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Feelgood

Friday, October 7, 2011

Get real

We challenge the portrayal of health issues faced by Desperate Housewives: 8, 9

IN THE RUNNING

Our presidential candidates on keeping ďŹ t and stress free: 4, 5

Picture: Getty Images

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POSITIVE ACTION

Exercise proves vital for breast cancer survivor: 11

FREE BITES

Top tips for vitamin-rich windfall apples: 12


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2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ CANCER TALK: In the run-up to Breast Health Day on October 15, Europa Donna Ireland, the Irish Breast Cancer Campaign, has organised a free talk on exercise during and after breast cancer on Tuesday. Sine Vasquez, a clinical specialist and physiotherapist at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital will be the expert speaker at Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 at 7pm. For further information, call 087-6383609 or see www.europadonnaireland.ie. ■ DOG WALK: Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is asking communities all over Ireland to participate in their first nationwide Family Dog Walk at 3pm tomorrow. Backed by soccer legend Roy Keane and RTÉ 2fm DJ Hector Ó hEochagáin, the organisation hopes to raise €250,000 — for visually impaired people, and families of children with autism — through the sale of high-visibility wrist and ankle bands, which are available in pharmacies, vets and retail outlets nationwide for €5. More than 30 walks are taking place across the country. A full list is available on www.guidedogs.ie or call 1850-506300. ■ CHARITY ZUMBA: A Zumbathon for Irish charity VITA (www.vita.ie) in aid of the crisis in Ethiopia is being organised by Salsa Everybody and 10 Zumba fitness instructors from tomorrow at St Finbarr’s GAA and Hurling Club, Togher, Cork from 3pm to 7pm. Entry is €15 which includes the chance to win raffle prizes. For more information, contact Derek on 086-1900397. ■ REMEMBRANCE SERVICE: Cork University Maternity Hospital will hold its annual Service of Remembrance on Friday, October 14, at 7.30pm in St Joseph’s Church (SMA), Wilton, for anyone who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss. During the service there will be an opportunity to light a candle in memory of each baby and write an inscription in the Book of Remembrance. Light refreshments will be served afterwards. If further information is needed, please contact Daniel Nuzum, at 021-4920500. ■ ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE: Irish Alexander teachers will be running free talks and workshops during International Alexander Technique Awareness Week which runs from tomorrow until October 15. Anne Battye, one of the world’s most experienced Alexander teachers, will be giving a free talk in Galway on Wednesday at 8pm. Call 091-555800 for details. Rosemary Moone will give a workshop for singers in Ballinlough, Cork on Saturday October 15 at 11am. Call 021-4311411 to book a place. A full list of events is available on www.isatt.ie. HEART CLINIC: The Irish Heart Foundation will hold a free blood pressure and cholesterol testing clinic at the Community Centre, Ballinlough, Cork, on Wednesday October 12 from 10.30am to 12pm. For further details call 021-4505822 or if you have questions about stroke or heart disease you can contact their helpline on 1890-432787. ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to koreilly8@gmail.com

FeelgoodMag

Feelgood

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With 10 Irish toddlers strangled by window blind cords, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks. Arlene Harris reports

On the lookout S

INCE 1998, ten Irish toddlers have been strangled by window blind cords. The most recent, Dean Patrick Regan Russell, whose inquest was heard last month, once again highlighted the need for stricter safety regulations and a ban on certain types of corded blinds. But while retail outlets are obliged to comply with European safety standards, many shops are passing off unsafe merchandise to unsuspecting parents. Aaron O’Connell spent 25 years in the industry and founded a website — windowblindsafety.ie — offering vital information on all the latest safety regulations. “Research has shown that most accidental deaths involving blinds happen in bedrooms to children between 16 and 36 months. Over half of these accidents occur when the child is around 23 months,” he says. These facts are shocking, but O’Connell says if the Government works in accordance with the manufacturers to make the product safer and enlighten parents to potential dangers, many of these tragic accidents could be avoided. Before buying blinds, parents should ask the following questions of the retailer: ■ Does the product meet the safety requirement of EN13120? ■ Is a warning notice attached? ■ Is documentation relating to safe installation, use and maintenance provided? ■ Is a safety device provided and can it be fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s

BE AWARE: The inner cords on Venetian blinds are a risk to children. Stricter safety regulations can reduce the danger. Picture: Getty Images

instructions? ■ Can the supplier demonstrate that the safety device? Peter O’Reilly of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) says the safety standards concerning blinds are being updated to ensure stricter safety measures. “The NSAI has established a standards consultative committee and has encouraged our European partners to revise the standard to include all types of blinds,” he says. “In the interim we have drafted an Irish Standard, (I.S. 386) for the protection of children from strangulation and asphyxiation by corded window products and in conjunction with the National Consumer Agency, have informed manufacturers, importers and suppliers of the new requirements of the

standard.” Making existing blinds safe: ■ Keep all cords and chains out of reach of children — ending at least 1.5m above the ground ■ Install relevant safety devices ■ Don’t tie cords together ■ Move furniture away from windows with cord or chain operated blinds ■ The inner cords in Venetian and pleated blinds and the rear cords in Roman blinds are also a strangulation risk so fit appropriate safety devices For more advice call 1890-432432 or 01-4025555, email; info@nca.ie or visit www.consumerconnect.ie and www.windowblindsafety.ie.

HEALTH NOTES OCTOBER is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today is Pink Ribbon Day, a day when the nation is asked to go pink to raise funds for Action Breast Cancer, a programme of the Irish Cancer Society. There will be street sellers selling pink ribbons and merchandise and if you would like to get involved, find out more about the range of Pink Ribbon products available or organise a Pink event, today or during this month, call 1850-606060 or visit www.cancer.ie.

their Wellness Workshops, free of charge, for students at all three colleges in the coming weeks. The workshops will be organised through each college, but anyone who is interested can register with SOS by calling Louise on 1890-577577; www.suicideorsurvive.ie.

The theme of National Breastfeeding Week, (October 1 to 7) is Breastfeeding Friendly, which aims to portray breastfeeding when out and about as a normal, natural part of daily life. For more information on breastfeeding and support services in your area log on to www.breastfeeding.ie or call the HSE Infoline 1850 24 1850.

Centra has teamed up with the Irish Cancer Society again for the Get the Girls ‘Round campaign. Whether it’s for a night in with your mates to watch X-Factor, or a party in your local GAA Club, participants receive a pack containing a booklet with tips for a great girls night in and vouchers for Centra goodies. Guests are asked to donate some of the money they would have spent on a night out. You can also register by visiting www.facebook.com/getthegirlsround. World Mental Health Day takes place on Monday next. To raise awareness Suicide or Survive (SOS) is collaborating with See Change and First Fortnight to host a special edit of I See a Darkness — an RTE documentary featuring Caroline McGuigan, CEO of SOS, for the students at UCD (October 10), Galway-Mayo IT (October 11) and Waterford IT (October 12). SOS will also run

www.irishexaminer.com www.irishexaminer.com

PINK POWER: TV3 presenter Karen Koster, left, with Dr Bernadette Carr, medical director, VHI Healthcare, right, and Pauline Canway, breast cancer survivor, who donned pink to support VHI’s SendaRibbon.ie as part of the Irish Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

www.irishexaminer.com feelgood@examiner.ie

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

Live Advisor is a new instant chat information service for Citizens Information Phone Service, designed for people with hearing and speech difficulties. The one-to-one service is free and confidential, offering information on a wide range of social and civil rights and entitlements. The user-friendly Live Advisor service, is available between 9am and 5pm and can be accessed by logging on to www.ciboard.ie/liveadvisor. For further information on the Live Advisor facilities go to www.ciboard.ie/liveadvisor.

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215


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In Profile

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THE SHAPE I'M IN

Aoibhín Garrihy

Fair dues to her F

AIR CITY star Aoibhín Garrihy is off to Calcutta at the end of this month to build a school for 150 children. “I’m one of a group of 15 and we’re going with the charity, Lotus Child. We’ll be laying blocks and cement-mixing,” says the 24-year-old who plays Neasa Dillon in the RTÉ soap. On November 6, the group leaves Calcutta for Kathmandu, where they’ll spend a night before trekking from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. “It will take us 12 days,” says the Castleknock girl, whose training programme includes a bit of hill-walking to get her used to higher altitudes. Aoibhín organised a fashion show in Spanish Point, Co Clare, last month and raised €15,000 for Lotus Child. Although she still lives in the family home in Castle-

knock — she is one of three sisters — her heart is very much in Clare. Her parents come from there and so does her boyfriend, whom she’s been seeing for just over a year — about the same time she’s been in Fair City. “I like playing Neasa. She’s not the troublemaker or minx she was. She has calmed down a bit and is more grounded. I enjoy this more likeable side of her.” ■ Visit www.lotuschild.ie.

