dance class, pick up secret beauty tips from the experts in the know, pamper yourself from top to toe, find a new way of working out with a yoga class, taste the latest healthy foods, get advice on changing your career, marvel at the top chefs at work in the kitchen, plan an exciting travel adventure, or simply sit back, relax and let our marvellous therapists work their pamper magic. 
Go on, treat yourself…you deserve to look good and feel great!
VIP makeover, hair and massage experiences available from just £45
– Free cooking demos, health advice and dozens of ways to get in shape
– Over 200 free fitness classes and seminars to experience
The Vitality Show runs from Thursday until Sunday 25 March.  For more information and opening times look at the show’s website at
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Athlete Kriss Akabusi motivates coach potatoes

Many of us often worry whether we are as healthy as we should be, but how many of us actually do anything to find out whether we are, or in fact, even know how to go about checking?

coachpotato.jpgFrom cholesterol tests, blood pressure monitoring, diabetes checks and even just following a healthy diet and exercise plan, trying to get and stay healthy can seem overwhelming, not to mention time consuming, especially for those of us who lead busy lifestyles and find it hard to fit in the day to day pressures as it is.

In reality, finding out what you need to be monitoring and improving when it comes to your health doesn’t need to be hard; it’s all a matter of getting the right advice and making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

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Athlete Kriss Akabusi pictured above

One man who knows all about the benefits of health and fitness is Kriss Akabusi, and he’s encouraging everyone, from those of us who might classify ourselves as couch potatoes, to even those who already engage in a healthy lifestyle to make sure they’re fully informed about the state of their health.Kriss is backing health progamme, All About Health, that provides detailed information and advice on what you should be monitoring and how you can receive further support from your local pharmacy.

Log on to our live Web TV show which takes place tomorrow (6 October at 14.30 GMT)  by clicking on the link below . Ask questions and  Kriss will give you tips on how to stay fit and healthy with minimum fuss, while All About Health pharmacist, Ajit Malhi, will outline how your local pharmacy can help you assess your health

Kriss Akabusi and All About Health pharmacist, Ajit Malhi join us live online at   on Thursday 6th October at 2.30pm

Click here to submit questions before the show   






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The Miracle of Lemons by Dr Penny Stanway



Paperback £6.99

Lemons have been hailed as a superfood, an effective natural remedy and an invaluable multi-purpose household cleanser and freshener. Dr Penny Stanway’s well-researched and authoritative little book debunks the myths and reveals which health claims are backed by evidence based research and which are not, whether lemons deserve their cult status as a panacea and just how much they can improve your diet and well-being.
As well as expounding the health-giving and practical properties of lemons, the author provides an A-Z section of ailments that can respond to lemons – each entry outlines possible causes of the ailment, discusses how lemons can help, and suggests how to use them as a remedy.
She gives lemon-containing recipes that will help care for, beautify and scent your skin and hair, and room-by-room ideas for using lemons to keep your home fresh, clean, fragrant and sparkling.
There are also inspiring and delicious recipes for using lemons – they add a touch of magic to the simplest snack and to sweet or savoury dishes.
There are also instructions on how to grow lemons indoors in a greenhouse, and outside in a warm climate; how to choose which variety of lemons to grow; and how best to store them.
Dr Penny Stanway practiced as a GP and a child-health doctor.  She has written over 20 books on health, food, and the connection between the two.

Friendships are as important for your health as exercise

Good friendsA survey of 300,000 revealed that quality friendships can do as much for your health as quitting smoking or eating a healthy diet.

We all know that laughter and fun is meant to be very good for our health and stress levels, so maybe this new ‘revelation’ won’t be all that surprising to most.

Quality, not quantity, is the important word here (we aren’t referring to how many friends you have on social networks!). These are the kind of friends you can confess your darkest secrets to and spend hours with, not those you want to strangle by the end of the day.

The survey also revealed that not having good friendships is as bad for your health as becoming obese.

So, take good care of the friends you already have and try to make new ones wherever possible. As we get older and a bit more set in our ways we seem to find it a bit harder to let our guard down and get to know someone new. 

