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Feelgood

Friday, November 25, 2011

Take heart

Ciara Shinnick welcomes a new clinic dedicated to the treatment of young adults with congenital cardiac problems: 8, 9

Picture: Maura Hickey

TERAPROOF:User:irenefeighanDate:23/11/2011Time:15:49:13Edition:25/11/2011FeelgoodXH2511Page:1

ONLY YOU

Four youngsters on growing up in single-child families: 4, 5

STOCKING UP

When the need to hoard becomes an obsession: 11

HOT STUFF

Eight soups are put to the taste test: 12


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:23/11/2011Time:16:28:04Edition:25/11/2011FeelgoodXH2511Page:2

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2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ DAY OF HOPE: Today November 25 is The Hope Foundation’s first ever national fundraising day — A Day of Hope: 1 Day — 1 Bar —1 Child, run in conjunction with Butlers Chocolates. Schools and companies are helping to fund raise for Hope’s work with street children by selling Butlers HOPE bars of chocolate for €2. You can also buy virtual bars on www.hopefoundation.ie ■ BRUNO GROENING: Bruno Groening was born in Germany in 1906. He spoke of a power that comes from God and that can be absorbed by every person and during his lifetime, he gained worldwide recognition for the healings of severe and chronic illnesses that occurred during his lectures. A free lecture, Healing on the Spiritual Path through the teachings of Bruno Groening, will be given tomorrow, Saturday November 26 at 12 noon at Bru Columbanus, Wilton, Cork. More details from Bernie Burchill on 087-3527728. ■ STROKE SUPPORT: Cork City Stroke Support Group meet on the last Wednesday of every month. The aim of the group is to facilitate sharing of experiences and information in a supportive environment. Their next meeting is on Wednesday next, November 30, from 2 to 4pm in the Activity Centre, St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork. Please contact the Irish Heart Foundation on 021-4505822 for more information . ■ SANTA RUN: Christmas in Killarney’s 5km Santa Fun Run is on Saturday December 10, beginning at 11am at the Killarney Outlet Centre, taking participants through Killarney National Park before coming full circle to the finish line. All levels of fitness are welcome, with proceeds this year going to local charity Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club.The registration fee is €5 for Under 18s and includes a Santa Fun Run t-shirt and Santa hat. Adults can register for €15, which includes a full Santa suit, or you can pay €20 for a Family ticket. Register online at www.killarneysantarun.com. ■ GRIEF TALK: Anam Cara, a support group for bereaved parents, meets on the first Wednesday of each month in Silver Springs Moran Hotel, Cork at 8pm. On Wednesday, December 7, bereavement consultant Brid Carroll will give a talk on loss. All are welcome. For details see: www.anamcara.ie ■ BLUEBELL GARDEN: The Bluebell is the new symbol of The Friends of St Luke’s, who support the needs of cancer patients attending the Dublin based St Luke’s Radiation Oncology network at St Luke’s, St James and Beaumont hospitals, as they go through their cancer journey. The Friends of St Luke’s have launched the Bluebell Garden Campaign and you can purchase a bluebell through the website www.bluebellgarden.ie. The Bluebell Garden will be located near Oakland Lodge, Rathgar. Proceeds from the new garden will go towards the care and comfort of the patients attending all three centres. ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to koreilly8@gmail.com

FeelgoodMag

Feelgood

FeelgoodMag

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World Aids Day highlights the disease and the numbers living with the condition here and abroad, reports Arlene Harris

A global issue M

ORE than 60 million people around the world have been infected with HIV — the life-threatening condition which damages the immune system. Currently only half of that number is living with the virus as many have lost their lives to AIDS as a result of the HIV disease destroying the body’s ability to fight infection. December 1 is World Aids Day — an annual event where health organisations around the globe highlight the disease and seek to provide support for people living with HIV and AIDS. Anna Quigley, executive director of the Dublin Aids Alliance, says while the number of new cases in Ireland has reduced, numbers are still rising among the gay community in Ireland. “There are almost 6,000 people living with AIDS in Ireland,” she says. “The most recent report from the HPSC shows there were 331 new cases last year which is a 16% decrease in the number of new cases in this country — this is likely to be because the number of cases involving people entering Ireland from high-incidence countries has reduced. “But there has been an increase in the number of cases among homosexual men — this is the group with the highest number of new infections (40% — double since 2005). The HSE and the Gay Health Network are launching an awareness campaign to coincide with World AIDS Day.”

IN TREATMENT: There are almost 6,000 people living with AIDS in Ireland.

Picture: iStock

Controlling the spread of AIDS can be difficult as there are no symptoms and no known cure. “People can live with HIV for years without any symptoms, so this emphasises the importance of regular testing among groups such as IV drug users and people who are sexually active,” says Quigley. “There are a number of harm reduction measures already in place — such as the availability of methadone and needle exchanges for drug users and the promotion of sexual health awareness campaigns. The use of condoms is central to all sexual health messages and various distribution programmes are in place around the country — as the wearing of a condom plays a huge part in preventing the spread of HIV.”

Under 18s are particularly vulnerable and the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) is running a school-based sex education programme focusing on HIV, sexual health and life skills. The dance4life programme has delivered HIV and sex education workshops to more than 4,000 young people in the last three years. “It’s important for them to get honest and straightforward information about how to protect themselves from STIs and unplanned pregnancies at school,” says Anita Butt, IFPA training and education coordinator. “Equally important is access to sexual health services and condoms.” ● For more information see: www.dublinaidsalliance.ie; www.ifpa.ie.

HEALTH NOTES IN a recent survey, 30% of men admitted to saying they had the flu when they knew it was just a cold, compared to just 19% of women. The survey of 1, 000 people, conducted by iReach on behalf of Uniflu, also found that 13% of men believe that having a runny nose and a cough is the flu. Overall, 85% of respondents correctly identified flu symptoms as having a temperature, aching all over and being too weak to carry out household tasks. Respondents said their number one port of call when feeling sick is the doctor (37%) followed by the pharmacist (21%) and 11% of men said that “no-one cares when I’m sick”.

OLDER people are often intimated by computers and can be reluctant to ask for help. To encourage younger people to pass on their internet skills to older people, Google has launched a website called GetYourFolksOnline.ie. The website is designed to be a one-stop shop of resources for internet-savvy children of any age to help their parents and loved ones to get the most out of the Internet, whether they are completely new to it or simply want to improve. PEOPLE who regularly take slightly too much paracetamol over a period of time to

www.irishexaminer.com www.irishexaminer.com

doctors usually take a blood sample to detect how much paracetamol is present when an overdose patient arrives at hospital. For someone who has taken too much of the drug over a prolonged space of time, low levels of paracetamol could be detected in their blood even though they could still be at risk of organ failure or death. Dr Kenneth Simpson, who worked with the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Liver Transplantation Unit, said: “They haven’t taken the sort of single-moment, one-off massive overdoses taken by people who try to commit suicide, but over time the damage builds up, and the effect can be fatal.”

COLD COMFORT: Men are more likely than women to misdiagnose their cold symptoms for the much nastier flu. Picture: iStock relieve pain could be at a higher risk of dying than those who take a one-off overdose of the drug, a study revealed this week. The danger arises because the so-called staggered overdoses are more difficult for doctors to assess and treat. The research, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, showed that

www.irishexaminer.com feelgood@examiner.ie

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

FINE artist Professor Daniel Duffy has been appointed as artist in residence at the Graduate-Entry Medical School, University of Limerick (UL). His position is the first of its kind for a medical school in Ireland and is supported by Lundbeck Ireland. A compulsory three-week module has been introduced for third year medical students to develop their awareness of humanities and medicine by combining both the human nature and science elements of illnesses. For details see: www.ul.ie/medicalschool and Duffy www.danielmarkduffy.com

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215


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In Profile

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THE SHAPE I'M IN

Francis Brennan

At your service F

RANCIS BRENNAN, hotelier and star of TV show At Your Service, admits there were a few unknowns when he first accepted the challenge of becoming a tour guide for RTÉ series, Francis Brennan’s Grand Tour. “You’re going with a group you’ve never met before so you don’t know how much they’ve travelled or how in-depth they’ll want to go into things.” But it all went well, says the owner of Kenmare’s Park Hotel, who brought a diverse group aged from their early 20s to their 60s on tour in Spain, France and Italy. “Much to my surprise, they were quite obedient. We lost one or two of them at different stages but I was happy with how they all performed.” Brennan is no stranger to RTÉ audiences, having travelled countrywide with his brother John offering advice to guesthouses and hotels for At Your Service. “We did wonder sometimes if the people were deaf or could they just not listen because we were telling them things that would help them. But a lot of hoteliers don’t get out enough. They don’t know what’s happening down the road so they’re in a box rather than in a business,” says the 58-year-old Dubliner, who fell in love with Kerry when he first went to work in Parknasilla. * Francis Brennan’s Grand Tour is on RTÉ One on Sundays at 7.30pm. What shape are you in? I’m in great shape. Earlier in the year I was at the doctor’s and I was exactly the same weight as I’d been in 2007 but I still wanted to lose some. I lost 10 pounds in a flash just by stopping eating potatoes and bread. Do you have any health concerns? We have bad chests in our family. It didn’t affect our generation that much but my nephews and nieces have it. When I get flu, I really get it. I haven’t had flu for a long time though. What are your healthiest eating habits? I eat an apple every single day, always before going to bed, which is desperate but it seems to work out fine. I have a cup of tea, eat an apple and read the paper. What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I love a bit of chocolate but I’m very disciplined so I just don’t buy it. When I was doing At Your Service, I could be in Galway today, Carlow tomorrow. I’d be in petrol stations telling myself, ‘No, I won’t buy that’. If there are two slices of cake on a plate, I’ll eat one but won’t take the second. What would keep you awake at night? I’m never awake at night. The minute I hit the pillow, I’m asleep.

3

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er really get time off like that in Ireland. While in the US, I’ll look in the paper to see what’s on in the cinema or the theatre in the evenings.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Whoopi Goldberg — she’s great fun. Fergus Quinn because I think he’s a great business man. I’d invite Michael Parkinson because he’s very interesting and asks good questions, and Matt Damon because he’s got a nice young mind and does good movies. Michael D Higgins would be interesting too and is always full of chat. What’s your favourite smell? The soap, Stephanotis – it’s the soap we have in the hotel and it’s got a lovely jasmine-like smell. What would you change about your appearance? I’d increase my height and get three more inches out of life.

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When did you last cry? I cry at every movie I go to — I’m a disaster. If it’s a sad movie, I’m in the front row bawling my eyes out. What trait do you least like in others? Aggression — I’m a pacifist. I can’t bear a row. What trait do you least like in yourself? I sometimes wish I didn’t reply so quickly to comments because I can say the wrong thing. If I could tidy that up, I’d be happier. Do you pray? All the time — I have a Christian outlook on everything I do.