What shape are you in? I’m not a fitness freak and I’m lucky in that I don’t need to diet. Cardiovascular would be my main focus — I go for runs and I enjoy the feelgood factor after climbing a hill or going out kayaking. Do you have any health concerns? There aren’t any major health isues in our family. My parents are very healthy and fit — they play tennis. But when I get tired and run down I tend to get mouth ulcers and colds. What are your healthiest eating habits? Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I love porridge and fruit. I have a secret granola recipe that I got from my Auntie Caroline. It’s just delicious — all nuts and seeds baked in coconut oil. I love it with some natural yoghurt and strawberries. It’s all downhill from there, I’m afraid. What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I’m a chocaholic. When I stop for petrol or to buy a paper, I just grab a bar of chocolate. I have it around the middle of the day as a snack. What would keep you awake at night? Organising a massive fundraiser like the fashion show was a huge undertaking. I definitely had sleepless nights in the run-up to the event. As an actor too, you’re always wondering if this contract is going to be renewed, or how am I going to audition for it. You’re always thinking about the next gig. You learn to deal with it though.

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How do you relax? By coming down to Clare. It’s very different from the hustle and bustle of city life and so relaxing to be by the sea overlooking the Aran Islands. People are so laid back and friendly. Our family also loves getting together for a chat and catching up with what each other is doing.

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Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? My favourite actors — Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett.

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When did you last cry? My colleagues from Fair City came down to support the fashion show. I cried that night when I was explaining how much it meant to me that they did that. What would you change about your appearance? Dieting isn’t something I stress over but I’d like to lose a few pounds. What trait do you least like in others? Arrogance. What trait do you least like in yourself? I get cranky when I’m stressed and I lash out at those closest to me. What’s your favourite smell? Lavender — I love tea tree as well. Do you pray? Yes, especially if I’m worried about something. I wouldn’t say I pray every night but I definitely do on a regular basis.

FIT TO GO: Fair City actress Aoibhín Garrihy is off to Calcutta to help build a school. Picture: Nick Bradshaw

Feelgood

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What would cheer up your day? Being with my boyfriend. Helen O’Callaghan

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

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As the race for the Áras gathers pace, Arlene Harris meets the candidates to

Ready for the job

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find out what shape they’re in as they bid to lead the nation for the next seven years

Fit to be our president

I

T’S been an extraordinary race from the start and the scramble for the Presidential title has been nothing if not interesting. But with only weeks to go, the candidates are travelling the length and breadth of the country as they make the public aware of their leadership qualities. But what about their health — shouldn’t we also ensure that our new diplomatic leader looks after body and mind as they take on the arduous task of representing our nation into the future?

DANA ROSEMARY SCALLON, 60

I

’VE been struggling to lose weight for a while now as I know I weigh too much for my height and frame. But I’m not a runner so I try to walk as much as I can and my daughters gave me an exercise app for my iPhone which is also quite motivating. I started off with great enthusiasm and was very diligent for a while, but then life got in the way. Mind you, I’d say I will be doing a lot of walking over the next couple of weeks. With weight loss in mind, I also try to eat healthily. I start each day with either a bowl of porridge or a poached egg with bacon. I am trying to avoid bread as it can be bloating. Desserts are my downfall so if I am really tempted to have something sweet, I endeavour to make it a yoghurt or some crushed meringue with fresh fruit. On the subject of sweet things, there is no chocolate that I don’t like — one square is detrimental as I will have to have the whole bar, so I am trying to avoid it altogether. When I’m trying to unwind from the stresses of everyday life (particularly during this campaign) I practice a trick I learnt a long time ago, which is to relax the hands and breathe deeply — this releases a lot of pent up tension in the body. And aside from that, there is nothing I like more than hanging out with my kids — just being with them and catching up with their lives takes me away from everything else. And if we happen to be watching a DVD of Pride and Prejudice, that would make it even more perfect.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Michael D Higgins gives the thumbs up on Grafton Street, Dublin, this week. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins MICHAEL D HIGGINS, 70

I

CODDING AROUND: Senator David Norris discusses fishy business with Pat O Connell, while canvassing in The English Market, in Cork city earlier this week. Picture: Kenneth O’Halloran DAVID NORRIS, 67

I

AM very active. I exercise every day — either walking, swimming or working out in my mini-gym at home, which happens to be up five flights of stairs. I may not be 17 any more, but I am in fine fettle. Having said that, I do have a slight eye problem which is age related — but I can probably see better than a lot of politicians. I love food and eat very well. Most mornings, I will start the day with a pear, because

MARTIN MCGUINNESS, 61

I

SO SWEET: Dana Rosemary Scallon battles with her sweet tooth, finding it difficult to resist desserts. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins

Feelgood

DON’T have any health concerns whatsoever. I walk a lot with my wife and I love fly fishing which people might think is a stationary activity but it is not. You have to do a lot of walking on riverbanks and through heather so it’s very active. I am conscious of having a proper diet as I think it is important. Plain home cooking is the food I like best. I am a potato man, rather than a pasta man and I love cabbage, spuds and a nice bit of bacon. I don’t really have any guilty pleasures, except maybe the odd glass of red wine with a meal, but I only have that about every three months. I don’t smoke or eat much chocolate but I do

it’s fresh and nice, then I will have some cereal which I will put freshly-squeezed orange juice over instead of milk. I eat a lot of fish and particularly love seafood — Atlantic prawns, lobster, oysters and scallops are just marvellous. I also enjoy a glass or two of red wine, or sometimes rosé, with a meal and while I’m not particularly interested in chocolate — apart from Easter eggs — I do like old fashioned sweets like Clove Rock. And after a stressful day, I like to listen to

like a dessert after my dinner, particularly rhubarb tart and custard. I am well able to cope with stress and I wind down by spending time with my family, playing football with my grandsons and, of course, I love going to GAA matches. I also read quite a bit — How Green was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn is a great favourite of mine. I like listening to Mná na hÉireann, especially the version by Kate Bush and my favourite film would probably be Saving Private Ryan — it’s an extraordinary film which depicts the horrors of war.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER: Sinn Féin Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness gets a kiss while canvassing on Meath Street in Dublin. Picture: Leon Farrell

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

Lyric FM or play a few tunes on the piano. I also have a passion for reading and have a library at home with over 10,000 books in it. I go to the cinema occasionally but don’t really like the violence and sleaze of many modern films — I would much rather an old fashioned gangster movie or an afternoon in front of Harry Potter or Nanny McPhee. Every Sunday I attend church at St Patrick’s Cathedral — I find this very relaxing and a peaceful way to end the week.

ON THE BALL: Sean Gallagher shows his skills on the field at the annual charity soccer match between the TDs and the ushers recently in Trinity College. Picture: Paul Sharp/Sharppix SEAN GALLAGHER, 49

F

ITNESS is a big part of my life because after I was injured in a car accident in 1983, I vowed to get in shape again and took up running, judo and karate. I have cataracts so my sight isn’t great. But my visual impairment hasn’t stopped me from doing anything — I try to focus on abilities rather than disabilities. I also have psoriasis which can be distressing as it flares up when I’m stressed or very busy. But I have a good diet which has improved a lot since I married my lovely wife Trish last year. Typically, I would have porridge in the morning, a quick lunch on the go and a healthy evening meal of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes. I also do a lot of walking, which helps as a stress buster and as a means of keeping fit — it’s a real all-rounder which benefits body, mind and soul. I’m not really into alcohol, but have inherited the family sweet tooth. My mother grew up in a sweet shop in Tullamore so she has passed on the love of old-style sweets (such as Bull’s Eyes) to me. And my favourite way to unwind is watching TV or socialising with Trish and friends.