We get the feeling that this is one healthy living tip we will all find it easy to follow.

Avoid the usual diet mistakes – Podcast

diet bad!According to research undertaken by M & S, 14 million of us started a new year diet this week. However, for most of us this will end by mid-february. 

Each time we start a diet, we are resolving to be healthier but still can’t resist those treats. How do we find the willpower to be successful? It seems to be just that little more difficult if you’ve had a baby and want to lose weight, or you’ve just gone through the menopause.

In this podcast, exclusively recorded for Elixir, Nutritionist Claire Hughes gives us the lowdown on why our diets fail, what women and older people can do to lose weight and how we can make a difference to our way of thinking about food in 2011.


The real detox

Yogatastic Don’t spend loads of money on detox packs or string yourself out on a disgusting syrup, juice and pepper concoction – commit to something which actually works…

Every year we say we will stop eating when we feel full, or have one or two fewer glasses of wine but it never works.Well now the forced excess is all over and it’s time for punishing ourselves with the latest detox and weight loss fad. Or is it?

Losing that bloated sinking feeling and getting yourself back on track for 2011 could be much simpler than you realise.

We know the celebrities all endorse various detox/weight loss plans and we understand why. They are under a great amount of pressure to look good and above all, be the slimmest they can be, which prompts drastic measures in even the least neurotic and anxious of people. For those of us living our mundane (cough) everyday lives, such drastic action is not required: a few little tweaks can make all the difference.

Here are six quick tips to banish that ‘jabba the hutt’ feeling:

1. Make sure you get enough sleep. When you are tired your body wants the high energy, quick fix food which is very bad news for your blood sugar level and waistline. Tired people are also less likely to have the energy to exercise. Tired people always look older: perhaps the most effective inducement to get enough shut-eye. Need any more reasons?!

2. As above, high energy/sugar food is very bad news for you (unless you are a super-duper fit athlete who burns a gazillion calories a day). Eating high sugar foods sends you up into the stratosphere for about 20 minutes until you crash back down to earth and into the biscuit cupboard. We don’t need to give it up completely, just reduce portion size and be careful not to eat your treat after dinner as those calories will be going nowhere fast.

3. Raise your heart rate for at least 15 minutes a day. We all have some lonely exercise equipment or one of the many computer console exercise programs to hand for a quick endorphin boost, so requires no extra spenditure.  It gives you a little extra energy to go about your business and you don’t have to trek to the gym to spend time with other sweaty people. Yuck.

4. Alcohol. We’re sorry to have to say this but if you want to feel better within a week, any delicious alcohol-based beverage is out. Alcohol is full of sugar. Wine is quite probably the healthiest of all the marketed beverages but still, as above, we know it is hard to restrict ourselves to just the one glass. So we advocate cutting it out for just a little while. Your liver will give thanks and you will very soon notice you are much less sluggish with better skin.

5. Fruit and veg. You may have heard the news, you may not have done, but here it is; we do not have to eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day. Of course it is advisable to eat as much as you can without stressing or obsessing if for no other reason that by eating something green, you are not eating a big cake or pork pie. Fruit is nice as well. You may have forgotten how nice it is with all those sugar laden treats out there but if you manage to cut back your sugar intake you will rediscover just how naturally beautiful many fruits are. Try to eat the actual fruits instead of getting juice – the fibre helps slow the flow of sugar into your bloodstream.

6. Supplements. The most important are fish oil/omega 3 capsules which come with a side helping of Vitamin D – perfect for sharpening the old brain functions and making us feel less depressed about being mid-winter. There is no Vitamin D RDA and although we probably get enough help from the sun during summer, we need to supplement like crazy in winter. If you are over 50 you should be taking a Vitamin D supplement all year round. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to all the old life threatening bad pennies of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and more research needs to be done to see exactly what deficient people are missing out on. As far as other vitamins are concerned: if you can manage a small daily dose of vitamin C, this will also help to reduce your chances of getting a bad cold.