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What would cheer up your day? Flowers — if somebody sends a bunch of flowers because I’ve done something for them, that’s gorgeous. Helen O’Callaghan

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How do you relax? I never set out to relax. I’m going to the US for five weeks on a business trip shortly and when I’m away on business I finish at 5pm. That’s a half day to me — I nev-

I eat an apple every single day, always before going to bed, which is desperate but it seems to work out fine. I have a cup of tea, eat an apple and read the paper Feelgood

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011


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Family life

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A recent report suggests that children who have no siblings are happier and more content. Arlene Harris speaks to four families who couldn’t agree more, saying they are more than happy with their lot

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THE ONLY ONES

F

OR years, people have stood by the clichéd notion that onlychildren are spoilt, lonely and precocious — yet a recent report reveals that many only-children are happier and more content than those with lots of siblings. Gundi Knies from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, who analysed the Understanding Society data, said the findings indicate the fewer siblings children have, the happier they are. We spoke to some only-child families to find out how life is for them. ■ JOYCE and Daithi Carmody are parents to 11-year-old Rebecca. They believe children are a product of how they are reared, regardless of how many are in the family. “I believe that spoilt, lonely and precocious children are not the result of being an only child, but the result of bad parenting — which unfortunately can be the case whether you have one or 10 children,” says Joyce. “I don’t pretend to be a perfect parent but I believe I am a good parent simply because I care enough to put in the effort and constantly consider what the consequences are for Rebecca in each situation.” Joyce, 42, says having her daughter to herself has allowed them to have a very close bond as they spend lots of time together. “Having a single child means you have the time and energy to devote to them,” says the Dublin woman. “We only have to consider her mood and happiness and can give her what she needs without having to be aware of other siblings. But she is far from spoilt, because she is interacting more with adults and has learnt adult behaviour from the start. “But I honestly don’t know how parents with more than one child manage to juggle the various school times, extra-curricular activities and holidays — they are obviously a lot better at it than me,” she laughs. Rebecca thinks her parents are doing a great job. “The best thing about having my mum and dad to myself is that I get all the attention,” she says. “I like playing board games with them and going to the zoo or shopping — even just messing about is good. “And even though it’s fun to bring my friends home, I like having my mum to myself and to chill out on my own when I want to.” Does she ever wish there was a younger sibling to play with? “I used to ask for a brother or sister when I was younger and although I sometimes wish I had one, most of the time I don’t because a lot of my friends tell me how annoying theirs are,” she says. “Also, if I had a brother or sister I wouldn’t be able to do things I wanted because we’d have to bring them to their things, like play-dates or football classes.” ■ MEDICAL reasons prevented Yvonne McCarthy from having more children but she is determined to treat her only daughter,

Feelgood

Alex, the same as if she had a whole brood to look after. “I am very conscious that Alex is an only child and would have loved to have another but unfortunately due to an early menopause I was unable to,” says Yvonne. “I take special care not to spoil her as I can’t imagine anything worse than a child who wants for nothing. “The only way Alex is spoilt is that she gets all the love and hugs to herself and that’s not a bad thing. I suppose if I had three or four kids then it would be more difficult to spread the love around.” And although her nine-year-old is content with her lot, Yvonne and husband Seamus (both 47) are keen to ensure she is never short of company. “When Alex was around four or five years old, she would often say

that she wanted a sister and I would feel a terrible guilt that she was missing out — but now when I ask her she says, ‘No way, I don’t want to share you with anyone else,’” says the Wicklow woman (the family recently moved to Jamaica where Seamus, an international IT manager, is completing a work project). “The pro about having one child is that they don’t have anyone to argue with — except for you — the con is that sometimes it can seem a bit quiet in the house. However, I compensate for this by trying to have lots of Alex’s friends over to play, I love nothing more than having the house full of kids screaming and having a good time.” Alex agrees that being an only child can be really good fun. “It’s great that there are no other kids to hug my Mum and Dad so it’s

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

NO ARGUMENTS: The McCarthy family home can sometimes be a little bit too quiet, not that Alex is complaining.

HOME BIRD: Michael McCarthy says that he likes having the house to himself and his parents. Picture: Denis Minihane

GREAT JOB: Rebecca Carmody says her parents are doing such good work that even messing can be fun. Picture: Nick Bradshaw

NO WORRIES: Molly O’Connell never has time to worry about the lack of siblings in her life.

nice to have them all to myself. “We are in Jamaica at the moment and we am doing lots of stuff, like swimming, playing swingball and board games and going out for dinner and to the cinema.” And although she sometimes hankers after a sibling, the thought doesn’t take up too much time. “Sometimes I think I would like to have a baby sister to look after but not if she’s really annoying,” she says. “But I do have lots of friends that come over for play dates so I don’t ever get lonely.” ■ GUSSIE Boothman also has one daughter and runs a B&B in Dublin so 12-year-old Molly O’Connell never has time to worry about the lack of siblings in her life. “We live in a rather unconventional set-up as although my husband and I are separated,

There was a time when I would have liked a brother or sister, but I quite like having the house to myself. It is good to be able to spend time with my friends, then come home and just relax either on my own or with my parents

— Michael

McCarthy

Picture:Nick Bradshaw

we work and eat together as a family,” says Gussie, 47. “We run a guest house, so our lives are very busy and there is always something going on so I don’t think Molly spends much time dwelling on being an only child. “I am a strict parent so I would never have reared my daughter to be spoilt and demanding. But I do think that children are a product of their upbringing and it is down to the parent to ensure their children are not ungrateful and lazy — whether there is one child or five in the house.” Though confident that Molly has a secure, happy and balanced upbringing, Gussie is anxious about the future. “I sometimes worry about what will happen when I am old and Molly has no one to help shoulder the responsibility,” she ad-

Feelgood

mits. “But I guess there is no point thinking about that now as she is a happy girl, popular with her friends and secure in her family life.” Molly agrees and says she enjoys the best of both worlds — having a busy social life and space to unwind at home. “It is good having my parents to myself as I get to spend more time with them and we go lots of places together,” she says. “I never really thought about having a brother or sister and I wouldn’t mind either way. But I do like the fact that I have friends to hang out with at school, but when I’m at home, it is very peaceful because there is no brother or sister to get into fights with.” ■ MARY Mulcahy and her husband Leo McCarthy have one son, Michael, who is 11.

She says although she would have liked to have had more children, the love she feels for her son makes up for any feeling of loss. “It would have been nice to have had a brother or sister for Michael but that never happened,” says the Cork mother. “But, on the other side of the coin, we have a very close bond and both Leo and I really enjoy spending time with him.” The 54-year-old believes no matter how many children you have, good parenting is the key to happy children. “We do our very best with our child and would give the same love and discipline if we had other children,” she says. “Whether you have one child or 10 you spread your wings accordingly and gather them all in. It’s a difficult job which requires endless love, care, worry and anxiety but the love given and re-

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

ceived is the best reward.” And despite feeling it might be nice to have a sibling, Michael is not complaining and enjoys the company of his parents. “There was a time when I would have liked a brother or sister, but I quite like having the house to myself,” he says. “It is good to be able to spend time with my friends, then come home and just relax either on my own or with my parents. “And, on that note, I do like having them to myself — my Dad plays the guitar and I play the drums and sing with him and we also play sport together. Then other times I do stuff with my Mum. “I am involved in a lot of activities so I never really have time to worry about not having a sibling — to be quite honest, I’m happy with my lot.”


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4

Family life

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A recent report suggests that children who have no siblings are happier and more content. Arlene Harris speaks to four families who couldn’t agree more, saying they are more than happy with their lot

5

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THE ONLY ONES

F

OR years, people have stood by the clichéd notion that onlychildren are spoilt, lonely and precocious — yet a recent report reveals that many only-children are happier and more content than those with lots of siblings. Gundi Knies from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, who analysed the Understanding Society data, said the findings indicate the fewer siblings children have, the happier they are. We spoke to some only-child families to find out how life is for them. ■ JOYCE and Daithi Carmody are parents to 11-year-old Rebecca. They believe children are a product of how they are reared, regardless of how many are in the family. “I believe that spoilt, lonely and precocious children are not the result of being an only child, but the result of bad parenting — which unfortunately can be the case whether you have one or 10 children,” says Joyce. “I don’t pretend to be a perfect parent but I believe I am a good parent simply because I care enough to put in the effort and constantly consider what the consequences are for Rebecca in each situation.” Joyce, 42, says having her daughter to herself has allowed them to have a very close bond as they spend lots of time together. “Having a single child means you have the time and energy to devote to them,” says the Dublin woman. “We only have to consider her mood and happiness and can give her what she needs without having to be aware of other siblings. But she is far from spoilt, because she is interacting more with adults and has learnt adult behaviour from the start. “But I honestly don’t know how parents with more than one child manage to juggle the various school times, extra-curricular activities and holidays — they are obviously a lot better at it than me,” she laughs. Rebecca thinks her parents are doing a great job. “The best thing about having my mum and dad to myself is that I get all the attention,” she says. “I like playing board games with them and going to the zoo or shopping — even just messing about is good. “And even though it’s fun to bring my friends home, I like having my mum to myself and to chill out on my own when I want to.” Does she ever wish there was a younger sibling to play with? “I used to ask for a brother or sister when I was younger and although I sometimes wish I had one, most of the time I don’t because a lot of my friends tell me how annoying theirs are,” she says. “Also, if I had a brother or sister I wouldn’t be able to do things I wanted because we’d have to bring them to their things, like play-dates or football classes.” ■ MEDICAL reasons prevented Yvonne McCarthy from having more children but she is determined to treat her only daughter,

Feelgood

Alex, the same as if she had a whole brood to look after. “I am very conscious that Alex is an only child and would have loved to have another but unfortunately due to an early menopause I was unable to,” says Yvonne. “I take special care not to spoil her as I can’t imagine anything worse than a child who wants for nothing. “The only way Alex is spoilt is that she gets all the love and hugs to herself and that’s not a bad thing. I suppose if I had three or four kids then it would be more difficult to spread the love around.” And although her nine-year-old is content with her lot, Yvonne and husband Seamus (both 47) are keen to ensure she is never short of company. “When Alex was around four or five years old, she would often say

that she wanted a sister and I would feel a terrible guilt that she was missing out — but now when I ask her she says, ‘No way, I don’t want to share you with anyone else,’” says the Wicklow woman (the family recently moved to Jamaica where Seamus, an international IT manager, is completing a work project). “The pro about having one child is that they don’t have anyone to argue with — except for you — the con is that sometimes it can seem a bit quiet in the house. However, I compensate for this by trying to have lots of Alex’s friends over to play, I love nothing more than having the house full of kids screaming and having a good time.” Alex agrees that being an only child can be really good fun. “It’s great that there are no other kids to hug my Mum and Dad so it’s

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

NO ARGUMENTS: The McCarthy family home can sometimes be a little bit too quiet, not that Alex is complaining.