Feelgood

MUM’S THE WORD: Mary Davis gets support on the campaign trail from her daughters Emma, 24, and Rebecca, 26. Picture: Jason Clarke MARY DAVIS, 57

I

’m in very good health and have never been in hospital apart from when I had my four children, but have regular check ups just to make sure everything is working as it should be. I try to run four or five times a week for between three to five miles. I have a very good diet and love greens. We live close to Howth so are lucky to have access to lovely fresh fish. My husband does a really mean fish pie and I like most foods apart from tinned tuna and raw onion. I also eat a lot of berries and start every weekend with a huge smoothie. I used to be GAY MITCHELL, 60

I

’M quite fit and take care not to get out of shape. When I feel my shirt collar getting tighter I know it is time to act so my weight remains fairly constant. I walk as much as possible and try to get the odd game of golf in. I don’t really have any health concerns but have lost two brothers and a sister to cancer (in their 40s) and my father died of cancer when I was five, so I get myself checked regularly. Norma does the cooking at home and we have a varied diet. But when we eat out I prefer Italian or Japanese. In Brussels I end up eating almost anything. I like lamb, most fish and salads. But I do have a sweet tooth and have a weakness for apple tart and ice-cream. I like to wind down by meeting friends

great for eating yoghurt but now that I’m on the road a lot it is more difficult. In the winter I eat a lot of porridge. My guilty pleasure is Sticky Toffee Pudding. I could go without starter and main course as long as I had my dessert, I absolutely adore it. And aside from that, I always have a stash of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in the fridge. I also love a glass of red wine and find it is a great stress buster. A long bath is also a great way to unwind after a busy day. Equally, I love reading and listen to a whole range of music from the Beatles and Oasis to U2 and Imelda May, and a little bit of classical when I’m preparing a meal. for a laugh, or watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot — I have the series on DVD. I also like a quiet glass of wine with Norma and I read a lot, especially recent European history. Musically, I am a Sinatra fan and my second collection of DVDs is of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. I was introduced to G&S by my local Boys’ Club when I was a young teenager. My motto for living a healthy life would be: take everything in moderation, including moderation.

MODERATE MAN: Gay Mitchell and his wife Norma at the national launch of his presidential campaign at the Science Gallery in Dublin’s city centre. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

DON’T have any health concerns at all. I’m in great shape and even when I had an operation on my kneecap recently, I was back in the Dáil within a fortnight. I like to walk but the main focus of my fitness is yoga. It’s great for flexibility, especially when you are sitting down or in a car for a long time. So I tend to do a few basic stretches every day and have a more serious session once a week. I have a healthy diet and in the last few years, have cut down on meat and eat a lot more fish instead. I don’t eat bread or potatoes very often and I am a big fan of vegetables and fruit. But desserts are my weakness and I do like a little chocolate now and then. However, I don’t feel guilty for eating them — I see it instead as an occasional lapse. And I don’t really go in for alcohol at all, I find that the result of drinking is not worth the feeling the following day. When I want to relax, I listen to music — I particularly like the cello and violin, both are very soothing. I also like to read and have an interest in academic literature, I would usually lose myself in a book before falling asleep every evening. I believe that staying interested in a number of different areas helps to create and maintain energy and vitality.


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:05/10/2011Time:15:44:06Edition:07/10/2011FeelgoodXH0710Page:4

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As the race for the Áras gathers pace, Arlene Harris meets the candidates to

Ready for the job

XH - V1

5

find out what shape they’re in as they bid to lead the nation for the next seven years

Fit to be our president

I

T’S been an extraordinary race from the start and the scramble for the Presidential title has been nothing if not interesting. But with only weeks to go, the candidates are travelling the length and breadth of the country as they make the public aware of their leadership qualities. But what about their health — shouldn’t we also ensure that our new diplomatic leader looks after body and mind as they take on the arduous task of representing our nation into the future?

DANA ROSEMARY SCALLON, 60

I

’VE been struggling to lose weight for a while now as I know I weigh too much for my height and frame. But I’m not a runner so I try to walk as much as I can and my daughters gave me an exercise app for my iPhone which is also quite motivating. I started off with great enthusiasm and was very diligent for a while, but then life got in the way. Mind you, I’d say I will be doing a lot of walking over the next couple of weeks. With weight loss in mind, I also try to eat healthily. I start each day with either a bowl of porridge or a poached egg with bacon. I am trying to avoid bread as it can be bloating. Desserts are my downfall so if I am really tempted to have something sweet, I endeavour to make it a yoghurt or some crushed meringue with fresh fruit. On the subject of sweet things, there is no chocolate that I don’t like — one square is detrimental as I will have to have the whole bar, so I am trying to avoid it altogether. When I’m trying to unwind from the stresses of everyday life (particularly during this campaign) I practice a trick I learnt a long time ago, which is to relax the hands and breathe deeply — this releases a lot of pent up tension in the body. And aside from that, there is nothing I like more than hanging out with my kids — just being with them and catching up with their lives takes me away from everything else. And if we happen to be watching a DVD of Pride and Prejudice, that would make it even more perfect.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Michael D Higgins gives the thumbs up on Grafton Street, Dublin, this week. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins MICHAEL D HIGGINS, 70

I

CODDING AROUND: Senator David Norris discusses fishy business with Pat O Connell, while canvassing in The English Market, in Cork city earlier this week. Picture: Kenneth O’Halloran DAVID NORRIS, 67

I

AM very active. I exercise every day — either walking, swimming or working out in my mini-gym at home, which happens to be up five flights of stairs. I may not be 17 any more, but I am in fine fettle. Having said that, I do have a slight eye problem which is age related — but I can probably see better than a lot of politicians. I love food and eat very well. Most mornings, I will start the day with a pear, because

MARTIN MCGUINNESS, 61

I

SO SWEET: Dana Rosemary Scallon battles with her sweet tooth, finding it difficult to resist desserts. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins

Feelgood

DON’T have any health concerns whatsoever. I walk a lot with my wife and I love fly fishing which people might think is a stationary activity but it is not. You have to do a lot of walking on riverbanks and through heather so it’s very active. I am conscious of having a proper diet as I think it is important. Plain home cooking is the food I like best. I am a potato man, rather than a pasta man and I love cabbage, spuds and a nice bit of bacon. I don’t really have any guilty pleasures, except maybe the odd glass of red wine with a meal, but I only have that about every three months. I don’t smoke or eat much chocolate but I do

it’s fresh and nice, then I will have some cereal which I will put freshly-squeezed orange juice over instead of milk. I eat a lot of fish and particularly love seafood — Atlantic prawns, lobster, oysters and scallops are just marvellous. I also enjoy a glass or two of red wine, or sometimes rosé, with a meal and while I’m not particularly interested in chocolate — apart from Easter eggs — I do like old fashioned sweets like Clove Rock. And after a stressful day, I like to listen to

like a dessert after my dinner, particularly rhubarb tart and custard. I am well able to cope with stress and I wind down by spending time with my family, playing football with my grandsons and, of course, I love going to GAA matches. I also read quite a bit — How Green was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn is a great favourite of mine. I like listening to Mná na hÉireann, especially the version by Kate Bush and my favourite film would probably be Saving Private Ryan — it’s an extraordinary film which depicts the horrors of war.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER: Sinn Féin Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness gets a kiss while canvassing on Meath Street in Dublin. Picture: Leon Farrell

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

Lyric FM or play a few tunes on the piano. I also have a passion for reading and have a library at home with over 10,000 books in it. I go to the cinema occasionally but don’t really like the violence and sleaze of many modern films — I would much rather an old fashioned gangster movie or an afternoon in front of Harry Potter or Nanny McPhee. Every Sunday I attend church at St Patrick’s Cathedral — I find this very relaxing and a peaceful way to end the week.

ON THE BALL: Sean Gallagher shows his skills on the field at the annual charity soccer match between the TDs and the ushers recently in Trinity College. Picture: Paul Sharp/Sharppix SEAN GALLAGHER, 49

F

ITNESS is a big part of my life because after I was injured in a car accident in 1983, I vowed to get in shape again and took up running, judo and karate. I have cataracts so my sight isn’t great. But my visual impairment hasn’t stopped me from doing anything — I try to focus on abilities rather than disabilities. I also have psoriasis which can be distressing as it flares up when I’m stressed or very busy. But I have a good diet which has improved a lot since I married my lovely wife Trish last year. Typically, I would have porridge in the morning, a quick lunch on the go and a healthy evening meal of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes. I also do a lot of walking, which helps as a stress buster and as a means of keeping fit — it’s a real all-rounder which benefits body, mind and soul. I’m not really into alcohol, but have inherited the family sweet tooth. My mother grew up in a sweet shop in Tullamore so she has passed on the love of old-style sweets (such as Bull’s Eyes) to me. And my favourite way to unwind is watching TV or socialising with Trish and friends.

