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Feelgood

Friday, March 9, 2012

Birth right Naoise Coogan on why she is about to undergo her second elective caesarean: 8, 9

Picture: Dylan Vaughan

TERAPROOF:User:irenefeighanDate:07/03/2012Time:16:44:46Edition:09/03/2012FeelgoodXH0903Page:1

LOVE INTEREST

Our three couples on lessons learned from their blind dates: 4, 5

NO FRONTIERS

Teenager with CF is busy living a very full life: 11

THANKS MUM

Tasty treats to indulge her on Mother’s Day: 12


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2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ MOTHERS’ LUNCH: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow will be the special guest at the 15th annual UNICEF Ireland Mother’s Day Lunch on Friday next at the Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin 4. All proceeds from the lunch go to UNICEF’s Safe Motherhood Programmes which provide lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable mothers and babies around the world. Marty Whelan will be MC on the day and tickets are €95 from www.unicef.ie ■ MBS CORK: The Mind Body Spirit opens today from 1pm to 9pm at Cork City Hall and continues from 10am to 6pm tomorrow and 11am to 6pm on Sunday. Entry is free and there will be more than 40 exhibitors, lectures and workshops. Workshops will be on learning to dowse, the kabbalah, attracting the money, guardian angels, meditation and preventing back pain. Full details on www.mindbodyspirit.ie ■ BUMP & BEYOND: The first ever Bump & Beyond Expo in the Midwest organised by parents’ website Mykidstime.ie, will be held at the Limerick Strand Hotel tomorrow. Come along between 11am and 6pm to this free exhibition to find out about the latest baby products and pick some tips from service providers and baby experts. There will be a range of talks and demos including nutrition, first aid, baby yoga and Pilates. For more information log onto www.mykidstime.ie ■ DYSLEXIA WORKSHOP: A workshop for Junior Cert students who are dyslexic will be held at Bishopstown Community School on Saturday, Mar 24. The workshop will cover maths and English, exploring ways to maximise potential, with particular focus on making the exam dyslexia friendly. The workshop is open to 2nd and 3rd year students and costs €20 for DAI members and €30 for non-members. Places are limited, so book by Mar 16. Enquiries to 086-3858463. ■ GO FOR GOLD: The Bowery on Tuckey Street, Cork, is hosting its annual Cheltenham at The Bowery event on Friday next in aid of Special Olympics Munster. The event will be hosted on The Bowery’s rooftop garden, which will be decked out for all-weather racing, complete with gold themed décor, plasma TVs and an artificial lawn. Arrive from 1pm to receive a complimentary cocktail and free bet on a Gold Cup race. Proceeds from this year’s raffle and Cheltenham Buster, which costs €2 to enter, will go to the Special Olympics. ■ ALPHAMUSIC TOUR: Alphamusic composer, John B Levine, is touring Ireland from Mar 11 to 23 giving a talk on lifting your spirits out of depression. His alphamusic CDs use sounds to induce the brain to settle into an alpha or calmer state. He will be speaking at health stores throughout Ireland, starting with Horan’s stores in Kerry on Monday and Tuesday and the MBS in Dublin on Mar 18. A full itinerary is available on www.silenceofmusic.com. ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to koreilly8@gmail.com

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Endometriosis Awareness Week puts the spotlight on a chronic gynaecological condition, Arlene Harris reports

Painful steps U

P to 100,000 women in Ireland are estimated to be affected by endometriosis — a chronic gynaecological condition which results in pelvic pain, ovarian cysts and infertility. It’s International Endometriosis Awareness Week (Mar 5 - 11) and the Endometriosis Association of Ireland (EAI) is urging people to find out more about the condition so they can take steps to help themselves or anyone else who is showing symptoms. “We want the word endometriosis and its symptoms to be well known throughout the country, in every home, school and workplace,” says Clodagh Lynam chairperson of EAI. “There is no cure for endometriosis, so advice and information on self-care and self management is vital in learning to live with this long-term illness.” Dr Moya McMenamin, clinical research fellow at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street says, “Endometriosis cannot be prevented, but its management can be optimised to improve pain and fertility, particularly if diagnosed early,” she says. “Definitive diagnosis of the condition requires laparoscopy, an invasive procedure under general anaesthesia. And once diagnosed, the mainstay of treatment is surgical or medical or a combination of both. “One of the most widely accepted theories for the cause of endometriosis is retrograde menstruation. This is a phe-

MANAGING PAIN: Management of endometriosis can be optimised to improve pain and fertility. Picture:iStock nomenon seen in most women where some of the endometrial cells shed during menstruation are refluxed back up the fallopian tubes into the pelvis. “Most women with retrograde menstruation, however, do not develop endometriosis, but the characteristics of endometrial cells in affected women may

predispose to their implantation outside the womb.” While a specific endometriosis gene has yet to be identified, “there is a six-fold increased risk of having endometriosis if a first-degree relative is known to be affected. Its diagnosis should be considered in every woman of reproductive age who presents with pain and infertility, ” says Dr McMenamin, ■ 5-10% of Irish women have endometriosis. ■ One third of sufferers will have difficulty conceiving. ■ The lifetime risk of sufferers developing ovarian cancer is 1.5% which is just slightly higher than the national average of 1%. ■ Treatment includes ablation therapy of endometriosis deposits with laser, removal of cysts and radical hysterectomy. ■ Medical therapies are designed to create a low-oestrogen environment, reduce the frequency and amount of menstruation and or relieve pain. ■ To read more on the subject, check out a new book by nutritional therapist Henrietta Norton. (Kyle Books, €13.60), it’s packed with advice on the diet and lifestyle changes that can help to reduce symptoms. ■ For information about Endometriosis Awareness Week and the condition visit www.endo.ie or call 01-8735702.

HEALTH NOTES New research funded by the Irish Cancer Society reveals a new strategy for breast cancer treatment that uses gene therapy to stop the growth of breast cancer tumours. The collaborative research initiative — led by Dr Mark Tangney and his team at UCC — shows that by delivering beneficial human genes by means of a virus to breast cancer tumour cells, the genes will generate signals within the tumour to cut off its blood supply and stop its growth. This therapy uses genes from humans rather than from viruses, resulting in significantly longer lasting therapy. Still in its infancy, this gene therapy targets breast cancer tumour cells without harming healthy cells, which is the ultimate aim for all cancer treatments. The findings of a team of researchers from the University of Limerick may improve the lifespan of orthopaedic implants thereby improving patient recovery, reducing risk of infection and ultimately reducing the need for secondary surgical procedures. They have explored a link between sterilisation methods and wear in the polyethylene based material called Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) which is predominantly used in artificial joints. Dr Maurice N Collins of the Stokes Institute in UL explained; “Currently some orthopaedic materials have failure rates of 13% over five years. Our research hopes to explain the failure mechanisms in these materials in order to positively impact on the longevity of implants”.

www.irishexaminer.com www.irishexaminer.com

BREAST SUPPORT: Clare Boyle has opened a clinic in Cork to help women who are experiencing problems with breastfeeding. Picture: Darragh Kane

Midwife and lactation consultant Clare Boyle has opened a private breastfeeding clinic in Bishopstown, Cork. The clinic will help women who are experiencing problems with breastfeeding to access skilled help easily. Ms Boyle, who is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, has been supporting breastfeeding mothers for the past ten years. For details see: www.breastfeedingconsultant.ie. More than 750 participants took part in the first Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk on Sunday March 4,

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FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

raising €80,000 for Action Breast Cancer, a programme of the Irish Cancer Society. Soprano Cara O’Sullivan lent her support on the day and performed Stand up and fight which inspired walkers as they headed off on the 10km route. Since 2009, The Pink Ribbon Walks in Kells, Co Meath and Ballina/Killaloe, Co Clare have raised €400,000 for Action Breast Cancer. The Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk hopes to add significantly to this figure in 2012. See www.pinkribbonwalk.ie for further details.

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In profile

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THE SHAPE I'M IN

3

Éanán Patterson

Golden legacy Property G & Interiors

OING on tour from age four with his renowned tenor father Frank Patterson and pianist mum Eily O’Grady was “just normal”, says Éanán Patterson. “That was life. When I was born, people told my dad ‘you won’t be touring as much now’. He said he’d either give up singing and spend time with his family or he’d take his family with him — and that’s what he did,” says Éanán, 34, who will be narrator for the 12th Anniversary Celebration of the Golden Voice of Frank Patterson, at The National Concert Hall on Mar 15. An award-winning composer, Éanán has been scoring and producing music professionally for the likes of RTÉ, TG4, Setanta Sports and PBS since 2004. He co-wrote and produced Language Of Love, an Ireland Eurovision 2012 song entry. He wrote the score for IFTA nominated documentary TK Whitaker — Servant of the State and he composed original music and arrangements for new Irish Dance show Celtic Rising. Éanán spends his time between Ireland and the US — New York and Los Angeles. ■ A 12th Anniversary Celebration of the Golden Voice of Frank Patterson features Sean Costello as Frank Patterson with soprano Sandra Oman, their musicians and special guests.

no controlling it. When I hear his voice, it’s as if I’m there and he’s there again. What trait do you least like in others? People who are full of themselves and who lack interest in others.

What trait do you least like in yourself? I’m a bit of a workaholic so I’d like to achieve a better balance between work, family, girlfriend and friends. Do you pray? Yes, every night. I pray to my father and to my grandparents and I include God in it. I don’t believe in organised religion but I believe in something greater than myself and that when we move on it’s not over. What would cheer up your day? A true original idea is very rare in life. I spend everyday trying to write something. Sometimes you hit on a cool little melody – when you get a new idea, it’s like a drug. Helen O’Callaghan

What shape are you in? I’m not in my best shape. I used to be in better shape when I was at college — I played tennis for Fordham University in New York. Now I’m sitting in recording studios most of the time. But it’s definitely something I’m working on. I go to the gym three times a week. Do you have any health concerns? I have no real health concerns. I suppose the only thing I’d worry about would be cancer because it runs in both sides of my family.

All nEw IntErIors sEctIon

What are your healthiest eating habits? Trying to get a proper schedule is challenging, but I always have a big breakfast — cereal, banana, yoghurt. I try to have a light lunch like soup or fruit salad. I eat my main meal in the evening.

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What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I’m a big fan of the movies and I can’t watch one without having popcorn. What would keep you awake at night? I work from job to job, so worry about where the next gig is coming from might keep me awake. When I’m working on one project I’m already pitching and on to my agent about what’s next in the pipeline. There isn’t a lot of security, but then nine to five jobs don’t have security now either. I’m multi-tasking all the time.

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EvErY sAturDAY

How do you relax? Watching TV, going out for a drink with the lads and, of course, cinema is a great way of escaping reality for a couple of hours. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? I’d invite Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning film composer.

y t r e p o r P

What’s your favourite smell? Roses.

