Healthy lifestyle could reduce risk of dementia

The Public Health Education (PHE) has published a new report that shows that dementia is not necessarily an inevitability of old age but is the result of circumstantial factors such as smoking and physical inactivity. As many as one third of dementia cases could be as a result of modifiable lifestyle choices.

The full article can be found here.

Further resources:

Dr Tom Smith’s Reducing Your Risk of Dementia looks at the medical evidence about ways to reduce the risk of dementia


Brain Awareness Week 2016: Blueberry brains . . .

Eating blueberries may protect ageing brains against symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research at the University of Cincinnati in the USA. Already dubbed a super fruit for its potential protective power against heart disease and cancer, blueberry was found to improve the thinking performance of adults aged 68 and over with mild cognitive impairment, a risk factor of Alzheimer’s. Blueberry powder improved memory and access to words and concepts, said lead researcher Dr Robert Krikorian.

You can read more via The Telegraph here.

Enjoy making and eating FODMAP-friendly recipes with Dr Dawn Harper and Azmina Govindji

What to eat can be a struggle for people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) but changes to diet can really help to ease symptoms.

dr dawn's guide to healthy eating for IBS FCDr Dawn’s Guide to Healthy Eating for IBS presents effective tips and suggestions to help you enjoy your food again.

To celebrate the launch of this wonderful guide, we’re releasing a FODMAP-friendly recipe from the duo.

If you think leading a low-FODMAP lifestyle means the end to flavoursome food, then think again!

Coriander tuna steak and salad

Prep 5 mins. Cook 5 mins. Serves 1

Fresh tuna steak, 150g

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Handful of fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped

Green chilli, finely chopped and deseeded if desired

Season the tuna steak and drizzle with olive oil. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Rub the tuna with the lime juice, finely chopped coriander and chilli before cooking for 1 minute each side for rare, and 2 minutes for medium. Baste with the marinade as it cooks. Serve with FODMAP-friendly side salad of your choice and baked potato or basmati rice.



Dr Dawn’s Guide to Healthy Eating for IBS is out 17 March.



Living with diabetes? You don’t have to deprive yourself of delicious food!

Popular media doctor, Dr Dawn Harper, is back with two new books on healthy eating, having partnered with award-winning dietician Azmina Govindji (as seen on The One Show, The Wright Stuff and This Morning).

To celebrate the release of Dr Dawn’s Guide to Healthy Eating for Diabetes we want to share one of the fabulous recipes from the book with you.

dr dawn's guide to healthy eating for diabetes FC

Together the pair show that ‘”delicious” rather than “deprivation” is the keynote to healthy diabetes management!’

Grilled pineapple meringues

When using canned pineapple slices you may wish to double up the rings to make them thicker, but if using fresh pineapple cut the slices to about 2 cm thick instead. The meringue can be piped for a more professional finish and decorated with toasted almonds if desired. Although meringue is made from eggs, it is low in fat as you only use the egg white. Other fruits could also be used, such as peaches or fresh pears, or you could try mini meringues with apricot halves.

Prep 5 mins. Cook 5 mins. Serves 4

1 large egg white

56 g/ 2oz/ 1/4 cup caster sugar

A pinch of cornflour

1 can (432 g/ 15 oz/ 2 cups) pineapple slices in natural juice, drained

Heat the grill to a high temperature. Make the meringue, by whisking the egg white in a dry bowl until soft peaks are formed. Add the sugar mixed with the cornflour and continue whisking until well blended. Place the drained pineapple rings on a grill tray and cook for 2 mins, turning once. Spoon meringue mixture on top of each pineapple slice and put back under the grill. Cook for approx 1–2 mins until the meringue is golden and then serve.



Extract: Beating Insomnia

Beating Insomnia: Without really trying offers expert advice to end the misery of poor sleep.

beating insomnia FC


Jane is worried.

  I’ve got a really important presentation tomorrow. My boss and most of the board will be    there and they will all be judging my performance. I’d better be on top form. My future  career is on the line. In fact, if it goes badly I’ll probably be fired. I’ll never get another job  as they’ll give me a lousy reference and word will get around that I’m no good.  Nobody dates a loser. I’ll probably end up dying alone and destitute in a ditch. Unless I can  be a star tomorrow. I’ll have to get a really good night’s sleep. Everything depends on it.