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MUM’S THE WORD: Mary Davis gets support on the campaign trail from her daughters Emma, 24, and Rebecca, 26. Picture: Jason Clarke MARY DAVIS, 57

I

’m in very good health and have never been in hospital apart from when I had my four children, but have regular check ups just to make sure everything is working as it should be. I try to run four or five times a week for between three to five miles. I have a very good diet and love greens. We live close to Howth so are lucky to have access to lovely fresh fish. My husband does a really mean fish pie and I like most foods apart from tinned tuna and raw onion. I also eat a lot of berries and start every weekend with a huge smoothie. I used to be GAY MITCHELL, 60

I

’M quite fit and take care not to get out of shape. When I feel my shirt collar getting tighter I know it is time to act so my weight remains fairly constant. I walk as much as possible and try to get the odd game of golf in. I don’t really have any health concerns but have lost two brothers and a sister to cancer (in their 40s) and my father died of cancer when I was five, so I get myself checked regularly. Norma does the cooking at home and we have a varied diet. But when we eat out I prefer Italian or Japanese. In Brussels I end up eating almost anything. I like lamb, most fish and salads. But I do have a sweet tooth and have a weakness for apple tart and ice-cream. I like to wind down by meeting friends

great for eating yoghurt but now that I’m on the road a lot it is more difficult. In the winter I eat a lot of porridge. My guilty pleasure is Sticky Toffee Pudding. I could go without starter and main course as long as I had my dessert, I absolutely adore it. And aside from that, I always have a stash of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in the fridge. I also love a glass of red wine and find it is a great stress buster. A long bath is also a great way to unwind after a busy day. Equally, I love reading and listen to a whole range of music from the Beatles and Oasis to U2 and Imelda May, and a little bit of classical when I’m preparing a meal. for a laugh, or watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot — I have the series on DVD. I also like a quiet glass of wine with Norma and I read a lot, especially recent European history. Musically, I am a Sinatra fan and my second collection of DVDs is of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. I was introduced to G&S by my local Boys’ Club when I was a young teenager. My motto for living a healthy life would be: take everything in moderation, including moderation.

MODERATE MAN: Gay Mitchell and his wife Norma at the national launch of his presidential campaign at the Science Gallery in Dublin’s city centre. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

DON’T have any health concerns at all. I’m in great shape and even when I had an operation on my kneecap recently, I was back in the Dáil within a fortnight. I like to walk but the main focus of my fitness is yoga. It’s great for flexibility, especially when you are sitting down or in a car for a long time. So I tend to do a few basic stretches every day and have a more serious session once a week. I have a healthy diet and in the last few years, have cut down on meat and eat a lot more fish instead. I don’t eat bread or potatoes very often and I am a big fan of vegetables and fruit. But desserts are my weakness and I do like a little chocolate now and then. However, I don’t feel guilty for eating them — I see it instead as an occasional lapse. And I don’t really go in for alcohol at all, I find that the result of drinking is not worth the feeling the following day. When I want to relax, I listen to music — I particularly like the cello and violin, both are very soothing. I also like to read and have an interest in academic literature, I would usually lose myself in a book before falling asleep every evening. I believe that staying interested in a number of different areas helps to create and maintain energy and vitality.


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Psychology

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Sadly, most of us have experienced blocks to our authentic sexual expression by people in authority

Being yourself

FAMILY SYSTEMS WORKSHOP As developed by

W

HEN you confidently hold your own scared individuality — physical, emotional and intellectual — then authentic sexual expression is well grounded and supported. However, there are few individuals who have come into such a realisation of their wholeness in such mature ways. The reality is that some if not all of the ways you express yourself have encountered interruptions — the defensive responses of parents, teachers, relatives, clergy and other significant adults who peopled our childhood years. Physically, you may have experienced a lack of holding, borne the brunt of critical comments about your shape, size, height or looks and suffered comparisons that favoured a brother or sister. Sexually, you may have encountered early and uninvited sexualisation, exposure to pornography, no preparation or education on sexual behaviour or sexual violations. Emotionally, you may have had to swallow down feelings of anger, hurt, sadness, upset in the face of threats to expression of these feelings, or dare not express a need for love, affection, warmth, due to emotionless or absent parenting. Intellectually, intelligence may have been confused with knowledge and any lack of knowledge on your part may have been followed by criticism or sarcasm or cynicism and comparison or being labelled as slow, weak or stupid. Or you may have been labelled as having such syndromes as ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, oppositional defiance disorder, minimal brain dysfunction, to mention just some of many. The rate of interruptions in children’s realisation of their intellectual power beyond measure is a hugely uncharted territory that has devastating results on a child’s overall development. Behaviour is one of the ways you get to experiment, know and understand your world, but any criticism, impatience, taking over, aggression or violence are serious interruptions to the self ’s behavioural expression. Each of us wants to belong to a partner, a family, a classroom, a school, a workplace, a community, but sadly, so many have been disappointed by either an over-belonging (suffocates individuality) or an under-belonging (suppresses individuality) or no belonging (annihilates individuality). Each person is a unique phenomenon — a creation that is gifted with the very creativity that gave rise to humanity. Each child fashions his/her own responses to the open or defensive responses of parents and expresses their individuality in unique ways. Pressures to conform; suppression of difference; symbiotic relationships where you dare not exhibit individuality; criticism and dismissiveness of your creative attainments, all affect the self ’s creative expression. And, ironically, Catholicism has strangled the divine that is within each of us, and reductionism in education, medicine, psychiatry and, indeed, in some psychological therapies, have eclipsed the light of our true and amazing nature. When you examine where you currently stand in view of the above, and your reflection draws a dark picture of hurts, fears, doubts and insecurities across the self-expressions, other than sexual expression, you can well understand how

Feelgood

Emotionally, you may have had to swallow down feelings of anger, hurt, sadness, upset in the face of threats to expression of your feelings, or dare not express a need for love, affection, warmth, due to emotionless or absent parenting difficult it is for young and old alike to confidently and authentically give expression to his/her sexuality. If I hate my physical expression (not at all uncommon), repress or suppress what I truly feel and have difficulty in receiving love, believe that ‘I’m your average man’, feel incompetent in understanding my own and other’s behaviour, feel timid and fearful, or act in a controlling manner in my relationships, feel creatively redundant and spiritually hopeless, then how can I be authentically sexually expressive? Resolving the interruptions — the disconnections — with some or most aspects of our unique nature is often a pre-requisite to mature sexual self-expression. Interruptions to our sexuality and sexual behaviour are not life-and-death issues but disconnection from the lovability of our authentic self can often become a matter of life and death. We are much more likely to re-connect with our sexuality following reconnection with our lovability and, indeed, immense capability. Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist and is co-author with Dr Helen Ruddle of Relationship, Relationship, Relationship, The Heart of a Mature Society.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

The Natural Healing Centre Professional training in:

Bert Hellinger

A Path to Healing

Date: Saturday & Sunday 15th and 16th October, 2011 Venue: St. Dominics, Ennismore, Cork Enquiries: Riona Dunlea, (MIACP)

021-4892133

Tony Humphreys

Autumn Courses at

Reflexology Therapeutic Massage Advanced/Remedial Massage Thompson House, MacCurtain St. tel: 021-450 1600 email: info@nhc.ie www.nhc.ie

The perfect keepsake to celebrate a baby’s birth

€50 A framed Irish Examiner front page from the day baby was born. Contact the Irish Examiner on Tel. 021 4272722 Email: counter@examiner.ie


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Public Information Meeting Do you have a carcinoid (neuroendocrine) tumour or do you know someone affected by it? Would you like more information about this? Do you want to meet others affected by this disease? Then why not come along to the public meeting at the third annual Southern Symposium on Foregut Cancers in University College Cork on Saturday 15th October 2011? Local and international medical experts in the field of carcinoid (neuroendocrine) tumours will attend along with Tommie Gorman, RTE’s Northern Ireland Editor, who will share his own experience of living with a carcinoid tumour. Together, they will provide information and advice on this cancer and will answer any questions you may have about dealing with the diagnosis of a neuroendocrine carcinoid tumour.

Saturday 15th October 2011: 4pm – 6pm Boole Lecture Theatre I, University College Cork Local Organisers: Mr Criostóir O’Súilleabháin, Consultant Surgeon, Mercy University Hospital, Dr Derek Power, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Mercy University Hospital, Dr Martin Buckley, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Mercy University Hospital, Dr Brian Bird, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Bon Secours Hospital, Dr Bill Bennett, Consultant Pathologist, Cork University Hospital

For further information please contact Anne Bedford on 086 386 0754

SOUTHERN SYMPOSIUM ON FOREGUT CANCERS CORK 2011

Feelgood

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011


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Cover story

With the final season of Desperate Housewives kicking off this month, the producers promise that Susan, Gaby, Bree and Lynette will reach news depths of soul searching. Of course, all the housewives have been through the emotional wringer many times before and they’ve also grappled with physical and health setbacks. Gaby endured miscarriage and infertility, Bree wrestled with alcoholism, Lynette with Hodgkin Lymphoma and Susan lost a kidney, got bad news about her remaining one, went on dialysis and had a transplant. But how do health-related stories, aired on a primetime soap, impact on the public? Helen O’Callaghan asked Irish patient support groups and health personnel how and whether the drama’s health stories have impacted here.

