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Friday, September 10, 2010

Glued to the screen

Watching TV can seriously limit your child’s language skills: 8, 9 SELF-BELIEF

Australian doctor who found cure for ulcers: 4,5


New support group for premature babies: 11


Do serums live up to the hype? 14



2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON RUDE HEALTH: Feelings of mild anxiety, a lowness of mood and sleep disturbances are common early signs of stress that should not go unnoticed, advises naturopth Jan de Vries. In his lecture at the Rude Health Show in the RDS, Dublin this weekend, he will explain how to address these symptoms and recommend a natural approach to help cope with daily stress. The lecture is at 3pm this Sunday and Jan de Vries will also be at the A Vogel stand during the day to answer questions from the public. Rude Health will open from 11am to 6pm tomorrow and Sunday and entry is F12 (Senior citizens F8 and under 12s free) For more details see CANCER LECTURE: The 12th Annual De Pazzi Lecture “Preventing colon cancer — is screening the way forward?” will be given at Lecture Theatre G10, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, College Road, UCC on Tuesday next, September 14 at 6pm. The lecture will be given by Jonathan Rhodes, professor of medicine and honorary consultant gastroenterologist, Royal Liverpool University Hospital. ORGAN DONATION: The organisers of the Run For a Life charity fun run are calling on the public to join them in raising awareness of the need for organ donors and funding for organ transplant units. This year’s fun run will take place at Corkagh Park, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, on Saturday, September 18 at 1.30pm. This year’s event will offer participants a choice of a 3km, a 6km or a 9km walk/run. The registration fee is F15 and there will be a free BBQ afterwards. To register, log on to REBEL PEDAL: The Rebel Tour hits Cork city and county this weekend with four bike events for all levels of cyclist. The 10th Rebel Pedal family fun ride allows cyclists of all ages to complete a 10km circuit of Cork city starting from the Grand Parade at 12pm tomorrow (pre-registration that morning). More information on the events is available from Cork Sports Partnership on 021-4665081 or on The family fun cycle is organised by Cork Environmental Forum, which is holding its AGM on September 16 at Blackrock Observatory at 7pm. See for more details. ANAPHYLAXIS EVENT: On Saturday next September 18 , Anaphylaxis Ireland will hold a get together for children aged between eight and 12 years. The event will take place at the Mardyke Arena, Cork from 3pm to 5pm. The cost is F10 per child and parents are also welcome. Booking is essential. For more details, email or telephone 0818 300238. HEART CLINIC: The Irish Heart Foundation will hold a free blood pressure and cholesterol testing clinic at the Family Resource Centre, Faranree, on September 15 from 2.30-4pm. For further details call 021-4505822 or if you have questions about stroke or heart disease you can also contact their Helpline 1890-432787. ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to




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Psychologist Sophie Rowan says you are never too old or young to find happiness, writes Arlene Harris

Happy holy grail L

IFE begins at 40 — we’ve all heard the phrase before, but it seems many people are still waiting for their life to ‘begin’ long after their fourth decade has been anticipated, celebrated and put out to pasture. According to a new survey from First Direct bank, most people do not feel they have discovered the holy grail of happiness until they have reached at least 55 years of age, with many not feeling entirely satisfied until they have retired from work and are free to enjoy their golden years. Paul Say, marketing director for First Direct, says: “The first generation of Baby Boomers (born in the 1950s) is known as the Golden Generation. “But those who came a decade later appear less fortunate, facing work and financial pressures that seem to be weighing them down.” Sophie Rowan, occupational psychologist and author of Happy at Work, disagrees with the findings and says that happiness can be found at any age. “I do not believe in this idea of a ‘golden era’ in peoples lives,” she says. “Everyone can be happy if they put their minds to it. Of course, financial stability can play a big part in making people feel relaxed about life, but we don’t have to sit around waiting to find happiness.” And while the economic turn-down has been blamed for causing the most unrest among the middle aged, the psychologist says that in reality, having less can make some people happier.

STAYING HAPPY: A new survey shows most people don’t feel happy until they are at least 55. Picture: iStock

“The emphasis has gone from job satisfaction to job security and an increasing number of people are beginning to make the most of what they have,” says Rowan. There are a number of ways in which people begin to make themselves feel better — including: ■ Every day, make a point of remembering three nice things in your life. ■ Make an effort to be more optimistic, try changing your frame of mind. ■ Cheer yourself up by putting flowers on your desk at work or on the table at home

■ Take more exercise — go for a daily walk or cycle to work ■ Start a healthy eating plan ■ Cut down your TV and internet time “Making these changes can increase your level of happiness by up to 40% — so don’t wait for happiness to come to you — go out there and get it,” says Rowan. ● For more information visit or call 01-642 5721. Happy at Work by Sophie Rowan is published by Prentice Hall Life, F15.95.

HEALTH NOTES RUGBY star Brian O’Driscoll takes his game to a whole new level by joining the annual Meningitis Trust Toddle Waddle. Running throughout October, the Toddle Waddle is organised by creches and childminders throughout the country. Over half of the reported cases of meningitis every year in Ireland are children under five. To date, more than 8,000 children and their minders have raised over F400,000, all which goes directly to funding family support services, from counselling to community nurses. To register log on to, email or all the Trust’s hotline on 01-2764269 to receive a registration pack. A STUDY exploring the experience of self-injury in Ireland and its causes was launched yesterday in Trinity College Dublin. Flesh Wounds? New Ways of Understanding Self-Injury, by Dr Kay Inckle of TCD’s School of Social Work and Social Policy, tackles the sensitive issue of self-injury through case studies and best practice interventions through a series of stories. For further information contact Dr Kay Inckle, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin 2; Tel: 018962991. Email:

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day and to mark it Samaritans Ireland has launched a

David White and international rugby referee, Nigel Owens. Both sportsmen have experienced down-turns in their lives. During ADHD Awareness Week (September 20 to 25) an information evening will be held for parents and carers on accessing third-level opportunities for young people with ADHD. The event will focus on the challenges faced by students with ADHD as they prepare to leave second level education. The meeting is at 7pm on Tuesday, September 21, at Lucena Clinic, 59 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6. Keynote speaker is Prof Fiona McNicholas, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist. Admission is free but you need to register beforehand: telephone 01-4923596 or email

BRUSH UP: Katie Morrison, 11, helped launch Colgate Oral Health Month 2010. Picture:Marc O’Sullivan

new campaign with the aim of reducing male suicides. Entitled Men on the Ropes, it will target men in their 30s, 40s and 50s — the most likely age group to die by suicide. The aim of the campaign is to encourage men in distress to talk about their problems and consider calling the Samaritans’ helpline. The campaign is being supported by boxer


To celebrate Colgate Oral Health Month 2010, Colgate and the Irish Dental Association are offering a refund on a dental checkups. To avail of the dental check-up refund, consumers need to purchase, in one transaction, a Colgate pack consisting of toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash at a participating store. After visiting their dentist, customers must send receipts of the product pack and dental visit to Colgate, along with a claim form to get a refund up to the value of F65 on their dental check-up. For further information visit

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215



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In profile THE SHAPE I'M IN

Eleanor Tiernan

Comic relief


OMEDIAN Eleanor Tiernan says she’s vague about the science behind what makes people happy but she’s sure a good laugh does wonders for anyone’s health. “It’s very important to take time out from the stress of your work-life. You could do worse than get your bum into a comedy venue and have a laugh,” says the 33-year-old, who has performed at events such as the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A job in comedy’s “only as stressful as you make it”, says the level-headed Tiernan. “If you’re a surgeon going into an operating theatre, there’s more at stake than if you’re a comedian going on-stage. Nobody’s going to die at the end of your act.” A first cousin of funny man Tommy Tiernan, she completed 120 shows as the support act for his Bovinity tour. The Athlone woman confirms that her boyfriend works in a field “which has nothing to do with comedy”. Eleanor Tiernan stars in Fredelnick’s new show, City West Side Story, which runs as part of Absolut Fringe 2010 at Bewley’s Café Theatre from Tuesday, September 14 to Saturday, September 18. Absolut Fringe runs city-wide in Dublin from September 11 to 26. (Bookings/further info at What shape are you in? I was in poor shape until I started rehearsing for this show — acting tends to be a lot more physical than doing stand-up comedy, so I’m a bit more fit than I was. I have gym membership and I use the pool but I very quickly get bored with the treadmill. Do you have any health concerns? There’s a bit of heart stuff in my family. My dad had a




What’s your healthiest eating habit? I always try to have salad ingredients in the house so I can very quickly make up a salad. What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I love the skin of roast chicken. What would keep you awake at night? Realising I’ve forgotten an arrangement I’d made or that I haven’t sent an email to someone — some commitment that I haven’t met. How do you relax? I go to the pool. I’m desperate for clothes shopping and will use any excuse to buy myself a new outfit. I also like the cinema and music gigs. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? My two brothers, John and Conor — we’re always too busy to hang out together. When did you last cry? At the weekend — I cry regularly, about once a week. Last weekend it was when I saw my grandmother — she’s 98. I hadn’t seen her in ages before that. What’s your favourite smell? I like the smell of petrol. I also like acidic smells such as vinegar. What would you change about your appearance? I’d get rid of the black circles from under my eyes.