HOME BIRD: Michael McCarthy says that he likes having the house to himself and his parents. Picture: Denis Minihane

GREAT JOB: Rebecca Carmody says her parents are doing such good work that even messing can be fun. Picture: Nick Bradshaw

NO WORRIES: Molly O’Connell never has time to worry about the lack of siblings in her life.

nice to have them all to myself. “We are in Jamaica at the moment and we am doing lots of stuff, like swimming, playing swingball and board games and going out for dinner and to the cinema.” And although she sometimes hankers after a sibling, the thought doesn’t take up too much time. “Sometimes I think I would like to have a baby sister to look after but not if she’s really annoying,” she says. “But I do have lots of friends that come over for play dates so I don’t ever get lonely.” ■ GUSSIE Boothman also has one daughter and runs a B&B in Dublin so 12-year-old Molly O’Connell never has time to worry about the lack of siblings in her life. “We live in a rather unconventional set-up as although my husband and I are separated,

There was a time when I would have liked a brother or sister, but I quite like having the house to myself. It is good to be able to spend time with my friends, then come home and just relax either on my own or with my parents

— Michael

McCarthy

Picture:Nick Bradshaw

we work and eat together as a family,” says Gussie, 47. “We run a guest house, so our lives are very busy and there is always something going on so I don’t think Molly spends much time dwelling on being an only child. “I am a strict parent so I would never have reared my daughter to be spoilt and demanding. But I do think that children are a product of their upbringing and it is down to the parent to ensure their children are not ungrateful and lazy — whether there is one child or five in the house.” Though confident that Molly has a secure, happy and balanced upbringing, Gussie is anxious about the future. “I sometimes worry about what will happen when I am old and Molly has no one to help shoulder the responsibility,” she ad-

Feelgood

mits. “But I guess there is no point thinking about that now as she is a happy girl, popular with her friends and secure in her family life.” Molly agrees and says she enjoys the best of both worlds — having a busy social life and space to unwind at home. “It is good having my parents to myself as I get to spend more time with them and we go lots of places together,” she says. “I never really thought about having a brother or sister and I wouldn’t mind either way. But I do like the fact that I have friends to hang out with at school, but when I’m at home, it is very peaceful because there is no brother or sister to get into fights with.” ■ MARY Mulcahy and her husband Leo McCarthy have one son, Michael, who is 11.

She says although she would have liked to have had more children, the love she feels for her son makes up for any feeling of loss. “It would have been nice to have had a brother or sister for Michael but that never happened,” says the Cork mother. “But, on the other side of the coin, we have a very close bond and both Leo and I really enjoy spending time with him.” The 54-year-old believes no matter how many children you have, good parenting is the key to happy children. “We do our very best with our child and would give the same love and discipline if we had other children,” she says. “Whether you have one child or 10 you spread your wings accordingly and gather them all in. It’s a difficult job which requires endless love, care, worry and anxiety but the love given and re-

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

ceived is the best reward.” And despite feeling it might be nice to have a sibling, Michael is not complaining and enjoys the company of his parents. “There was a time when I would have liked a brother or sister, but I quite like having the house to myself,” he says. “It is good to be able to spend time with my friends, then come home and just relax either on my own or with my parents. “And, on that note, I do like having them to myself — my Dad plays the guitar and I play the drums and sing with him and we also play sport together. Then other times I do stuff with my Mum. “I am involved in a lot of activities so I never really have time to worry about not having a sibling — to be quite honest, I’m happy with my lot.”


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6 Our elderly

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Northridge House offers a unique education facility on the grounds of St Luke’s Home in Cork, thanks to a generous benefactor, writes Irene Feighan

Tender loving care

W

HILE there is little good to be said about our boom-tobust construction industry, at its dizzy heights it helped to fund some exceptional projects. One such development is Northridge House, a progressive new education centre on the grounds of St Luke’s Home — a residential and day care for the elderly in Cork. The only one of its kind in the country, the centre came into being thanks to a generous bequest from gentleman farmer Sydney Northridge when prices for zoned land were at a record high. The timing couldn’t have been better. The sale of 11 acres of land on the grassy slopes of the Airport Hill in 2006 made national headlines. At the time the Rt Rev Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross and chairman of St Luke’s Home, commented: “We are hugely humbled by this generosity, we dedicate the outcome to him [Mr Northridge] with our thanks.” Five years later, purpose-built Northridge House stands on the grounds of the Mahon nursing home with a mission to “provide high quality care to the older person”. It’s an impressive outcome, and has a reach far beyond the 120 residents in the home’s care. Training courses at the centre are, for the most part, targeted at nursing home professionals countrywide and families of the elderly. The range is as comprehensive as it is varied: from industry-standard first aid to fire safety; manual handling and infection control to interpersonal skills such as managing challenging behaviour, communication skills, stress management, pastoral training, along with art therapy and caring in the home setting. With HIQA training and documentation now mandatory within the nursing home sector, there is a strong, ongoing demand for courses — 18 are listed for November alone. Healthcare professionals make their way to Northridge House from Cork city and county and beyond — coming from as far afield as Clare, Waterford and Tipperary. Most courses have An Bord Altranais category 1 approval and accreditation, where applicable, is being sought from FETAC. Designed by Frank Murphy and Partners architects, at a cost of €2m, the two-storey building, which opened in April, has an ultra modern feel. The exterior has a curved front elevation finished with cedar cladding. Inside the strong design theme continues with curved walls and pools of natural light. All rooms have the latest seminar and conference facilities. The main meeting room on the ground floor can be sectioned off with electric dividing doors to accommodate groups of 20 to 200. Northridge House is a key part of the home’s development plan. “The Northridge legacy was intended to have as much impact as possible on improving elderly care,” says Oonagh O’Driscoll director of fundraising at St Luke’s Home. “The education centre can have a huge impact, transforming many lives through the delivery of practical training for those looking after their loved ones in the home setting.” Ever conscious of its community responsibility, O’Driscoll adds: “It is part of the ethos

Feelgood

HELPING HAND: Bruce Pierce, director of education, and Oonagh O’Driscoll, director of fundraising, St Luke’s Home, Mahon, Cork, outside Northridge House, the new purpose-built education centre on the grounds of the nursing home. Picture: Denis Minihane

of St Luke’s Home to deliver courses to the community as cost effectively as possible as part of our Community Outreach Programme.” Open from morning to night, the centre has a wide training brief. On the morning I visit, the place is buzzing with courses on health and safety and computer training skills. Among the external bodies using Northridge House are: FAS, MS Society, Munster Amputees, Age Action Ireland and Sonas Ireland. Bruce Pierce, director of education at Northridge House, is in the business of change. “We believe that education is transformative and that by investment in education people are changed. Like the ripple of the stone in the pond, if we can give people who work in nursing homes skills, they bring those back and others benefit from them — the residents and their families,” he says. Pierce, a Church of Ireland priest who has worked as a hospital chaplin in Toronto and

in Tallaght Hospital, has first-hand experience of dealing with Alzheimzer’s disease. A close relative has the progressive brain disease. “He has a great family who care for him at home. This experience has given me the opportunity to design courses around the evolving needs of a person who once recognised you but no longer does.” The number of cases of dementia is spiralling, which means there is a compelling need for the home-support programmes offered by Northridge House. More than 44,000 people in Ireland suffer from dementia — by 2020 the number is predicted to reach 104,000 sufferers. “The nursing facilities won’t be there and that’s why there is a huge emphasis on education and on helping families and communities,” says Pierce. “By 2020 we won’t have 100,000 beds. That is how it is, unfortunately. It’s a very stressful place for families.” Northridge House is an important part of

the solution. “You’ve got to be innovative. It’s a mix between who you are as a person and the skills and knowledge you gain,” says Pierce. “You need to keep changing and evolving and with that you can deal with the changing situations in life. This is particularly the case when you are caring for someone who is elderly.” ● For more information see: www.stlukeshome.ie ● A course for families caring for their loved ones in the home setting, will run on Saturday December 3, 9.30am – 4pm. A health and safety consultant and an occupational therapist will discuss: risk assessment for caring in the home; enhancing mobility; fire risk; adapting the home; self-care for carers. Cost: €25 including lunch. For details contact Claire or Bruce at: 021-4359444 or email:claire.coakley@stlukeshome.ie.

The art of expressing feelings through creativity IT’S no surprise to hear there is a waiting list in St Luke’s Home for art therapy classes. Therapist John Reid gives the residents the freedom to paint whatever they want. “The painting is what it is and that’s the value of it,” he says. Loss is a key issue for many elderly people and their experience of losing a house, a garden or the daily routine, can affect their self-confidence, says Reid. “The most important thing is

to build up their confidence. Completing a picture is a great achievement and good for their confidence.” The artwork offers residents a structured way to communicate with each other. All discussions are confidential to the group so people can talk freely. “Through the art and open atmosphere they can often solve problems for themselves. And, when needed, I will give a little advice,” says Reid. The walls of St Luke’s Home are

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

lined with the framed work of the artists in residence. What is most striking is the bold use of colour and simplicity of composition. (For the first time this summer, a selection of the paintings were printed as cards.) “Some haven’t painted before and I’m baffled, amazed by their progress.,” says Reid. “Most will try anything from squiggles to dabs.” ● John Reid is running a course titled Introduction to Art Therapy for healthcare professionals, at Northridge House, Friday, December 2, 9.30am- 4.30pm.


TERAPROOF:User:PAULOKEEFFEDate:23/11/2011Time:16:53:59Edition:25/11/2011FeelgoodXH2511Page:7

Zone:XH

Psychology

XH - V1

The most important aspect for healthcare professionals is their relationship with the patient

Bonding session

The

Feelgood Personals

NEW CAREER/SKILL FOR 2012. Integrated Energy Therapy (I.E.T.)

(Known as ‘Healing with the Energy of Angels’),

Practitioner Training Course, Levels 1 & 2,

December 3rd & 4th

in Co. Clare, 9.30am - 6pm.

December 10th & 11th

Contact: LORI FRASER Tel. 021-4802265 Fax 021-4273846

lori.fraser@examiner.ie

in Cork, 10am - 6pm.

Inspirational and up-lifting weekend to heal, transform and re-new. IET through specific techniques empowers you to let go of ..... anger, anxieties, guilt, grief, hopelessness, exhaustion, isolation, lack of focus, un-fulfilment and stress and re-balances your energy with an abundance of Joy, deep calm and peace, hope, forgiveness, clarity, confidence, motivation and creativity and a renewed sense of purpose and vitality. Places are limited so early bookings are advised.