& Interiors

What would you change about your appearance? I’d get fit and just get the weight down. I’d need to lose three stone. Being overweight is very cumbersome — you feel trapped in your own body. When did you last cry? Whenever I hear my father singing on record, there’s

Feelgood

HEALTHY START: Éanán Patterson always starts the day with a big breakfast — cereal, banana and yoghurt.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012


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Sugar may be sweet, but is it making us sickly? Lisa Salmon investigates

I

F you take sugar with your tea or put it on breakfast cereal, think twice — you may be ingesting a poison. A new report claims sugar is a toxin and not just because of those empty calories that cause weight gain. Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who took a new look at the mounting scientific evidence on sugar, say that at the levels consumed by most people, sugar can change metabolic rates, raise blood pressure, critically alter the signalling of hormones and causes significant damage to your liver. These health hazards mirror the effects of drinking too much alcohol (distilled sugar), and the scientists suggest that measures used to reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption, such as taxation and controlled access, might be useful in helping to reduce sugar consumption too. “As long as the public thinks that sugar is just ’empty calories’, we have no chance in solving this,” warns the report’s lead author Dr Robert Lustig, a UCSF childhood obesity expert. Sugar is a carbohydrate that’s found naturally in most foods, but is also added to many foods, such as sweets, cakes and some fizzy and juice drinks. Sugar is viewed by some as a key cause of the obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But it’s not just the obese who may be at risk from sugar’s toxicity, says Dr Lustig, pointing out that normal weight people could benefit from sugar reduction as well. He insists that while there are good calories and bad calories, good fats and bad fats, “sugar is toxic beyond its calories” when it’s consumed to excess and that virtually every country in the world, including Ireland, is now over the “toxic threshold”. The National Adult Nutritional Survey in 2011, found that 26% of Irish men and 21% of Irish women are now obese. Yet changing eating habits is not going to be easy, experts admit. Study co-author Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy at UCSF, stresses: “We’re not talking prohibition, we’re not advocating a major imposition of the Government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. “What we want is to actually increase

Feelgood

Blind date: Final week Relationships coach Avril Mulcahy

people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.” Lustig and his co-authors also say that policies similar to those used to reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption, such as taxation and controlled access, plus tightening licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars that sell high-sugar products in schools and workplaces, could help reduce sugar consumption. Dr Amelia Lake, a dietician and public health nutritionist, points out that picking up food or drink that’s laden with sugar in a shop is much easier than buying something healthier. “Sugar and sugary foods are always going to be part of the diet, but should be a much smaller proportion of it,” she says. “It would be difficult to exclude them, and we wouldn’t want to do that, but it’s all about proportion. If these sugary products are in your face all the time, it’s hard to resist.” She says people need to read food labels to see how much added sugar there is in a product: more than 15g per 100g is classed as high sugar, while 5g or less per 100g is low sugar. “It’s like salt – we’re all tuned in to think that less salt’s better, and we should think about added sugar in the same way. HOW TO CUT DOWN: For a healthy balanced diet, many of us need to cut down on food and drink containing added sugar. ■ Instead of sugary fizzy drinks and juices, try water or unsweetened fruit juice. ■ Dilute fruit juice for children to further reduce sugar. ■ For fizzy drinks, dilute fruit juice with sparkling water. ■ Swap cakes or biscuits for a currant bun, scone or malt loaf. ■ If you take sugar in hot drinks, or add sugar to breakfast cereal, gradually reduce the amount until you cut it out completely. ■ Instead of jam or sugary preserves on toast, try sliced banana or low-fat cream cheese. ■ Check labels to pick foods with less added sugar, or go for low-sugar varieties. ■ Try halving the sugar used in recipes — it works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream. ■ Choose tins of fruit in juice rather than syrup. ■ Choose wholegrain breakfast cereals, but not those coated with sugar or honey.

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asks our couples about life after their blind dates

Kiss ’n’ tell...

AVRIL’S VIEW Aoife and Dave — busy schedules and past relationships seem to have got in the way of our first couple and they threw in the towel early on. All the signs were good — a great first date and two well matched singles. However, the decision to meet for their second encounter at a family gathering was a case of wrong place and wrong time. Both are fun characters but there wasn’t enough chemistry to drive them on to a more committed arrangement. Mícheál and Jayne are our success story of the blind date series. Mícheál is a gem and this couple has huge potential. But they need to recognise this. Women put a lot of energy into dreaming of the perfect guy, but not enough into envisioning the relationship they want. If they work on it together they could have a relationship that will last.

Date 2:

STILL INTERESTED: Jayne O'Connor who is from Tipperary and Mícheál McGrath, from East Cork, live at a distance from each other but are still keen to continue meeting up. Picture: Dan Linehan

MÍCHEÁL MCGRATH Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, there were many texts going over and back. But it was difficult to arrange a meeting. I’m in the middle of the busy farming season and Jayne is commuting from Tipp.

Date 1:

MOVING ON: Aoife McKenna has started going out with another guy and Dave O’Rourke has regrets about how he dealt with his things, as Aoife is his type. Picture: Maura Hickey

AOIFE MCKENNA

DAVE O’ROURKE

Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, we were texting after the date.

Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, we were texting straight after the date and the days after.

Did you meet up again? I was out with my friend on a Saturday night and Dave invited me to his brother’s 30th party in Ballsbridge. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have gone. He was busy with his family and I was there with my friend. It wasn’t really a second date. I was talking to his friends for most of the night. We had lost the chemistry by the second date and I didn’t see much point in contacting him again. At this stage I’m only interested in being friends with Dave. What did you learn from the experience? It gave me the push I needed to make an effort to put myself back out there. It gave me a boost in confidence that I needed. It has given me a ‘no fear’ attitude — if I can go on a blind date with a complete stranger I can do anything. In the couple of weeks since the date, I’ve actually met someone else that I’m really attracted to and there is loads of chemistry. We are going on our second date this week. Watch this space.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

Did you meet up again? We were really busy with work after our blind date so we found it difficult to arrange a second date. My brother’s 30th birthday was in Ballsbridge about two weeks after and I knew Aoife was out on the town with her friend, so at the last minute I invited her to the party, as I wanted to see her again. However, on the night I was busy with family and friends and I got the feeling she wasn’t that into it. She left shortly afterwards and I just put it down to that she wasn’t interested in me. What did you learn from the experience? I haven’t been in touch with Aoife as the whole experience showed me that I need to shake off a past relationship before I can make the next step into a new one. Aoife would definitely be my type, but I was so preoccupied I didn’t really give her the priority she needed. In hindsight, I regret this.

You can still see when the couples met for the first time at: http://exa.mn/36

Did you meet up again? It took a bit of planning but we eventually arranged a second date. However, it was nearly three weeks from the first blind date. We went for lunch this time at Bramley Lodge, near Carrigtohill. It was a little bit too long from the first date and we had to get to know each other again. But, Jayne can talk and that was great as I’m little bit shyer. What did you learn from the experience? Jayne is really attractive and I’d love there to be a third date. This whole experience has been great. It shows you just when you leave yourself go what can happen. Since the article was pub-

lished everyone has been trying to set me up with dates. I was even selling calves to a Kerryman last week who had seen me in Feelgood and he vowed to find me a match. However, I think I’ve found a match in Jayne right now and looking forward to the third date. JAYNE O’CONNOR Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, we have been texting regularly since our date. Did you meet up again? We met for lunch last week — we finally managed to coordinate our schedules. What did you learn from the experience? I learned that dating is lots of fun but you must be open to new experiences and you have to put yourself out there. They don’t come knocking on the door. As with myself and Mícheál, I’m looking forward to the third date.

KATRINA O’ BRIEN Did you meet up again? No, no interest in seeing him again. Has there been any contact since the date? No What did you learn from the experience? I now know what type of guy that I like and what type I don’t like. Actually, the blind date experience made me relook at another guy that I wasn’t interested in at first. I now know that this man is more my type. In fact, after a couple of dates, he is ticking all my boxes. BRIAN O’NEILL Did you meet up again? No.

Date 3:

Has there been any contact since the date? No What did you learn from the experience? It’s always nice to meet new people. I just learned that sometimes, people can be different. Sometimes, you get

Feelgood

DIDN’T CLICK: There was no connection between Katrina O'Brien and Brian O'Neill Picture: Maura Hickey

on and sometimes you don’t. I also learned that when opinions collide it’s often better to drop it than push it. I’m not anxious about meeting my match. But, I’d prefer to let it happen naturally. In fact, I’ve just asked a girl out within my own group of friends. The date is next week.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

Katrina and Brian did not click. However, this is a case of not throwing in the towel after one date that did not go as planned. The more they date, the closer they’ll get to what they want. The only way to improve your odds is to get up, dust yourself off, and get back out there again. The best time to re-evaluate your needs is right after a failed situation. For anyone thinking about going on a date, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be a daunting undertaking. What do all the six singles have in common? Instead of sitting at home alone and dateless, they got out there. They all went into unknown situations and all agreed it was a fun new experience. Realise that you have the power to change your dating life. Sometimes, you just need to change your perspective and take advantage of every opportunity to get the relationship that you really want.


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Sugar may be sweet, but is it making us sickly? Lisa Salmon investigates

I

F you take sugar with your tea or put it on breakfast cereal, think twice — you may be ingesting a poison. A new report claims sugar is a toxin and not just because of those empty calories that cause weight gain. Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who took a new look at the mounting scientific evidence on sugar, say that at the levels consumed by most people, sugar can change metabolic rates, raise blood pressure, critically alter the signalling of hormones and causes significant damage to your liver. These health hazards mirror the effects of drinking too much alcohol (distilled sugar), and the scientists suggest that measures used to reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption, such as taxation and controlled access, might be useful in helping to reduce sugar consumption too. “As long as the public thinks that sugar is just ’empty calories’, we have no chance in solving this,” warns the report’s lead author Dr Robert Lustig, a UCSF childhood obesity expert. Sugar is a carbohydrate that’s found naturally in most foods, but is also added to many foods, such as sweets, cakes and some fizzy and juice drinks. Sugar is viewed by some as a key cause of the obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But it’s not just the obese who may be at risk from sugar’s toxicity, says Dr Lustig, pointing out that normal weight people could benefit from sugar reduction as well. He insists that while there are good calories and bad calories, good fats and bad fats, “sugar is toxic beyond its calories” when it’s consumed to excess and that virtually every country in the world, including Ireland, is now over the “toxic threshold”. The National Adult Nutritional Survey in 2011, found that 26% of Irish men and 21% of Irish women are now obese. Yet changing eating habits is not going to be easy, experts admit. Study co-author Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy at UCSF, stresses: “We’re not talking prohibition, we’re not advocating a major imposition of the Government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. “What we want is to actually increase

Feelgood

Blind date: Final week Relationships coach Avril Mulcahy

people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.” Lustig and his co-authors also say that policies similar to those used to reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption, such as taxation and controlled access, plus tightening licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars that sell high-sugar products in schools and workplaces, could help reduce sugar consumption. Dr Amelia Lake, a dietician and public health nutritionist, points out that picking up food or drink that’s laden with sugar in a shop is much easier than buying something healthier. “Sugar and sugary foods are always going to be part of the diet, but should be a much smaller proportion of it,” she says. “It would be difficult to exclude them, and we wouldn’t want to do that, but it’s all about proportion. If these sugary products are in your face all the time, it’s hard to resist.” She says people need to read food labels to see how much added sugar there is in a product: more than 15g per 100g is classed as high sugar, while 5g or less per 100g is low sugar. “It’s like salt – we’re all tuned in to think that less salt’s better, and we should think about added sugar in the same way. HOW TO CUT DOWN: For a healthy balanced diet, many of us need to cut down on food and drink containing added sugar. ■ Instead of sugary fizzy drinks and juices, try water or unsweetened fruit juice. ■ Dilute fruit juice for children to further reduce sugar. ■ For fizzy drinks, dilute fruit juice with sparkling water. ■ Swap cakes or biscuits for a currant bun, scone or malt loaf. ■ If you take sugar in hot drinks, or add sugar to breakfast cereal, gradually reduce the amount until you cut it out completely. ■ Instead of jam or sugary preserves on toast, try sliced banana or low-fat cream cheese. ■ Check labels to pick foods with less added sugar, or go for low-sugar varieties. ■ Try halving the sugar used in recipes — it works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream. ■ Choose tins of fruit in juice rather than syrup. ■ Choose wholegrain breakfast cereals, but not those coated with sugar or honey.