What trait do you least like in yourself? I wish I was more courageous. I’ll very often keep something I’m worried about to myself and not share it with others — I wish I had more courage around that. Do you pray? I don’t follow religion but I’m interested in meditation. What would cheer up your day? I avail of the Dublin bike scheme — so any day that there are bikes at the designated stand outside my house is a good day. Helen O’Callaghan


heart attack a few years ago. I’m off the cigarettes three months now. I’ve been smoking since I was 18. By the time you’re 33 you start feeling the effects. I was getting circulatory pains in my legs.

What trait do you least like in others? I don’t like a lack of precision. I don’t like when people say something as if they know it but really they’re only having a guess. I prefer if someone just says “I’m not sure”.

HEALTH KICK: Eleanor Tiernan likes to have a good stock of fresh greens and vegetables in the house to make a quick and healthy meal.


It’s very important to take time out from your work-life. You could do worse than get your bum into a comedy venue and have a laugh FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2010

The first ACARA Safe House built in October 2008

Lesotho, Southern Africa is an independent country totally landlocked by South Africa and is one of the 6 poorest African Countries. There are over 180,000 orphans in Lesotho mainly due to HIV and AIDS. The average life expectancy is only 38.

ACARA are currently looking for skilled and non-skilled trades people to undertake the Lesotho Build Project Challenge 2010 THE CHALLENGE: • To bring a minimum of 60 participants to build the second ACARA Safe House in Lesotho, Southern Africa for orphans and vulnerable children • To provide a Keyhole Vegetable Garden and play area for the children in the area • Fill a 40ft container with clothing, school and medical supplies • To fund the building of toilets for an existing ACARA School Project If you want to do something worth while in 2010 then ACARA want to hear from you!

20 Stephens Street Lower Dublin 2 Tel +353 1 4784505 Email




Pushing the boundaries

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When Barry Marshall infected himself with a bug to prove his stomach ulcer theory he


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demonstrated deep faith in his own conviction, reports Simon Crompton

Going against the establishment A

S LEGENDARY medical stories go, Barry Marshall’s swigging a test tube full of potentially lethal bacteria to prove his controversial theory stands somewhere between Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin, spotting mould on his Petri dishes and Dr Henry Jekyll transforming himself into Mr Hyde. As a 32-year-old upstart gastroenterologist at Royal Perth Hospital, Australia, Marshall defied the conventional wisdom that ulcers in the stomach and the gut (peptic ulcers) were caused by excess stomach acid, stress and spicy food, and insisted that they were caused by a new bacteria he’d discovered. Rubbish, said peers and colleagues, who said that every study he’d produced failed to prove anything, even though their existing treatments were spectacularly ineffective. In 1984 Marshall decided to infect himself with the bug, called Helicobacter Pylori, and demonstrate how quickly he developed early signs of an ulcer. It worked, and he survived. Within a decade, Marshall had gained heroic status among the public and much of the medical community — not so much because his devotion to proving a theory endangered his own life, but because it was a delicious example of someone rejecting orthodox thinking and being proved right. His astute act of rebellion was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in 2005. His discovery has now been acknowledged as the most significant in the history of gastroenterology and has been compared to the development of the polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox. It has resulted in stomach ulcers, once potentially fatal, now being easily treated with patented antibiotic drugs, many developed by Marshall with pharma companies. Today, a youthful 58, he’s somehow reconciling his rebellious restlessness with the fact that he’s inevitably become a lauded establishment figure, the world’s greatest living Australian. He’s Professor of infectious disease at the University of Western Australia and he’s got his own research department and biotech company studying potential uses of the unusual bacteria he discovered, including carrying vaccines into the body. But he’s also true to his anti-establishment bent, lecturing students around the world about the benefits of working hard at what interests them rather than what they’re told to do. His mantra is that the greatest obstacle to knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge. When I meet him in London, he insists that winning the Nobel Prize hasn’t changed him, it’s just given him more opportunities and academic freedom. The story goes that he was in the Perth pub he frequented every Nobel night when he got the news. It was the pub where he and his co-researcher Robert


Drinking the bacteria was like drinking clear beef soup. It was a difficult thing to do, and I suppose it was like bungee jumping — taking that leap is exactly the same kind of adrenalin rush as drinking a test tube full of bacteria

Warren light-heartedly drowned their sorrows because they hadn’t won anything. He was told he had become a laureate on his mobile just minutes before the official announcement. “I think I was just frozen,” he says. “You think, this is great, but then, what do I do now?” Approachable and down to earth, his mind regularly wanders into the areas he’s interested in, rather than those you direct him to: it’s been a problem since he was a schoolboy, he admits, where he found it impossible to stick with the syllabus, even in subjects like chemistry which he loved. Electronics is a passion, and a regular diversion when we meet: he’s preoccupied that his

hotel doesn’t seem to have heard of USB connections for computers, and when I have to change the batteries for my tape recorder he can’t help himself from pointing out which way they should go in. So what did those bacteria taste like? “It was like clear beef soup,” he says. “Drinking it was a difficult thing to do, and I suppose it was like bungee jumping — taking that leap is exactly the same kind of adrenalin rush as drinking a test tube full of bacteria.” He took the draft in the hospital lab shortly after a presentation of his work to gastroenterologists at a national meeting in Australia was poorly received. Some people were positively rude. “I had to decide whether I want-


ed to spend the rest of my life working on this thing and getting nowhere, or do the definitive experiment.” It began in 1981, when he’d arrived at the gastroenterology department of Royal Perth Hospital, still training as a specialist doctor, He’d been intrigued by patients who had stomach pain but no diagnosis, and teamed up with the hospital’s pathologist Robin Warren who had found a strange spiral bacteria in their stomachs. In their spare time, the two worked out that these bacteria were causing infections and unpleasant symptoms that would later lead to damage of the gut wall, and full-blown ulcers. But even their bosses didn’t

believe them — after all, in theory bacteria shouldn’t even be able to survive in the acidic stomach. And Marshall wasn’t even a fully-fledged gastroenterologist yet (something, he now believes, was invaluable in giving him an objective view of problems unalloyed by conventional wisdom). “There was a real urgency to it, because we were talking about a disease that affects millions of people, and was sometimes fatal. Every night on call in gastroenterology wards there would be people coming in with massive gastro-intestinal bleeding, and having half their stomachs removed, and when you knew you could possibly prevent this with a dose of penicillin… We were labelled maniacs and zealots from an early stage. We could think about and speak about nothing else, but no one else could have a proper opinion on it because it wasn’t part of existing science. We were pretty incorrigible and annoying to our professors and seniors because we always reckoned we knew we knew more than they did, which was true enough in that area. “Now that I’m older, I can see that I must have been a difficult person to work with. I never had any respect for authority.” That started as a kid, when he moved from a provincial mining town called Kaloorlie, to be schooled in Perth, and immediately felt the outsider — a country bumpkin among townies, poor at sport, smart in science but unable to impress with top marks because he preferred to do his own experiments in his dad’s shed at home, making radios, explosives, and a hydrogen generator for balloons. “If my science teacher told me one thing, I’d be there trying to prove him wrong, continually looking for an alternative” He admits there was something of the show-off about this. When he chose medicine as a career he quickly noticed that everyone remembered the spectacular diagnosis, even if you only made one once a year. As with many tales of dedicated discoverers, you marvel at the tolerance of the family. When Marshall conducted his experiment on himself, he and his wife Ariadne, a psychologist, had four children aged between 10 and three. He didn’t inform Ariadne, or any of his colleagues, about what he was doing — mainly because he knew they’d object. “A few days after taking the bacteria I began to feel this heavy fullness after eating, and then on day five the vomiting started. My poor wife — one of the reasons I didn’t tell her about it was that she had whiplash from a car accident. There was a lot of chaos in the family and in the middle of this each morning I would wake up before dawn and run to the toilet to vomit. I had bad breath, and I looked terrible. You have to admit I’m a selfish so-and-so to even go ahead with the experiment.” Ten days after drinking the bacteria, Marshall had an endoscopy and other tests to show that his previously bug-free stomach was now thoroughly infected and showing the same signs as his patients. “At that point, I couldn’t restrain myself, I had to tell the wife. She was speechless.” He laughs. “But


Picture: Getty Images

HOW do you know it you have the tummy bug bacterium helicobacter pylori? Peptic ulcers — those in the stomach and the part of the intestine just below it — are caused by the bacterium helicobacter pylori. The bacteria cause gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining), which can lead to ulcers when stomach acid exploits the weakened areas. Famous people troubled by helicobacter pylori infection include James Joyce, George Bush (senior), Pope John

it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” She insisted he took antibiotics to clear up the infection straight away, though Marshall wanted to continue until he had an ulcer. A paper in the Medical Journal of Australia followed and very gradually, Marshall gained more and more high-powered supporters across the globe. What became apparent with time was not only that more than half the people in the world were infected with helicobacter pylori, but that the better their hygiene and living conditions, the less likely they were to have it. Now there’s a Helicobacter Foundation, founded by Marshall in 1994, dedicated to finding ways of diagnosing, treating and eradicating the bacteria,

Paul II, Imelda Marcos and Alfred Nobel. Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini and actor Lorne Green died of bleeding ulcers. The bacterium is passed on orally, possibly via water or food tainted by faecal matter. The rate of infection is 20% among affluent groups, and the likelihood of having it increases with age. Most adults in developing countries are infected. Symptoms — Many of those carrying

the bacteria have no symptoms and are apparently well, but all have inflammation of the stomach lining. Long-term infection with helicobacter pylori increases the risk of stomach cancer. Diagnosis — Gastroenterologists can find out whether you are infected with breath tests, blood tests and internal examination via endoscopy. Treatment is usually simple, with anti-acid and antibiotic drugs, although there can be unpleasant side effects.

which is “out of control” in some countries and in others still isn’t tested for in cases of stomach problems. “There’s still a long way to go,” he says. Marshall’s hopeful that academic departments and pharmaceutical companies are becoming more aware of the need to stay in touch with the younger generation of researchers — those whose inquiring, untainted minds make them less susceptible to religiously following established principles even if they’re not based on fact. People like him: independent, obsessive and occasionally difficult. He’s still pushing at the boundaries, with his work looking at helicobacter pylori as a


vaccine carrier. The theory is that, since the bacteria themselves are immune to stomach acid, they will be able to carry flu and other vaccines into the body by this route — making gaining immunity as easy as taking a probiotic drink. “I’d say that 50 years from now, all those vaccinations we worry about won’t even exist, it will be just built into the food supply,” he asserts confidently. What drives him on with this may still be that strange restlessness he felt all those years ago in a Perth pub when he heard he’d become a Laureate: now what? Maybe, he admits, he’s got half an eye on another Nobel Prize.