See, not a massive change, but will help you start to feel loads better and you might be inspired to effect a bigger change in your lifestyle. It doesn’t take much to get your body back on track – our organs, especially our main detox organ – the marvellous liver – are very resilient and do their very best job with just a little help from us.


Sleep is important, for both beauty and health

Beauty sleep We have all heard the cliché ‘beauty sleep’ but it does seem that the easiest way to look attractive and healthy is to get a good night’s sleep.

However, it is clear that lack of sleep affects more than our attractiveness. It also affects our ability to make coherent decisions, operate machinery and complete everyday tasks.

Evidence for sleep’s aesthetic bonus (taken from a recent research project in Sweden) has been published in the Christmas issue on The study, led by John Axelsson from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, investigated the relationship between sleep and perceptions of attractiveness and health.

Twenty-three people between the ages of 18 to 31 took part in the study. They were photographed between 2pm and 3pm on two occasions, once after normal sleep (8 hours) and once after being deprived of sleep (31 hours of wakefulness after a night of reduced sleep). No alcohol was allowed for two days before the experiment.

The photographs were taken in a well-lit room and the distance to the camera was fixed. During both photography sessions participants wore no make-up, had their hair loose (combed back if they had long hair) and were asked to have a relaxed, neutral facial expression for both photos.

Sixty-five observers, who were blinded to the sleep status of the subjects, rated the photographs for attractiveness and whether the individuals looked healthy/unhealthy or tired/not tired.

The observers judged the faces of sleep-deprived participants as less healthy, less attractive and more tired.

Are we just stating the obvious about the importance of sleep? It is easy to tell by sight alone when someone is tired or not well, which this study is said to prove. The implications for our health are not as easy to see as under eye shadows and droopy eyelids and are far more worrying.

The authors believe their topic of research is becoming ever more important considering the rise in stress, disturbed sleep and the ongoing trend of ours to try and wring every last possible moment of usefulness from each day. Sleep disorders are also on the rise. 

If you would like to read the paper associated with this story please visit

Anyone for a cup of tea?

_MG_6396[1] [320x200].JPGThe menopause can be a very difficult time, but help may be at hand in the shape of a good cuppa.

Tava Tea Wellness Blend uses organically grown whole Sencha, Wuyi Cliff Oolong and Puerh tea leaves of the best grade possible.

These tea leaves contain a vast array of powerful nutrients and have been used for health and healing in China for over 5000 years.

The tea has also become popular amongst women keen to reduce the physical effects of the menopause in addition to promoting general well-being and soothe aches and pains.

The tea’s ingredients increase the drinker’s metabolism and reduce food cravings, which become a problem during heightened hormonal activity associated with the menopause.

Case study 1 – Trudy Leigh, 50, from Loughton, Essex

Trudy gave Tava Tea a try after gaining weight during the early stages of the menopause
She said: ‘I’d always been a slim woman at just over eight stone, but after starting the menopause I gained weight almost overnight. It was a new and uncomfortable experience and no matter what I did, including almost starving myself, I couldn’t shift the extra pounds.’

Trudy has been sipping four cups a day and lost half a stone in three weeks.

Case study 2 – Nicola Chapman, 51, from Bristol

Nicola was having a bad time with hot flushes, she ‘felt uncomfortable, short of energy and embarrassed at turning red and having to fan myself in public. Since drinking the tea I’ve seen my hot flushes decrease to once or twice a day, it’s made a world of difference.’

Dr Tim Thurlings, who developed the tea’s unique blend, said he’s delighted to be able to help women during what can be a particularly difficult time.

He said: ‘The blends of tea we use are proven to have positive effects when it comes to losing weight and promoting feelings of well being  – something which can be particularly important for women going through a time of substantial physical and emotional change.’

‘Not only does the tea speed up the metabolism and help with hot flushes, it also helps reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of developing some forms of lung cancer.’

This means anyone can benefit from a cup of this particularly saintly brew…. So, who’s going to put the kettle on??