5

XH - V2

asks our couples about life after their blind dates

Kiss ’n’ tell...

AVRIL’S VIEW Aoife and Dave — busy schedules and past relationships seem to have got in the way of our first couple and they threw in the towel early on. All the signs were good — a great first date and two well matched singles. However, the decision to meet for their second encounter at a family gathering was a case of wrong place and wrong time. Both are fun characters but there wasn’t enough chemistry to drive them on to a more committed arrangement. Mícheál and Jayne are our success story of the blind date series. Mícheál is a gem and this couple has huge potential. But they need to recognise this. Women put a lot of energy into dreaming of the perfect guy, but not enough into envisioning the relationship they want. If they work on it together they could have a relationship that will last.

Date 2:

STILL INTERESTED: Jayne O'Connor who is from Tipperary and Mícheál McGrath, from East Cork, live at a distance from each other but are still keen to continue meeting up. Picture: Dan Linehan

MÍCHEÁL MCGRATH Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, there were many texts going over and back. But it was difficult to arrange a meeting. I’m in the middle of the busy farming season and Jayne is commuting from Tipp.

Date 1:

MOVING ON: Aoife McKenna has started going out with another guy and Dave O’Rourke has regrets about how he dealt with his things, as Aoife is his type. Picture: Maura Hickey

AOIFE MCKENNA

DAVE O’ROURKE

Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, we were texting after the date.

Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, we were texting straight after the date and the days after.

Did you meet up again? I was out with my friend on a Saturday night and Dave invited me to his brother’s 30th party in Ballsbridge. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have gone. He was busy with his family and I was there with my friend. It wasn’t really a second date. I was talking to his friends for most of the night. We had lost the chemistry by the second date and I didn’t see much point in contacting him again. At this stage I’m only interested in being friends with Dave. What did you learn from the experience? It gave me the push I needed to make an effort to put myself back out there. It gave me a boost in confidence that I needed. It has given me a ‘no fear’ attitude — if I can go on a blind date with a complete stranger I can do anything. In the couple of weeks since the date, I’ve actually met someone else that I’m really attracted to and there is loads of chemistry. We are going on our second date this week. Watch this space.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

Did you meet up again? We were really busy with work after our blind date so we found it difficult to arrange a second date. My brother’s 30th birthday was in Ballsbridge about two weeks after and I knew Aoife was out on the town with her friend, so at the last minute I invited her to the party, as I wanted to see her again. However, on the night I was busy with family and friends and I got the feeling she wasn’t that into it. She left shortly afterwards and I just put it down to that she wasn’t interested in me. What did you learn from the experience? I haven’t been in touch with Aoife as the whole experience showed me that I need to shake off a past relationship before I can make the next step into a new one. Aoife would definitely be my type, but I was so preoccupied I didn’t really give her the priority she needed. In hindsight, I regret this.

You can still see when the couples met for the first time at: http://exa.mn/36

Did you meet up again? It took a bit of planning but we eventually arranged a second date. However, it was nearly three weeks from the first blind date. We went for lunch this time at Bramley Lodge, near Carrigtohill. It was a little bit too long from the first date and we had to get to know each other again. But, Jayne can talk and that was great as I’m little bit shyer. What did you learn from the experience? Jayne is really attractive and I’d love there to be a third date. This whole experience has been great. It shows you just when you leave yourself go what can happen. Since the article was pub-

lished everyone has been trying to set me up with dates. I was even selling calves to a Kerryman last week who had seen me in Feelgood and he vowed to find me a match. However, I think I’ve found a match in Jayne right now and looking forward to the third date. JAYNE O’CONNOR Has there been any contact since the date? Yes, we have been texting regularly since our date. Did you meet up again? We met for lunch last week — we finally managed to coordinate our schedules. What did you learn from the experience? I learned that dating is lots of fun but you must be open to new experiences and you have to put yourself out there. They don’t come knocking on the door. As with myself and Mícheál, I’m looking forward to the third date.

KATRINA O’ BRIEN Did you meet up again? No, no interest in seeing him again. Has there been any contact since the date? No What did you learn from the experience? I now know what type of guy that I like and what type I don’t like. Actually, the blind date experience made me relook at another guy that I wasn’t interested in at first. I now know that this man is more my type. In fact, after a couple of dates, he is ticking all my boxes. BRIAN O’NEILL Did you meet up again? No.

Date 3:

Has there been any contact since the date? No What did you learn from the experience? It’s always nice to meet new people. I just learned that sometimes, people can be different. Sometimes, you get

Feelgood

DIDN’T CLICK: There was no connection between Katrina O'Brien and Brian O'Neill Picture: Maura Hickey

on and sometimes you don’t. I also learned that when opinions collide it’s often better to drop it than push it. I’m not anxious about meeting my match. But, I’d prefer to let it happen naturally. In fact, I’ve just asked a girl out within my own group of friends. The date is next week.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

Katrina and Brian did not click. However, this is a case of not throwing in the towel after one date that did not go as planned. The more they date, the closer they’ll get to what they want. The only way to improve your odds is to get up, dust yourself off, and get back out there again. The best time to re-evaluate your needs is right after a failed situation. For anyone thinking about going on a date, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be a daunting undertaking. What do all the six singles have in common? Instead of sitting at home alone and dateless, they got out there. They all went into unknown situations and all agreed it was a fun new experience. Realise that you have the power to change your dating life. Sometimes, you just need to change your perspective and take advantage of every opportunity to get the relationship that you really want.


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6 Psychology

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Litter blights the countryside and reduces tourism — it’s a sign of a deeper psychological malaise

Thrashing ourselves

The

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Feelgood

Blarney Street, Cork www.iiptcork.com

WORTH THE QUEUE Design house Marni launches an affordable line with H&M.

Tony Humphreys

SYCHOLOGY touches every aspect of human behaviour — the social, educational, economic, political, philosophical, scientific and religious. We are psychological beings and we operate from individual, interior worlds creatively constructed in response to the outside worlds of family, community, society, nationality and internationality. Acknowledgement that words and actions arise from each person’s interior world and that responsibility lies with the individual is a pill that is difficult to swallow in a culture where judgement and criticism are more common than compassion and understanding. My spiritual mentor, the late John O’Donohue, says it so well: ‘The process of self-discovery is not easy; it may involve suffering, doubt, discovery. But we must not shrink from the fullness of our being in order to reduce the pain.’ Self-realisation leads to accountability and responsibility for self and all our actions. When these qualities of maturity are not present, then what exists are threats to personal, interpersonal and societal well-being. Nevertheless, these threats are a cry from our true nature for resolution of what hides our fullness. Our country and most of the Western world are struggling with a major economic recession. Ireland is doing well in terms of fiscal rectitude, but I still have grave concerns about the emotional and social rectitude that is required but not yet emerging. I believe one of the ways to stimulate emotional-social-economic prosperity is through tourism. We have an amazingly beautiful island, and given that hotel, restaurant and other tourist costs have considerably reduced, there is a great possibility of increasing tourism from both within and without the country. One of the blights on our landscape that may militate against the economic recovery is litter. I have been very conscious over the last number of months of the rubbish strewn along the sides of the M8 from the Dunkettle, Cork roundabout to Fermoy, particularly, the first two or three miles. Cork city has been hailed as a ‘must see’ city and it would be a pity for that image to be tarnished by the trail of litter to the main entry and departure routes from the city. Incidentally, the littering of our roadways is widespread and few byroads escape the discarded empty cans, wrappers and household waste, including pieces of furniture and electrical items. There may be many psychological reasons why individuals dump their litter from their cars. Possibilities are that they have been psychologically ‘rubbished’ or ‘dumped upon’ or that in their inner relationship with themselves they ‘rubbish’ themselves and allow others ‘to dump’ their problems on them. When such psychological issues exist, what tends to happen is an unwitting re-enactment, in a behavioural way, of these relationship issues in the hope that somebody will detect the personal and interpersonal suffering of the individuals who are ‘dumping their rubbish’ on the countryside. Of course, there may also be social issues underpinning why people litter — such as poverty and unemployment or

The Irish Institute of Physical Therapy

DOWN IN THE DUMPS: Littering reflects poor self-image, individually and collectively. the injustice of being landed with the banks’ debts. Whatever the causes are, there is a need to create an ethos where it’s ‘cool to keep Cork clean’ or ‘cool to keep Ireland clean’. Interestingly, when I travel long distances in poverty-stricken South Africa, I do not come across one potato crisp bag or soft drinks plastic bottle on roadsides. Somehow, a pride in the beauty of the country has been evoked in South Africa. In Ireland, we led the world in creating an ethos where smoking in public places became taboo and, similarly, with the drink-driving campaign, responsible alcohol consumption is slowly, but surely, emerging. We now need to put our creative heads together to create an ethos among all Irish national and foreign nationals, to take pride in our beautiful island, while at the same time finding a way to acknowledge the hurts, doubts, grievances and injustices that can be the sources of littering. Ultimately, it is about each of us seeing the beauty of our own unique and unrepeatable nature but, as noted, that can be a long journey of self-discovery. Fines certainly act as a deterrent but, somehow, ‘Cleaner Ireland’ campaigns need to appeal to our finer nature. Education, in terms of civic pride and responsibility, is important, as is modelling by adults for children of maintenance of the beauty of our landscape. Competitions in schools for creative ways to be ‘litter free’ could stimulate motivation and rewarding of ideas could accelerate the process of a cleaner Ireland. Some companies and communities have ‘adopted a road’ and arrange for regular clean-ups — an initiative that can be multiplied nationally. Whatever it takes — let us continue to find ways to have an eye-pleasing rather than an eye-sore environment. ● Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author, national and international speaker. His bookLeadership with Consciousness is relevant to this article.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

We interview Christina Hendricks ahead of the return of Mad Men. Plus, Annmarie O’Connor shows us how to get the Mad Men look.

What’s not to like? With travel, food, fashion, beauty, TV guide and more.


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Wh

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7

Brookfield Home Care Services Leamlara, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork

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We all want the best for beloved members of our family in need of support and care. While sometimes full-time care in a nursing home is the only option, our preference is a helping hand to ensure the person in need of care can stay in the place they know and love best, with all their familiar things around them. Brookfield Home Care Services is here to help, providing care when it’s needed most. Building on Success. With a track record as an experienced and recognised Care Provider based in an established state of the art clinical facility, Brookfield Care Services near Carrigtwohill has already built up a deserved reputation for responsive, person centred, quality care provision through its nursing home service. With both General Care Units and a separate specialised Alzheimer Care Unit, it demonstrates a commitment to high standards as evidenced by statutory inspection reports spanning an eight year period. Small wonder that it is held in such high regard by residents, families and medical professionals alike. Extending to the community with Brookfield Home Care Services, the same high standards can be brought directly to your own home. This new subsidiary offers a muchneeded solution to people and families within the North and East Cork area who are in need of tailored

A helping hand. home care services, including disability and dementia support. It’s a service that will benefit the existing carer just as much as the individual being cared for. The transition to long term care if the need arises is a major life event. The link between the home care and residential care service can ease this transition for the individual and

Promoting Wellbeing and Positive Ageing. The mission of Brookfield Home Care Service is to promote wellbeing, respect and individuality, enabling people to live a life rich in choice, dignity and independence in the comfort of their own homes. The service is in a unique position in that it operates from an already established and successful clinical base. All training of staff and supervised practical competency development will be completed within the care centre prior to employees being sent out to people’s homes. Alongside the commitment to FETAC level 5 completion, Brookfield also provides its own rigorous training programme. Those in the community to which Brookfield Home Care Services are particu-

“Hig t n r s ru re ly t r w hm” family members. A greater understanding of the individual’s needs and ensuring continuity of care between home place and nursing home placement will minimise anxiety and build upon existing relationships.