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Tony Humphreys

M

ANY healthcare professionals have been dragged kicking and screaming to the realisation that what is really effective in helping individuals who are in distress is the relationship between the therapist and the person seeking help. Many mental health professionals have spent many years and a lot of money learning a particular approach to dealing with human misery. They are now devastated and, ironically, disheartened by the research that points out that what they learned is only the vehicle or means to create a relationship, which is where the real therapeutic work happens. The truth is that psychological and psychiatric practices are at root an interpersonal relationship between the professional helper and the person who is in turmoil. What requires examination is that from the moment of conception the individual is in relationship and it is the nature of the early relationships with parents, siblings, childminders, pre-school teachers and other significant adults that will determine the emotional, social, physical, intellectual, sexual, creative and spiritual wellbeing of the child. It is important to realise that each child in a family — in a classroom — has a different mother, father, teacher, etc, because when two individuals interact the relationship is always of a unique nature. Furthermore, the relationship that mother has with her child is determined by the mother’s own relationship with herself. When a mother is in any way disconnected from her real self, this will — unconsciously — affect how she relates to her child. For example, if a mother doubts her own inherent beauty she will unconsciously find it either difficult to affirm her child’s unique physicality or perhaps will be preoccupied with her child’s looks. Similarly, if a father has difficulty with emotional expression of love and tenderness, this unconscious repression of feelings will impact deeply on his offspring’s emotional wellbeing. What is true for mother or father is also true for child-minder, teacher, therapist, priest, doctor and works manager. This reality is also challenging for psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers and other healthcare professionals who need to realise that their own level of personal maturity has a direct impact on the depth of relationship they create with individuals who are troubled and troubling. Another challenge facing all care professionals is that much of how people relate is mediated by unconscious defences which powerfully mask what really needs to be seen. Unconscious defences manifest in many ways, most notably through non-verbal behaviour. If we want to know about unconscious process, we need to become keen observers of another’s physiology and the associated bodily changes. Typical changes that point to unconscious issues are: ■ Change in body posture ■ Shift in eye contact ■ Eye closure ■ Rapid eye blink ■ Swallowing ■ Skin flush ■ Coughing/clearing throat ■ Tears

Feelgood

Unconscious defences manifest in many ways, most notably through non-verbal behaviour. We need to become keen observers of another’s physiology ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Lip movements Gestures Voice inflection Facial expression Sequence, rhythm and pitch of the words uttered Tone of voice All of the above may point to underlying emotional issues that are calling for attention but in ways that are looking to others to notice what dare not be openly and consciously expressed. Much therapy is sought to put emotion out of sight and out of mind, but it is these masked emotions that signal urgent hidden matters that require resolution. For too long there have been therapists who, in their practice, have painfully restrained their own emotions, believing they were doing what was best, but the reality is that their restraint reinforced their clients’ unconscious bottling up of emotions, thereby, blocking therapeutic progress. Many therapists may need to re-learn that ancient emotional systems have a power that is quite independent of cognitive processes. By getting in touch with these hidden feelings, the relationship with the person deepens and begins the healing process. After all, if it is defensive relating that interrupts a child’s emergence of self, surely it is an open, unconditional and empowering relationship that re-awakens the quest for conscious expression of all that one is. ● Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author and speaker. His recent book with co-author Helen Ruddle, Relationship, Relationship, Relationship: The Heart of a Mature Society is relevant to today’s topic

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

7

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TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:23/11/2011Time:16:48:15Edition:25/11/2011FeelgoodXH2511Page:8

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8 Cover story

Getting vital support

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9

As the survival rate for children with congenital heart problems increases, a new clinic which continues support into adulthood is very welcome, Arlene Harris reports

Someone to watch over them O

NE in every hundred people in “My first son Paul was born in the Rotunda Ireland has some form of congeni- in 1985 and doctors knew immediately that he tal heart defect. It is the most had a heart condition,” recalls Suzanne. “He common birth defect in the country and more was sent to Crumlin where they discovered he than 600 children undergo open-heart surgery had a hypoplastic right ventricle. But he was every year. quite well until he was about two years old But while the treatment and care is second when he began to show ongoing signs of to none throughout their childhood, there was tiredness and lack of stamina. So he was reno unit dedicated to their medical requireferred to England for surgery.” ments when they turned 18 — until recently. Sadly, the little boy didn’t survive his operaHeart Children Ireland (HCI) identified the tion and his parents (who also had a new baby, need for a bridge between paediatric and adult Ciaran) were devastated. Their third son Alan care and has been fundraising to help young was born in 1992 and history seemed to be readults learn how to cope with their condition. peating itself as shortly after delivery, doctors The charity raised €50,000 which went todiscovered he had the same condition as Paul. wards the opening of the Maurice Neligan Like his brother before him, Alan experiCongenital Heart Clinic this month at the enced the same pattern — he was well until he Mater Hospital in was about two years old, Dawson Street, then began to deterioDublin. rate until he was put on CEO, Margaret the transplant waiting Rogers of HCI list and finally called for says the facility surgery at Great Orwill make a huge mond Street hospital in difference to London when he was thousands of four years old. young people “It was a very emofrom all over the tional time and I kept country. thinking of Paul and “The Maurice how the whole proceNeligan clinic is dure was identical to so important,” when he had his she says. “Huge surgery,” says Suzanne. advances have “But I knew I had to CORE ISSUE: Suzanne Treacy with her son Alan been made in the who is looking forward to benefiting from the block all negativity out treatment of con- services at the Maurice Neligan Congenital Heart and let myself go on augenital heart de- Clinic. Picture: Maura Hickey. topilot — it was the onfects in the last ly way I could survive decade and now the ordeal.” almost 95% of cases survive well into adultAlan’s surgery was successful and he stayed in hood — but until recently there was nowhere hospital for almost three weeks where he unfor them to go.” derwent physiotherapy and an intense recovery “Heart Children Ireland funded the first programme (his family stayed in a flat nearby). young adult congenital nurse for three years And a month to the day of the successful heart and after that the HSE took over the cost — it transplant, the Treacy’s headed for home. made a big difference to teenagers who now “Leaving the hospital was a very nervehad someone to go to. But there was a huge wracking experience,” admits Suzanne. “There need for a drop-in clinic where they could call was still the real possibility that Alan’s body in for advice if they were feeling under the could reject the new heart and he was on 13 weather, particularly when they first take over different types of medication — so it was quite the management of their condition themselves a challenge. and might simply need reassurance from time But the hospital prepared us well, so it didn’t to time.” take me long to get into the swing of things There are currently 1,400 patients with and the team at Crumlin kept a very close eye CHD at the Mater Hospital and at 19 years of on us and reduced the medication little by litage, Dubliner, Alan Treacy is one of those who tle until we got to the point where he was just will benefit from the new clinic. on the four drugs he is still on today.” Born with a congenital heart defect, Alan Following his operation, Alan recovered well underwent a transplant at just four years of age and over the years has been monitored on a — the exact age his older brother Paul died regular basis by specialists in Crumlin Hospital. from the same condition. He has been in and But, consistent with surgery of this kind, he out of hospital (in Britain and here) his whole will need long term care and possibly further life, but now that he is over 18, is no longer surgery. However the medical team at the eligible for treatment in Crumlin, so has trans- Maurice Neligan Clinic are on hand to keep ferred to the Mater. His mother, Suzanne says up to date with his condition and ensure he the new clinic will really benefit her son and remains in good health. countless others with the same condition. “After his transplant, we were told that his

Feelgood

heart would last about 10 years,” says Suzanne. “It is now almost 16 years down the road but this heart could reject at some time and then he will need another one — but until then we will continue as normal. “We lost one little boy to CHD and during our grief turned to Heart Children Ireland for support. Thankfully Alan made a great recovery, but we continued our involvement with the charity and over the years have been able to help others who are going through the same process we did with our children. “HCI saw the need for a service which would bridge the gap between paediatric and adult care and thankfully raised enough funds to help open the clinic. It is already making a difference to teenagers like Alan and undoubtedly there will be thousands more over the coming years — it will help many young people to deal with what can be a very frightening condition.” Alan, who is studying biotechnology in DCU, agrees. “Thankfully I am on top of my condition and treatment at the moment and, apart from taking medication and going for regular blood tests, I can pretty much live my life as normal,” he says. “But for those with either a worse condition than mine or those who have just finished their care under Crumlin Hospital, the new clinic will be great. “People can get pushed from pillar to post when it comes to making appointments with

Picture: Getty Images

their specialists, so having everything under one roof will make all the difference.” Funding will be an ongoing issue. Margaret Rogers of HCI says while the Maurice Neligan Clinic is hugely beneficial to thousands of people with CHD, funds still need to be raised to ensure its efficiency into the future. “The Mater agreed to give us some space and we raised more funds to pay for nursing staff, but we have no government funding and the unit is creaking under the strain already,” she says. “The survival rate for patients with congenital heart problems is at an all-time high, so as the current young success stories get older, they too will need to use the clinic. “We are currently fighting tooth and nail to try and get funds to keep this much-needed facility in operation, but we need constant financial help. So if anyone would like to donate anything at all to help out this worthy cause, many families would be extremely grateful. Particularly as there is only one specialist — Dr Kevin Walsh, consultant congenital cardiologist — who divides his time between Crumlin and the new clinic, so he is really being stretched at the moment.”

There was a huge need for a clinic where older congenital heart sufferers could call in for advice if they were feeling under the weather, particularly when they first take over the management of their condition themselves and might simply need reassurance FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

Dr Walsh says the addition of this facility is greatly needed. “As a result of medical advances, adults with congenital heart disease are a rapidly expanding population,” he says. “They have specific problems and needs, many of which are currently unmet. We are very grateful to Heart Children Ireland for funding a clinical resource room where patients and their carers to contact and meet our clinical nurse specialists. “This support will help to empower them with information about their condition and lead productive and fulfilling lives. When problems arise they will have a point of contact to allow them to access clinical services in a timely fashion.” ● For more information phone 1850-217017 or visit www.heartchildren.ie.

FACTS AND FIGURES ■ ONE in every hundred Irish people is born with a CHD disorder ■ CHD accounts for the largest number of birth defects in Ireland. ■ Over 600 Irish babies have open-heart surgery each year. ■ Following treatment, there is a 95% survival rate to adulthood. ■ There are currently four children on the waiting list for a donor heart in Ireland. ■ At present Irish heart transplant patients travel to Britain for surgery ■ 1400 CHD patients are currently being cared for at the Mater hospital. ■ 300 patients transfer from Crumlin Hospital to the Mater each year.

LIFE AFFIRMING: Ciara Shinnick says her CHD condition has made her stronger and more confident throughout life. Picture: Maura Hickey.

I’m driven to grab life by both hands A

law student in Maynooth College, Ciara Shinnick, 22, was born with a congenital heart defect and had corrective surgery when she was just four days old. She has had regular check ups with her cardiologist in Crumlin Hospital over the years but now that she is an adult, the Mater Heart Clinic will provide the service she needs. “I had an operation when I was a tiny baby and as it was very successful I have been able to live a relatively normal life,” she says. “I don’t think my life has been hindered in any way — I went to college in Boston last year, I have travelled quite a bit, I play football and classical flute so if anything, I think my CHD has made me stronger and more confident — more

driven to grab life with both hands.” “Although I have spent a lot of my life having check-ups in hospital, I appreciate every day how lucky I am to be here. But I know my limits — I have to be careful when I’m exercising, watch my alcohol intake and keep as healthy as possible. I’m very thankful to be here and if it means that I have to go easy on certain things, then it’s a small price to pay.” Ciara has been a regular visitor to Crumlin Hospital over the past two decades and is now eligible to visit the new drop-in heart clinic at the Mater Hospital. “The opening of the new heart clinic is fantastic — I haven’t had to use it yet, but it is so vital to people with conditions like mine — even for days when you don’t feel your best and you just needs some advice or reassurance.”