Poor core muscle strength linked to premature death



People who struggle with simple physical acts such as balancing on one leg are at risk of an early death, according to a new study.

It has long been thought that good balance and core muscle strength indicates a healthy body, and this recent research appears to confirm this.

People who are better at simple physical acts such as gripping, walking, rising from a chair and balancing on one leg are more likely to live longer.

Measures of physical capability, such as grip strength, walking speed, chair rising time and standing balance ability, can predict mortality in older people living in the community, UK researchers found.

These measures are related to a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. There is growing interest in using such measures as simple screening tools to identify people who might benefit from targeted interventions such as strength training.

Researchers, including Rachel Cooper, from the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing reviewed 57 studies and found 28 that looked at physical capabilities in people of any age and recorded subsequent mortality. They excluded studies of people in institutions such as hospitals and care homes. The results from 5 other studies were eventually included. Within those studies considered, 14 looked at grip strength, 5 with walking speed and 5 with chair rising.

The team found that, although there was some variation between studies, there was consistent evidence of associations between all four measures of physical capability and mortality – people who performed less well in these tests had a consistently higher risk of death.

Most of the studies were carried out amongst older people, but the association of grip strength with mortality was also found in younger populations.

The authors say that this review has highlighted the lack of studies in this field in younger populations, and they also call for more research to examine the associations between changes in capability with age and mortality, as a steep decline in physical capability may be a better predictor of mortality than is the absolute level at a single point in time.

Many low impact exercises such as those included in Pilates and Yoga sessions can help with improving your core muscle strength. Improving your core muscle strength in turn improves your balance. Making sure you exercise using both the left and right sides of your body equally assists in keeping your body balanced while walking and even standing still.

Get the complete story at

UK health warning over French breast implant


Women who have had the best-selling silicone implant made by a French firm are being warned that their breasts may explode causing life-threatening illness.

The implants made by the French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), are thought to be twice as likely to rupture as other implants and have been withdrawn from sale in France.

In the UK, the government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has also banned cosmetic surgeons from using them. The health watchdog warns that they could cause gangrene or toxic shock syndrome if they rupture.

In France it was discovered that the implants have been filled with a silicone gel with a composition different from that approved since 2001 and may not be safe.

The UK’s MHRA, said that patients who have had these implants should contact their surgeon.

Most of the implants made by PIP were exported, to an estimated 66 countries and were popular because they are cheaper than others on offer.

Video – Celebrity chef Brian Turner on macho men’s cancer risk


London: Celebrity chef Brian Turner, pictured, is teaming with Prostate UK and the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) in Glasgow to highlight how up to 10,000 thousand male lives in the UK could be saved every year if men only overcame their male pride, booked themselves a simple medical check up and made some important changes in their diet to prevent the on-set of prostate cancer.

The new report revealed at the BAUS annual conference shows that despite the fact that 9 out of 10 men know where their prostate gland is, 4 our of 10 men (39%) are still unwilling to have a medical check-up because they don’t think they are at risk of developing any disease. A quarter of men live in fear of the medical examination believing that the check-up is too intrusive, 10% of men believe the check-up is too embarrassing and 1 in 25 feel that a prostate check is an invasion of their masculinity.

Each year 221,000 men die of prostate cancer and 678,000 men live with the condition. If caught early it’s a treatable disease but it seems that embarrassment, ignorance and macho attitudes are preventing men from getting it checked out.

The conference aims to communicate a holistic approach to treating prostate cancer – in effect, a new approach to treating the disease. As well as discussing progress in hormone therapy, topics for debate at the conference will also touch on diet, exercise and sexuality. Attending delegates are made up of urological surgeons and specialists from the UK and around the world. Celebrity chef Brian Turner will be cooking prostate cancer friendly recipes on the stand, and there will also be exercise bikes with men demonstrating exercises that are beneficial for men with prostate cancer.