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Caring staff, proud of what they do.

Exemplary care in the comfort of your own home. larly relevant are older and younger people needing home support due to • Dementia and related conditions • Post-operative respite or convalescent care needs • Physical disabilities

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• Palliative care. • People with sensory loss.

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• Those with learning disabilities

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Brookfield Homecare Services catchment area

• Primary carers The People behind the Service. The manager of Brookfield Home Care Service is Daragh McGlynn. Daragh, a native of Dublin, holds a business degree and has extensive experience from the U.K.within

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

residential and dementia care services. Brookfield is a family run business and is the culmination of many years of commitment to quality health care provision. Directors are Clodagh Drennan Bohane and Sean Bohane. Clodagh is a registered nurse with experience at a senior level in acute, palliative, elderly and dementia specific care services. She holds a masters degree in Health Care Management. Sean’s background has been primarily media and hospitality industries. He has spent in excess of twenty two years interacting with the public and brings with him a broad range of business experience. Daragh, Clodagh and Sean are passionate about the service they provide and their shared goal is at all times to place the needs of the client at the forefront of service development.

Q&A

What is it that makes Brookfield Home Care Service so special? We asked manager, Daragh McGlynn. “The level of training and the practical skills development programme we provide gives us an unrivalled confidence in the competence, and capabilities of our staff,” he replies instantly. “Investing in the personal development of our carers is a priority. At Brookfield, we have the best facilities, the training, and a strong clinical grounding. Our staff love their work and are proud of what they do. We are a local organisation, with a local reputation for exceptional standards. We’re caring, personal, experienced, and on the spot. It’s that personal approach that has made Brookfield the success it is to date. Now, with the new Home Care Services, we offer care and support to an even larger client base” For further information contact homecareservices@brookfieldcc.ie or contact Daragh McGlynn, Home Care Services Manager, on 021 464 2112. Find us on Facebook


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8 Cover story

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Giving birth

The lifestyle decision to have an elective C-section can raise eyebrows. Journalist Naoise Coogan explains why she has opted FOR to take this route for both her pregnancies and she talks to two medical consultants with opposing views on the subject

IT’S MY CHOICE I F a woman wants breast implants, a nose job, Botox or a facelift, her peers do not flinch. However, tell them that she wants an elective C-section and wait for the tirade of comments and gasps of surprise. It is much more acceptable for a woman to say that she gave birth without any pain relief, or at home by the fire or even in a birthing pool than it is to say that she has chosen to have a section. However, there are lots of women who take this route but who probably keep it to themselves. Too posh to push? I laugh at this pointed argument and say no, but I do believe in having a choice about how I give birth and I choose to plan it like I plan other important activities in my life. At 37 weeks pregnant, I am due to have my second elective section in 12 days. I know my baby is coming out on Mar 21 sometime in the morning and I know that the procedure will take the best part of an hour. I had a planned C-section with my first child and had a most pleasant experience and so this time around I am not changing my birth plan. My first baby Siofra is now four-years-old. When she arrived into the world on Feb 7, 2008 she was simply perfect. She was plucked from my womb by a team of experts and my trustworthy obstetrician with no complications. I was taken to the operating theatre at 9am, prepped and given an epidural. My husband John was then allowed to come in to be by my side while the procedure was taking place. Siofra was born 28 minutes after I arrived into the theatre. There was no panic, no tears, no screaming in pain and no drama. It was a quiet, calm and exhilarating experience. My baby was not distressed, she had not spent hours trying to battle her way out of a narrow birth canal and most importantly she was perfectly healthy. I was ecstatic, as was my husband who was sitting by my side for the whole experience as calm as I was and happy that we were both happy and healthy. The bonus of a section for dads is that they then get to bond with the baby minutes after the delivery because although I got to hold her immediately, she was then taken and cleaned and examined before being handed to my husband who had 20 minutes with her on his own as he waited for me to return to the room. Of course, I was numb from the epidural from the waist down for some hours after the birth which is what any woman who gives birth vaginally will also experience if they too choose to go with this form of pain relief. I was on morphine for the day as a pain killer — and it worked. The nurses took the baby for the first night and returned her to me early the next morning. I was rested and, although stiff, still well able to lift the baby and feed her. Later, I was encouraged to get up and walk around and this was not too painful. I was on suppository pain killers for the next couple of days until I was discharged four days later. By then, I was up and about and feeling very confident and capable. At home, we got on with the job. I was able

Feelgood

Siofra was born 28 minutes after I arrived into theatre. I was ecstatic, as was my husband who was sitting by my side for the whole experience as calm as I was and happy that we were both happy and healthy

HAPPY TIMES: Naoise, Siofra and John Coogan on a family day out. Naoise’s doctor has agreed to tie her tubes while undergoing her second C-section in 12 days’ time. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

MOTHER AND CHILD: Naoise is delighted with the calm and controlled birth of her first child, Siofra, by elected caesarean section. Picture:Dylan Vaughan. to negotiate our spiral staircase, do light housework and, more importantly, care for our baby girl. I was driving after a few weeks. I was lucky to make such a quick recovery but I feel this is because there was no

traumatic labour and no emergency surgery. The procedure was so well planned that it didn’t pose any problems for me or for the surgeons. In my view, there is nothing natural about suffering days of labour with the possi-

bility that you may end up exhausted and having an emergency C-section at the end of the ordeal. Of course this is not the case for most women, and you will no doubt have read news stories where women have had their babies so quickly they didn’t even make it to the hospital and ended up having them at the side of the road. However, I chose to avoid both of these scenarios. I knew before I ever became pregnant that ‘pushing’ was not for me. You can say I was too posh to push — I have heard it all — but the experience I had giving birth was worth all the jeering and disapproving glances. I wanted to be a mum but the thought of giving birth petrified me. I wanted the least intrusive experience possible and I knew that in order to get through the following eight or nine months, I was going to need to sort out my ‘birth plan’ well in advance. Women have told me that vaginal childbirth is ‘a gorgeous experience’ and something that ‘they really wanted to feel and experience’. I understand that this is the case for many women, but it is not for me. I was born vaginally and my mother admits there is nothing romantic about the experience. In fact, I was breach and they still delivered me vaginally, three weeks early and not in a very calm environment. My mother is very supportive of my decision to opt for a section and I can understand why.

The bottom line is that women should have a right to choose how they give birth. We are living in the 21st century. Everything has changed in the last three decades. It is not unlikely that the way in which we give birth will also change. Like in every other walk of life, women should have a choice to have an elective section whether they are private or public patients. I believe this is the way things will be in the future, and I hope that this will make the decision to become pregnant a happy one for many women who have an innate fear of childbirth. As for the future, this will indeed be my last elective C-section as my doctor has agreed to tie my tubes while on the operating table this time around. As I only have one ovary and one tube (I lost one of each during an emergency operation some 10 years ago) it will be a clamping procedure. At 38, I feel that my childbearing years are now well and truly behind me. I feel lucky to have one healthy child and another baby on the way. I look forward to my next birth with trepidation and a little nervous apprehension — just like any other woman who is planning to give birth in the foreseeable future. But also happy in the knowledge that it will go according to my birth plan I encourage other women not to be afraid to take control of how they would like to give birth.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

The statistics ■ 72,675 women gave birth in acute public hospitals reporting to HIPE in 2010. ■ Normal (non-instrumental) deliveries accounted for almost six in every ten deliveries, followed by caesarean section at 26%. Instrumental deliveries accounted for the remainder. ■ Almost 24% of women who delivered and who were treated on a public basis had a caesarean section — 44% were elective, which includes sections recommended by consultants for medical reasons. ■ Almost 35% of women who delivered and who were treated on a private basis had a caesarean section — 60% were elective, including sections for medical reasons. ● From the Economic & Social Research Institute on activity in Acute Public Hospitals in Ireland, 2010 Annual Report

9

AGAINST

■ Mr Ray O’Sullivan, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny

M

R Ray O’Sullivan, who is my gynacologist and carried out my first C-section, believes women should be informed about the risks of vaginal births and caesarean procedures. With an expertise in urogynaecology — his main area of interest is the area of pelvic floor, (prolapse and incontinence) — Mr O’Sullivan says he has seen a lot of damage following vaginal births. “I have a day of surgery this week and all of my clients are in for prolapsed wombs and bladders,” he says. “This occurs as a direct result of vaginal childbirth and unfortunately women are not made aware of these very serious consequences. Other difficulties following vaginal births include urinary incontinence and anal incontinence, from which many women suffer following childbirth, but they are not educated about this prior to giving birth. “I believe that women should be given all the facts before they decide how they would like their birth to go and then let them make an informed decision about what is best for them. We should be honest on all fronts and not make women feel bad about what is a very safe option for giving birth,” he says. So is one option safer than the other? “An uncomplicated vaginal birth is as safe as an elective planned section for mother and baby. With a section you have the risk of blood clots in the lungs and legs, but on balance when you consider the complications that can be associated with a vaginal delivery, they are both as safe as each other. “We as obstetricians are about creating families and getting mothers and babies home safely. When things go wrong with a vaginal delivery they can go very wrong. When you have to use forceps or vacuum to deliver, or if there is shoulder dystocia and the oxygen levels or heart rate of the baby is dropping, the labour ward can be a very lonely place. These problems simply don’t occur with a planned C-section,” he points out.

“I have a day of surgery this week and all of my clients are in for prolapsed wombs and bladders

■ Dr Declan Keane, consultant urogynaecologist at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street

D

R Declan Keane who is a member of the executive of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, says he could count on one hand the number of women who would elect for a planned C-section birth without medical reasons. “The ethos at the hospital is that we would not be encouraging women to opt for a C-section unless there are medical reasons for the procedure. In fact, we would do our utmost to countenance against it,” he says. “I know other hospitals might not feel this way, and maybe part of the reason why we don’t have so many women seeking elective sections for non-medical reasons is that they shop around for hospitals that are more open to offering them. “At the National Maternity Hospital, we might see a dozen women actually seeking a C-section for non-medical reasons, out of nine to 10,000 births a year. But in Dublin alone there are four maternity hospitals and I know for sure that some of the others would probably offer elective sections quicker than we might,” he says. There are many reasons for not promoting the surgical route for childbirth and some are medical, he points out. “For example, after a section there is increased risk of the placenta adhering to the uterine wall, mothers are more likely to bleed from the wound, and there is increased risk of infection in this area. There is also a longer post-op recovery time. “On a practical note, increased C-section deliveries will see theatre lists increase, the workload of gynaecology will be decreased, there will be more congestion on post-natal wards and longer hospital stays for mothers. Of course, this in turn will lead to higher costs, and at this time we are trying to cut costs by dealing with many less serious surgeries as day cases as medical costs spiral with the length of stay required in hospitals. “We would not be encouraging elective C-sections for non-medical reasons, and if a woman has a fear of childbirth we would always attempt to inform her about the reality, which is that pain relief is readily available — 24 hours a day — in the hospitals in Dublin. And if women are not choosing vaginal deliveries because of fear, it is an indictment on our health system.”