9

DESPERATE TIMES Bree: Alcoholism

Susan: Dialysis

S

USAN MAYER is forced to go on dialysis after she gets trampled during a riot, loses a kidney and discovers she’s got very poor function in the other one. But her tenacious attempts to connect with a less than polite fellow patient while undergoing dialysis is just one example of how unrealistically the whole issue is portrayed, says Mark Murphy, chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association (IKA). “You’d think she was giving blood rather than having her blood filtered for four hours. A patient would be fairly exhausted after such a process rather than being bright and cheery.” By the end of 2010, a total of 1,782 patients were receiving dialysis treatment in Ireland. Murphy also takes issue with the manner in which Susan finally gets a kidney donation — a neighbour shot herself in the head, having indicated her last wish was to donate a kidney to Susan. “The US has a system for allocating organs. There’s no such thing as directed deceased donation there. That the organ would go to a neighbour just wouldn’t happen. You got the impression from the show that there was no authority managing organ donation and that doctors could make independent decisions. It annoys me when soaps are slapdash about something that’s very heavily regulated,” he says, while confirming the DH storyline didn’t translate into increased organ donations in Ireland. Murphy praises the show for showing that full recovery, post-transplant, is possible but criticises the fact that recovery was represented as exceptionally fast. “It’s reasonable to expect to leave hospital after eight to 10 days, but in the six-month period post-transplant you’d be very attached to the hospital in order to get the immuno-suppressant drug balance exactly right.” He believes the show did a good job of highlighting why it’s best practice for identities of donor family and recipient not to be revealed to each other. “In Desperate Housewives, it was clear to the recipient who the deceased donor was, so complications arose in their lives. The grieving husband in the storyline was confused and took a very strange position. So did the recipient. The mind games they played were probably useful because they’d help you understand why the anonymity is there, why donor family and recipient aren’t allowed to meet in Ireland. Keeping it anonymous saves a lot of coercion. An organ donation is an altruistic gift and should remain that way.” ■ So far this year 141 kidney transplants have taken place in Ireland — 120 from deceased donors and 21 from living donors ● The IKA’s Run for a Life, highlighting organ donor awareness, is in Park West, Dublin 12, on Sunday, October 23. Members of the public can opt to walk, jog or run. For organ donor cards, Freetext DONOR to 50050.

Feelgood

Health on Wisteria Lane

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B

REE Van De Kamp’s alcoholism brought her centre-stage in many humiliating scenarios — passing out in a dressing room, getting stuck in a security fence, collapsing in a drunken stupor on her front lawn where she was discovered next day by the neighbourhood busybody. Rolande Anderson, alcohol/addiction counsellor and author of Living With A Problem Drinker — Your Survival Guide, gives the thumbs up to Desperate Housewives for highlighting the embarrassing social lapses that are part and parcel of a drinking problem. Anderson sees a difficulty with the Irish public attitude to such embarrassments — instead of confronting them for what they are, thereby perhaps taking the first step in confronting the alcoholism — they’re brushed aside. In Ireland, 6% to 10% of the population are alcohol-dependent, while a further 20% are involved in harmful drinking. According to the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, about 54% of our adult population are binge drinkers. “The problem with Irish society is these incidents have become so run-of-the-mill that we don’t think of them as humiliating. If somebody falls over and bangs their head at a party because they’ve had too much to drink, people say ‘Jaysus, isn’t he gas’. “Blackouts are another example. In certain

Lynette: Hodgkin lymphoma

N

AOMI FITZGIBBON, cancer information service manager at the Irish Cancer Society, says the organisation’s helpline got a slight increase in calls from the public as a result of Lynette Scavo being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A cancer of the lymphatic system, 123 cases were diagnosed in Ireland in 2009. Fitzgibbon says it isn’t as readily understood by the public as, say, breast or prostate cancer. “People who are being tested for it or who have been diagnosed are the ones most likely to respond to a storyline like this by calling us. We also hear from people who have been diagnosed a long time ago. They see a show like Desperate Housewives and it brings it all back for them. Some ring because they’re annoyed that it hasn’t been portrayed correctly.” When Lynette looks for someone to attend chemotherapy with her — her husband, Tom, is too emotional — she eventually gets a ‘yes’ from Gaby but then can’t understand why Gaby

seems uncomfortable and awkward while at the treatment centre. Gaby finally reveals that when she was a young child her dad got cancer and her mum told her not to cry so as not to upset the dying man. The Desperate Housewives effort to explore the effect of cancer on family and friends was worth doing, says Fitzgibbon. “With cancer, the whole family’s affected. Some people pull together and are very supportive. Others can’t cope — that’s not uncommon. Sometimes family or friends aren’t supportive because of lack of information or because they’re hugely fearful. Our focus at the Irish Cancer Society is to get the patient to see what they can do for themselves. They can, for example, learn coping skills to help them have a conversation with their partner about why they’re not being supported. “You do hear of relationships breaking down following a cancer diagnosis. Such a diagnosis can compound underlying issues in a relationship. Where there are financial worries, particularly if the person with cancer is the only earner, the strain on the family can be phenomenal.” ■ The Irish Cancer Society helpline is at 1800-200700, or visit www.cancer.ie.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

Gaby endured miscarriage and infertility, Bree wrestled with alcoholism, Lynette with Hodgkin lymphoma and Susan lost a kidney, got bad news about her remaining one, went on dialysis and had a transplant

parts of our culture, blackouts or memory loss [after alcohol consumption] are thought of as normal — in fact it’s a serious sign of something adverse happening to the body and the brain.” Another scene had Bree agreeing to babysit Lynette’s twins, then turning to alcohol when the children became out of control. When she falls asleep, the kids go off in search of their parents. It’s a scenario that strikes a chord with Anderson, who knows several couples who have stopped asking their children’s grandparents to babysit because of a drinking problem. “It’s very common. A typical scenario is where a daughter asks her mother to babysit. She comes back and Granny’s asleep on the couch, having drunk too much — the child is wandering around the house. It gives rise to a lot of anger. But it’s sad too because grandparents lose out on bonding with their grandchild.” Bree has a sexual encounter with her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor — a plot twist which Anderson says has relevance in real-life. “In AA, it’s called 13 stepping — taking a step further than the 12 steps and getting involved with a fellow member. We always warn about it. You’re talking about vulnerable people whose relationship with their own partner may have suffered due to alcohol. They stop drinking, get a self-esteem boost and feel they’ve met somebody who understands them. Such a relationship is almost always doomed to failure. “The best advice is not to get involved until you’ve had quite a long period of sobriety under your belt and you’ve built up discernment and confidence.”

Gaby: Infertility

W

HEN Gaby Solis and husband Carlos were told she was highly unlikely to conceive because of complications caused by miscarriage, the story line helped to deepen people’s understanding of the heartache it causes, says Helen Brown co-founder and chairperson of the National Infertility Support and Information Group (NISIG). “Without a doubt it made people who didn’t have fertility issues more aware. I have friends who have children and, after watching Desperate Housewives, they said ‘I know what you’ve been through’.” The condensing of Gaby’s fertility journey so that one minute she’s trying to absorb the fact she’s very likely infertile and the next she’s playing games around finding a surrogate mother to bear her a child doesn’t do the issue of infertility any favours, says Browne. “It was definitely an unrealistic picture. It jumped from the whole emotional issue of infertility to surrogacy. I’ve never come across couples who would jump

from one to the other. A couple who have failed with a particular fertility treatment might go for donor eggs a year later.” And while Gaby — three seasons on — had two daughters, Browne brings a dose of realism, cautioning that fertility treatments have no more than a 40% success rate. “You might find likelihood of success increases for somebody who goes three times for IVF, but the majority of couples who go for treatment don’t end up conceiving.” Women can overestimate their fertility even when they’re reaching their late 30s or early 40s and storylines like Lynette Scavo’s — which saw her give birth in her 40s after she’d had chemotherapy — don’t help. “You will hear of the unusual case, but the reality is that fertility drops dramatically in your 40s and it drops more after chemo,” says Browne. In Ireland, one in six couples has difficulty conceiving. Browne finds most have done their research so storylines such as those featuring on the show don’t tend to build up false hopes. ■ NISIG has bi-monthly meetings in Cork, Dublin and Limerick. Phone 1890-647444 (7-9pm) or 087-7975058 (anytime). Visit www.nisig.ie.