Watch the video here:

Learn more about this disease

Defy ageing – New York skin guru Nicholas Perricone reveals his secrets


True beauty is simply a manifestation of radiant health, says New York’s top skin guru Dr Nicholas Perricone, who believes that cellular rejuvenation is the path to beautiful radiant skin. Here he shares his fascinating views and latest insights with ELIXIR readers in our exclusive interview

Dr Nicholas Perricone is one of the world’s most innovative dermatologists, as well as being a best-selling author. His skincare range is based on delivering “magic bullet” ingredients, together with an integrated approach to health and beauty that transforms skin in a matter of days.

His New York flagship store on Madison Avenue is not a simple shop but what he describes as “a unique, interactive lifestyle centre”, where clients experience the Perricone Prescription® Personal Consults – a personalised consulation for health and skin based on an interactive, in-depth evaluation of an individual’s current diet, health and lifestyle profile. There is also a health library where visitors can sip green tea and relax while browsing through a wide selection of health and nutrition newsletters and books, including Dr. Perricone’s five best sellers. Regular lectures also take on subjects such as the Beauty- Brain Connection program that explains the science behind Dr. Perricone’s philosophy which is aimed at reducing cellular inflammation which is believed to be the greatest precipitator of ageing and age-related diseases.

His 70 products, including books, nutritional supplements and skincare products are sold in 11 countries. They range from the least expensive Olive Moist Lips which costs 34 (£18, Euro 27) to Neuropeptide Facial Conformer at $843 (£445,Euro 657)

Here Dr Perricone tells ELIXIR what he thinks about the latest trends in skin rejuvenation:

Why do you think your products are so successful?

My goal has been to create a program that is easy to follow and would enable people to create beauty through health. My decades of research has shown that The Inflammation/Aging Connection is the single greatest precipitator of ageing and age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, certain forms of cancer, and wrinkled, sagging skin. I developed a three-tiered lifestyle program to eliminate the inflammation by the foods we eat, through taking antioxidant anti-inflammatory supplements and by treating the skin with topical antioxidants which as natural anti-inflammatories, and result in a smooth, youthful, supple, toned and radiant appearance to face and body. The highly visible results are key to the programme’s ongoing success.

What are your predictions for the next big thing in anti-ageing skin care?

The future of beauty lies in learning how to rejuvenate the face and body on a cellular level – where it really counts. Science is showing us that we are not subjected to our genes but can actually change them with the latest generation of essential nutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. These state of the art magic bullets significantly support cellular repair and rejuvenation both internally and topically by fighting free radical activity, reducing inflammation, and in supporting healthy blood flow, while helping to prevent and reverse damage to genetic material. This truly holistic approach will reverse many signs of aging, turn off the genes that cause us to store fat, rejuvenate the brain, etc.

In addition to targeted cosmeceuticals, exciting developments in other areas will also enable us to look younger – I am particularly excited about the age-reversing effects of light – non-laser light, as well as electronic muscle stimulation. Just as exercising the body creates a firm, rounded well-muscled and attractive body, exercising the face can do the same. Electronic muscle stimulation to the face can help shorten elongated, drooping muscles to create a more youthful appearance, while helping to stimulate blood flow to the face, increasing circulation, decreasing puffiness and pallor.

What are your predictions for anti-ageing medicine?

Exciting new scientific developments are showing us that we can actually rebuild our bodies on a cellular level. Brain, bone, muscle, skin can all benefit in a process known as cellular rejuvenation. When we understand that a young cell is characterized by energy production, it becomes clear that when we slow down that production, we begin the ageing process. The goal, therefore, is to rev up your cellular metabolism – the chemical and physiological processes by which the body builds and maintains itself and by which it breaks down food and nutrients to produce energy.

What is your opinion on stem cells in the treatment of the mechanisms of ageing?

Certainly stem cells are looking interesting at this point but I don’t see this happening any time within three to five years and even then it would need to be developed by a pharmaceutical company.

Are we becoming overly obsessed with our looks – what is the balance?

This question can cut both ways. For example, if you are obsessed with your looks and holding onto youth it could be a good thing if it encourages you to give up an unhealthy life style (smoking, excess drinking, junk food, not enough sleep).