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:23/11/2011Time:16:48:15Edition:25/11/2011FeelgoodXH2511Page:8

Zone:XH

8 Cover story

Getting vital support

XH - V1

9

As the survival rate for children with congenital heart problems increases, a new clinic which continues support into adulthood is very welcome, Arlene Harris reports

Someone to watch over them O

NE in every hundred people in “My first son Paul was born in the Rotunda Ireland has some form of congeni- in 1985 and doctors knew immediately that he tal heart defect. It is the most had a heart condition,” recalls Suzanne. “He common birth defect in the country and more was sent to Crumlin where they discovered he than 600 children undergo open-heart surgery had a hypoplastic right ventricle. But he was every year. quite well until he was about two years old But while the treatment and care is second when he began to show ongoing signs of to none throughout their childhood, there was tiredness and lack of stamina. So he was reno unit dedicated to their medical requireferred to England for surgery.” ments when they turned 18 — until recently. Sadly, the little boy didn’t survive his operaHeart Children Ireland (HCI) identified the tion and his parents (who also had a new baby, need for a bridge between paediatric and adult Ciaran) were devastated. Their third son Alan care and has been fundraising to help young was born in 1992 and history seemed to be readults learn how to cope with their condition. peating itself as shortly after delivery, doctors The charity raised €50,000 which went todiscovered he had the same condition as Paul. wards the opening of the Maurice Neligan Like his brother before him, Alan experiCongenital Heart Clinic this month at the enced the same pattern — he was well until he Mater Hospital in was about two years old, Dawson Street, then began to deterioDublin. rate until he was put on CEO, Margaret the transplant waiting Rogers of HCI list and finally called for says the facility surgery at Great Orwill make a huge mond Street hospital in difference to London when he was thousands of four years old. young people “It was a very emofrom all over the tional time and I kept country. thinking of Paul and “The Maurice how the whole proceNeligan clinic is dure was identical to so important,” when he had his she says. “Huge surgery,” says Suzanne. advances have “But I knew I had to CORE ISSUE: Suzanne Treacy with her son Alan been made in the who is looking forward to benefiting from the block all negativity out treatment of con- services at the Maurice Neligan Congenital Heart and let myself go on augenital heart de- Clinic. Picture: Maura Hickey. topilot — it was the onfects in the last ly way I could survive decade and now the ordeal.” almost 95% of cases survive well into adultAlan’s surgery was successful and he stayed in hood — but until recently there was nowhere hospital for almost three weeks where he unfor them to go.” derwent physiotherapy and an intense recovery “Heart Children Ireland funded the first programme (his family stayed in a flat nearby). young adult congenital nurse for three years And a month to the day of the successful heart and after that the HSE took over the cost — it transplant, the Treacy’s headed for home. made a big difference to teenagers who now “Leaving the hospital was a very nervehad someone to go to. But there was a huge wracking experience,” admits Suzanne. “There need for a drop-in clinic where they could call was still the real possibility that Alan’s body in for advice if they were feeling under the could reject the new heart and he was on 13 weather, particularly when they first take over different types of medication — so it was quite the management of their condition themselves a challenge. and might simply need reassurance from time But the hospital prepared us well, so it didn’t to time.” take me long to get into the swing of things There are currently 1,400 patients with and the team at Crumlin kept a very close eye CHD at the Mater Hospital and at 19 years of on us and reduced the medication little by litage, Dubliner, Alan Treacy is one of those who tle until we got to the point where he was just will benefit from the new clinic. on the four drugs he is still on today.” Born with a congenital heart defect, Alan Following his operation, Alan recovered well underwent a transplant at just four years of age and over the years has been monitored on a — the exact age his older brother Paul died regular basis by specialists in Crumlin Hospital. from the same condition. He has been in and But, consistent with surgery of this kind, he out of hospital (in Britain and here) his whole will need long term care and possibly further life, but now that he is over 18, is no longer surgery. However the medical team at the eligible for treatment in Crumlin, so has trans- Maurice Neligan Clinic are on hand to keep ferred to the Mater. His mother, Suzanne says up to date with his condition and ensure he the new clinic will really benefit her son and remains in good health. countless others with the same condition. “After his transplant, we were told that his

Feelgood

heart would last about 10 years,” says Suzanne. “It is now almost 16 years down the road but this heart could reject at some time and then he will need another one — but until then we will continue as normal. “We lost one little boy to CHD and during our grief turned to Heart Children Ireland for support. Thankfully Alan made a great recovery, but we continued our involvement with the charity and over the years have been able to help others who are going through the same process we did with our children. “HCI saw the need for a service which would bridge the gap between paediatric and adult care and thankfully raised enough funds to help open the clinic. It is already making a difference to teenagers like Alan and undoubtedly there will be thousands more over the coming years — it will help many young people to deal with what can be a very frightening condition.” Alan, who is studying biotechnology in DCU, agrees. “Thankfully I am on top of my condition and treatment at the moment and, apart from taking medication and going for regular blood tests, I can pretty much live my life as normal,” he says. “But for those with either a worse condition than mine or those who have just finished their care under Crumlin Hospital, the new clinic will be great. “People can get pushed from pillar to post when it comes to making appointments with

Picture: Getty Images

their specialists, so having everything under one roof will make all the difference.” Funding will be an ongoing issue. Margaret Rogers of HCI says while the Maurice Neligan Clinic is hugely beneficial to thousands of people with CHD, funds still need to be raised to ensure its efficiency into the future. “The Mater agreed to give us some space and we raised more funds to pay for nursing staff, but we have no government funding and the unit is creaking under the strain already,” she says. “The survival rate for patients with congenital heart problems is at an all-time high, so as the current young success stories get older, they too will need to use the clinic. “We are currently fighting tooth and nail to try and get funds to keep this much-needed facility in operation, but we need constant financial help. So if anyone would like to donate anything at all to help out this worthy cause, many families would be extremely grateful. Particularly as there is only one specialist — Dr Kevin Walsh, consultant congenital cardiologist — who divides his time between Crumlin and the new clinic, so he is really being stretched at the moment.”

There was a huge need for a clinic where older congenital heart sufferers could call in for advice if they were feeling under the weather, particularly when they first take over the management of their condition themselves and might simply need reassurance FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

Dr Walsh says the addition of this facility is greatly needed. “As a result of medical advances, adults with congenital heart disease are a rapidly expanding population,” he says. “They have specific problems and needs, many of which are currently unmet. We are very grateful to Heart Children Ireland for funding a clinical resource room where patients and their carers to contact and meet our clinical nurse specialists. “This support will help to empower them with information about their condition and lead productive and fulfilling lives. When problems arise they will have a point of contact to allow them to access clinical services in a timely fashion.” ● For more information phone 1850-217017 or visit www.heartchildren.ie.

FACTS AND FIGURES ■ ONE in every hundred Irish people is born with a CHD disorder ■ CHD accounts for the largest number of birth defects in Ireland. ■ Over 600 Irish babies have open-heart surgery each year. ■ Following treatment, there is a 95% survival rate to adulthood. ■ There are currently four children on the waiting list for a donor heart in Ireland. ■ At present Irish heart transplant patients travel to Britain for surgery ■ 1400 CHD patients are currently being cared for at the Mater hospital. ■ 300 patients transfer from Crumlin Hospital to the Mater each year.

LIFE AFFIRMING: Ciara Shinnick says her CHD condition has made her stronger and more confident throughout life. Picture: Maura Hickey.

I’m driven to grab life by both hands A

law student in Maynooth College, Ciara Shinnick, 22, was born with a congenital heart defect and had corrective surgery when she was just four days old. She has had regular check ups with her cardiologist in Crumlin Hospital over the years but now that she is an adult, the Mater Heart Clinic will provide the service she needs. “I had an operation when I was a tiny baby and as it was very successful I have been able to live a relatively normal life,” she says. “I don’t think my life has been hindered in any way — I went to college in Boston last year, I have travelled quite a bit, I play football and classical flute so if anything, I think my CHD has made me stronger and more confident — more

driven to grab life with both hands.” “Although I have spent a lot of my life having check-ups in hospital, I appreciate every day how lucky I am to be here. But I know my limits — I have to be careful when I’m exercising, watch my alcohol intake and keep as healthy as possible. I’m very thankful to be here and if it means that I have to go easy on certain things, then it’s a small price to pay.” Ciara has been a regular visitor to Crumlin Hospital over the past two decades and is now eligible to visit the new drop-in heart clinic at the Mater Hospital. “The opening of the new heart clinic is fantastic — I haven’t had to use it yet, but it is so vital to people with conditions like mine — even for days when you don’t feel your best and you just needs some advice or reassurance.”


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10 Medical matters

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Q

My friend had a pain in her calf and when she went to the doctor it turned out she had a blood clot. Now, whenever I get any sort of muscle cramp I’m afraid I have one too. Is there any way I can put my mind at rest?

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 473 473 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. I hope your friend has completely recovered by now. When anything potentially serious happens to your friends or family, it’s completely natural to think about your own health. In fact, it’s a good opportunity to do so. Blood clots are not common and most muscle aches and cramp are harmless, and may be caused simply by sitting in one position too long, or exercising without warming up, or after too long a break. Perhaps you need to get your seating position checked at work, or be more strict with yourself about taking regular exercise. The possible causes of blood clots are well known, and there are things you may be able to do which will reduce your risk of developing one. Nearly all of these are also good for your overall health. For example, if you smoke, now is the time to get serious about giving up. There’s lots of local advice and support available; check at your local GP practice or pharmacist. You’ll also save yourself a lot of money. If you need to lose some weight, now is the time to move from thinking to action. If you take a long distance journey there are some well publicised precautions you can take to minimise the risk of a blood clot. For example, keep up a good fluid intake (but not alcohol), exercise your feet and legs and wear pressure stockings during your journey. There are also some medications, such as the pill, which may slightly increase your risk of a blood clot, particularly if you also smoke or are overweight. It is a good idea to regularly review your medication with your GP to make sure you are on the right drug and right dose. If you keep yourself fit and healthy your risk of suffering a blood clot is very low and it’s important not to get over-anxious about your health or worry unnecessarily. Q. I’ve had two miscarriages in a row, and although I know they are common, I am afraid about trying for another baby even though my doctor says my fertility levels are okay. What are the chances of it happening three times in a row?