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Cover story

With the final season of Desperate Housewives kicking off this month, the producers promise that Susan, Gaby, Bree and Lynette will reach news depths of soul searching. Of course, all the housewives have been through the emotional wringer many times before and they’ve also grappled with physical and health setbacks. Gaby endured miscarriage and infertility, Bree wrestled with alcoholism, Lynette with Hodgkin Lymphoma and Susan lost a kidney, got bad news about her remaining one, went on dialysis and had a transplant. But how do health-related stories, aired on a primetime soap, impact on the public? Helen O’Callaghan asked Irish patient support groups and health personnel how and whether the drama’s health stories have impacted here.

9

DESPERATE TIMES Bree: Alcoholism

Susan: Dialysis

S

USAN MAYER is forced to go on dialysis after she gets trampled during a riot, loses a kidney and discovers she’s got very poor function in the other one. But her tenacious attempts to connect with a less than polite fellow patient while undergoing dialysis is just one example of how unrealistically the whole issue is portrayed, says Mark Murphy, chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association (IKA). “You’d think she was giving blood rather than having her blood filtered for four hours. A patient would be fairly exhausted after such a process rather than being bright and cheery.” By the end of 2010, a total of 1,782 patients were receiving dialysis treatment in Ireland. Murphy also takes issue with the manner in which Susan finally gets a kidney donation — a neighbour shot herself in the head, having indicated her last wish was to donate a kidney to Susan. “The US has a system for allocating organs. There’s no such thing as directed deceased donation there. That the organ would go to a neighbour just wouldn’t happen. You got the impression from the show that there was no authority managing organ donation and that doctors could make independent decisions. It annoys me when soaps are slapdash about something that’s very heavily regulated,” he says, while confirming the DH storyline didn’t translate into increased organ donations in Ireland. Murphy praises the show for showing that full recovery, post-transplant, is possible but criticises the fact that recovery was represented as exceptionally fast. “It’s reasonable to expect to leave hospital after eight to 10 days, but in the six-month period post-transplant you’d be very attached to the hospital in order to get the immuno-suppressant drug balance exactly right.” He believes the show did a good job of highlighting why it’s best practice for identities of donor family and recipient not to be revealed to each other. “In Desperate Housewives, it was clear to the recipient who the deceased donor was, so complications arose in their lives. The grieving husband in the storyline was confused and took a very strange position. So did the recipient. The mind games they played were probably useful because they’d help you understand why the anonymity is there, why donor family and recipient aren’t allowed to meet in Ireland. Keeping it anonymous saves a lot of coercion. An organ donation is an altruistic gift and should remain that way.” ■ So far this year 141 kidney transplants have taken place in Ireland — 120 from deceased donors and 21 from living donors ● The IKA’s Run for a Life, highlighting organ donor awareness, is in Park West, Dublin 12, on Sunday, October 23. Members of the public can opt to walk, jog or run. For organ donor cards, Freetext DONOR to 50050.

Feelgood

Health on Wisteria Lane

XH - V1

B

REE Van De Kamp’s alcoholism brought her centre-stage in many humiliating scenarios — passing out in a dressing room, getting stuck in a security fence, collapsing in a drunken stupor on her front lawn where she was discovered next day by the neighbourhood busybody. Rolande Anderson, alcohol/addiction counsellor and author of Living With A Problem Drinker — Your Survival Guide, gives the thumbs up to Desperate Housewives for highlighting the embarrassing social lapses that are part and parcel of a drinking problem. Anderson sees a difficulty with the Irish public attitude to such embarrassments — instead of confronting them for what they are, thereby perhaps taking the first step in confronting the alcoholism — they’re brushed aside. In Ireland, 6% to 10% of the population are alcohol-dependent, while a further 20% are involved in harmful drinking. According to the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, about 54% of our adult population are binge drinkers. “The problem with Irish society is these incidents have become so run-of-the-mill that we don’t think of them as humiliating. If somebody falls over and bangs their head at a party because they’ve had too much to drink, people say ‘Jaysus, isn’t he gas’. “Blackouts are another example. In certain

Lynette: Hodgkin lymphoma

N

AOMI FITZGIBBON, cancer information service manager at the Irish Cancer Society, says the organisation’s helpline got a slight increase in calls from the public as a result of Lynette Scavo being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A cancer of the lymphatic system, 123 cases were diagnosed in Ireland in 2009. Fitzgibbon says it isn’t as readily understood by the public as, say, breast or prostate cancer. “People who are being tested for it or who have been diagnosed are the ones most likely to respond to a storyline like this by calling us. We also hear from people who have been diagnosed a long time ago. They see a show like Desperate Housewives and it brings it all back for them. Some ring because they’re annoyed that it hasn’t been portrayed correctly.” When Lynette looks for someone to attend chemotherapy with her — her husband, Tom, is too emotional — she eventually gets a ‘yes’ from Gaby but then can’t understand why Gaby

seems uncomfortable and awkward while at the treatment centre. Gaby finally reveals that when she was a young child her dad got cancer and her mum told her not to cry so as not to upset the dying man. The Desperate Housewives effort to explore the effect of cancer on family and friends was worth doing, says Fitzgibbon. “With cancer, the whole family’s affected. Some people pull together and are very supportive. Others can’t cope — that’s not uncommon. Sometimes family or friends aren’t supportive because of lack of information or because they’re hugely fearful. Our focus at the Irish Cancer Society is to get the patient to see what they can do for themselves. They can, for example, learn coping skills to help them have a conversation with their partner about why they’re not being supported. “You do hear of relationships breaking down following a cancer diagnosis. Such a diagnosis can compound underlying issues in a relationship. Where there are financial worries, particularly if the person with cancer is the only earner, the strain on the family can be phenomenal.” ■ The Irish Cancer Society helpline is at 1800-200700, or visit www.cancer.ie.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

Gaby endured miscarriage and infertility, Bree wrestled with alcoholism, Lynette with Hodgkin lymphoma and Susan lost a kidney, got bad news about her remaining one, went on dialysis and had a transplant

parts of our culture, blackouts or memory loss [after alcohol consumption] are thought of as normal — in fact it’s a serious sign of something adverse happening to the body and the brain.” Another scene had Bree agreeing to babysit Lynette’s twins, then turning to alcohol when the children became out of control. When she falls asleep, the kids go off in search of their parents. It’s a scenario that strikes a chord with Anderson, who knows several couples who have stopped asking their children’s grandparents to babysit because of a drinking problem. “It’s very common. A typical scenario is where a daughter asks her mother to babysit. She comes back and Granny’s asleep on the couch, having drunk too much — the child is wandering around the house. It gives rise to a lot of anger. But it’s sad too because grandparents lose out on bonding with their grandchild.” Bree has a sexual encounter with her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor — a plot twist which Anderson says has relevance in real-life. “In AA, it’s called 13 stepping — taking a step further than the 12 steps and getting involved with a fellow member. We always warn about it. You’re talking about vulnerable people whose relationship with their own partner may have suffered due to alcohol. They stop drinking, get a self-esteem boost and feel they’ve met somebody who understands them. Such a relationship is almost always doomed to failure. “The best advice is not to get involved until you’ve had quite a long period of sobriety under your belt and you’ve built up discernment and confidence.”

Gaby: Infertility

W

HEN Gaby Solis and husband Carlos were told she was highly unlikely to conceive because of complications caused by miscarriage, the story line helped to deepen people’s understanding of the heartache it causes, says Helen Brown co-founder and chairperson of the National Infertility Support and Information Group (NISIG). “Without a doubt it made people who didn’t have fertility issues more aware. I have friends who have children and, after watching Desperate Housewives, they said ‘I know what you’ve been through’.” The condensing of Gaby’s fertility journey so that one minute she’s trying to absorb the fact she’s very likely infertile and the next she’s playing games around finding a surrogate mother to bear her a child doesn’t do the issue of infertility any favours, says Browne. “It was definitely an unrealistic picture. It jumped from the whole emotional issue of infertility to surrogacy. I’ve never come across couples who would jump

from one to the other. A couple who have failed with a particular fertility treatment might go for donor eggs a year later.” And while Gaby — three seasons on — had two daughters, Browne brings a dose of realism, cautioning that fertility treatments have no more than a 40% success rate. “You might find likelihood of success increases for somebody who goes three times for IVF, but the majority of couples who go for treatment don’t end up conceiving.” Women can overestimate their fertility even when they’re reaching their late 30s or early 40s and storylines like Lynette Scavo’s — which saw her give birth in her 40s after she’d had chemotherapy — don’t help. “You will hear of the unusual case, but the reality is that fertility drops dramatically in your 40s and it drops more after chemo,” says Browne. In Ireland, one in six couples has difficulty conceiving. Browne finds most have done their research so storylines such as those featuring on the show don’t tend to build up false hopes. ■ NISIG has bi-monthly meetings in Cork, Dublin and Limerick. Phone 1890-647444 (7-9pm) or 087-7975058 (anytime). Visit www.nisig.ie.