6 That’s life

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Loneliness is more common than you think, reports Helen O’Callaghan

It could be you


MILY White wasn’t lonely for just a few days or a few months. She was lonely for four years. And in those years the US author of recently-published Lonely: A Memoir saw her sleep go haywire, her body grow fat and her sense of self shatter. Now 40, White’s life began to tilt towards loneliness — which she defines as an overriding sense of absence in your life — when she was in her early 30s and working as a lawyer. She says she became lonely when her usual networks began to crumble. By age 31 she was out of college, her father had died, and her friends were busy as partners and parents. “I was working at a very small law firm so I could be alone for much of the day. I came home to an empty house and often didn’t have people to socialise with during evenings or weekends. Loneliness just became unavoidable.” Recent research from Britain’s Mental Health Foundation puts the number of lonely people at one in 10, while half of those surveyed believe people are getting lonelier. Dublin-based relationship counsellor Lisa O’Hara says anyone who’s in touch with their feelings is more likely to experience loneliness. “It’s a normal feeling, albeit not pleasant. Some people immerse themselves in activities in order to avoid the feeling at all costs.” O’Hara says it’s common to meet lonely people in the counselling room. “Especially after they’ve separated and are on their own, perhaps for the first time in their lives. They may have lost friends, extended family relationships and may have moved to a different area. They might also wonder if they’ll ever fall in love again. “You can be lonely in a relationship too, if you feel you and your partner aren’t as close as you used to be — spending a lot of time apart, not talking, having very little or no sex. In these ways a couple establishes closeness and when that disappears it can cause loneliness.” Dr Patrick Ryan, director of clinical psychology at UL, says he often “unearths” loneliness in clinical practice — people very rarely bring it as a primary condition. “People are afraid to say: ‘I’m lonely’. It’s like saying: ‘I’m dying’. It’s huge because you’re admitting you’re not able to relate usefully and it’s perceived as a massive failure.” Out of our basic need to connect with others, we create an image of who with — and how — we’d like to connect, says Dr Ryan. Loneliness happens when our reality is at odds with the image. Loneliness or its absence is also about how we relate in all sorts of relationships — intimate romantic, intimate non-romantic, with family, colleagues, friends. “Connectivity doesn’t have to be intense all the time. Being lonely or not is about the quality of the relationship. You could have 100 relationships with no quality and be the loneliest person in the world, or you might have two quality relationships and not be lonely at all.” For GP Dr Harry Barry, loneliness is “when someone doesn’t feel strong emotional bonds/connections with at least one other person”. He believes the greatest safeguard is the very special relationship we can have with spouse/partner.


QUALITY MATTERS: You could have 100 friendships and be the loneliest person in the world or you might have two quality relationships and not be lonely at all. Picture: iStock

“No matter how close you are to siblings or good friends, the partner relationship is very special — that sense of being able to totally entrust oneself to the other person in the knowledge that you’ll be quite safe.” But, says Dr Barry, a very common demand is that “we must not be left alone”, which he deems an impossible expectation. “Some people aren’t lucky enough to meet someone with whom they can have that special connection. Or they’re in a relationship that isn’t working. I’ve met people who feel a great sense of despair at what could be there and isn’t.” How people withstand the pangs of loneliness is often down to how comfortable they are with themselves, says Dr Barry. “A person might like to share their life with another but they’re able to accept that it’s not going to

happen. They’re able to potter around in their own world. Such people have periods of loneliness but for short times.” Dr Ryan points out that Facebook provides contacts, whereas what we crave as human beings is connection at a profound level. Dr Barry agrees. “The best form of communication is one-to-one, where you’re looking at facial expression, body language, where you’ve got direct empathy. That’s the gold standard of relating, which nothing can replace. Electronic media don’t provide the same emotional nourishment.” Emily White wrote her book after searching in vain for a book by someone else describing themselves as lonely “just so I wouldn’t feel so alone and peculiar in struggling with the state”. She also wrote it to assure others they weren’t alone in their

loneliness. Readers have responded with relief that they aren’t the only ones struggling with feelings of aloneness and marginalisation. “I think it’s important to recognise that long-term loneliness is actually very common.” Is she still lonely today? And if not, what has alleviated the feeling? “I now live with a partner who I met towards the end of the period that I describe in Lonely. My partner’s from Newfoundland and we moved here, so I’m very far from family and friends. I wish I could say I’m no longer lonely, but that’s not the case. It’s just a different sort of loneliness.” ■ Lonely: A Memoir is available through Visit Emily White’s website:

I was working at a small law firm so I could be alone for much of the day. I came home to an empty house and often didn't have people to socialise with during evenings or weekends. Loneliness became unavoidable — Emily White FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2010



Psychology 7

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Turmoil of teenagers Tony Humphreys


HE late Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Travelled, tells a story of parents who gave their second son a Christmas gift of a rifle that their first son had used to take his own life. Scott Peck believed that he could help the second son, but not the parents, as he saw them as evil. I believe I could help the parents as well — ‘evil’ is only goodness tortured by its own thirst and hunger for love. A gun is a lethal weapon and none more so than when put in the hands of a troubled and troubling young person. A car is also a lethal weapon and when a young person who is confused, dependent, fearful and defensively aggressive sits behind the driving wheel of a car we are all in danger. It needs to be recognised that many young people are responsible in their driving. Nevertheless, serious consideration on all our parts is required and a ‘community watch’ on young people’s driving recklessly and speeding needs to be implemented.Reporting to the police the registration numbers of cars is a first step but also, where possible, informing their parents is critical to the wellbeing of the young drivers and their passengers and, indeed, the rest of us. The commonly voiced causes of many tragedies are speeding and drinking. However, it is not speed and alcohol that kills, it is immaturity. How has it come about that a certain percentage of our young people over-drink alcohol, smoke pot and drive without caution and a sense of the precious cargo of self and friends in the car being driven? We know from research that at least 20% of teenagers are deeply troubled. What is alarming is that their inner distressed state often goes undetected by adults. We also know that of those teenagers who are depressed and suicidal, only a small proportion talk to someone about their inner turmoil. The deeper tragedy is their hidden turmoil and it is not wise that they drive a car because of the dangers of their acting out their troubled state. Of course, this is also true for adult drivers and the incidents of road rage testify to the immaturity of some adult drivers — again mostly male. There is an urgent need to train parents, teachers, sports mangers to recognise the

signs of teenage inner turmoil so that a lethal weapon is not put in their hands. Two of the repeating aspects of many tragedies are the early morning occurrence of the accidents and the driver being a young male. The question that is abegging is how is it that young people who are under 18 years of age are out into the early hours of the morning — without supervision or accountability for their behaviour? Until young people are 18 years of age, parents need to know who they are with, their whereabouts, what they are doing, what time they are expected home and, if they are staying over with friends, have direct contact with the parents of their friends. Even when teenagers reach the legal adult age as long as they remain living at home they have a responsibility to let parents know the who, where, what of their activities and their return home time. In troubled families where parents are not psycho-socially prepared for the complex task of rearing children, all sorts of neglects occur from the young person’s earliest years. There is no attempt here to blame parents, but when conflict is a frequent occurrence, parents do have a responsibility to seek the support and help that they need, and, indeed, deserve. As a society — a collective of individuals — we need to create a climate of emotional safety for parents who are struggling to be open about the difficulties they are encountering. The gender issue also needs examination. The first question that comes to mind is: do more young males get their first car before their female peers? A further consideration is the amount of thought parents put into the provision of a car for the young person. Certainly, if the young person is generally hostile, aggressive, moody, uncooperative, not forthcoming on how he feels about himself and not open to mature requests on the part of parents and teachers, then buying a car for this son is a recipe for disaster. If young people do not demonstrate responsibility in the everyday activities of living, why would parents expect them to be responsible drivers? The fact too that males are more likely to act-out their inner turmoil and self-esteem difficulties contraindicates them driving responsibly. What is emerging is the dire necessity for parents to know their teenager, for their teenager to know himself or herself, and for relationships to be of a loving and co-operative nature. More on these topics next week.