“There is increased risk of the placenta adhering to the uterine wall and an increased risk of infection


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Giving birth

The lifestyle decision to have an elective C-section can raise eyebrows. Journalist Naoise Coogan explains why she has opted FOR to take this route for both her pregnancies and she talks to two medical consultants with opposing views on the subject

IT’S MY CHOICE I F a woman wants breast implants, a nose job, Botox or a facelift, her peers do not flinch. However, tell them that she wants an elective C-section and wait for the tirade of comments and gasps of surprise. It is much more acceptable for a woman to say that she gave birth without any pain relief, or at home by the fire or even in a birthing pool than it is to say that she has chosen to have a section. However, there are lots of women who take this route but who probably keep it to themselves. Too posh to push? I laugh at this pointed argument and say no, but I do believe in having a choice about how I give birth and I choose to plan it like I plan other important activities in my life. At 37 weeks pregnant, I am due to have my second elective section in 12 days. I know my baby is coming out on Mar 21 sometime in the morning and I know that the procedure will take the best part of an hour. I had a planned C-section with my first child and had a most pleasant experience and so this time around I am not changing my birth plan. My first baby Siofra is now four-years-old. When she arrived into the world on Feb 7, 2008 she was simply perfect. She was plucked from my womb by a team of experts and my trustworthy obstetrician with no complications. I was taken to the operating theatre at 9am, prepped and given an epidural. My husband John was then allowed to come in to be by my side while the procedure was taking place. Siofra was born 28 minutes after I arrived into the theatre. There was no panic, no tears, no screaming in pain and no drama. It was a quiet, calm and exhilarating experience. My baby was not distressed, she had not spent hours trying to battle her way out of a narrow birth canal and most importantly she was perfectly healthy. I was ecstatic, as was my husband who was sitting by my side for the whole experience as calm as I was and happy that we were both happy and healthy. The bonus of a section for dads is that they then get to bond with the baby minutes after the delivery because although I got to hold her immediately, she was then taken and cleaned and examined before being handed to my husband who had 20 minutes with her on his own as he waited for me to return to the room. Of course, I was numb from the epidural from the waist down for some hours after the birth which is what any woman who gives birth vaginally will also experience if they too choose to go with this form of pain relief. I was on morphine for the day as a pain killer — and it worked. The nurses took the baby for the first night and returned her to me early the next morning. I was rested and, although stiff, still well able to lift the baby and feed her. Later, I was encouraged to get up and walk around and this was not too painful. I was on suppository pain killers for the next couple of days until I was discharged four days later. By then, I was up and about and feeling very confident and capable. At home, we got on with the job. I was able

Feelgood

Siofra was born 28 minutes after I arrived into theatre. I was ecstatic, as was my husband who was sitting by my side for the whole experience as calm as I was and happy that we were both happy and healthy

HAPPY TIMES: Naoise, Siofra and John Coogan on a family day out. Naoise’s doctor has agreed to tie her tubes while undergoing her second C-section in 12 days’ time. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

MOTHER AND CHILD: Naoise is delighted with the calm and controlled birth of her first child, Siofra, by elected caesarean section. Picture:Dylan Vaughan. to negotiate our spiral staircase, do light housework and, more importantly, care for our baby girl. I was driving after a few weeks. I was lucky to make such a quick recovery but I feel this is because there was no

traumatic labour and no emergency surgery. The procedure was so well planned that it didn’t pose any problems for me or for the surgeons. In my view, there is nothing natural about suffering days of labour with the possi-

bility that you may end up exhausted and having an emergency C-section at the end of the ordeal. Of course this is not the case for most women, and you will no doubt have read news stories where women have had their babies so quickly they didn’t even make it to the hospital and ended up having them at the side of the road. However, I chose to avoid both of these scenarios. I knew before I ever became pregnant that ‘pushing’ was not for me. You can say I was too posh to push — I have heard it all — but the experience I had giving birth was worth all the jeering and disapproving glances. I wanted to be a mum but the thought of giving birth petrified me. I wanted the least intrusive experience possible and I knew that in order to get through the following eight or nine months, I was going to need to sort out my ‘birth plan’ well in advance. Women have told me that vaginal childbirth is ‘a gorgeous experience’ and something that ‘they really wanted to feel and experience’. I understand that this is the case for many women, but it is not for me. I was born vaginally and my mother admits there is nothing romantic about the experience. In fact, I was breach and they still delivered me vaginally, three weeks early and not in a very calm environment. My mother is very supportive of my decision to opt for a section and I can understand why.

The bottom line is that women should have a right to choose how they give birth. We are living in the 21st century. Everything has changed in the last three decades. It is not unlikely that the way in which we give birth will also change. Like in every other walk of life, women should have a choice to have an elective section whether they are private or public patients. I believe this is the way things will be in the future, and I hope that this will make the decision to become pregnant a happy one for many women who have an innate fear of childbirth. As for the future, this will indeed be my last elective C-section as my doctor has agreed to tie my tubes while on the operating table this time around. As I only have one ovary and one tube (I lost one of each during an emergency operation some 10 years ago) it will be a clamping procedure. At 38, I feel that my childbearing years are now well and truly behind me. I feel lucky to have one healthy child and another baby on the way. I look forward to my next birth with trepidation and a little nervous apprehension — just like any other woman who is planning to give birth in the foreseeable future. But also happy in the knowledge that it will go according to my birth plan I encourage other women not to be afraid to take control of how they would like to give birth.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

The statistics ■ 72,675 women gave birth in acute public hospitals reporting to HIPE in 2010. ■ Normal (non-instrumental) deliveries accounted for almost six in every ten deliveries, followed by caesarean section at 26%. Instrumental deliveries accounted for the remainder. ■ Almost 24% of women who delivered and who were treated on a public basis had a caesarean section — 44% were elective, which includes sections recommended by consultants for medical reasons. ■ Almost 35% of women who delivered and who were treated on a private basis had a caesarean section — 60% were elective, including sections for medical reasons. ● From the Economic & Social Research Institute on activity in Acute Public Hospitals in Ireland, 2010 Annual Report

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AGAINST

■ Mr Ray O’Sullivan, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny

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R Ray O’Sullivan, who is my gynacologist and carried out my first C-section, believes women should be informed about the risks of vaginal births and caesarean procedures. With an expertise in urogynaecology — his main area of interest is the area of pelvic floor, (prolapse and incontinence) — Mr O’Sullivan says he has seen a lot of damage following vaginal births. “I have a day of surgery this week and all of my clients are in for prolapsed wombs and bladders,” he says. “This occurs as a direct result of vaginal childbirth and unfortunately women are not made aware of these very serious consequences. Other difficulties following vaginal births include urinary incontinence and anal incontinence, from which many women suffer following childbirth, but they are not educated about this prior to giving birth. “I believe that women should be given all the facts before they decide how they would like their birth to go and then let them make an informed decision about what is best for them. We should be honest on all fronts and not make women feel bad about what is a very safe option for giving birth,” he says. So is one option safer than the other? “An uncomplicated vaginal birth is as safe as an elective planned section for mother and baby. With a section you have the risk of blood clots in the lungs and legs, but on balance when you consider the complications that can be associated with a vaginal delivery, they are both as safe as each other. “We as obstetricians are about creating families and getting mothers and babies home safely. When things go wrong with a vaginal delivery they can go very wrong. When you have to use forceps or vacuum to deliver, or if there is shoulder dystocia and the oxygen levels or heart rate of the baby is dropping, the labour ward can be a very lonely place. These problems simply don’t occur with a planned C-section,” he points out.

“I have a day of surgery this week and all of my clients are in for prolapsed wombs and bladders

■ Dr Declan Keane, consultant urogynaecologist at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street

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R Declan Keane who is a member of the executive of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, says he could count on one hand the number of women who would elect for a planned C-section birth without medical reasons. “The ethos at the hospital is that we would not be encouraging women to opt for a C-section unless there are medical reasons for the procedure. In fact, we would do our utmost to countenance against it,” he says. “I know other hospitals might not feel this way, and maybe part of the reason why we don’t have so many women seeking elective sections for non-medical reasons is that they shop around for hospitals that are more open to offering them. “At the National Maternity Hospital, we might see a dozen women actually seeking a C-section for non-medical reasons, out of nine to 10,000 births a year. But in Dublin alone there are four maternity hospitals and I know for sure that some of the others would probably offer elective sections quicker than we might,” he says. There are many reasons for not promoting the surgical route for childbirth and some are medical, he points out. “For example, after a section there is increased risk of the placenta adhering to the uterine wall, mothers are more likely to bleed from the wound, and there is increased risk of infection in this area. There is also a longer post-op recovery time. “On a practical note, increased C-section deliveries will see theatre lists increase, the workload of gynaecology will be decreased, there will be more congestion on post-natal wards and longer hospital stays for mothers. Of course, this in turn will lead to higher costs, and at this time we are trying to cut costs by dealing with many less serious surgeries as day cases as medical costs spiral with the length of stay required in hospitals. “We would not be encouraging elective C-sections for non-medical reasons, and if a woman has a fear of childbirth we would always attempt to inform her about the reality, which is that pain relief is readily available — 24 hours a day — in the hospitals in Dublin. And if women are not choosing vaginal deliveries because of fear, it is an indictment on our health system.”

“There is increased risk of the placenta adhering to the uterine wall and an increased risk of infection


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10 Medical matters

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Q

I HAVE tinnitus. It’s probably as a result of listening to music at high volume at clubs and through headphones. My GP has told me it is a life-long condition and not to focus on it. But it’s difficult not to. What do you suggest?

Dr Julius Parker is a GP with HSF Health Plan’s free 24 GP advice line. For more information visit www.hsf.ie or lo-call 1890 451 451

If you have a question about your health email it to feelgood@examiner.ie or send a letter to: Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

A. Tinnitus can certainly be caused by exposure to excessive noise and I’m assuming your GP has excluded other causes. If you have one-sided tinnitus, an associated reduction in your hearing, or any dizziness (vertigo) I would normally suggest a specialist review. Tinnitus is often a persistent symptom. It’s also true to say there is no easy solution, but there are plenty of approaches which may help. Most people find their tinnitus more distracting in quiet rooms, or when they are trying to settle off to sleep. Playing music, leaving the radio or TV on as background noise, or simply leaving a window open, usually masks the tinnitus and prevents you focusing on it. You can also buy sound generators. These look like a hearing aid but produce a low-level noise. You can use the same technique at night and special “pillow speakers” are available which can prevent your partner being disturbed and which switch off automatically. Many people, especially initially, become upset or anxious about their continuing tinnitus and there’s some evidence that stress can aggravate the symptom. You may benefit from relaxation therapy, or tapes, or even yoga. Your GP may also prescribe medication to help these symptoms. Some hospital hearing departments have specialist tinnitus clinics — you may find this a helpful place to find out more about your condition and have your questions answered. Staff can also provide advice on sound generators and offer individual and group counselling. I’d also recommend contacting the Irish Tinnitus Association and visiting the website DeafHear.ie. Q. My teenage son has developed acne on his face and shoulders and is quite self-conscious about it. He has tried a gentle face wash but it has made little or no difference. What other treatment would you recommend?