Or so she thinks. She’s wrong on many counts, but she’s already set up the beginnings of a self-fulfilling, if hyperbolic, prophecy. Jane goes to bed two hours earlier than normal at 9 p.m., half an hour after finishing supper. She has skipped her usual early evening jog round the block, to save time. She’s already had a vat of strong coffee through the day at work to be razor sharp while working on what she’s going to say tomorrow. She does some last-minute prep on her presentation in bed and then turns the light out. She’s really wired, with a host of worries and ideas all jostling for space in her brain.

Top of the list is: ‘I must get to sleep.’ What? Are you kidding me? You’ve got no chance. Jane, even if you hadn’t got it all wrong from the moment you got to work, this injunction alone is enough to ensure a horrible night of insomnia. Sleep is a process dictated by circadian rhythms and arousal level (I’ll explain what I mean by this later), not by determination. You can’t make yourself sleep.

Now it’s 10 p.m. and Jane is even more worried. She usually goes to sleep within 15 minutes. Something is wrong. As the next hour passes she experiences a sense of gathering dread. She tries not to think about anything, but the thoughts just keep popping into her head, whether she likes it or not. By 11 p.m. she’s beside herself. This is her normal bedtime and all the benefit of an early night has been lost. Midnight, and sleep is as far away as the moon, but Jane stays in bed. She can’t get up because she’s got to sleep. But all that happens is that the silence and darkness of the bedroom is filled with her despair. She’s doomed, she’ll never be able to do it; it’ll be a disaster. As dawn breaks, it finds her a sweaty heap of misery.

Jane finally drops off at 5.30 a.m. At 6.15 a.m. the alarm goes off and she almost sleeps through it. She’s exhausted.

By the time she gets to work she’s befuddled. She’s last on the agenda of the board meeting, and an hour into it, while the Head of Compliance is presenting his new policy on form-filling, she starts snoring. She’s woken up by her boss to do her presentation and promptly has a panic attack. It goes from bad to worse and in the end the CEO cuts her off early to move on to ‘any other business’.

That was bad: humiliating and definitely a short-term blip in Jane’s rise through the company, there’s no denying that. However, I would just point out that Jane doesn’t lose her job, she doesn’t go bankrupt and she doesn’t suffer a life of desolate solitude.

Jane is an amalgam of many of the mistakes made by my patients over the years, and we can learn a lot from her. She has experienced (and caused) the commonest type of insomnia (stress-induced), which happens to the good honest triers of the world. While not sleeping was far from ideal, in fact it wasn’t this which was the main factor in undermining her performance; it was her fear of not sleeping. Worry is very debilitating, much more than one night’s poor sleep. If Jane had kept to her usual routine, accepted that she may have an interrupted night because of nervous anticipation, shrugged her shoulders and experienced whatever transpired without trying to wrestle it to the ground, she would have been fine. In truth, these folks usually end up achieving their aims in the long term. Success isn’t the problem but it is achieved at the cost of sleep issues and a host of other stress-related symptoms.

This isn’t to say that insomnia isn’t a problem; it is. One night of insomnia is miserable, lonely and wearing. Chronic insomnia is a very debilitating symptom with potential consequences for health. But there are things which you can do to help matters and, if stress is at the root of your sleep problems, avoiding Jane’s mistakes may make a huge difference.

There are lots of other causes of insomnia which I will cover in this book, together with a few other problems which stop sleep from doing what we want it to – that is, to refresh and regenerate us. But if there is one take-away message I would like you to gain from these pages, it is summed up by a slight tweak to the words of the song by Frankie Goes to Hollywood: ‘Relax . . . if you want to sleep.’

Beating Insomnia: Without really trying is out April 2016!

About the author:

Dr Tim Cantopher studied at University College, London and University College Hospital. He trained as a psychiatrist at St James’s Hospital, Portsmouth and St George’s Hospital Medical School. He has been a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists since 1983 and was elected a fellow of the college in 1999. Prior to his retirement, Dr Cantopher worked as a consultant psychiatrist with the Priory Group of Hospitals for many years, and he has published a number of research projects across the field of psychiatry. He is the author of the bestselling Depressive Illness: The curse of the strong (third edition, 2012), Stress-related Illness (2007) and Dying for a Drink (2011), all published by Sheldon Press.