If young people do not demonstrate responsibility in the everyday activities of living, why would parents expect them to be responsible drivers


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Interested in getting to know yourself better in a supportive, non-judgemental and enjoyable environment? Our unique, part-time, year-long course, has something different to offer Courses offered in Cork City and Ballincollig. Closing date: Wednesday, September 15th For information, please contact:

The Social and Health Education Project (021) 4666180

Reconnective Therapy

* Project supported by the HSE

RCT utilises the fact that all we need for healing is already in our energy body. It can be activated by using the resonance effect. The founder Herwig Schoen will teach an introductory class in Cork 9th-13th April 2011. Contact: 086–364 1230


����������� ����� ������ ��������� ���� 8 WEEK COURSE STARTING Wed. Sept 29th in CORK � ���� ������ �������� ����� ���� �� ����

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■ Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author, national and international speaker and director of Communication, Parent Mentoring and Relationship Studies in Cork and Dublin. Details of these courses are available on his website or contact Margaret at 021-4642394. Closing date September 14.


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Cover story

Learning to communicate

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With children beginning to show slow learning skills, restricting your child’s TV viewing will help build their vocabulary and speech fluency, writes Ailin Quinlan



HEN teacher Maeve Doyle carried out an informal survey of her junior infant class to see who had a television in their bedroom, 90% of her pupils put up their hands. “That really disturbed me,” recalls the mother-of-three, who teaches at Scoil Mhuire Junior at Ballymany, Newbridge Co Kildare. A junior infant teacher for the past 10 years, Doyle says she and her colleagues have noticed a gradual but worrying slippage in the overall language skills of the four and five-year-olds entering her intake class. “It’s not every child, of course, but it is noticeable that speech and vocabulary difficulties are increasingly common. Children are slower to speak, and some don’t even have the basic vocabulary of common objects such as a cow.” She believes the increasing emphasis on the use of televisions and computers in the home is cutting down on the day-to-day, but crucial parent-child interactions and casual conversations which form the basis of language. “They can have difficulty constructing full sentences. We also find that children are coming in to school without knowing even the most basic nursery rhymes, which are crucial to reading, vocabulary, sentence structure and rhyming skills. “Children who know nursery rhymes are definitely better able to cope with the challenge of reading. Listening skills are crucial, and I have had children who cannot maintain the concentration to listen. “Over the past five years or so I find that I can read a simple story to some junior infant children and they don’t grasp even a bit of it.” She believes that part of the reason for this is that some small children are so used to seeing everything played out on a screen that they’re not really able to assimilate oral information and their ability to imagine things for themselves does not develop properly. Doyle’s experience is underlined by growing international concern about just what kind of effects too much screen-time is having on young children. The Australian government is to issue cautious guidelines advising parents and carers to prevent children under two from watching television. Jo Salmon, an associate professor of epidemiology at Deakin University, and a consultant to the government, believes the effects are obvious: Children aged six to 30 months who are watching television have less developed vocabulary, display more aggressive behaviour and have poor attention spans, she warns. Parents


and childcare centres are not justified in encouraging children, under the age of two, to watch television, according to Salmon, who says she would discourage under twos from watching. “I really would not put my young one under two in front of a television. Generally, the evidence that’s out there says it could be detrimental,” she said recently. Salmon is not alone. A study by researchers at the University of Washington Child Health Institute also supports a potential connection between TV viewing and attention problems. A three-year-old who watches two hours of TV per day is 20% more likely to have attention problems at age seven than a child who watches no television. The Australian government’s advice is underlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics which says under-twos should not be exposed to any television time. Dr Dimitri Christakis at Seattle Children’s Research Institute found that for every extra hour watching DVDs, eight- to 16-month-olds learned six to eight fewer words than children who spent no time in front of the screen. Although a spokesperson for the Department of Health here says they have no plans to follow the Australian government, a HSE-designed website, Little Steps, warns parents that screen-play, TV viewing and computer games can be

addictive. It advises parents to limit children’s screen time to two hours a day. Psychotherapist Joe Heffernan believes that under twos should not be exposed to TV at all — and over that age parents should be vigilant about providing quality over quantity: “Parents should not use the TV as a babysitter, or put kids in front of DVDs. The most important social relationship a child has in the first year or two of its life is with the mother or a mother substitute, and if you make that the TV the child could be assimilating a lot of violence or inappropriate content.” If children between three and five years are not encouraged to play normally or to communicate and interact with people around them, a very important element of their development will be hindered, he believes: “At this age it is extremely important for a child to interact with the family on a constant informal basis, verbally and actively, and if the child is watching TV, or the whole family is watching TV, the child will lose out on their ability to initiate their own activities and play is poorer.” The presence of books in the home is also crucial he says: “I am amazed at the amount of young people now who say they don’t really read: children should not have TV in the bedroom and it should be turned off at mealtimes, and I would discourage the practice of having it on when no one is watching it.” There is no definitive research showing a benefit to young children of watching TV, says child and adolescent psychologist and author Dr Patrick Ryan. However, what the research does show is that the brain becomes what the brain experiences: “In young children, particularly infants, the brain is elastic, which allows it to accommodate all sorts of expe-

PARENTS need to understand their role in helping a child develop crucial language and social skills, say the experts. Here are some tips to get started. PICK ‘N’ MIX: Fill a box with folded notes, each with a different fun activity written on it. Ask your child to pick one — no peeking allowed — and then get everyone to join in.

SCREENING TIME: Junior Infant school teacher Maeve Doyle seen here with her children Hugh, 8 and Calum, 4, believes a gradual slippage in language skills among some four and five-year-olds is due to too much TV and computer usage. Picture:Michael


TV BAN: Caroline James and Sarah Hayes who were not allowed watch television when they were younger.

Picture:Des Barry

riences. If you put a six-month-old or a 12-month-old in front of TV on a constant basis, the normal brain pathways don’t develop properly. “There is a correlation between the age at which children watch TV, the amount they watch, and the fact that there are reading problems, language development problems and attention problems.” He believes that a significant factor in the problems being noticed on the ground by Maeve Doyle and others is over-reliance on the TV: “The brain is starting to be formed in a different way than it was 20 years ago

According to researchers, a three-year-old who watches two hours of TV per day is 20% more likely to have attention problems at age seven than a child who watches no television Picture: Getty Images

The big switch

when TVs were not all over the place,” says Ryan. The TV is not the problem, he says — it’s plonking a child down in front of it and removing the opportunity for personal interaction, that is the problem. “A child watching TV is a passive recipient of what is happening.” Doyle agrees: “I think if children are being put in front of TV screens, or computer games, they aren’t interacting with others and aren’t getting the chance to develop the creative thinking skills required to question and learn. “Children learn to think creatively through games and if they don’t have this experience they find it very hard to maintain concentration and listen to others. They expect to be entertained all the time and are not used to thinking for themselves and questioning, which is how children’s vocabulary is extended. She is not advocating that children should not be exposed to TV — it does have some educational value, she says. However, at night children should have a bedtime story and not just watch a video in their bedroom. “I have a TV in the house and I have three boys aged 10, eight and four, but they don’t have TVs in their bedrooms and their TV watching is restricted. You have to say no.” Instead of plonking a child in front of a DVD for long car journeys, grab the opportunity to play word games, initiate conversation and hone maths skills, with games like ‘I


Spy’ or counting all the red cars on the road. “Casual day-to-day conversation with children is very important. I think it’s great that the Australian government is advising against under twos watching TV. You’re simply better off keeping TV to a minimum when young children are in the house.” The main problem with TV viewing is that it’s very passive behaviour, says child and adolescent psychologist, Dr Kate Byrne: “There is no processing going on and the stuff on kids’ channels is just pure rubbish.” Too much TV at a young age is inadvisable, she says, adding that children become “mesmerised” by images that have a soporific effect. “There is now even a ‘baby’ TV channel which consists of images running one after the other with relaxing music in the background.” Young children need physical activity and opportunities to use their motor and cognitive skills: if a child is watching more than 90 minutes of TV a day, she believes, this is not happening. “As a society we are breeding a generation of couch potatoes — it’s all video games, computers and Xboxes.” Screen-time should be kept to a minimum with toddlers and young children she says, because they can lose out on crucial interaction as well as developing verbal and social skills. “Children don’t learn from watching someone do something on a screen. Learning is through experience, touch, sights and these are skills you don’t learn from a TV.”

They were like zombies when we visited a house with a TV set


OTHER-of-four Marian Hayes and her husband Tom banned television when their children were young. When the children — three daughters and one son, now aged between 12 and 19 — were small, she recalls, the couple completely stopped using the television: “We had very strong views about it,” says the Clonakilty-based housewife. “We noticed that when they were in other people’s houses with the TV on they would just sit there like zombies. “We also noticed a huge difference in their activity levels and their interaction with people when they were in a house with TV.” For many years, she says, the family really only used the TV to put on the occasional film. “As the years went by I found that they weren’t that interested in TV. They read a lot and they would watch TV, but not much. They weren’t addicted to it. “Generally they might watch it for an hour if there was something they wanted to see, but other than that they didn’t bother. “One year a friend gave us a 12-month subscription to SKY as a gift and it broke our hearts. It led to a lot of in-fighting over who was watching what. Now we have just, RTE1, RTE2 and a third channel — I’m not sure what it is. TV is just not an issue in the house.

