What gets you out of bed each day? Having a purpose in life could reduce your risk of dying early according to a new study regardless of education level, socio-economic status, gender or ethnicity. Using a psychological questionnaire designed to assess life purpose, researchers found those over 50 without a strong life purpose were more than twice as likely to die from heart, circulatory and blood conditions. Most importantly, having a life purpose matters more than what the life purpose actually is. Life purpose is also one of nine factors that has been linked to the longevity in the five identified 'blue zone' regions. The ANH blueprint’s Ecological Terrain also promotes the importance of life purpose or meaning in creating an individual’s health and resilience.
Closure of UK GP practices increases
New figures published by Pulse Today reveal a worrying increase in the number of GP practice closures since 2013. Figures obtained from Freedom of Information requests showed almost 140 surgeries closed in 2018. Almost eight times the closures in 2013. They estimated nearly two million patients have been affected by the closures. However, NHS England have disputed the figures as practice mergers (30) were included. The news is of little surprise given the falling number of GPs in the UK for the first time in 50 years. This yet again, underpins the urgency for far-reaching and sweeping changes to the way we think about our health care. Proposing a framework that focuses on upstream health creation as opposed to the current system of disease management, the ANH health sustainability blueprint answers that need.
Statins cause nerve damage in diabetics
Remember the revelation that statins, prescribed ostensibly to reduce the risk of heart disease (generally ineffectively, often with serious side effects) contribute to a significant increase (9-99%) in type 2 diabetes? German researchers publishing in JAMA New Open have now found that the aggressive lowering of serum cholesterol levels using statin drugs is associated with significant increase in one of the key features of prolonged diabetic states, peripheral nerve damage (diabetic polyneuropathy). This research highlights the need for society to shift toward non-pharmaceutical approaches where these are effective, as proposed in the ANH health sustainability blueprint.
‘Change the record’ on obesity
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS is once again calling obesity “the new smoking” this time warning it’s set to fuel a huge increase in weight-related cancers. A claim supported by a recent study, which also found a disproportionate rise in obesity-related cancers in younger adults (age 25-49). Sadly, he made the same reference in 2015 whilst calling for a reduction in consumption of sugar to stem the obesity crisis underlining the failure of government led initiatives to create badly needed change. Find out more about getting into the driving seat to take control of your health.
Should mosquitoes be eliminated?
Decades of insecticide use has failed to control disease carrying mosquitoes. In 2018, plans to rid the world of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, zika and dengue using genetically modified mosquitoes failed spectacularly. Despite this and concerns expressed by the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), GeneWatch UK and Third World Network work continues to find a way to prevent mosquitoes from spreading disease largely by eradicating them through genetic modification of the mosquitoes. In recent news, scientists have announced the successful control of mosquito populations through the use of a naturally occurring fungus that has been used for pest control for centuries. Researchers modified the fungus to produce an insecticide called Hybrid derived from spider toxin to intensify its action. Mosquito populations at the test site are reported to have collapsed to unsustainable levels within two generations. If released into wild populations there is potentially a danger that the remaining 1% could become resistant and an even greater threat. All this begs the question as to whether we should be striving to delete an entire species, even if it poses a health threat to humans? The potential consequences of such a move would likely be far-reaching. Mosquitoes, like all organisms, play an important role in ecosystems, their larvae being especially important in aquatic systems, providing an important food source particularly for fish, frogs and other animals. Most importantly, no one can accurately predict the impact of eliminating a whole species that presently exists in large numbers, and to deny or ignore any risk of environmental impact is both naive and arrogant.