If we follow the anti-inflammatory lifestyle, take the supplements, avoid sugar and starchy foods, which are pro-inflammatory and use topical anti-oxidants on skin, we will go a long way towards retaining physical beauty. We will eliminate weight problems, bags and puffiness in the eye and face area, excess body fat, loss of youthful muscle mass in face and body and so forth – in fact dramatic results will be visible in both face and body in as little as three days. In addition, we will keep our brains working at optimum levels, our memories sharp and our moods up beat with a general sense of well being. For example, if you don’t get enough omega 3 essential fatty acids every day (from wild salmon, sardines, herring, trout, anchovies, high quality fish oil, etc.) you will be overweight, wrinkled and depressed. We will see our face and body gradually show signs of deterioration. Unfortunately, no amount of Botox or surgical procedures can take the place of proper nutrition or reverse the decline.

What is your daily fitness and health programme?

I go for a run every day, lift weights and practice yoga. I also follow the anti-inflammatory diet, which consists of the following components:

• high-quality protein, like that found in fish, shellfish, poultry and tofu;
• low-glycemic (will not provoke a glycemic response when consumed in moderation) carbohydrates including colorful fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains such as old-fashioned oatmeal, legumes such as beans and lentils;
• healthy fats, such as those found in cold water fish (especially wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, sardines, herring, anchovies, etc.), nuts, seeds, and olive oil
• 8 -10 glasses of pure spring water per day.
• Anti-oxidant rich beverages such as green tea

These foods and beverages act as natural anti-inflammatories and help to maintain normal levels of insulin and blood sugar.

I also take supplements regularly including the complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals recommended by nutrition experts world-wide, (B-complex, Vitamin E, Calcium-magnesium, etc.), as well as the following

Active ingredients recommended by Dr. Perricone include:
• Alpha Lipoic Acid
o Vitamin C Ester
o DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)
o Coenzyme Q-10
o Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
o Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA)
o L-Carnitine Fumerate
o N-Acetyl Carnitine
o L-Tyrosine
o Omega-3
o Carnosine
o Benfotiamine
o Astaxanthin

How do you cope with stress, difficult people – to you have any tips?

I eat a lot of wild salmon – which is high in the omega 3 essential fatty acids. As mentioned before, they not only relieve stress and keep your mood upbeat; they also keep skin radiant and supple and increase mental and physical energy. It might sound simplistic but people on low fat diets and/or those who don’t get enough omega 3 fatty acids (which is practically everyone in the modern society) actually have much higher levels of depression and irritability.

Is there anything new we can expect in the Perricone range?

I continue to work on and expand our Neuropeptide line because the topical results are so phenomenal for aging skin providing the following benefits to skin:
• A visible increase in radiance and glow to the skin. This is the result of their powerful anti-inflammatory activity, as well as their effects on blood circulation and cell metabolism.
• An increase in firmness, as the neuropeptides aid in collagen and elastin production.
• improved appearance of the skin’s resilience, tone, and texture
• decreased appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
• decreased appearance of tiny veins and capillaries
• maximized regeneration and hydration of the skin

Because of their efficacy, they can be used alternately with the original flagship products of the line, the Alpha Lipoic Acid and Vitamin C Ester lines, both of which contain high levels of DMAE and continue to be the must have skin rejuvenating products for women around the world.

We have also recently debuted a Men’s Line, Men’s Total Fitness that introduces a new delivery system containing Fullerenes, so named because the 60 atoms that make up their spherical molecule resemble Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, which are lighter than plastic yet stronger than steel.

Also known as “Buckyballs,’ they were first identified in 1985 by three scientists who later received a Nobel Prize for the discovery. The fullerenes used in our delivery system are highly stable, microscopic, hollow carbon balls that function as a potent reservoir for the transport of the Perricone patented technology to the skin. Fullerenes deliver active ingredients to protect and nourish the skin round the clock. This revolutionary system brings the intriguing and transformative world of nanotechnology to the fine art and science of high performance anti-aging skin care formulation.