NEWS UPDATE

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Long delays in processing applications for medical cards will no longer be accepted and the backlog of card applications will be cleared by April, according to the HSE. The commitment was made following a two-hour visit by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children to the HSE’s central processing office for medical cards in Finglas in Dublin last week. In the meantime, the HSE has said that people waiting to get their card renewed can use their old cards. It has also said that GPs can now prolong the entitlement of vulnerable medical card holders who are going through the renewal process. Last week’s visit follows severe criticism over delays in processing applications, renewals and claims that some documents submitted by patients have been lost. Committee chairman Jerry Buttimer claimed that some people have waited up to nine months for their medical card. The group wanted to see the processing system at first-hand. Director of the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service Paddy Burke welcomed the committee’s visit.

A. Well over 80% of teenagers have some degree of acne. The face and upper back are common sites. It’s important to try and treat it, because although mild acne won’t cause scarring and will go with time, as you say it often affects teenagers’ confidence. Simply washing more frequently won’t help, nor is there any real evidence that diet affects the severity of acne. The good news is that, because the causes of acne are quite complex, there are several treatments which will help and some are available over the counter. You can ask your pharmacist for advice. Probably the best way to start is a mild strength benzoyl peroxide cream, 2.5% is the weakest. This kills the bacteria which contribute to acne and also unplugs blocked pores. The most common side-effect is skin

CLEARING BACKLOG : GPs can now treat patients while medical card applications are being processed. Picture: iStock

“The visit allowed an opportunity to highlight the steps we are now taking to further streamline the process for applicants,” said Mr Burke. The HSE recently deployed an extra 20 staff to the office, which brings it up to 150. The centralised processing system was introduced last year by the HSE to make the system more efficient.

irritation. This can be reduced by using a lower strength preparation, using it once a day to start with and buying a water-based rather than alcohol based formulation. It’s not an overnight cure, he needs to persevere for several weeks and you’ll need to encourage him. This may be all your son needs, especially in the summer, when many people find their acne improves, unless it’s also very humid. If his acne is more persistent I’d recommend seeing your GP, who is likely to suggest a retinoid based gel or cream, or a combination product also containing an antibiotic. Again these can cause some mild skin irritation or burning sensation but this usually settles with time. In some cases your GP may also suggest dailyantibiotics, often in combination with a cream or gel. Acne needs to be taken seriously and treated as it’s much easier to treat spots than scars.

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

F

Joe McNamee DAD’S WORLD

Feelgood

OR a spell, daddy daycare was fashionable, a new wave of stay-at-home fathers assuming the traditional maternal role of feathering the nest for little darlings. Granted, many fathers were forced by the huge surge in unemployment but there was a sizeable number of volunteers putting careers on hold for hands-on raisin’ an‘ rearin’. Normally-quiet weekday mornings in the suburbs became ‘million man marches,’ vast paternal armies, proudly wheeling progeny in streamlined strollers and beefed-up buggies. Former yummy-mummy sanctuaries — farmers’ markets, shopping malls, anywhere with a seat and a half-decent latte — became infested with doting dads (DDs). It seemed only a matter of time before the Supreme Court would have to rule on the exclusion of male parents from mother-and-toddler groups. These DDs seemed to have not only grasped that children’s clothing comes with separate sleeves for each arm, but were also shopping for items such as food. Furthermore, they actually cooked the stuff. Hearsay has it some even swapped household cleaning tips, but I have never personally heard such a thing other, of course, than impressively learned treatises on the correct loading of dishwashers. In summary, it was confirmation of what men had long suspected — staying at home

minding kids is a doddle. Isn’t it? At what point exactly did the lustre tarnish, did the sheen begin to fade? At what point did the hackneyed old joke about do-nothing housewives cracking open the G&T around midday begin to seem a soundly reasoned survival plan? Invariably, it will have involved some combination of sleep deprivation and social isolation. Nothing like a long-running famine of the Zeds to tip the soundest mind over into wild, cackling madness. After two solid weeks, awake, juggling wheezing, spewing infants, opening a tin of beans becomes a conundrum that can cross eyes permanently. And I’m not even full-time, sharing the caring with the dearly beloved (DB). Recently, DB came home from a day’s work (in other words, sweet, precious contact with the real world, as I work from home), grabbed a quick bite and headed out to yoga or some such. More or less what my father did all his working life, she later chuckled, as I folded the chicken and deep-fried the toaster. Yup, the honeymoon is well and truly over — I admit it, there is no harder job in the world than minding children 24/7 and any ‘working’ man sprawled on a couch whining about his wearisome day wielding, say, a mouse or even a shovel is a chancer of the highest order — kids don’t clock out.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

After two solid weeks awake juggling wheezing, spewing infants, opening a tin of beans becomes a conundrum that can cross eyes permanently. And I’m not even full-time, sharing the caring with my Dearly Beloved


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Facing life’s challenges

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Seán Kavanagh knows what having cystic fibrosis means but that is not about to stop him playing rugby and training twice a week, says Helen O’Callaghan

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Against the odds

N the first days of Seán’s life, his parents, Joe and Sandra Kavanagh, hoped he had Hirschsprung’s disease. A condition of the large intestine, it causes constipation. The Bray-based couple hoped this for their first-born because the alternative was so much worse. At Holles Street Hospital, where Seán was born, doctors suspected he had cystic fibrosis (CF). In Ireland, one in 19 people carries the gene for CF, which affects the glands and damages organs including the lungs, pancreas, digestive tract and reproductive system. It causes thick, sticky mucus to be produced, blocking the bronchial tubes and preventing the body’s natural enzymes from digesting food. “Seán didn’t do that all-important green nappy after he was born. He had a blockage in his bowel and the doctor said it was CF. It was very frightening,” says Joe, who thought of his only other encounter with CF. “My sister had pneumonia in the ’80s and she was tested for CF. When she was in hospital, I saw loads of kids with the condition who were in wheelchairs. They didn’t have enzymes then to aid digestion — many of those kids died from starvation because they couldn’t absorb food,” he says. Transferred to Crumlin Children’s Hospital, where he spent a week in intensive care, Seán’s diagnosis seemed milder. “A doctor told us he was 99% sure Seán had Hirschsprung’s disease, where a part of the child’s intestine is dead. They take out the dead part and join up the remaining two pieces. Compared to CF, we thought this was good.” But their hopes were dashed when tests confirmed CF. “We felt our whole world had come to an end,” Joe says. After six weeks, the Kavanaghs brought Seán home to live with the challenges of CF. “It was all new to us. He suffered from reflux and would puke up his bottle. We knew we needed to get as much food into him as possible to get his weight up. Every week, we’d take him to Crumlin Hospital to be weighed and he’d only have put on two ounces,” he says. Within a few months, Seán outgrew the reflux and began holding down food. But his care meant other demands, such as twice-a-day physiotherapy. “We’d cup our hands and tap him on the chest, under the arm, and on the back 600 times a day to dislodge mucus in his lungs. We did this until he was three and got a little mask with which he could do breathing exercises,” he says. Now 13 and a first-year student at Presentation College Bray, where he loves languages, Seán is irrepressible and lives life to the full. While his dad, who works in sales, wanted him to play golf rather than rugby (“Exercise helps dislodge mucus but too much exercise causes weight loss”), Seán had other ideas. “He wanted to play rugby and he gave up golf. He loves rugby. He trains twice a week and plays matches on some Wednesdays. With golf, I used to have to tell him to get his golf clubs. No such thing with rugby — he has all the gear,” he says. For years, Joe wanted an activity he and Seán could do together. “I thought about a tandem bicycle but it had to wait until he was older.” When Seán was 10, the pair cycled 176 miles from Bray to Ballyhea, Seán’s

Feelgood

LARGER THAN LIFE: Seán Kavanagh is slight but determined. When he was 10, he and his father, Joe, cycled 176 miles on a tandem to raise money for CF. Picture: Nick Bradshaw granny’s home village in Cork. They raised €30,000, which went towards a new four-bed CF unit in Crumlin Children’s

Hospital. Seán spent two weeks in the hospital prior to last Christmas and — though on intravenous antibiotics to rid him of a diffi-

cult infection — his good humour won the day. “He got one of the new rooms. He was in a motorised bed and was telling everyone he’d raised the money for this bed,” he says. One of the biggest challenges continues to be weight-maintenance. “He’s very slight. Considering what he eats, he should be 20 stone.” Seán takes vitamins, as well as enzymes, daily to help him break down fatty foods and to aid digestion. He’s on a nebuliser three times a day — this delivers antibiotic treatment to protect against infection. He has recently got a new type of nebuliser, which has reduced his sessions from 10 minutes each to three minutes. Just into his teens, Seán’s entering a phase of life when — according to studies — many young people with CF rebel against taking their medication because it’s so inconvenient. For this reason, the CF world welcomed last November the launch of a new hand-held, portable inhaler — the Podhaler, which medics hope will result in better treatment-compliance, mainly because it has the potential to dramatically cut down the four and a half hours that patients spend each week connected to a mains-powered nebuliser. Adding to its user-friendly appeal is the fact that it doesn’t need to be washed but simply wiped with a dry cloth after use. CF is a progressive, life-threatening disease. “Sometimes, you forget Seán has it. Other times, you remember and it’s depressing — knowing the outcome isn’t going to be so good. We’re hoping he’ll get a good old spin out of life,” Joe says. The Kavanaghs’ eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, doesn’t have CF. When Seán was born, a dad whose 10-year-old girl had CF gave the couple some much-valued advice. “He said, ‘you don’t have CF — Seán does. Don’t live CF’. We don’t. We have a little girl too and if we did live CF we’d be neglecting her.” The couple also take their cue from Seán. “He knows all about what having CF means but he doesn’t say ‘I’m only going to live ’til whenever’. He’s a clever fellow and he sometimes uses CF to his advantage, like when he tells some girls he’s very ill so as to get a kiss off them,” Joe says. ● Visit www.cfireland.ie.

Ireland has highest proportion of CF sufferers One of Ireland’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases, about one in 19 people is a carrier of the CF gene. ■ Ireland has 1,100 people with CF — the highest proportion in any country in the world. ■ Two carriers have a one in four chance of their baby being born with the condition. ■ CF affects the glands, damaging organs including the lungs, pancreas, digestive tract and reproductive system. It mainly affects the lungs and digestive system.

■ It causes the production of a thick, sticky mucus that blocks bronchial tubes. Build-up of mucus makes it difficult to clear bacteria, leaving the sufferer prone to cycles of lung infections and inflammation. These repeated attacks can damage the lungs. ■ Mucus prevents the body’s natural enzymes from digesting food, so it’s difficult for the person to absorb sufficient nutrients. For this reason, people with CF must consume artificial enzymes with food, to help them get adequate nutrition. ■ For most patients, symptoms appear in

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

the first year of life, though they may appear later in the teens or in adulthood. First sign of the condition in the newborn is likely to be intestinal obstruction. ■ It’s impossible to predict the outcome for a person with CF — for some people, lung disease can progress rapidly, despite early diagnosis and treatment. Others have a more favourable journey, reaching adulthood. Some factors considered important in determining prognosis include treatment, nutrition, lifestyle and compliance, as well as exposure to viral, bacterial and fungal infections.


