MedicineGov Virtual Conference 8 November 2018 | Carer Voice

For the Virtual Conference I, Chris Sterry, produced a number of videos on a number of subjects relating to caring. Unfortunately, at that time, I was suffering with a severe chest infection and this has, in some respects, affected the sound quality.

The subjects being :

Carer Voice Project

Chris Sterry discussing the Carer Voice Project that he and 2 other learning disability carers and a student from University of Sheffield were involved with. A project based on the principles of Co-production around communication between LD Carers and Service Providers. The final outcome was various documents which hopefully could be used by providers to help with communication between themselves and family carers.

Chris can be contacted on


Source: MedicineGov Virtual Conference 8 November 2018 | Carer Voice

Research fails to back assertions that breast cancer is avoidable : iNews

It’s quite a claim: a woman can reduce her risk of developing breast cancer by 50 to 80 per cent, all by eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and taking exercise. That’s according to Dr Kristi Funk, the surgeon who has treated celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow.

She makes these arguments in her book Breasts: An Owner’s Manual, which was published earlier this year, with an excerpt recently appearing in i.

As two doctors who also specialise in breast cancer – and have had the disease ourselves – we were surprised at Dr Funk’s conclusions. Reading her book, we were glad that she debunks alkaline diets as nonsense and explains the commonly quoted statistic of one in eight women getting breast cancer is often misunderstood as it applies over a whole lifetime and takes ageing into account, too.

Source: Research fails to back assertions that breast cancer is avoidable : iNews


Life expectancy in Britain has fallen so much that a million years of life could disappear by 2058 – why?

Buried deep in a note towards the end of a recent bulletin published by the British government’s statistical agency was a startling revelation. On average, people in the UK are now projected to live shorter lives than previously thought.

In their projections, published in October 2017, statisticians at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that by 2041, life expectancy for women would be 86.2 years and 83.4 years for men. In both cases, that’s almost a whole year less than had been projected just two years earlier. And the statisticians said life expectancy would only continue to creep upwards in future.

As a result, and looking further ahead, a further one million earlier deaths are now projected to happen across the UK in the next 40 years by 2058. This number was not highlighted in the report. But it jumped out at us when we analysed the tables of projections published alongside it.

It means that the 110 years of steadily improving life expectancy in the UK are now officially over. The implications for this are huge and the reasons the statistics were revised is a tragedy on an enormous scale.

A rising tide of life


Source: Life expectancy in Britain has fallen so much that a million years of life could disappear by 2058 – why?

How to reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age – The Conversation

Research into how we can keep our brains healthy as we age has gained momentum in recent years. There is now an increased focus on the changes that we can makes to our health and lifestyle, which may prevent dementia. Here are some things that research has shown reduce a person’s risk of cognitive decline with age.


Our latest study shows that having more sex is associated with better cognitive function.

We recruited 28 men and 45 women, aged between 50 and 83, to take part in our study. We found that those who had sex weekly scored on average 2% higher on some cognitive tests than those who had sex monthly, and 4% higher than those who never had sex. These results were shown on tests of verbal fluency (such as naming as many animals as possible in one minute) and visuo-spatial abilities (drawing familiar objects from memory or copying complex pictures).

The association could be the result of the heightened levels of intimacy and companionship inherent in sexual relationships (that is, an increase in social contact), or there could be a purely biological explanation – where regular surges in arousal and release of sex-related hormones

Source: How to reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age

Explainer: why does our balance get worse as we grow older?

Original post from The Conversation

‘…………….  Professor in Ageing and Health, Glasgow Caledonian University

All of us have taken a tumble at some point in our lives. But as we grow older, the risks associated with falling over become greater: we lose physical strength and bone density, our sense of balance deteriorates and we take longer to recover from a fall. Alarmingly, this process begins around the age of 25. The reasons for this are varied and complex, but by understanding them better, we can find ways to mitigate the effects of old age.