WORD GAMES: Instead of switching on the latest electronic game, try playing traditional word games like ‘Fortunately…. Unfortunately’. Another game is to discuss the sights observed from the car window, or to count the number of red/blue/yellow cars. It’s a great way to get them talking. READ ALOUD & DISCUSS: Share books, discuss the pictures and the story, eliciting as much language as possible in order to extend their vocabulary. Try to get them to use full sentences. DITCH THE BEDROOM TV: Instead of turning on a video when you’re putting your child to bed practise nursery rhymes together. Make up your own rhymes. Tell your child stories. Make a point of starting conversations: LANGUAGE: It’s important to remind ourselves that language skills for young children are just as important as other essential skills like being able to open a lunchbox, manage a schoolbag or zip up a coat. PLAY: Create a messy corner in the house where the children can let loose on arts and crafts projects. Make sure you’ve got a good stock of paints, glue and paper.

CHILD’S PLAY: Get creative and offer your child fun alternatives to TV in their bedroom. Picture: Getty Images



10 Medical matters

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Dr Niamh Houston



Dr Niamh Houston is a GP with a special interest in integrative medicine. If you have a question about your child’s health email it to or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

I RETURNED to Ireland when my children were toddlers, they weren’t vaccinated against TB as babies. With the recent outbreak in Cork I’m concerned they are at risk. Is it too late to get them vaccinated now, what is the best way to protect children from becoming infected with TB?

the risk of breast cancer. Unlike mammograms for breast cancer and smear tests for cervical cancer, there are no screening tests (which aim to detect cancer at an early stage) for ovarian cancer. Doctors can do a pelvic exam, which includes checking the ovaries, but this rarely detects ovarian tumours unless they have grown very large. Other tests like the CA-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound, have been A. A child usually gets TB from studied to see if they can be used to being exposed to an infected adult. screen for ovarian cancer, but are not In children TB is largely diagnosed recommended for women at average based on clinical features including risk. They may be used for women at cough, fever, night sweats, blood in high risk or who have symptoms that sputum, swollen glands, weight loss, may suggest ovarian cancer. and a history of close contact with Symptoms most commonly associan infectious adult. ated with ovarian cancer include It can be difficult for children unbloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, der 10 years to cough up enough difficulty eating or feeling full quickly sputum for laboratory investigations or urinary symptoms (urgency or freto confirm TB infection. And chest quency). These symptoms are more x-rays of children are open to interlikely to persist in women with ovaripretation as the typical shadow is an cancer, but are not unique to ovarrarely seen. Also the tuberculin skin ian cancer, and most who have these test is not considered as reliable in symptoms will not have ovarian candiagnosing TB if children have been cer. But if a woman has these sympalready vaccinated. toms almost every day for at least sevIt is usually spread by droplets in eral weeks, then she should see her the air when an infected person doctor. coughs or sneezes. You need to have Preventive oophorectomy (removal close and prolonged contact with an of ovaries) is usually recommended infected person such as sharing a for women with a significantly inhouse, or at schools/creches to catch creased risk of breast and ovarian canTB. cer due to the inherited mutation In Ireland, TB usually affects the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, or women lungs but can also affect other parts with a strong family history of breast of the body such as the bones, kidand ovarian cancer but no known geneys and brain (causing meningitis). netic alteration. High-risk women age The BCG vaccine which protects 35 and older who have completed mainly against TB meningitis is 50% their family are the best candidates for effective, unlike other vaccinations this surgery. where protection is usually 90% or While the surgery itself is generally more. BCG vaccine is usually given COUGH ALERT: Anyone with a cough lasting longer than three safe, more concerning are the comweeks should consider being tested for TB. A child usually gets plications that can come from losing to newborn babies, but can also be TB from exposure to an infected adult. Picture: iStock the hormones supplied by your given to older children and adults. The vaccine protects mainly against ovaries. In pre-menopausal women the development of TB meningitis. The comoophorectomy causes early menopause. This bination of better living conditions, antibiotics this, is there a test available? Should I have carries many risks including osteoporosis, inagainst TB and the BCG vaccine has helped creased risk of heart disease, as well as sympmy ovaries removed to prevent ovarian reduce the number of cases of TB in Ireland, cancer happening to me? toms of the menopause itself. but it is now on the rise for the first time in While having your ovaries removed might decades. relieve much of your anxiety, it can also take A. There are several factors that increase a Keeping a close eye on those most at risk an emotional toll on you. Even if your didn’t woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. and actively treating those infected is probably You didn’t mention your age, as this is an im- plan on having children, you might mourn a better way of preventing infection. portant one. Most ovarian cancers develop af- the loss of your fertility. Or you may, like High-risk groups include prison inmates, some, have a strong sense of femininity tied to ter the menopause. Women with a mother, prison staff, homeless people, healthcare sister, or daughter who has had ovarian cancer your fertility and reproductive cycle. Other workers and migrants from countries that are also at a higher risk of developing the dis- options include having ovarian cancer screenhave a high incidence of TB. Anyone with a ing test twice each year to look for early signs ease themselves. cough lasting longer than three weeks or perBeing obese, using fertility drugs for longer of cancer. Or taking the contraceptive pill resistent phlegm cough should consider being duces the risk of ovarian cancer in averthan one year, using oestrogen replacement tested for TB. age-risk women. therapy after menopause, having being diagAdvice from a genetic counsellor, or gynaenosed with breast cancer are other factors. Q. I have a history of ovarian cancer in cologic oncologist can help you make a more So too are women with the genetic mutamy family. How do I know if I’m at risk for tion BRCA1 or BRCA2 which also increases informed decision.

NOTE: The information contained in Dr Houston’s column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first


Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

HAVE always embraced the wise advice that identity is such a crucial affair, one shouldn’t rush into it. Just like Rubik’s Cube, every new turn brings a twist. I spent years trying to decipher myself, and just when I thought I had, the purveyors of powdered milk indicated otherwise. SMA nutrition launched a competition in search of a “Real Mum”. I had a minor identity crisis. A pinch proved I definitely existed, but was I a “Mar Dhea” Mum? A phoney mother-of-two sure to fall short of any measure of motherhood meted out by SMA? I looked myself up in the dictionary. The first “mum” entry bore no relation to any status I sought to secure. It defined “mum” as “not verbalising”. Taking a vow of silence is preposterous if you’re a mum. Definition number two had far greater relevance. It was “mum” in the context of “mumming”, meaning “playing in a pan-

tomime or merrymaking in disguise, especially during a festival”. Saddling up for Electric Picnic, I concurred with this meaning for “mum”. A check under “mother” confirmed my involvement in procreation, but not in an alternative version with a bitter twist. It defined “mother” as “a stringy slime of yeast cells and bacteria used to kick-start the production of vinegar”. Out of curiosity I looked up “Father”. He got much better press. There was the straightforward “Father” we all recognise, the man whose sperm unites with an egg, resulting in a child. There was also a mention of father as “head of an organised crime family”, (although when it comes to criminal enterprise “Godfather” springs to mind). Then there was “Father” as member of that powerful all-male club, the Holy Trinity. And, finally, “Father” meaning “God”. With the copy-


right for creation, what mum could compete with that? I felt diminished. Not being a father, I could never be a god. And even though I had a track record in procreation, it appeared I may not be a Real Mum. I decided to investigate what or who SMA nutrition considered a Real Mum. I discovered the winner was a mother of two. Check. She had many experiences of the joys and challenges parenting brings. Check. She was selected as a winner for her ability to relate to other mums on an emotional and personal level. Hmmm. Not being overly keen on conversations about mumdom, I may not have taken the prize. Happy to converse about anything but offspring on a night out, I would not be an asset to an SMA Every Step Panel of Experts. But not a Real Mum? I’m as real as the man they call God.



Learning to cope 11

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Abigail’s early arrival brought challenges for her parents, reports Ailin Quinlan

Care of a premature baby

MOTHERLY LOVE: Emma Ryan with her daughter Abigial who was born after 26 weeks gestation. Picture:Billy Higgins

Tender loving isolation


HEN Emma Ryan’s daughter Abigail was born prematurely, she was so small she could use a baby bib as a blanket. The impact on her parents was enormous — throughout the autumn and winter following Abigail’s birth, Emma recalls, she was effectively under house arrest. Abigail, who arrived in April 2009, 14 weeks premature weighing in at just 700g (one pound and five ounces), was so fragile that she had to be kept in a specialised incubator for nearly two months. And, when she eventually arrived at the family home in Rathmichael, Shankhill, Abigail couldn’t be brought outside between September and March in case she caught an infection, while her parents had to avoid large crowds for fear of becoming ill themselves. “We had to be very careful about who came to the house — people had to wash their hands with antiseptic gel before touching her. We went shopping at three or four in the morning because we could not be in large crowds where the risk of catching a cold was higher. “If one of us got sick we could not be around her because it was so dangerous.