NEWS UPDATE

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THE over-prescription of antibiotics is causing serious problems and the growing resistance to antibiotics threatens one of the most important advances in medical science in the last 100 years, according to a HSE microbiologist. Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick, said that we need to “wage a war” against this problem, and pointed out that, according to a recent report, Irish antibiotic consumption is mid-to-high compared to other European countries. “We will be back to an era where people become gravely ill or die because we have run out of effective antibiotics,” she said. A new action plan issued by the European Union this week

WAGE WAR: Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick, says that we need to “wage a war” against the overuse of antiobiotics. promised streamlined regulations and other government support for diagnostic and drug development aimed at combating the rise of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

A: I’m really sorry to hear this, and it’s normal for any woman who’s had a miscarriage to feel anxious about trying for another baby. You are right to say miscarriages, particularly in the first three months of a pregnancy, are common, and although statistics can vary, probably about one woman in 36 will have two miscarriages in a row by chance. The important follow-on fact is that you now have approximately a 70% chance of a successful next pregnancy. This assumes you have no underlying medical condition that may increase the risk of you having a miscarriage. It’s reassuring that your doctor says your fertility is normal — I’m assuming this is based on hormonal blood tests you’ve had done. If you do have an underlying health condition, for example, diabetes or thyroid disease, make sure this is as well controlled as possible before trying for another baby. Some hospital specialists have clinics together with an obstetrician to help improve pregnancy outcomes, and you could ask your GP about this. You should also

The report said that drug-resistant bacteria are responsible for 25,000 deaths in Europe each year, costing €1.5 billion. Dr Fitzpatrick said antibiotics had revolutionised the way patients with bacterial infections are treated and have saved many lives, but are now sometimes taken unnecessarily for infections such as colds and flu where they have “absolutely no benefit”. “Using antibiotics when we don’t really need them leads to the person building up a resistance to antibiotics: when they really need an antibiotic for a serious illness, an antibiotic may not work.” Antibiotics are regularly prescribed in Ireland for colds and flu.

check with your GP if you take any regular medication, to make sure you’re on the right dose and the most appropriate drug. Although you may feel anxious, you’ll be reassured to hear there’s almost no evidence that feeling stressed increases your chance of a miscarriage. Neither does having sex, or taking normal exercise. If you smoke, you should stop. Many women cut out alcohol completely when they’re pregnant, although there’s no evidence one or two units a week can do any harm. Check up on dietary advice during pregnancy and take a folic acid preparation once you’ve decided to try again. One thing you can’t affect is your age. Evidence suggests around half of all pregnancies in women over the age of 42 ends in a miscarriage, which does mean half are successful. Most doctors suggest you should wait to have a couple of normal cycles before trying again. This is a very personal decision and you should talk things over with your partner and do what feels right for both of you.

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

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Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

IKE NATO forces, some kids prefer to do battle from a distance, lobbying grenades from behind the safety of their mother’s apron. There is nothing wrong with this. It shows a talent for self preservation that could prove crucial in a world where every man is, to a greater or lesser extent, for himself. Other kids thrive in the thick of it, preferring team effort over solitary endeavour, happiest in an atmosphere of camaraderie and more than willing to put themselves on the line if it means a better outcome all ‘round. The first category of child is unlikely to take with any great gusto to the playing field. If he does show an interest in sport, expect his choice to be something quite civilised, where cauliflower ears never feature and the only scrummaging done is in seeking to retrieve that personalised golf ball from the treacherous depths of a rabbit hole. The second type of child can be a danger to himself and everyone else, dashing into the breach without a backward glance, reckless and feckless as D’Artagnan, subconsciously embracing that infamous motto — “All for One and One for All” — as he dives in headlong for the ball in a sport where team spirit is no less significant than winning. My son has just begun what may or may

not be a sporting career where the emphasis is on friendship and fun and getting stuck in, and where hurleys are swung with such wild abandon that decapitation seems almost inevitable. To be fair, he gave it plenty of welly, scrapping with the best of them, tenaciously chasing down the ball and finally, burying it in the net, albeit at both ends, much to the delight of his opponents. We cheered him anyway. It brought to mind a memory from Thomond Park, over a decade old, when Munster were playing Biarritz in the early years of the Heineken Cup. Peter Clohessy was playing and from all around the grounds came baritone roars of “Come on the Claw’. Suddenly, from the stands behind me came a bird-like sound. “Well done Peter, well done love,” a woman intoned in the kind of accent found at the counter of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Everyone around guffawed, but Mrs Clohessy, proud mother, had the last laugh. There are those who say sport’s a great leveller, a metaphor for life’s more difficult lessons, for feeling the fear and doing it anyway, for learning to lose gracefully, for knowing when to quit and when to stick with it. And then there’s the winning. Nothing can rival that feeling. Taking part is all well and good, but the ultimate buzz is in victory.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

My son has just begun what may or may not be a sporting career where the emphasis is on friendship and fun and where hurleys are swung with such wild abandon that decapitation seems almost inevitable


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HowMale we behave health 11

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Chock-a-blocked Hoarding can be caused by our attachment to the past or by deeper issues, reports Áilín Quinlan

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HE’S NOW a granny — but Jean Marum still has the poncho her mother brought her from the Canaries when she was 13. And then there’s that 1970s Afghan coat she can’t bear to part with, and, well, all those boxes stuffed to bursting with keepsakes. “I’m a terrible hoarder,” confesses the retired hospital chef and mother of five from Naas. “I hoard nearly everything. I can’t let go of them. I’ve an attic full of stuff in boxes.” Over the years, Marum has evolved her own way of clearing the results of her stocking-up mentality. “When things get really bad I call my daughter-in-law, Linda, and I tell her that things are bad and ask her to come over. She goes through all the stuff with me and then she puts things into bin-bags which she loads into her car so that I can’t take them back out again — because I would. She brings them to the second-hand shop. The relief I feel is just tremendous. It’s a weight off my shoulders.” Marum can’t clear out the stuff on her own, she says, because she’d only convince herself that she needed it. She inherited the hoarding instinct from her dad. “It’s definitely a family thing — my mother used to throw out everything — but if I saw something in the bin that I knew my father cherished I’d bring it back in for him.” The 55-year-old has her own opinions as to what’s going on in her subconscious. “I think it’s about not wanting to waste things. However, once I feel someone will look after something or use it, I’m only too happy to share my stuff — I just don’t like the idea of throwing things out.” Statistics show that about one in three people hoard, says consultant psychologist Dr Ian Gargan — though in a small number of cases, hoarding can be extreme. For most of us, though, hoarding is no more than a habit powered by cultural, social or personal reasons. A tendency to hoard can be driven by a cultural predisposition to frugality, and a dislike of being wasteful, says Gargan. “It’s about feeling there is a preciousness to all material goods,” he says, adding, that as a result of the recession, frugality is back. “As a culture we were always a hardworking nation careful with money,” he says, adding that this changed during the boom — and is now changing back. There’s also a social or control element to hoarding. “It’s about maintaining control over your environment and control over prospects about you — you never know when you will need something.” We have more confidence if we feel in control, and for some of us, hoarding meets that need. However, some of us also hoard items which are part of our personal life experience, for example, old college textbooks.

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FULL HOUSE: “I hoard nearly everything. I’ve an attic full of stuff in boxes,” says Jean Marum, a mother of five. Picture: Mary Browne We don’t want to throw them out because we subconsciously believe it would be disrespectful to the past. “It’s about someone’s bond with something which is very personal to them or secretly symbolic of a time in their lives. To throw it away would be upsetting,” says Gargan. And people will often hold on to something about which they feel sentimental, he points out. Mother of three and grandmother to four, Dubliner Helen O’Malley is a true sentimentalist. “I tend to hoard stuff that the grandchildren and kids give me: every card, every little present, every picture they draw. “I have pictures that my adult children drew 20 and 30 years ago in primary school and notes that they gave me.” She stores all these items in a big box, which she occasionally sifts through — sometimes showing her grown-up daughters their old poems — “They’re highly mortified by the poems they wrote.” O’Malley, who is in her early 50s, and works as a personal assistant, has also stored a lot of items which belonged to her late parents. “I have books, a wooden mantelpiece clock my grandfather had that my mum inherited, a white and yellow planter that she used for busy lizzies and the Christmas cactus and a copper Johnny Walker tray my parents had on their mantelpiece. The wardrobes in her Shankill home are crammed and she has up to 100 pairs of shoes. We all keep things about which we feel nostalgic, explains psychologist Patricia Murray. It makes us feel comfortable to surround ourselves with proof of our existence. However, when hoarding gets extreme it can become a problem — according to Gargan,

Change your habits ■ If you haven’t used something in 10 to 12 months ask yourself why you need it, says consultant psychologist Ian Gargan. ■ Sit down with whoever else you share your living space with, and discuss your need to hoard. ■ Agree to dispose of what you don’t need and decide what to do with it — whether to give it to a charity shop or bring it to the dump, for example. ■ Hammer out a compromise by deciding on different categories, for example clothing, academic matter, household items, etc. ■ Come up with a programme of disposal, such as anything you haven’t used in 10 or 12 months. ■ Pack up what you are keeping in an organised fashion and review it on a yearly basis. ■ For the future, apply different timelines to different things — for example you could decide to keep household stuff for one year, tools for one year, or academic materials for five years.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

about 30% of the one-in-three people who hoard become obsessive about it. Compulsive hoarding can be an indication of something else — childhood trauma, low-level depression or obsessive compulsive disorder say the experts. Murray once had a client who continually hoarded magazines and newspapers. This was subconsciously linked to the death of the woman’s mother: “The woman was eight at the time and there was an announcement of the death in the paper. She wasn’t included in the preparations or discussions around the funeral because her father wanted to spare her, but she remembers looking at the death notice and reading it back and then reading other death notices.” The little girl started to collect newspapers so that she could look at other death notices. Eventually she stopped the practice, but later in life when she had anxiety issues about something completely un-related, the hoarding habit came back. “She never connected it with this childhood event but in therapy we bring the person through when it started.” For extreme hoarders, says Murray, there may often be a trauma of some kind in their life — something they may not even be aware of. However, it’s there, lingering in a back room in the mind — and when an anxiety hits later in life, even in a completely different way, the hoarding impulse may once again raise its head. Over the last few years, psychologists are noticing an increasing tendency of people to hoard, she says. “It seems that as anxiety increases in our society, dysfunctional behaviour such as hoarding also seems to be increasing. “For some people, hoarding is a crutch — but it’s a dysfunctional crutch. ”


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Food survey

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LIQUID LUNCH

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OUP is easy to make and much more economical than to buy prepared. I reckon you can make enough soup for three days for the price of one carton for two people. Start with an onion, chopped and slowly cooked in olive oil or butter until wilted. If you don’t eat onions, soften plenty of sliced garlic slowly fried until you can smell it cooking. I often start with a few chopped, streaky rashers or chorizo for a meaty taste, cooking for about three minutes before adding vegetables. Any mix of chopped vegetables works well. These days potatoes, carrot, parsnip, turnip, celeriac, broccoli and celery are widely available and at reasonable prices. Add a few cloves of garlic, maybe some fresh ginger for heat, along with a chopped chilli, even some curry paste. Toss around for a few minutes before adding stock.