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Medical matters

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Q

I had an episode of vertigo recently which was really severe. I still have a ringing noise and some deafness a few weeks later. My doctor said this is tinnitus and that I could have Ménière’s disease. What is the difference between this and vertigo?

Dr Niamh Houston

FAMILY

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

A. Ménière’s disease, vertigo and tinnitus are three conditions that are very closely related. While not all tinnitus sufferers experience vertigo, nearly everyone with Ménière’s disease experiences severe vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ears. Most people experience nausea and vomiting, too. Ménière’s disease can be very frightening and a typical episode can last for two to four hours to more than a day or longer. The underlying cause of Ménière’s disease is unknown. What is known is that there is a fluid imbalance, generally a pressure build-up, within the semicircular canals in the ear that causes the hair cells to react as though the head is spinning when in fact, it’s not. In some cases this condition is progressive and results in permanent hearing damage. Between attacks, hearing may improve but it can worsen with repeated episodes. There are various therapies and treatments available for Ménière’s disease. A diet low in salt is frequently recommended. The theory is that salt plays a damaging role in reducing circulation in the inner ear and can aggravate both Ménière’s disease and tinnitus. Patients are also advised to cut back on caffeine and alcohol. Some, but not all patients may notice a benefit from doing this. Medication may help. Your doctor may have discussed with you a trial of betahistine. This can reduce the frequency of severity of attacks of hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo. Consider trying sound therapy, using relaxation techniques and avoiding a silent environment. There are also surgical treatments for Ménière’s. This approach is recommended usually when other treatments fail. If you notice your hearing is deteriorating, or episodes become more frequent, specialist review is advised. Q. My six-week-old grandson is due to have surgery for pyloric stenosis. Is this serious? I don’t want to pester my daugher-in-law with questions as she is already worried enough.

BALANCED DIET: Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol can help relieve symptoms of Ménière’s disease, a troublesome disorder of the inner ear. Picture: iStock

A. Pyloric stenosis is a narrowing of the pyloris, the lower part of the stomach through which food passes to enter the small intestine. When a baby has this condition, the muscles in the pyloris have become enlarged to the point where food is prevented from emptying out of the stomach. This causes vomiting which is usually described as projectile, in which the milk is ejected forcefully from the mouth, in an arc, sometimes over a distance of several feet. This type of vomiting usually takes place soon after the end of a feed. Despite vomiting, a baby with pyloric stenosis usually is hungry again soon after vomiting and will want to eat. Symptoms generally begin around three weeks of age, and most babies with pyloric stenosis will fail to gain weight or begin to lose weight. It is one of the most common causes of intestinal obstruction in babies.

Other conditions can have the same symptoms as pyloric stenosis, such as GORD (gastroesphageal reflux) or gastroenteritis. During examination, the doctor will try to feel if there is a pyloric mass — a firm, movable lump that feels like an olive can sometimes be detected in babies with pyloric stenosis. Further tests — an ultrasound or barium swallow — may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. The surgery required is called a pyloromyotomy, which involves cutting through the thickened muscles of the pylorus. After surgery, most babies can go home within 48 hours. No special feeding schedules are needed, and normal feeding can start within three to four hours after the surgery. Once corrected, pyloric stenosis should not recur, and is not associated with long-term problems.

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

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Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

T’S amazing how often as parents we put our trust in the instincts of others to do the best by our children. Foremost are teachers and childminders in a society where both parents regularly work for a living. Add to the list the various personnel who supervise our kids’ extra-curricular activities: the judo instructor, the scout leader, the ballet tutor, the speech and drama teacher. We trust the soccer trainer not to play a child carrying a sprain; the swimming coach we trust not to force a child out of his depth and, for the children who are tone deaf, we trust that no music teacher ever ticks them off for failing to master Rachmaninov. Yes, we trust all sorts of people to care for our children, including perfect strangers, and at times, it is the grace of God that keeps them from danger. Perhaps however our greatest expectations are levelled at the medical profession where experience and training (not to mention letters after names) indicate that these are the people best qualified to treat our sick children and to advise on certain precautions. And so when they recommend a specific course of action to safeguard the health of our children, who are we to argue? Unfortunately, there are times when such blind faith can backfire. The most recent and public example arises from swine flu vaccination. Don’t get me

wrong — as a parent I am all in favour of immunisation and am grateful the prick of a needle can protect my children from all manner of serious illness. I appreciate that many of these vaccines have had immeasurable impact on the health of developed and developing nations. But the apparent fallout from the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix — limited as it is in terms of the overall number of doses administered — has shaken my faith a little bit. Currently, there are approximately 30 sets of parents around the country coming to terms with the fact that their children may have developed narcolepsy on foot of receiving Pandemrix. On top of this chronic sleep disorder, many have also developed cataplexy, where symptoms range from loss of control of the facial muscles to total collapse. Consider the impact. How do you school a child who can’t stay awake or who may, without warning, collapse in a heap? How do they take part in daily activities? How do you deal with the disruption to their sleep pattern? And how do you break the news that their new and alarming condition has no known cure? Yes, the story to date of the swine flu vaccine will send shivers down the spine of thousands of parents who take their immunisation responsibilities seriously and who have always acted in good faith.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

Our greatest expectations are levelled at the medical profession where experience and training indicate that these are the people best qualified to treat our sick children. And who are we to argue?


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Survivor’s story 11

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Exercise is key to breast cancer survivor’s recovery, says Helen O’Callaghan

Reflecting on life M

ARIE O’Sullivan doesn’t like thinking about how different things might have been if her cancer had been diagnosed when she first visited a GP with a worrying lump in her right breast. The then 33-year-old Kerry woman waited seven months before she was told the lump was malignant. Five years on, Marie — a care worker in a centre for people with learning difficulties — acknowledges her cancer mightn’t have taken such a toll if it had been identified earlier. “I think I’d just have had surgery and radiotherapy. I don’t think it would have spread to the lymph nodes. But I can’t think about that. I go from day to day.” Marie, who’s single, didn’t know it then, but her breast cancer journey began in February 2006 when she visited a GP — not her usual one — about “a little hard pebble-like” lump in her breast. The GP sent Marie for a biopsy, which came back clear. “I often ask myself how that first biopsy came back clear,” says Marie, now 38. But, though she was “99% relieved” at the result, she recalls a seed of doubt. “When the lump kept growing, I went back to the GP around May 2006. I was told, ‘No, no, you’re too young’.” By September, when Marie went to her regular GP, she had very intense pain in her breast — “like pinching, like somebody sticking needles in it” — and was suffering extreme tiredness. In the same week, after she’d had a core biopsy, she got a phone call to say the consultant surgeon was concerned. “I knew I had cancer as soon as they rang. The first thought I had was I have too much to do — I’m not ready to die. In a way, it was a relief — I was too sick not to have something. I was nearly going crazy from it,” says Marie, who singles out the moment when her doctor confirmed that it was malignant as her lowest point. Within a week, Marie had a lumpectomy, as well as some lymph nodes removed from under her arm. Eight chemotherapy sessions followed and then 20 sessions of radiotherapy. She was on cancer drug Tamoxifen for a year before switching to another drug. “Having surgery was far easier than having chemo. You think ‘I’m not going to lose my hair, I’m not going to put on weight’. I was a size 10 — I went to a size 16. I have a photo of me taken at a wedding three years ago — when I look at it I think ‘Oh holy hell’.” Breast cancer seems to run in Marie’s family. Her first cousin had it at the same time as her. “She picked it up on a routine mammogram. She had no signs or symptoms. My mum and her mum both died young from breast cancer.” Marie won’t get the all-clear until June 2012 but is well now. “I’m grand health-wise. I still feel a bit tired and sick from the tablets but I just get on with things.” She has accepted that the treatment may have damaged her fertility. “The doctors said my chances would be slim so if I had a child it would probably be a miracle. To be honest, when I found out I thought: ‘Okay, I’m not going to have