“It was effectively house arrest for six months.” For Emma, a former lab technician, and her partner Liam, a DJ with Dublin radio station Q104, those first 12 months were an extremely stressful time. “We were terrified. For nearly a year Abigail, who was born at 26 weeks, was effectively isolated from the world and we could only show people pictures — at one stage shortly after she was born she was so small she could use a standard baby bib as a blanket. It was the small things that proved the most stressful, the inability to go out into the world as a family and the fact that many people didn’t understand the day-to-day implications of caring for such a frail baby, recalls Emma. And this is why, she believes, there will be such a demand for the services provided by a new organisation, Irish Premature Babies, launched earlier this week by Georgina Ahern in the Rotunda Hospital. Every year, about 4,000 Irish families experience the stress of a premature birth, and the new support group aims to provide support for parents. “A key feature the group offers is access to

support for families,” says Allison Molloy, founder of Irish Premature Babies and herself a mother of two premature babies. “We run family meet-and-greet sessions throughout the year and also provide a one-to-one support network called the Buddy System run by our family liaison manager Mandy Daly. This is a nationwide network of volunteers who offer support and understanding to others who have been through the premature baby journey.” The website provides in-depth information on rights and entitlements in Ireland, feeding information, parents’ experiences and other relevant topics. Irish Premature Babies already has a strong following on Facebook, Twitter and other Irish parenting websites, says Molloy, adding that this provides a focal point for parents to connect with each other throughout the country. Premature birth is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a birth that occurs at less than 37 weeks. Most recent statistics indicate that more than 6% of live births in Ireland in 2007 were premature. ■ For details email:


THE PREMATURE birth of a baby is hugely stressful for parents, says Naomi McCallion, consultant neonatalogist at the Rotunda, Temple Street and Crumlin hospitals. Parents are initially very nervous, but as time passes, doctors are careful to encourage them to play a larger role in the bedside care of their babies while still in hospital: “In the first 26 weeks, for example, a baby may not be ready to be handled, However, once the baby is ready, we encourage skin-to-skin contact which encourages breast milk supply. Breast milk is one of the best things you can give the babies. Skin contact is also very important for bonding, while the parent’s heartbeat is very soothing for babies. “As the baby moves from intensive care to the more special care area, we encourage parents to become more involved in activities such as nappy changes. “We also start to let them help with feeds and when it comes to going home time we encourage them to do more and more of the normal care.” It’s always hoped that babies will go home and be treated much like other children but, she emphasises, it’s important to remember that they are small and light and may need extra care and attention. Some premature babies have lung problems and will need oxygen at home, while very small babies are at much greater risk of Picture: iStock serious illnesses if they get normal cough and cold bugs. “We give our smallest and most vulnerable babies an injection once a month to help prevent a more serious virus which causes bronchiolitis.” Babies born prematurely also have an increased risk of having developmental problems, says McCallion. “We do brain scans and sometimes we carry out detailed MRI scans, but the most important thing is that the babies come back to our clinics on a regular basis so that we can assess how they are doing. If we identify any problems we can then link them in to early intervention schemes such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy etc. “Most babies will not need these services, but it is important to observe them until at least the age of two to ensure they are developing normally. We also monitor their weight gain and their growth and they follow a very normal vaccine programme like every other child.”



12 Healthy food

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Supporting our own Roz Crowley

Buying chemical-free produce is QUALITY good for your health and also PRODUCE good for local growers’ pockets

Lucy Stewart and Ultan Walsh have a special vegetarian guesthouse at Gort na Nain in Nohoval, between Carrigaline and Kinsale, Co Cork. They grow their own produce and supply Café Paradiso with superb vegetables as well as serving dinner to their own guests.


ORD Bia’s National Organic Week starts on Monday with the aim of brining producers and consumers together for fun and education. Thinking organically is a way of life. And how far we go with organic food is a matter of choice. We can buy only certified organic food, or food that claims to be organic but is not certified, or get to know suppliers who choose not to be certified but who cultivate produce without chemicals and don’t claim to be organic. Organic food has its detractors. For consumers it can appear expensive and for many small food producers certification is prohibitively expensive and too restrictive — certification boards do not allow remedial action to be taken when a crop is failing. Others find that certification gives their customers full assurance that their food will be untainted by chemical intervention. For their customers, to have the assurance of a credible organisation behind their food is well worth the added premium. What cannot be guaranteed is that organic food will taste better than other food. This depends on the breed of animal and the care it was given, or on the variety of fruit or vegetable and at what stage of ripeness it is picked. It is a good idea to look for mis-shapen fruit and vegetables and encourage supermarkets not to be wasteful by throwing them out or refusing to accept them from producers. Some breeds don’t conform but taste far better than those that look pretty and fit certain size requirements. Farmers’ markets are the best place to find them, especially this year as they have ripened beautifully in the heat. One disadvantage of large producers is their need to pick fruit before it is fully ripe so it will not deteriorate in shops quickly. Local producers don’t need such a long shelf life and can pick their produce at the peak of perfection. Good examples are the red Alicante and Red Cherry tomato varieties. But watch out, too, for tomatoes that are almost black, such as the sweet and richly flavoured Black Cherry, the large Black Crimea and large red/brown Black Russian. When you see yellow tomatoes they are usually not under-ripe, but could be of the variety Tangella, or if they are stiped may be the sweet and low acid variety Tigerella. To keep varieties resilient it’s important to support those who keep old, traditional and local ones alive. Madeleine McKeever at Brown Envelope Seeds, and Irish Seedsavers do a wonderful job and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their websites and buy plants when they are available. My best apple trees came from Seedsavers and were a few years old and established enough to guarantee immediate success. Supporting local butchers is important too as long as they can guarantee their sources. Small producers and abbatoirs have closed down as a result of the power of supermarkets who say


Ummera Irish Smokehouse in Timoleague, Co Cork, has always been to the forefront of organic, Slowfood and environmental awareness. I saw my first wormery there. Their recent triple gold award at the Great Taste for their smoked duck breast is well deserved. Silver Hill Foods, another company with integrity which does not claim to be organic, embraces much of its ethos. Based in Co Monaghan, its recycling of anything from duck feathers to gizzards and their water system is a lesson to any company believing that integrity is not compatible with profit. It is their duck breast that won the Great Taste award with Ummera. Just Food is a small company which is organically certified, a welcome assurance for customers. Despite the temptation to use cheaper ingredients Cobh-based owner Deirdre Hilliard has stuck to her guns and continues to make her soups in small batches to ensure consistent quality. Caroline and Eddie Robinson are my benchmark for tasty seasonal vegetables. Selling these days in the market outside Cork’s Opera House on Saturdays and Macroom on Tuesdays, their choice of vegetables and the fact they are picked at their prime are their keys to superb produce. They have no claims to be organic, but instead call their produce chemical-free. Typical of small producers who dig up their produce hours before they sell it, this is as close we can get to growing our own and we can have full trust in their integrity. Picture: iStock

that consumers demand tidy cuts of meat they can cook quickly. To encourage a wider variety, we need to buy cheaper cuts which require longer, slow cooking to tenderise them. A demand for offal encourages butchers to buy whole animals and provide us with these economical cuts. In the end, we get what we demand. While local food should be our priority to ensure the survival of producers, organic and otherwise, thinking before we buy is essential. People’s futures are in our pockets.

■ Watch out for National Organic Week events in regions which have their own special treats from kitchen garden tours, to food tastings, cookery demonstrations and lessons in apple pressing. Blas an Fhomhair, Nenagh’s community harvest lunch, will make its return on September 19. This year’s guest chef will be Hugo Arnold and the theme will be local organic pork with an Italian Irish twist. ■ For information on National organic Week events near you:


O’Driscolls Fish Stalls appear in several farmers’ markets in Munster, and are typical of good fishmongers who sell fish mere hours after it is caught. This is the way to learn about seasonal, local fish and appreciate exactly how fresh fish should taste. There are also successful organic fish producers based around Co Clare and Connemara, such as Clare Island Organic Salmon, and it’s worth trying their fish when wild fish is not available.



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Male health

Take control of a break-up


SEPARATION of any kind is distressing, and marital breakdown puts all parties to the split under enormous mental and physical pressure. In Ireland, there’s an increasing awareness that the courts are not an ideal place to come to the most amicable agreement between you and the woman you once promised to stay with until death did you part. “Collaborative law is used for family law as an alternative to court proceedings,” says Julie Breen, a solicitor with Garahy Breen & Co, in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. Breen is one of Ireland’s increasing numbers of trained collaborative practitioners working to help couples resolve their difficulties with dignity. And with divorce in Ireland up 500% since 1986, according to Census figures, there’s clearly a need for guidance through the separation minefield. Collaborative law essentially involves you, your spouse and your solicitors agreeing to reach a mutually satisfying agreement through negotiation. “For couples, it means they stay in control of proceedings and it works best for people

Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN who want to separate with some dignity and maintain a relationship of some sort with each other.” Offering an holistic approach, this route deals side-by-side with the emotional elements of separation as well as the financial elements. “If couples need to work out a lot of emotional issues, we bring in life coaches to work with one or both parties to help them get beyond the emotional aspect.” And considering that marriage breakdowns occur the most among those aged 40-60, according to Census 2006 figures, there’s a good chance that children come along with the emotional baggage. “We bring in coun-

SORTING IT OUT: Offering an holistic approach, the collaborative law route deals side-by-side with the emotional elements of separation as well as the financial elements. Picture: Getty Images

sellors to work with the couple around issues related to childcare,” says Breen, adding that it’s important to help couples get to a place where they can manage family situations, such as First Communions, in the long term. By reducing stress and hostility, collaborative practice gives you and your partner a chance to look each other in the eye, reduce the negative impact of the split on your chil-

17,100 tonnes of extra weight a heavy burden

iPhone app useful aid for heartburn sufferers

IRELAND is straining under 17,100 tonnes of excess weight, according to new research from Yakult. According to the survey, 71% of Irish people feel they’re carrying too much weight, with the typical Irish adult feeling they have 16 pounds to lose. That’s a total of 17,100 tonnes of excess fat Irish people are carrying around (the equivalent weight of 244,500 average sized men). Over a fifth of those surveyed are completely unaware of the negative effect this excess weight can