Use whatever stock is to hand, the richer the better, but a vegetable stock cube works as long as you don’t add salt later — stock cubes and powders usually have more than enough. I like Marigold organic, gluten-free vegetable bouillon cubes (€3 for eight). Sometimes I add some canned chickpeas, reserving half. After blending or mashing with a fork, the whole chickpeas can then go back in for extra chunkiness. Any kind of

beans can be used in the same way. Add a few raw sausages, black pudding or a few fillets of fish such as economical whiting which will break up as they cook, and you have an easy, nutritious supper. Some breadcrumbs or chunks of bread can be added to thicken too. Add a can of tomatoes if you fancy them, especially when the

soup is running low after a day or two. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each bowlful for great depth of flavour and to make the best of it nutritionally. This could keep students going for a week. While making our own is best, what is on offer readymade is mostly pretty good. Here we give our verdict on eight different brands.

Cully & Sully mushroom, 400g €2

Just Food Cuban Black Bean, 400g €2.69

Blue Haven Vegetable Soup, 500g €2.99

Glorious Skinny Soup New England Butternut Squash, 600g €2.59

TOMATO forms the base for this flavoursome, smooth soup, which has flecks of black bean for visual interest. The celery, carrot and spring onion are cleverly flavoured with olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, fresh coriander and a little raw cane sugar to sweeten the tomatoes. There is good contrast with some spices, chilli and a good bit of fresh ginger, with depth provided by thyme and bayleaf. All ingredients are certified organic and the natural flavours were appreciated by all.

MADE in Kinsale from potatoes, carrot, onion and celery with some cream, garlic and herb extracts, the potato predominates the natural flavour. All tasters liked it and were particularly impressed with the smooth, silky texture. A delicious product.

MADE in Britain from 16% roasted butternut squash,12% potato, some carrot and 4% cream, the spicy taste comes from cumin, smoked paprika and nutmeg and a little mango chutney. The result is a soup that is smooth and thick from the addition of cornflour, with a natural flavour and a nice spicy kick.

WITH just enough bite from 27% fresh, finely chopped mushrooms, this has plenty of natural flavour with a little kick of heat from black pepper. There is also celery and some cream which adds to the smooth texture. This was the favourite of all tasters. Good value. Score: 9

Roz Crowley

WINTER GOODNESS: Soup is an easy and economical option to make at home. Picture: iStock

Score: 8

Score: 7

Score: 8.75

Kelly’s Kitchen Chicken & Vegetable Soup, 500g €1.89, Aldi

Finders Inn Potatoes and Carrot Soup, 520g €2.50

Mark & Spencer Christmas Soup, 600g €3.69

Avonmore Farmers Choice Mixed Vegetable, 400g €1.99

A MIX of 31% vegetables and 5% chicken, has tasty carrot pieces and leeks. There is no hint of chicken in the broth, but flavour is provided by monosodium glutamate which we would prefer not to find in what is otherwise a natural tasting soup. The label warns of possible allergens: celery, egg, soya and mustard. Tasters liked it.

A PLEASANT, almost sweet blend of carrots, potatoes, onions, vegetable stock and seasoning, the texture is smooth and natural with no thickening agent. Tasters agreed there was nothing to complain about, but the flavour wasn’t quite interesting enough to ask for more. Worth trying other flavours in the range, though.

This soup is disappointingly bland for such an interesting idea with a fairly chunky blend of British turkey, pork, sage and onion stuffing, potatoes and parsnips. However, tasters were happy to finish their portions.

Score: 6.75

Score: 6.75

POTATO, carrot, some turnip and parsnip were noticeable, but we saw no sign of the lentils and sweetcorn in this blend. We did notice the peas which seemed dried and reconstituted and so a bit leathery. Modified maize starch is used to thicken it, which is often unnatural, but the texture is saved by a little cream which results in a smooth texture liked by testers.

Score: 6.5

Score: 6

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011


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Male Male health health 13

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OT a lot of people know that RTÉ sports presenter Bill O’Herlihy likes supermarket shopping. It’s just as well, as he spends a lot of time reading food labels — he was first diagnosed a coeliac in 1996 following a trip to Australia. “I was playing golf in Australia and I swallowed a fly!” said Bill. “When I got home, I was unbelievably sick for a long time and lost a lot of weight. I thought I had tropical disease. My doctor said the good news was that it wasn’t tropical news — but I did have coeliac disease. Over the years, my stomach had been sick regularly, but I never realised. And, of course, I was eating all the wrong things.” According to the Coeliac Society of Ireland, coeliac disease causes people to react to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If a gluten-sensitive person eats gluten, the small intestine’s lining becomes damaged, reducing their ability to absorb nutrients. Symptoms include diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss, chronic tiredness, anaemia, chronic mouth ulcers, stomach pain and bloating, indigestion, bone pain, moodiness or depression, flatulence, nausea, vomiting and irritable bowel syndrome. Today, O’Herlihy follows a strict coeliac di-

HELPING HAND: Coeliac and RTÉ sports presenter Bill O’Herlihy was joined by mini baker Daire Lilly Costello from the Coeliac Society of Ireland to help launch a new range of fresh Irish gluten-free bread.

Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN et watching everything he eats closely. When grocery shopping, he makes sure everything he buys is gluten-free. Indeed, he was on hand recently to launch supermarket chain Aldi’s fresh Irish gluten-free bread. According to the supermarket chain, its partnership with Heron Quality Foods makes it the first retailer in Ireland to offer fresh gluten-free bread nationally. “When I was diagnosed, it was very hard to eat a diet that was suitable — I simply couldn’t get the food that I needed,” says O’Herlihy, who’s been RTÉ’s premier sports anchor since the 1970s, with numerous World Cups, athletics championships and European championships behind him. “For most people, fresh bread is something they can easily enjoy as part of their daily diet,” says O’Herlihy. “For the one in every 100 people in Ireland like me who are living with coeliac dis-

ease or gluten intolerance, it’s a product that’s frequently off limits.” Restricted by his gluten-free diet, he misses the taste of fresh bread, having to toast the

Santa dash to raise funds for heart group

Free trail walking and cycling publications

IF you’re in Galway on Sunday don’t be surprised if you see a whole host of Santas dashing past. Irishfit.ie and the Irish Heart Foundation are combining powers on Sunday in Galway and December 11 in Dublin to bring you the Santa Dash. A fundraiser for the Irish Heart Foundation, it’s never too late to contribute as the festive lads and lassies dash past. IrishFit.ie is a Dublin-based specialist running and

THE National Trails Office, part of the Irish Sports Council, has launched two free publications, Discover Trail Walking and Discover Cycling. Trail walking and cycling are particularly good activities for keeping fit because of their low impact, easy accessibility, and whole body health benefits. Also, studies show that just being outdoors can instantly relax and rejuvenate the mind. Discover Trail Walking introduces trails around Ireland, gives tips and

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triathlon shop with a hi-tech human performance lab. The Irish Heart Foundation is the national charity fighting stroke and heart disease. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD) — including coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and other circulatory diseases. Each year, approximately 10,000 Irish people have a stroke and around people 2,000 die because of it.

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CHRISTMAS QUACKER: Since Oxfam launched the Unwrapped range of Christmas gifts, Irish people have given more than 125,000 life-changing gifts to people in need. The 2011 Oxfam Ireland Unwrapped range features four new gifts, bees (€26), two ducks (€27), Fix a well (€28) and a donkey (€47). The range also sees the return of the life-saving mosquito net (€7) gift. Unwrapped gifts can be purchased online from www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped (up to December 15), in your local Oxfam shop, by post and by phone 1850-304055.

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advice to new and experienced walkers, and offers personal experiences from a range of people. There is also a special section dedicated to Slí na Sláinte routes developed by the Irish Heart Foundation. Discover Cycling is ideal for new or ‘lapsed’ cyclists. The guide will help readers to choose a bike, find a suitable cycling route, maintain a bike, stay safe while riding, get fit, and have fun. Contact into@irishsportscouncil.ie They can be downloaded at: www.irishtrails.ie

long-life versions of gluten-free bread that are readily available. Now, he says he is waiting for a tasty gluten-free dessert such as apple tart and cream.

DId you know...

Just 39% of men get 150 minutes of moderate level physical activity each week Source: British Nutrition Foundation

Gifts that make a difference

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HEART WARMING: Warm an Irish heart this Christmas by picking up a hat, scarf and mittens set, hand-knitted by members of the ICA to raise funds to help battle Ireland’s number one killer of women — heart disease. The Warming Irish Hearts gift sets cost €29.95 and are on sale in Kilkenny stores nationwide or see www.kilkennyshop.com. Fifty per cent of proceeds will be donated o the Irish Heart Foundation. Another heart healthy gift this Christmas is the new IHF ‘I love good food’ cookbook, €16.99, and you can also buy fundraising Christmas cards or decorations. See www.irishheart.ie for more details.

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WINTER’S TAIL: A new charity card to help horses in need has been launched this year. The Irish Horse Welfare Trust card is a specially commissioned piece by equestrian artist Tony O’Connor, called a ‘Winter’s Tail’. Cards can be ordered online at www.ihwt.ie and cost €10 for two packs, excluding postage. Many animals are suffering this year, but a €3 donation to the ISPCA will buy a bale of hay and feed a horse for a day. And there are charity cards, calendars at www.ispca.ie

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

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CHILDREN’S GIFT: Until December 23 for every soft toy, children’s book or kid’s meal you buy at IKEA Dublin, the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to UNICEF to help children in need get a quality education. Since 2003, IKEA has raised €35.2 million, which has helped improve the lives of more than eight million children in 45 countries. And you can donate twice! Buy a soft toy like Bjorn the Bear, now just 99c, from IKEA and donate the toy to the Children’s Sunshine Home or Saint Michael’s House. The donation box is located at the exit.


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Dressing up your eyes with falsies has moved from Essex street chic to mainstream

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The news on... CARMEX MOISTURE PLUS HMMM, the age-old problem in winter: the weather dries out your lips and unless you wear lipstick you tend to look drained. Thankfully, a good few lip balm types have brought out rather excellent tinted balms to answer all our dreams, of sorts. Carmex Moisture Plus, €5.99, is just that kind of balm — it’s very hydrating, but gives a good pop of colour in a satin gloss finish. We like it.