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Healthy food

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Maximum treats 170ml milk 4 large eggs 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup 4-6 drops vanilla extract.

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Beat the ingredients to make a smooth batter. Dip slices of white or brown bread into the mix and place immediately on a hot pan with a knob of butter. Turn and cook until golden. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Roz Crowley

While a Virgin Mary is an alcohol-free Bloody Mary, for more interest swap the traditional vodka for beef stock and make a fiery, alcohol-free concoction to set her up for the day.

T’S hard to beat a foodie treat for any celebration. Prepared with love and served with affection, no mother could fail to appreciate the effort. Calories don’t count on Mother’s Day, so let it rip and dish up whatever she fancies. We can spend a fortune on gifts and vouchers for the most luxurious spas, but recession or not, an imaginative collection of homemade gifts goes a long way. Start the day with breakfast in bed (ideas below), followed by running a bath for her and perhaps serving a little tipple to add to the luxury. Make a big cookie, pressing a hole through the centre before baking, so you can tie ribbon on to it. Whether you are an adult helping a child or a child old enough to make it yourself, spontaneity is the key, along with generous dollops of love and fun. Try some cupcakes, plain or drizzled with a little maple syrup and topped with finely chopped grilled rashers. Tie a few branches of a tree together with a ribbon and attach a few chocolates wrapped in coloured paper. They will look great beside a mug of mother’s favourite morning drink, but if there is a proper cup and saucer in the house, this is the time to bring it into action. Don’t forget the lie in. An extra hour in bed in peace is sometimes all a mother wants. Bring her favourite newspaper or magazine to enjoy as she lingers. BREAKFAST IDEAS Toasted muesli/granola with added fresh fruit. Most soft fruit is imported at this time of year, so in view of St Patrick’s Day, stay green and local and opt for stewed apple or sliced apple cooked in a little butter and sugar. This is good on pancakes too. A fried or poached egg on a toasted bagel dusted with finely grated parmesan is delicious. If she likes a full Irish, cut through the fat by serving some stewed apple on the side. Croissants slit and filled with a little grated chocolate and a few chopped almonds and warmed in the oven (not the microwave) are quite a treat. French toast This is a delicious, old-fashioned treat, try it with bacon, sausages, smoked fish, or drizzled with maple syrup.

Bloody Bull: 50ml cold beef stock, 200ml tomato juice, 1 dessp lemon juice, 3 drops Worcestershire sauce, 2 drops Tabasco, pinch black pepper. Mix with some crushed ice and pour over ice cubs. Serve with a stick of celery. This is good with hot, buttered toast. AFTERNOON TEA One my favourite easy treats is a simple fruit tart made with bought puff pastry. Fruit tart: Defrost and roll out gently and thinly to line a tart tin. Top with slices of fruit — apples and pears make the best of seasonal produce. Be generous with the fruit and sit the slices at a 45 degree angle to the pastry, so there is plenty of weight to keep the pastry down. Keep a few centimetres around the edge free to allow a decent border, which will fluff up and look flaky. Brush with beaten egg for a golden finish. Dot the fruit with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place in the oven preheated to 200C/400F/gas 6 for 20-30 mins.

BOWLED OVER: A lie-in is a treat for mum, preferably with breakfast. Picture: Thinkstock

You can spend a fortune on gifts and vouchers for Mother’s Day but giving her breakfast or afternoon tea or running a bath for her adds that personal loving touch

Marian’s recipe for happiness is a tasty treat Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes is a cookbook with a difference and will make a lovely gift for mothers who want to learn more about baking. A long introduction explains how the popular novelist, suffering from depression, found that baking helped to shift her focus away from her dark thoughts and onto delicious treats for friends and family. She attacked the process of learning to bake with what seems like obsessional

gusto. Learning as she tested, she worked on a wide range of treats from green tea pannacotta to cheesecakes to lots of colourful cupcakes. By trial and error she has taught herself to bake and, as a result, has plenty of common sense tips, noting how cupcake cases vary so much in size and telling us how to cool cakes properly. The tone of her book is light and chummy, and there is a sense of cama-

Makes 6 slices

Feelgood

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

raderie about the process of getting recipes right together. A lovely gift for anyone who wants to bake but is afraid to. ● Published in hardback by Michael Joseph (Penguin), good value at €15.99.


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Male Male health health 13

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A father’s anti-drug crusade E VEN though Derek Jennings worked in addiction support, he didn’t know his own child had started using drugs. “Being a man, I said, ‘I’ll stop it’,” he says of his 14-year-old’s addiction. “But I was powerless, there was nothing I could do. That was one of my biggest difficulties — that I couldn’t do anything about it. “My child was in the house, out of the house; was robbing, homeless, in foster care; came back to the house, was on drugs, off drugs, on treatment, off treatment,” he says of the four years his child was addicted. “In hindsight, it was damaging the other children — I totally neglected them because I was so tied up in my other child’s addiction,” he says. Because his child is now drug-free, Derek, who is from Clondalkin, Co Dublin, says does not name either his child or mention gender, in order to protect the child’s anonymity. The breakthrough for Derek came one Christmas. “Money went missing and I put my child out of the house in January. I decided to cut all ties because I couldn’t take it any more — the enabling, the fear. My child went to a hostel, then to Limerick and then home again, completely drug-free,” he says.

TOUGH LOVE: Derek Jennings says addicts need to fight their own battles if they are to beat the addiction.

Deirdre O'Flynn

MOSTLY MEN

Derek says that as connected as he was to addiction-support services, he was ill-equipped to deal with his child’s addiction — and that men were largely absent in using those support services. “With a psychologist, I set up Fathers of Addicts Support Group, 14 years ago. The first night, we had three men, then four, then five. The biggest attendance we’ve had is 17. Over 130 men have passed through the group — it’s peer-led support from the other fathers in the group,” he says. The group travels the country with a Men At Work drama, telling the true-life experiences of fathers with a child addicted to drugs. It is involved in Wasted, a new two-act play, scripted and acted by family members, including Derek, affected by drug addiction and told from the point of view of parents, grandparents, siblings and the drug users. The story of how two Dublin families

Picture: Maura Hickey

cope with their daughters’ addiction to heroin will be performed in Blanchardstown on March 30, before a possible nationwide tour (full details on www.gbrd.ie). “The best help you can give your child with drug addiction is no help. Giving up

Safety advice plan for small businesses

Soccer star kicks off Asthma Run

The Health and Safety Authority is organising breakfast briefings for small-business owners around the country in the next month. From 8.15am-10.15am, the briefings will advise you on how to reduce the chance of an accident in your workplace, save time and money, learn to generate your own risk assessments and safety statements, and comply with health-andsafety legislation. The briefings will be in the Portlaoise

Ireland defender and Sunderland star John O’Shea is just one sportsman supporting the Asthma Society’s Great Open Airways Run campaign. John, along with other household sporting names like Ronan O’Gara, has asthma. He is pictured here at the campaign launch with actress Charlie Murphy. The Great Open Airways Run campaign will fundraise for the Asthma Society which has had a 30% cut in funding. “Exercise is a common trigger for asthma, but exercise

TAKE 1

Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, on Mar 13, the Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore, on Mar 14, the Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan, on Mar 23, the Tower Hotel, Waterford, on Mar 27, the Clonmel Park Conference, leisure and spa hotel, Clonmel, on Mar 28, and Gallagher’s Hotel, Letterkenny on Apr 19. ● Register online at www.hsa.ie. Or email events@hsa.ie or call 01-6147066. Attendance is free.

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FAIR CUPPA: Ireland now has one of the highest per capita spends on Fairtrade Certified products in the world. Last year sales grew by 16%, driven by companies converting well-known brands to Fairtrade. This year’s campaign is asking people to Take A Step for Fairtrade, like swapping your tea. To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight Marks & Spencer has launched the first Kenyan tea, Mount Kenya, to be grown and packed at source. Fairtrade Ireland is also undertaking a threeyear campaign to promote the sales of Fairtrade Certified Cotton in Ireland. Fairtrade cotton items are now available from a number of retail outlets including M&S and Tesco; See www.fairtrade.ie.

Feelgood

is good for everyone, including people with asthma,” says Dr Jean Holohan, CEO of the Asthma Society. “Even if exercise is a trigger for your asthma, that does not mean the end of being active. It can be prevented and treated so that everyone can reach their own sporting potential.” Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma in the world. More than 470,000 people live with asthma across the country. ● Contact the Asthma Society on 01-8178886

drugs is about them. You have to focus on the non-drug using children and build a normal family life,” Mr Jennings says. ● For further information on Fathers of Addicts Support Group, contact Derek on 086-1567653.

DId you know...

Adult males with strong immune systems are seen as more sexually attractive to females (Source: University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland)

Fairtrade

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FAIR PRICE: The recession has hit Fairtrade Certified coffee sales, which are down 6% compared to 2010. Lidl has reduced the prices of its Fairglobe range to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, with Fairglobe Organic Coffee del Mundo down from €5.49 to €3.49 and its Fairglobe SA Cabernet/Savignon/Merlot is down from €5.99 to €3.99. Sales of Fairtrade Certified bananas grew by an estimated 25% in 2011 and Lidl’s Fairtrade Organic bananas are now 99c for a pack of five. Their Fairtrade orange juice, chocolate and sugar are also reduced to less than a euro until Mar 11.

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FAIR SPICES: If you prefer herbal tea, Pukka’s Vanilla Chai blend contains a mix of six organic and Fairtrade herbs and spices sourced from small, independent farmers, including Fairtrade Cinnamon bark and Fairtrade Vanilla pods from organic farms in India. This caffeine-free warming blend also contains ginger and fennel for digestion, cardamom seed and sweet licorice root. Pukka Vanilla Chai is €2.85 for 20 sachets from Tesco and health stores.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

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FAIR BEAUTY: The Swedish natural cosmetics company, Oriflame, has launched its new Fairtrade certified, Ecobeauty range of three moisturising face creams in Ireland to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight 2012. The Ecobeauty range will be sold in over 60 countries and will bring significant benefits to small farmers of Shea nuts and coconuts in Burkina Faso and India. This innovative new product range was developed by the Oriflame R&D department in Bray, Co Wicklow. It is free from any animal-derived substances, parabens, silicone, mineral oils and synthetic fragrances, and the product packs have 100% recyclable packaging materials. The Ecobeauty range includes a smoothing eye-cream, €17.95, and a day cream and night cream, both €23.95, which can be bought online at www.oriflame-ireland.com or call 083-418 6250.


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:07/03/2012Time:14:35:41Edition:09/03/2012FeelgoodXH0903Page:14

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Beauty

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The news on... HEEL HELP March is not a great month for heels. But it’s a good month to start sorting them out before you have to show them off to the world, sometime around May. Scholl is the obvious place to look for good heel-fixers, but M&S have a good heel treatment for just €5.50, with glycerine, sweet almond oil and shea butter. Cracked heels begone.

Emily O’Sullivan

Get lippy this season with the latest fruity colours. And make your own statement

Take three...