HEARTBURN affects the work and social activities of half of all Irish adults. That’s why the launch of an iPhone app to find pharmacies — the Nycomed Irish Pharmacy Finder — is a good idea. It’s been launched to mark the availability of new heartburn treatment SOMAC Control in pharmacies. Known as proton pump Inhibitors or PPIs, the main action of this type of drug is to produce a significant and long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production. “PPIs have been used by doctors to safely treat


HEAD LICE infestations are common in Irish schools and it’s recommended that parents check their child’s hair once a week. Head lice spread by walking from one head to another during close head contact (30 seconds is enough) which is why it’s mainly children that catch them. However, adults can get them too. An itchy head is not always a sign. The most reliable way to check is to wet comb with a fine tooth comb because soaking wet lice stay still, while in dry hair lice move quickly away from disturbance and can remain undetected. A treatment should not be used unless a live louse is detected; some products which may be useful include:


have on their gut and digestive health. “Making poor food choices isn’t only contributing to the nation’s weight problems, but is also contributing to digestive health issues such as constipation, which is often caused by low-fibre intake,” says dietitian Margaret O’Donoghue. Among other things, weight stored on the belly can push food mixed with stomach acid up into the gullet, causing heartburn and, in cases, painful ulceration.


heartburn for more than a decade,” says Galway-based pharmacist Frank McAnena. “The big advantage of PPIs is that they deliver more sustained relief than other non-prescription medicines.” ‘’As with all medicines available in pharmacy it is important that customers speak to their pharmacist to make sure that SOMAC Control is the best choice and that they always read the package leaflet.’’ For additional information about heartburn and the pharmacy finder app visit:

dren and sets the stage for getting on with life in a constructive manner. By making your own decisions, you’ll have full control over the final outcome rather than handing it over to third parties for decision. To find a solicitor in your area trained in collaborative practice, check out, the website of the Association of Collaborative Practitioners in Ireland.

DId you know... Nearly a quarter of men wear their pants or boxers more than once without washing them (Source: Boost Your Wash UK study of 5,000 adults)

with Kate O’Reilly



WEEKLY REMINDER: Lyclear has been used by Irish families to treat head lice for over 20 years and the range includes a crème rinse containing permethrin, which works in 10 minutes, F7.95; a non-insecticidal spray, which takes 15 minutes, F12.99, and a detector kit with combs, F5.95. This year Lyclear have introduced a new mousse and spray utilising a double action technology that is designed to suffocate the lice and dehydrate the lice and eggs, both F12.99. For more information visit:


NATURAL REPELLENT: Lisa O’Gorman at the Nelsons Homeopathic Dispensary, recommends using Burt’s Bees Grapefruit and Sugar Beet shampoo, F9.95, when combing. Tisserand Tea Tree shampoo F8.95, which contains tea tree, lemon, and rosemary can also be used weekly by those prone to head lice. Staphasigria Tincture F8.85, helps to prevent infestation. For more advice contact Nelsons Homeopathic Dispensary 15 Duke Street, Dublin 2, 01-679 0451, which has a mail order service.




HERBAL REMEDY: Many parents prefer to use a natural treatment on their children’s heads. A Vogel’s Riddance Herbal Head Lice Removal Kit, F10.75 contains Riddance shampoo made with Neem Seed extract to treat head lice, a detector comb and instruction leaflet. See Faith in Nature’s Neem & Propolis shampoo and conditioner, both F6.75, have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties and are recommended as a natural repellent. See for more information.


BUG BUSTER: It is important to remember that no treatment is 100% effective in eradicating head lice, as new eggs may continue to hatch. One mum I know recommends the Bug Buster Kit (£8.35 inc P&P) as the best comb on the market. Developed by a UK-based charity Community Hygiene Concern, the kit contains a Bug Buster comb, two mini combs for young heads, a Nit Buster to remove unsightly eggshells and comb. Order at or their helpline on 00 44 1908 561928.



14 Beauty

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DEFYING GRAVITY: Some producers of serums claim they improve the appearance of mature skin and impart radiance. Picture: Getty Images

Emily O’Sullivan

Take the many magical claims for serums at face value but some do at least give a boost


LOVE simple skincare: good cleansing, good moisturising, sun protection. If you want to keep your skin looking peachy, it doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you start young. Since I can remember the skincare mantra has been “cleanse, tone and moisturise”, and while many of us don’t even bother toning anymore (a spritz of water works just as well as far as I’m concerned), it’s a skincare rule that has served women pretty well. But over the past 10 to 20 years a new and increasingly complicated product has entered the equation: the serum. Beauty companies will argue that serums have lots of benefits, from battling ageing to infusing the skin with antioxidants, but few have been clinically proven to reverse the effects of ageing on the skin (except Boots’s legendary Protect & Perfect), so what are they actually doing? According to Vichy’s pharmacy training manager, Janette Ryan, “Serums are highly concentrated in active ingredients and are more fluid based so that they penetrate the skin much quicker than a traditional moisturiser. They deliver more effective results improving the skin’s appearance and boosting radiance.” I like products that have independent clinical trials behind them, so I’ve been using No7’s Protect & Perfect and I’m not likely to change, but the increasing number of serums on the market this autumn is testament to the fact that we’re becoming more and more tempted by products that promise to do everything from “correct” wrinkles and UV damage to impart radiance and generally improve the appearance of our skin. Do serums work? It’s hard to say. But over the years I have tried many, and while they

The news on ... Elemis Exotic eau de parfum IT’S only the second fragrance launch from skincare brand Elemis, but Exotic, F49, is a confident and sumptuous blend of glamorous ingredients. Housed in a slimline glass bottle, the scent is rich, indulgent and heady — a good choice for winter — with a blend of Sri Lankan cinnamon bar, pink pepper, clove bud oil, ylang ylang, Indian jasmine sambac and tuberose. The base notes include frankincense, Somali incense, cedarwood and sandalwood. Available this month from Debenhams, House of Fraser, Harvey Nichols and online at



may not have reduced my wrinkles, they can make your skin softer, smoother and generally better looking, which for many people is enough. But it’s important to stay away from anti-ageing products until you need them. “Using anti-ageing products too early, or which are targeted at a more mature or different skin type, will not be of any benefit to you as the active ingredients are only effective on the skin they are targeted at,” says Ryan. One of the biggest launches this autumn is Clinique’s Repairwear Laser Focus, which claims if you use just three drops of it, twice a day in 12 weeks you can “achieve 63% of the visible reducing wrinkle power of a laser”. The serum reflects Clinique’s increasing focus over the last few years on environmental aggressors (sun exposure, stress, pollution) reflected in products such as the Superdefense moisturiser. As well as repairing UV damage, Repairwear promises to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and help skin fight free radicals. Avon’s Anew Clinical Derma-Full X3 Facial Filling Serum was one of 2009’s big skincare launches, with a big fuss being made over the fact that it contains the same injectible-grade hyaluronic acid used by dermatologists. Hyaluronic acid is renowned for its remarkable hydrating and plumping talents,

and, according to Avon in just two weeks, a whopping 82% of women tested saw more youthfulness in the cheek area. Now, Avon has introduced Anew Platinum, which targets “neck sagging, extreme dryness, loss of colour and deep wrinkles”, and works best for women aged 60 or more. In an assessment of deep forehead wrinkles in a dermatologist-supervised clinical study of women aged 55-69, 33% showed an improvement in forehead expression lines. Complementing the current LiftActiv range from Vichy, the new LiftActiv CxP Total Serum again targets loss of firmness and wrinkles, with Vichy’s “big sell” being Bio-Lifting action, which firms the feel of the skin and reduces deep wrinkles by charging the skin with moisture and helping to reinforce the skin’s own mechanisms. It’s certainly an excellent moisturiser, and its effectiveness has been clinically tested. If you’re wondering whether you need a serum, the answer is not automatically yes. Make sure to consider what you’re buying, and why you think it’s necessary. A good moisturiser should see you through, but if you’ve dry skin then using a serum before moisturising into winter can give you good protection against the elements — just don’t expect it to make you look 25.

Eye Creams AN eye cream can be a thing of real wonder if you get the right one. And even if it doesn’t reduce your wrinkles, or get rid of your insanely large bags, at the very least it will hydrate, soothe and comfort. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Complex, F49. This is a huge launch for Lauder, considering the enduring success of Advanced Night Repair. It has a seriously rich, indulgent texture that seems to instantly sink into the eye area, meaning you can apply make up without any greasy residue. Lovely. L’Oreal Collagen Micro-Vibration Eye, F19.99. Targeting eye bags, dark circles and wrinkles, L’Oreal’s vibrating eye cream is designed to “facilitate evacuation of trapped, stagnant fluids” according to their consultant dermatologist. If that hasn’t put you off your lunch, then this double-pronged product could be one for you. Apply the cream first, followed by the “massager” for a few seconds along five pressure points. Voya Bright Eyes Anti-Ageing Eye Creme, F50. Lighter and more fluid than many eye creams on the market, Voya’s key ingredients are seaweed and antioxidants. If you want a gentle, natural moisturiser that makes the eye area feel soothed and hydrated this is a good choice.

STUFF WE LIKE Avon Anew Platinum Serum, F36. Avon’s Platinum collection is designed for a more mature age group. The slightly baffling packaging makes it look like it’s from outer space, and the science is pretty similar — Avon’s scientists were the first to discover the power of paxilin, a protein that helps retain the youthful shade of skin cells and stops the skin looking older. And with this one you don’t have to worry about it being a waste of money — Avon’s products are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee.


Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector, F48. Clinique say that the three-in-one benefits of Repairwear leads to “visible wrinkle reducing benefits of a laser”. You only need to use three drops of this, day and night, so although it’s quite a small bottle, it does last. No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum, F26.95. What can we say about this one that hasn’t already been said? Basically, Boots’s wonder cream has been independently proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by up to 50% after four weeks of use.

No wonder it caused stampedes in the aisles and massive waiting lists when it was first launched. Liz Earle Smoothing Line Serum, F7.75. Using natural ingredients, such as the antioxidant grapeseed extract and echinacea, Liz Earle’s serum should be used around the eyes, lips, forehead and décolletage at night. It’s light, oil-free and should be used after moisturising. Vichy LiftActiv CxP Total Serum, F31.50. This is a serious moisturiser, and a good choice for


anyone suffering from dehydrated skin that has lost its radiance. The slightly golden peach tint of the serum has micro-pigments that give the skin an instant boost. Trilogy Age Proof CoQ10 Booster Serum, F28.95. Designed to brighten up dull, lacklustre skin, Trilogy’s serum uses natural active ingredients to give an intensive antioxidant boost. The key ingredient here is Tamanu oil, which is rich in essential fatty acids, helps deep hydration and promotes skin regeneration.



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Natural health


Megan Sheppard Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

I enjoyed your recent article about the benefits of being barefoot. In the past, shoes had leather soles, which contained nothing synthetic, unlike rubber. The leather is a natural material and kept people in contact with the land, and much more stable mentally and emotionally. I have tried to source non-rubber shoes, but to no avail. Can you please help? A. Children have an innate knowledge of the benefits of going barefoot — I doubt many under the age of five would regularly wear shoes voluntarily. Earth is charged with a subtle surface energy, which is why conductive objects in contact with the earth become grounded. Grounding discharges and prevent the build-up of electrical stress, something that was done naturally in many cultures before shoes became a fashion necessity. The same can be said for sleeping under the stars, in contact with the ground — how healing and rejuvenating is a camping trip away? Insulating ourselves from this natural grounding process, by the use of rubber- or synthetic-soled shoes, is certainly taking its toll and contributing to the disconnection from the earth that many people are feeling (or not feeling, as the case may be). Our bodies can access an unlimited supply of free electrons when we are in contact with the earth — these negatively-charged particles then ‘mop up’ the positively charged free-radicals that cause inflammation and degeneration in our systems. Walking, sitting and lying on the earth (concrete will also conduct the current, but not asphalt), is a simple and free method to reduce inflammation, pain, sleep troubles, fatigue, ageing, stress and anxiety. Leather-soled shoes can be difficult to source. Cinders in Newbridge, Co Kildare (, 045-437750), sell leather-soled shoes, and there are many manufacturers and distributors of leather-soled shoes for babies and young children. It is also worth noting that most dance wear shoes have leather soles and these are widely available. Q. I have had cellulitus for a few years on my ankle. It flares up now and then, and I have to take antibiotics. The first time I got it, I was in hospital for ten days with a drip. It seems to have started with a small bite on my ankle, which is constantly swollen and worse in evenings. Could you tell me what causes it, or be able to recommend any herbal medication that would prevent this or help?

A GROUNDED PERSON: Lying on the grass helps you to connect with nature and recharge your body. Picture: iStock A. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin, which quickly spreads to the underlying tissues, causing painful swelling and tenderness in the area. While there are a number of bacteria that may be responsible for this infection, the most common culprits are streptococci and staphylococci. Streptococci spread more rapidly, caused by the production of enzymes, which prevent the skin from doing the job of containing the infected area. Staphylococcus bacteria is more likely to be present if the cellulitis is due to an animal bite, or an injury that has occurred in a natural body of water (lakes, rivers etc), or where there is dirt present. The symptoms you are experiencing are a combination of the effects of the bacteria and your body’s healing processes. It is important at this time to support your immune system, as it will be working overtime to clear the infection. Conscious, deep breathing and gentle exercise, such as yoga, all help with lymphatic flow, and a quality, immune-supporting tea or supplement is important. Blackcurrant, astragalus, schisandra, reishi, cleavers, and pau d’arco are among my

Megan puts the spotlight on:


ITH the winter season still a few months away, this is a good time to consider preparing your body for the almost inevitable coughs, colds and flu that typically arrive along with the colder weather. The flu can range from being a minor inconvenience to a life-threatening situation in the elderly and health compromised individuals. A homeopathic alternative to the flu vaccine routinely offered to pensioners is the influenza nosode available from most homeopaths. A nosode is defined as an isopathic remedy consisting of the product of some specific disease administered in minute doses for the cure of the same disease — in homeopathy, a nosode is given in potentised form on symptomatic as well as on clinical indications. While there is no scientific evidence to specifically prove the effectiveness of the



favourite herbs for immune regulation, along with kitchen herbs, such as garlic, marjoram, and thyme. Goldenseal is particularly effective as a topical agent, especially when you combine it with active manuka honey (with a UMF of at least 18). Mix the honey with a few drops of goldenseal (a tincture preparation will work just fine) and apply to the affected area, then cover with a clean bandage and leave it on overnight. During the day, change this dressing as necessary. The UMF (unique manuka factor) rating of manuka honey indicates the strength — 18 means that it is equivalent to at least an 18% phenol solution — four times greater than standard antiseptics. The UMF rating is based on a standard laboratory test for antibacterial activity, where manuka honey is compared with the standard antiseptic, phenol (carbolic). UMF 18 manuka honey is also active against the seven most common bacteria responsible for infection, including MRSA. This, along with its stability under varying heat and light conditions, means that it is particularly effective in cases where wounds are difficult to heal (for example, ulcers, sores, and burns).

Homeopathic Treatment for the flu influenza nosode, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to show that it does indeed protect one from the various strains of flu. Unlike the flu vaccine, the homeopathic treatment won’t run the risk of creating the flu-like symptoms which are so common following flu shots. If you already have symptoms showing, then you need to act quickly — aconite is a good remedy of choice. Take one 30c tablet/pillule four times daily for two days. If you don’t find any relief following this then you may want to consider the following homeopathic alternatives: Gelsemium — flushed face, lethargy, weakness in limbs, trouble shaking flu Bryonia — worse for movement, irritability, dry thirst China — physical weakness, sweating, nasal discharge Baptisia — severe flu, delirium, aching,


congestion, halitosis, sore throat, red face Eupatorium perfoliatum — aching muscles and bones, fever, little or no sweating, thirst for cold drinks, nausea, restlessness New Era’s tissue salt (cell salts) combinations are also useful for babies through to the elderly. Combination J is great for coughs, colds and flu. Combination B is recommended for general debility. Combination Q is designed to target sinus congestion. The single tissue salt Kali phos. may also be of use in treating an individual who feels emotionally below par due to illness. Tissue salts should be taken two to three times daily. The rule of thumb regarding dosage is four tablets for adults and one to two tablets for children.




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Thinking thin for Autumn! Fed up of being overweight? Lose a stone in 4 to 6 weeks without feeling hungry AROUND this time of the year many people are beginning to realise that their diet is not actually working! Fine, they went into it with the best of intentions, but slowly the resolve has been slipping and the old eating habits are creeping back in. That’s the starting point for the Motivation Weight Loss method, developed by the world famous Dr. Maurice Larocque, which first focused on the reasons why a person overeats, in order for them to understand and subsequently change their eating behaviour. Mental weight is measured by calculating a combination of five factors: eating habits, mental self image, emotions, physical stress symptoms and motivation. “Irish people are not just heavier because of bad eating habits, there

“Irish people are not

just heavier because of bad eating habits, there is also an underlying problem of a negative mental attitude to eating” is also an underlying problem of a negative mental attitude to eating”. say Dr. Michael O’Tigheamaigh, GP and Medical Director of the Motivation Clinic. “A person who changes his or her perception of eating and food will find they lose weight and more importantly, keep it off ”. The 30% increase in reported obesity levels in Ireland over the last four years indicates that we are fast becoming heavier as a nation. Obesity related illness accounts

for roughly 2,500 deaths each year in this country and is also associated with medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancers and blood pressure problems. Irish men fare worse than women when it comes to obesity. The Motivation Weight Control programme is a sensible approach that can yield longterm results. The prog ramme combines

personalised healthy eating plans, behaviour analysis and motivation techniques – an approach that has helped more than 100,000 Irish people to lose weight. Every programme is tailored specifically for each person and involves weekly one-to-one consultations with staff trained in nutrition and motivational techniques. Group founder Dr. Larocque says; “Diets merely treat the symptoms, not the actual cause.You will never maintain your weight unless you are prepared to look at the root causes and why you overeat”.

At Motivation Weight Management Clinics, we clearly understand that it’s not just about what you eat but why you eat. • Private individual Consultations with our caring Doctors and Consultants • Lose weight quickly but safely without feeling hungry or deprived • Over 100,000 success stories • Weight loss programme for adolescents • Behaviour Evaluation to identify the underlying causes of your weight problem • Our programmes are specially designed for men, women and adolescents with any amount of weight to lose • Recent clinical study shows that the Motivation Programme has an 86% success rate with people maintaining their weight loss for 4 years or more with follow-up. • Now 15 years in operation

MARIA lost 7 Stone

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Call 1800 22 44 88 today Feelgood


Feelgood 10-09-2010  

Feelgood is a health and wellbeing supplement published by the Irish Examiner every Friday.