Emily O’Sullivan

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’M a strictly mascara kind of girl. It makes me feel good, and I lash it on. I like a good thickening and lengthening mascara — not something that looks particularly natural, but not something that looks like I’ve just walked off the set of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert either. But over the last few weeks, I’ve had an unbelievable amount of false eyelashes land on my desk. A torrent, or whatever the collective noun for a bundle of eyelashes is. A flutter? But through the years of pruning my eyelashes, layering on more and more mascara, I’ve never really experienced any kind of temptation to step into falsies. False eyelashes are nothing new but their renaissance is nothing short of remarkable. But while lashes in the 1960s felt modish and cool, these days you feel like the eyelash trend is more down to Amy Childs, Jordan and the neo-Essex aesthetic that’s started to hit the mainstream in a big way over the last few years. The Essex-girl look with mahogany tans, large boobs and garish make-up is nothing new. And it’s so much of a cliché that it’s starting to look like a parody. But be that as it may, the falsie trend has started to move into the mainstream. It’s gone from “low” fashion (what fashion snobs might deem Essex street chic) to “high” fashion. Take super-edgy London-based designer Gareth Pugh’s new collaboration with MAC. Among the high-lacquered geometrically packaged products you’ll discover a pair of quite unsettling false lashes. In the promotional shot, the model wears them on the bottom lashes — just what you’d expect from a look associated with Pugh. Unless you want to freak out your local publican, it’s probably best if you wear them on the top lashes — but these ones are very directional, so they’re probably most suited to a special occasion. Unlike traditional lashes, they sweep up bluntly to a point, almost in a manta ray style, and are a statement rather than being strictly flattering. Thankfully, there are literally tons of lashes out there to choose from, from full-on showgirl beaded creations to more demure additions, and there are some great ranges out

Take three... EYE CREAMS IT’S all gone horribly wrong around the eye area. Horribly wrong — increasing crow’s feet and dark circles to contend with. Ah well, what are you going to do except lash on an eye cream and hope for the best. And here are three of the latest. Trilogy CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate, €33.15. I love Trilogy products — they’re effective and I use them a lot, but this one has yet to capture my heart. It has a roller-ball application, but I found it very hard to get any of the product out.

EYES HAVE IT: False eyelashes are tricky to get right, but the results can be dramatic.

Picture: iStock

there from Jamaal Just Lashes to basic lashes from Boots. Of course, that still means you have to actually apply the critters. And if you haven’t tried you’re in for a real experience because, for me, applying false eyelashes is the cosmetic equivalent of tying tie your shoe laces with boxing gloves on — not impossible perhaps, but irritatingly fiddly. While I was testing the Gareth Pugh for MAC lashes, I thought it was all going terribly well until I looked in the mirror and found one of them making a break for freedom off the side of my face. Thankfully, as the old adage goes: practice makes perfect. Do a few trials, do a few practice runs and make sure you’ve got it just

right before you try them out for a big night. First up, measure the lash along the length of your natural lash line — you might have to trim it (if you are, always trim from the thick end). Next put on a good bit of black liquid eyeliner and mascara, it helps immeasurably in trying to hide that inevitable line that appears between the falsies and your own eye. And, really, it’s that line that you want to avoid. It can completely spoil your look. Don’t go too heavy on the glue either or it’ll squidge and splodge and make application even harder. Just make sure it’s nicely coated and always wait about 30 seconds before applying and glue and trying to place the lash as close as possible to the eye — the tricky bit.

called “whisper”, but these are not the kind of shy and retiring lashes that you’d expect from such a title — they’re brasher than many of the others on offer. Good for that open, doll-eyed look, if that’s what you’re after.

Boots False Lashes, €6.39. You can’t argue with these ones — they’re quite a nice shape, and they’re very flattering. I like the way that they’re not too over the top, which makes them a good option if you’re a newbie to falsies.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye, €35. I do like this one, but it’s only for night, which means if you’re interested in wearing eye cream during the day then you need to buy another one, which isn’t very cost effective. Oils and botanics give it its effectiveness — it feels lovely going on, and does make the eye area look well hydrated come morning. Priori Advanced AHA Smoothing Eye Serum, €57. Part of a cosmeceutical range new to Ireland, this little serum is a luxury buy. And it’s packed with pricey little products, including an LCA Complex, which is a powerful combination of lactic acid and vitamin antioxidants. It works well for day and night.

STUFF WE LIKE Gareth Pugh for Mac Flight Lash, €22. They are expensive, but these are “special occasion” lashes. Their shape is really unusual and they almost verge on freak-chic territory. Bottom line is that they’re not going to appeal to everyone, nor are they going to be bought by everyone. But if you’re a fan of Gareth Pugh’s edgy style, then could be for you. Ja’maal Just Lashes Whisper, €6.95. They might be

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Ja’maal Just Lashes Bold & Beautiful, €6.95. These are lashes that are not to be messed with. Like something you’d see on a Strictly Come Dancing contestant, they’re unashamedly over the top and unapologetically in your face.

Shu Uemura Twisted Space False Eyelashes at www.spacenk.co.uk, €31.45. Fun and Christmassy — it’s not every day that you’re going to be wearing gold false eyelashes, but these ones are fluttertastic. They’re expensive, but last for about 10

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wears. Just remember to pick the glue off them when you take them off, so that they’re clean and ready for the next application.


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Natural health

Q

CAN you please recommend an effective remedy for nerves and anxiety for my daughter? She is sitting her driving test soon, and I would like to find something that helps to calm her, without making her drowsy or having other side effects.

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. Rhodiola rosea is one of my favourite remedies to help reduce stress and anxiety. It works particularly well in teens and is great for exams and tests as it not only helps to promote a sense of calm, it also helps to increase energy levels and boost the memory. This herb, also known as rose root (the root really does smell faintly of roses), has also been found to work well as an alternative to the anti-depressant herb St John’s Wort. It is an adaptogenic herb, which simply means that it balances out each system, enabling your body to function at peak levels. Lifetime’s Magnolia Rhodiola Complex would be a good choice for your daughter. This supplement combines rhodiola with relora and L-theanine. Relora is an anti-anxiety stress relief extract from the magnolia tree which works by relaxing muscles and nerves while eliminating stress hormones from the body. L-Theanine is one of the neurotransmitters found in the brain, which directly stimulates production of alpha brain waves — producing a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness. Magnolia Rhodiola Complex is available from health stores or online from www.victoriahealth.com.

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Oralmat drops are taken under the tongue, bypassing digestive acids to ensure the potent healing constituents of rye grass remain intact. Your daughter should take one drop last thing at night before going to bed. Oralmat drops cost around €25.80 from www.oralmat.co.uk. To help with the coughs and colds, try blackcurrant (ribes nigrum), since it not only has an affinity with the respiratory system, it also works to regulate the immune system, increasing resistance to colds and flu. Because your daughter’s immune system is likely to be over-reactive this balancing adaptogenic herb is far better than remedies which “boost” immunity. Use fresh blackcurrants, blackcurrant extract, blackcurrant leaves, or blackcurrant oil (which is also anti-inflammatory due to containing significant amounts of gamma linoleic acid/GLA). Q. I have been recently diagnosed with genital warts. Do you know of a natural treatment? A. Clinical research has shown that a combination of the Asian mushroom, coriolus versicolor, and folic acid will Picture: Getty images enable the immune system to eliminate HPV (Human Papilloma Virus, a strain of which is responsible for genital warts) including the virulent strain causing cervical cancer. Coriolus versicolor contains an immune-stimulating substance called polysaccharide krestin (PSK), which has also been shown in several studies to support cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Folic acid deficiency appears to increase the chances of contracting HPV and worsen existing symptoms. A recent study found that sufficient levels of vitamin B12 helped to protect against HPV development, so I would suggest that you also take a good B-complex as the B vitamins work synergissince their immune systems are already overtically. burdened. One remedy well worth looking Genital warts can be transmitted by oral, into is Oralmat, a natural rye-grass supplevaginal or anal sex. More than 60% of people ment which has been shown in clinical trials who have sexual contact with an infected to reduce the incidence and severity of asthpartner will develop genital warts. While ma attacks in people of all ages. they are highly contagious, it is common for Rye grass extract works by boosting the genital HPV infections to show no obvious immune system’s response to allergens, irrisymptoms — although it is important to tants, viruses, and bacteria — making it note that an infected person who shows no highly effective in treating not only asthma, symptoms can still spread the virus to others. but a number of other respiratory and inIt is best to purchase Coriolus tablets in flammatory conditions such as hay fever, al500mg strength and take two tablets, three lergies, colds, flu, sore throats, rhinitis and sitimes daily with food for two weeks, and nusitis. then reducing the dosage to one tablet, three Rye grass also contains tryptophan, which times daily until the warts are gone. The helps to create a state of calm and relaxation, dosage for folic acid is 400 micrograms daily. along with immune-boosting zinc, and magCoriolus, folic acid and B-complex should nesium to relax the muscle tissues. be readily available in all good health stores.

My daughter is doing her driving test and needs something to help her with her anxiety

Q. My daughter is four years old and suffers from asthma. She also gets coughs and colds very easily, and when this happens her inhaler doesn’t seem to work as well as it should. Could you please recommend a natural remedy to help with coughs and colds, as I feel they are triggering worse asthma attacks than usual? A. The lungs at this age are growing at an incredible rate. From around five years of age through to puberty, they increase around three-fold in weight. This means that it is important to check that the inhaler, along with any other aids that your daughter requires for her asthma, are updated on a regular basis so that it is still appropriate to her age and relative size. You are quite right, in that individuals who suffer from conditions such as this do tend to succumb to coughs, colds and flu more easily

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

Megan puts the spotlight on:

A

RECENT study (published last month in the Journal of Pediatrics) has linked exposure to high levels of bisphenol A (BPA) absorbed in utero to emotional and behavioural issues in young girls. The study included 244 mothers, whose urine was tested throughout pregnancy and again shortly after the birth of their daughters. The children were also urine-tested for the presence of BPA at 12 months, two years and three years of age. It was found that over 96% of the children had BPA present in their urine, with 85% of the mothers’ urine testing positive for BPA. The higher the level of BPA in the mother’s urine during

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pregnancy the more likely the child was to have high anxiety levels, behavioural problems, hyperactivity and emotional instability during early childhood. Joe Braun, a research fellow in Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, says of the study: “These results suggest that the girls may be more vulnerable to the effects of gestational BPA exposures and there is this unique window of brain development that is susceptible to BPA exposures.” Bisphenol A is an oestrogenic-chemical used in poly-

Chemical link to girls’ behavioural issues carbonate, epoxy resin (including some ‘white’ fillings), electronic items, thermal till receipts, plastic bottles, baby toys and bottles, and the linings of food tins. The action of this contaminant, which is believed to leech out of the plastic, was first discovered in the early 1990s when men working in the industry producing these bottles began to develop prominent breast tissue. Dr Fredrick vom Saal, an

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LID OFF: Expert advice is not to eat tinned tomatoes. Picture:Getty Images

endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A (BPA), refuses to eat tinned tomatoes in particular, because the acidity from tomatoes enables the BPA to be absorbed easily into this food. The solution? Avoid hard, clear plastics for food or drink containers, save up your glass jars, and buy preserved food in glass jars. People are beginning to team up with like-minded friends to bring back the art of making their own preserved fruit and vegetables — buying in bulk at farmers markets, or using up garden excesses and then sharing within the group ensures that everyone is well stocked with a variety of homemade pickles, preserves, and jams.


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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011

Feelgood 25-11-2011  

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