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ANGY tangerines, hot bubblegum pinks and sexy reds — this summer they’re calling it the “statement lip”. And it is one of spring/summer’s biggest beauty looks. The first thing to decide is what kind of finish you’re after. And there’s a baffling amount of choice out there, with every beauty company worth its salt bringing out brand new formulations and super-cool finishes that make you want to break out and wear orange. First up, and a popular launch this year, is the stain. Right, so stains are nothing new but they’re now coming in easy-to-apply pen-shapes from the likes of Rimmel and New York Colour. Personally, the jury’s out on this one — your lips need to be in really excellent condition or else the colour sinks into the cracks, and it can also wear off in a slightly patchy way. Still, if you’re after longevity then they are a good choice, but for the best effect team them up with a lip gloss or a clear lip balm (or if you want to splash out, Clarins’s Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, €17). Gloss has fallen from grace over the last few years, but it’s trying to establish its relevance once again. Bright lip glosses also need to be worn with a degree of care. Unless you apply them carefully the colour can gather on the outer edges of the lips, making you look like you’ve applied a raggy lipliner. To prevent this, blot as you would with lipstick — a layer of gloss, blot and then apply another layer. Another tip is to keep away from deep bright shades, such as crimson reds and neon fuchsias in a gloss formulation — they work best when you’re going for tangy oranges or confetti pinks, so keep it to the softer end of the scale.

GEL EYELINERS The real way to line your eyes right now is with a gel eyeliner. These newbies are very affordable, which is always nice.

ON TREND: A hot pink lipstick is one of the hottest looks around.

Candy gloss

L’Oreal Gel Intenza Eyeliner, €14.99. Most gel eyeliners leave you to sort your own brush out, but L’Oreal, like the others here, have opted for the genius move of including one with the liner. The small pot has a good amount of black product in it, and the brush is nicely shaped and was easy to work with the product. It gives a good dense black tone, and lasted well through the day. Rimmel Waterproof Gel Eyeliner, €7.95. The liquid went on well, with a deep, dark glossy line, and it stayed there all day. You get a really tiny amount in the pot, but it’s fairly priced. The brush is housed within the pot, which makes it a handy one for travelling, too. Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner, €11.99. Billed as 24-hour wear, this is a great little gel eyeliner that does what you’d expect from a good gel — it gives great colour, it’s long wearing, and it’s easy to apply. And it’s a great alternative to more expensive products. It was launched a year ago, so isn’t as new as the others, but don’t hold that against it.

My best bet? Leave the sticky glosses alone and go for a more sophisticated gloss option with rich moisturising tinted lip balms or super-sheer lipstick formulations. Speaking of which, a matte finish for lips is still a big look (there was a lot of “matte with a blurry edge” going on at the spring/summer catwalk shows), but the big story for spring is super-sheer and high shine treatment lipsticks. Playful, young and fun, there are some cracking colours out there, and they really do inject a feeling of freshness after a winter of plums and matt red. Let the good times roll with a super-cool hot pink — one of the hottest looks around

right now. I’m particularly loving MAC’s Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Insanely It, €17.50 — a zany watermelon pink, and Giorgio Armani’s Rouge d’Armani Sheer in No 500, a juicy raspberry. Yves Saint Laurent’s new Volupté Sheer Candy Baume Gloss hits the mark with a playful product that’s fun to wear and looks great. With a delicious mango taste, the sheer lipstick balms give a gorgeous translucent colour that’s packed with hyaluronic acid, pomegranate extracts, vitamins and emollients. Things are equally upscale at Christian Dior with Serum de Rouge, €33.55, a lip colour that lays it on thick when it comes to skincare benefits.

New York Cololor Lipstain 16H Smooch-Proof Lip Stain, €3.99. Perfect lips are required for this one, and it can be quite drying, so if you’re prone to dry lips then it might be best to give it a miss. The pen applicator makes it fun to apply, but it can stain patchily so apply a few coats. Does it stay on? Oh yes, and at €3.99 it’s affordable enough to experiment with.

lovely coraly shade, it has a lovely sheer effect that makes it subtle and very pretty indeed.

This is a cracking shade but not for the feint hearted.

Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Sheer Candy in No114, €31.50. YSL’s spring look is all about “Candy Face” with jelly-style formulations and super-sweet shades. This is a rich lip balm, with the taste of mango and a very rich sumptuous texture. A lip treat if ever there was one.

Korres Lip Butter in Mango, €7.50. Designed as a lip balm, these butters act almost more like a treatment lipstick, such is the intensity of colour. They feel lovely on the lips, and leaving them beautifully soft.

STUFF WE LIKE Mac Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Insanely It, €17.50. We’re loving this one. It’s a hot neon watermelon shade that makes you want to load on the fake tan and throw on the sunglasses. It looks gorgeous with a pale complexion and minimal eye make-up, while come high summer it’ll fit right in with bronzer and pinched-cheeks. Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Sheer in 500, €26. The colour of this candy pink looks strong at first glance, but once on the lips it’s as subtle as can be. If you’re after a more intense, edgy colour then you can always layer it on.

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Rimmel Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipstick in Flirt, €26.90. This is the kind of lip colour that makes us wish we were wearing Breton stripes and white plimpsoles in the south of France. It’s summer incarnate. A

Christian Dior Sérum de Rouge Luminous Colour Lip Treatment in Magenta Crystal, €30.50. As well as having a SPF of 20, this luxury lipstick from Dior is packed with skincare ingredients to care for your lips to help promote moisture, volume and smoothing.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:07/03/2012Time:14:26:49Edition:09/03/2012FeelgoodXH0903Page:15

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Natural health

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

A FEW years ago, I was diagnosed with scalp dermatitis. I have tried several products recommended by my doctor without much relief. Anything that helps is short-lived. As soon as I stop using it the symptoms return. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated, as the condition is driving me mad. A. Scalp dermatitis is a harmless scaling rash resulting from the yeast pityrosporum ovale, normally present on the scalp, multiplying out of control. This leads to the sebaceous glands producing too much oil, which triggers the inflammation and maddening itch. Dandruff is scalp dermatitis without the inflammation. The first step is to look at the shampoo and conditioner you use — I like the Living Nature range. Try its balancing and revitalising shampoo for oily hair, with native New Zealand medicinal plants such as Kumerahou (the fresh leaves of which will produce a lather due to their saponin content) and Manuka honey, well-known for its healing properties. (Living Nature products are available from Premier Organics.) With long-term issues such as this, it makes sense to support your immune system. Start by taking 50mg of zinc each day. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, however to get 50mg you would need to munch your way through 6.5 cups of them. The best food source of zinc is the expensive oyster, although you would only need four to fill your daily quota. Stress reduction is an important part of the equation, since scalp dermatitis is exacerbated by stress — a catch-22 situation due to the stressful nature of the symptoms themselves. A standardised extract of the herb eleutheroccus senticosus, available as the supplement Elagen (www.elagen.com), will reduce stress while strengthening your immunity. If oily fish doesn’t feature in your healthy diet and lifestyle, then you may want to consider adding the likes of sardine, mackerel, and herrings to your grocery list. If fish doesn’t appeal, then take a good fish-oil supplement, high in EPA. MorEPA capsules, from health stores and Healthy and Essential (www.healthyandessential.ie; 045-892267), are ideal. I don’t usually recommend a host of supplements, preferring diet and lifestyle changes as a long-term solution. However, in this case, there is one more supplement that will likely tip the balance in your favour, and that is a good quality probiotic. Seven Seas’ advanced formula multibionta is ideal. It has been freeze-dried so it doesn’t need to be kept in the refrigerator, plus the tablets contain vitamins and minerals which will help address any underlying deficiencies. To treat the immediate issue of the itching

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Dandruff is basically scalp dermatitis without the inflammation. The first step is to look at the type of shampoo and conditioner you use

Picture: iStock

and irritation, rinse your scalp with a warm/cool chamomile tea, or use a calendula lotion (many natural baby lotions are suitable for this purpose). Calendula helps to repair and soothe the skin, while chamomile is calming and will treat the itching and swelling. Q. I have a problem with red and inflamed gums, particularly between my teeth. They bleed when I brush, and are quite painful. Is there anything natural that can help with this? A. The first place to check is the ingredient panels on your current oral hygiene products. Many conventional toothpastes — not to mention shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath and body wash — contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), an industrial chemical used as a degreaser and foaming agent. With an increasing public awareness of the toxic chemicals routinely included in many everyday products, a wide range of safe alternatives has appeared on the market. Most

health stores will carry eco-friendly bathroom products. Flossing is the other main piece of the puzzle when it comes to gum health. Although this might seem like the last thing that you want to do when your gums are so inflamed and sore, you will be surprised at how quickly flossing will bring relief. Discuss flossing methods with your dentist if you feel that you are doing more damage than good, although it is likely that you will notice a huge difference just by gently flossing between your teeth after each meal, since it is the food particles becoming trapped which is likely aggravating the gums. There are also tiny inter-dental brushes which may help — I like the Piksters range, and they come in all sizes to accommodate a variety of teeth-spacing. You should also use a soft-bristled toothbrush if you really want to look after your teeth and gums, brushing with the side of the bristles from the base to the top of the tooth, with gentle, downward stroking motions rather than scrubbing in circles as so many of us do without thinking.

■ NOTE: The information contained above is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first.

Megan puts the spotlight on:

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ITAMIN B12 helps to prevent anaemia by assisting in the formation of red blood cells. It is also necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein, important to nervous system health, energy production, growth in children, and is crucial for calcium absorption. Deficiency can result in pernicious anaemia, growth failure in children, nervous disorders, spinal cord degeneration, depression, brain damage, fatigue, lack of appetite, and balance problems. It is widely publicised that vegans and vegetarians are at risk of B12 deficiency, and many people who choose to eat this way make it a priority to supplement with this essential nutrient. However, it is little known that meat eaters are just

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as frequently diagnosed with low B12 as those who avoid animal products. Sally Pacholok and Jeffrey J Stuart, authors of Could It Be B12? state, “While you need only a tiny, tiny amount of B12 each day (two to four micrograms or about a millionth of an ounce), it’s remarkably easy to become deficient in this nutrient. While deficiency often occurs in vegans or vegetarians who fail to take the right supplements, the majority of B12 deficient people eat plentiful amounts of the vitamin — it’s just that their bodies can’t absorb or use it.” Vitamin B12 absorption is a very complex issue, and it is this process which leads to such widespread deficiency among people of all types of di-

The Vitamin B12 Myth etary persuasions. Any disruption in the absorption process will hinder the utilisation of vitamin B12 by the body. A crucial step in the absorption process involves intrinsic factor (IF), which is a glycoprotein that combines with B12 and carries the vitamin to the ileum (at the end of the intestinal tract) for absorption. Basically, if you don’t produce enough of this IF, then you are not able to absorb the B12 you consume through your diet. Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, taking medication, eating frozen foods, and regularly using colonic cleansing or irrigation all affect IF and the ability to absorb B12.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

It is a commonly held belief that intestinal bacteria are a sufficient source of B12, and many mammals have this ability as a result of gastrointestinal fermentation. However, it appears that humans are not getting enough via our diets or our intestines, so it is worth getting tested, and if your levels are low, then do supplement with a sublingual preparation. Methylcobalamin is preferable to cyanocobalamin, since it is better absorbed — but both types appear to help increase B12 stores, which can stay in the body for up to five years if needed.

Alcohol interferes with vitamin B absorption. Picture: iStock


TERAPROOF:User:GERARDDESMONDDate:07/03/2012Time:16:55:52Edition:09/03/2012FeelgoodXH0903Page:16

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XH - V2

Everything you want in a hearing aid and more...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012


2012-03-09