How do you define beauty?

True beauty is simply a manifestation of radiant health.

Botox must carry highest health warning


New York: Allergan Inc.’s wrinkle smoother Botox must carry the strictest warning about the risk of potentially deadly botulism, US regulators have ordered.

The new caution applies to all botulinum toxins used to relax the muscles that cause forehead lines or to treat spasms of neurological disorders, the Food and Drug Administration said today in a notice posted on its Web site. Doctors and patients should watch for side effects and shouldn’t interchange different botulinum products, the agency said.

Botox has about 83 percent of the global market for so- called neurotoxins, with sales of $1.31 billion last year. The FDA raised concerns about the drug’s safety in February 2008.

Another brand of the drug, Dysport, a competing toxin has also received FDA approval with the stricter warning.

“With the approval of another botulinum toxin, the FDA’s request for updated class safety labeling and the reinforcement of non-interchangeability is timely and responsible,” said Sef Kurstjens, Allergan’s chief medical officer, in a statement.

Almost 2.5 million Americans had Botox injections last year for cosmetic purposes, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, based in Garden Grove, California. The drug was approved in 1991 for medical uses and in 2002 as a wrinkle smoother. It became fashionable among aging celebrities as a nonsurgical way to appear younger.

Botulism poisoning can occur if the toxin spreads beyond the site of the injection, leading to muscle weakness or difficulty swallowing and breathing.

Most side effects have been reported following treatment of arm and leg spasms, a use not approved by the FDA, and a neck- twisting disorder called cervical dystonia. The agency ordered manufacturers to better explain these dangers to doctors and patients and to implement new programs to minimize risks.

Solstice Neurosciences Inc., a closely held company in Malvern, Pennsylvania, sells a botulinum toxin called Myobloc in the U.S. for cervical dystonia.

Activity holidays boost mental health, say experts


Depression Awareness Week
, which aims to increase the public’s awareness of a very common illness runs from April 20-26.

The campaign is also aimed at getting us to focus on our lifestyles to make sure we are not only healthy in body but also in mind.

Spending time outdoors to improve your mental health is known as ‘ecotherapy’ and it’s something that mental health experts believe we should be focusing on more.

This needn’t be vigorous exercise, beneficial therapeutic activities also include a gentle walk or spending time in the garden. Studies have shown that being outdoors really does have positive effects on your mental health.

Leading mental health charity ‘Mind’ undertook an experiment where a walk outdoors was compared to a walk indoors. 71% of participants on the ‘Green walk’ said that they felt less tense and reported decreased levels of depression.

With the unpredictable British weather and work/home commitments it can be hard to find the time and energy to spend time outdoors so activity holidays are being increasingly popular.

Choosing a holiday where the focus is on exploring new scenery and getting back to nature is an ideal way to ensure you are keeping active. You probably won’t even realise how much exercise you’re doing! An escorted tour is an option you may not have considered before, but it is a great way to constantly explore new surroundings at a gentle pace.

, who specialise in Florida holidays and Escorted Tours, feature a tour that shows you the ‘Best of the West’, taking you through some of the amazing locations in Western USA and Canada. The tour starts in Vancouver and journeys through stunning landmarks including Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains.

There’s plenty of opportunities for those who enjoy rambling to visit new locations each day with the chance to spot local wildlife on the way. The tour goes through 8 national parks and you can expect to see buffalo, deer, bobcats and black deer on the way.

If you want to stay a bit closer to home, a walking holiday to Italy’s Lake Garda (pictured above) is also a great way to stay active while taking in the stunning scenery around you.
Thomson Lakes
offer great package deals to countries all across Europe, from the tranquil lakes of Italy to the dramatic mountain & lake scenery of Switzerland all with breathtaking views that are guaranteed to help you unwind.

Research has also shown that walking outside and especially by water can be an effective way of helping to combat mild depression. So whether it’s a national park and nature that will help you unwind or the serenity of water that will create calm in your life make sure you take stock this Depression Awareness week and look after you.