The first thing to know is that the human body is inherently unstable, with a small base relative to its height. Maintaining an upright position and moving from place to place while staying balanced is a continual challenge for our bodies. Our success depends on the well-being and integration of many different systems within our bodies.

There are three main systems that provide us with the sensory information about our bodies and the surrounding environment that we need to maintain balance. These are the visual (eyes), vestibular (inner ear and semi-circular canals) and somotosensory (sensation feedback from joints in ankles, knees, spine and neck) systems. To maintain balance, our brains must rapidly and continuously integrate and then process the sensory information received from these systems, and this integration is often worse in older people who are prone to falls.

This unconscious process prompts finely tuned, co-ordinated responses from our motor and muscle systems. These responses are produced as a result of planned and unplanned challenges to our stability – such as bending over to tie your shoelace, or recovering from a playful push from a friend – which make up our everyday movement patterns.

Taking a tumble

Falls occur when the demands on postural control exceed our bodies’ capabilities. This might happen when your body’s pattern of movement is interrupted or suddenly changed by an unexpected hazard – for instance, when you trip over. Or, it could happen when your body is displaced beyond its support base and your attempt to correct the displacement is delayed, inadequate or inaccurate – for example, when you’re pushed forcefully.

Falls are more likely to occur as you get older. With age and inactivity, the unconscious processes your brain goes through to help you balance may not integrate as well or as quickly as they used to – in other words, your cognitive abilities decline. As a result, maintaining balance and preventing harmful falls may require ever greater mental focus and prove more fatiguing. Poorer cognition can also limit your ability to multitask: the “stops walking when talking” phenomena, which you may have observed among your elderly relatives, reflects this difficulty.

Another result of ageing is that the quality of the information provided by your visual, vestibular and somotosensory systems declines. Your eyesight gets worse, with increased susceptibility to glare and poor depth perception. This can lead you to misinterpret the lay of the land, or misjudge distance, which can cause a fall.

The normal sensory feedback from your joints to the brain is reduced by swollen feet and ankles and poor flexibility. Diseases in weight-bearing joints, such as arthritis, may cause errors in foot placement, while distorted or painful feet and poorly-fitted shoes can pass misleading information to the brain about the nature of your contact with the ground when you’re walking.

Vestibular abnormalities such as vertigo or inner ear infections are causes of dizziness, which can also increase the risk of a falls. Certain medications which are commonly prescribed among the older population – such as aspirin, quinine, and some antibiotics and diuretics – can lead to problems in vestibular function.

All these age-related changes increase the likelihood of a fall, as you’re faced with planned or unplanned challenges to your balance during day-to-day life. But with all of these extra concerns, there’s a risk that older people will to descend into a vicious spiral of inactivity: many of these “ageing” changes to the body are accelerated by sedentary behaviour, which in turn leads to a greater reduction in strength and balance, loss of bone and an increased risk of falls.

Never too late

The good news is, that it is possible to break this vicious circle and slow the process of deterioration, improve strength and balance and reduce the risk of future falls by being active.

We should all aim to be active every day and build up to 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, which should make you feel slightly out of breath and a bit warmer. This time can be accumulated in ten-minute bursts. At least two of these short bursts should build strength and balance: examples include lifting weights, yoga, Tai Chi, Otago or postural stability classes, bowls and dancing. And it’s important to check that the instructor is trained to teach older adults if the person is new to exercise.

That being said, of the trials of exercise programmes aimed at reducing falls as many have failed as have succeeded. The greatest relative effects of exercise on fall rates were seen in programmes that included in excess of 50 hours (either an hour a week for a year or twice a week for a 6 month period), together with challenging balance exercises in which people aimed to stand with their feet closer together or on one leg, minimise use of their hands to assist with balancing, and practice controlled movements of increasing sway over time.

It’s never too late to start. By concentrating on forms of exercise that challenge strength and balance, we can help maintain our bodies’ complex balancing systems, and confine the time we become dependent on others to a short period at the end of our lives.  …………………’