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CLOSE CALL: Marie O’Sullivan from Co Kerry was initially given an incorrect all-clear result when she had biopsy performed on a lump in her breast. By the time she was diagnosed with cancer, it was also in her lymph nodes. Picture: Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus children, move on’. Children aren’t for everyone,” says Marie, who has three nieces and a lot going on outside work. “I joined Tralee Civil Defence. I’m doing a healthcare course at college one night a week. I love writing letters. I exercise a lot.” That she’s so active is a huge plus. Over the past year, the Irish Cancer Society ran a pilot physical activity programme for breast cancer survivors, prompted by evidence that just 30 minutes a day or a minimum of two to three hours of physical activity over a five-day period can help reduce risk of cancer recurrence by up to 50%. Forty-eight women aged from 36 to 72 and at least a year post-surgery participated in the four-month programme, which included cardiovascular and resistance training. According to Joanne Vance, senior health promotion officer with the Irish Cancer Society, the programme needed first to overcome nervousness and embarrassment felt by some of the women around exercising post-cancer. “Some had been told not to exercise because of risk of lymphoedema [abnormal build-up of fluid leading to swelling, caused by damage to the lymphatic system], despite evidence showing exercise is good for them. A lot would have shied away from light resis-

tance training. They also felt a public gym wasn’t the place to exercise if you’d had surgery.” The tailor-made resistance training concentrated on the upper body. “Women started off lifting very light weights and increased this up to 5kg once they got their lifting technique right,” says Vance, who confirms the women’s range of movement really improved. “A lot said they couldn’t believe the improvement. They could hold onto the overhead loop on a bus, dress a bed, reach up to lift something from a cupboard. One 36-year-old couldn’t lift her children after surgery. Seven weeks into the programme, her child fell and she scooped her up without thinking.” The women also reported feeling more positive because of the interaction with others in a similar situation. The Irish Cancer Society plans to roll out the programme in eight regions by September 2012. ● The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in Ireland has raised over €900,000 in association with charity partner ARC Cancer Support. To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Avon is launching a range of exclusive products where some of the proceeds will be used to help beat breast cancer.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

Breast cancer: the facts ■ Women in Ireland have a one-in-10 chance of developing breast cancer. ■ Latest data shows 2,740 women and 26 men developed breast cancer in 2009. ■ Breast cancer survival rate is 80%. There are approximately 25,000 breast cancer survivors in Ireland today. ■ Women can reduce breast cancer risk by up to 42% through lifestyle changes — being more physically active, drinking less alcohol, having a better diet. ■ October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month — 70% of breast changes are found by women themselves, so be breast aware. ■ Know what’s normal for you. ■ Know what changes to look and feel for. ■ Visit your GP without delay if you notice a change. ■ Go for screening when called. ● Check out www.cancer.ie/prevention/health_promotion_publications.php ● Call the National Cancer Helpline on 1800 200 700 or visit www.cancer.ie


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12

Healthy food

Roz Crowley

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APPLE STORE

Take a walk on the wild side and gather up vitamin-packed fruit to keep the doctor away

Say cheese Farmhouse Cheeses of Ireland – A Celebration, has just been published. Written by enthusiasts and photographers Glynn Anderson and John McLaughlin, it profiles well and lesser-known cheese makers who have made a huge contribution to our reputation as an island of good food production. In it we find the history, composition and availability of cheeses made by legends in the in the home-based industry such as Veronica Steele, Jeffa Gill, Mary Burns, Geana Ferguson, the Grubb family and Bill Hogan and some welcome newcomers too such as Jenny and Peter Young and Elizabeth Bradley. A glossary and some recipes for their use adds up to good value. Published in hardback by Collins Press €24.99.

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NCE essential for our survival, foraging for food is now regarded as the preserve of devoted foodies who will happily take off on a dawn mushroom hunt or plunge headlong into the countryside in search of a rare hazelnut tree at harvest time. But foraging can also mean simply picking up a bucketful of windfall apples and having your culinary way with them. Crab apples have had a good year and with the windy weather over the last few weeks are covering the ground. We are too late for blackberries, but watch out for sloes which can be used to flavour gin for a delicious liqueur to give as Christmas gifts or have as a special end to a meal. Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills book is best for a recipe and she also has a variation using vodka. This year was good for sweet and cooking apples, so if you get an offer of picking up windfalls in a friend’s garden, or at low prices in farmers’ markets, do not resist. They are full of vitamins and minerals with plenty of malic and tartaric acids to aid digestion. Try a few a day if you have even a suspicion of arthritis, gout or rheumatism. A small apple provides us with one of our essential five a day fruit and vegetables. Two tablespoons of cooked apple will do the same. There is a wide range of sweet and savoury uses for them. I have given my top 10 below. 1. If in a rush, boil and freeze the pulp rather than trying to make jelly or ice-cream. You can use it later in whatever way you like. You have a choice of peeling, quartering and removing the core, or just quartering after cooking, sieving the mixture to remove peel and pips before freezing. You can also bottle this in clean jars. To 1kg apples allow 4 tablespoons of sugar. We need some sugar for most cooking apples, but if you add too much you are limiting its use to sweet dishes. Use a skim of water so the bottom of the saucepan is well covered. The aim is to steam the apples rather than introduce more liquid, so top with a tightly fitting lid. Check after five minutes as some apple varieties cook very quickly. Add more water if necessary to get the apples, to a light but not too wet, mushy texture. Allow to cool and put a few tablespoons in each freezer bag. Small portions, the equivalent of one apple are useful to add to a gravy with duck, pheasant or pork. 2. All apple varieties make good jelly. Crab apples make a particularly delicious one that sets easily. This year I found some red ones for the first time and they were sweeter than their greener neighbours. Always taste as you go, adding more sugar for more sour apples,

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PICK OF THE BUNCH: It has been a great year for apples, and there are all sorts of ways of preparing and preserving them. Picture: iStock

not forgetting that lemon juice will affect the flavour too. There is a great recipe at http://ow.ly/6N0U8 3. Use apples in stir-fries. Cut them into cubes and add towards the end of cooking. They will thicken sauces and give a good bite, helping the digestion of fatty meat such as pork. 4. Cook apple with chicken. Poulet Vallee d’Auge is a wonderful dish and hearty, but not too heavy for autumn. From Normandy, it uses their local apple brandy Calvados, but regular brandy is nearly as good. Try http://ow.ly/6N14h if using chicken breasts and if using legs (which I favour if not a whole chicken) try www.gourmantineblog.com/?p=915 5. Toss cubed apples in a little butter and brown sugar for using to top vegetable and meat soups. They go particularly well on a soup made with turnips or

beetroot or parsnips, pictured, and are delicious on potato and kidney soups. 6. Use sieved pureed apple as a base for tarts. Stir in a few drops of vanilla extract and smear it on a precooked shortcrust pastry base and top with slices of raw cooking or sweet apples. Try a little finely chopped crystallised ginger instead of vanilla for a change. Top with a little butter and sugar, place in a hot oven to sizzle the topping and you have the easiest, most effective dessert. Men seem to especially love it. 7. Serve stewed apple on the side with grilled or fried mackerel, tuna or sword fish, as well as the usual pork and bacon. It’s delicious with black and white puddings, especially for breakfast. 8. Sieved sweet apple puree makes a great food for babies. It is often found in jars of baby food, so make your own. 9. Baked apples make a healthy dessert. This is the perfect use of a microwave. Drizzled with a little water, each one takes about four minutes on high. Stuff cored, unpeeled apples (keep the bottoms on to hold the filling) with

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dates, figs, prunes, plums or mincemeat. Or stuff with breadcrumbs flavoured with cooked rashers and thyme as a starter. 10. Get ready for Halloween with toffee apples. While we should try to avoid sugar, the odd treat with the health benefits of the fruit is justified and I like the association of fruit with a celebration. There is a simple recipe in a book just published which has a range of deliciously healthy recipes from TV presenter Valentine Warner who always has an eye on natural ingredients. “Bite everything, except the passer-by on the street,” he says, emphasising the need to taste ingredients when they are raw as well as when part of a recipe. The Good Table is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25. ● Picture of the toffee apples taken from The Good Table by Valentine Warner, published by Mitchell Beazley £25.


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Heart of the matter M

EN are notorious at ignoring pain, writing chest pains off as twinges to be borne manfully rather than checked out. And, yet, there is a very simple innovative way to check if that annoying pain in your chest, jaw or shoulder is something more serious. The Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic in Cork’s Bon Secours Hospital sees patients on a same-day referral basis. “Your GP can contact us if he’s concerned about a patient with chest pain and if the patient has other cardiac risk factors,” says clinical nurse manager Mary O’Reilly. “The patient will be seen by a nurse and cardiologist that day.” With more male patients than female patients, the clinic will document your history, risk factors and any current medications. Measurements of your blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate and body mass index will also be taken. On the day, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and usually an exercise stress test are carried out. Blood tests are also done

QUICK RESPONSE: Nurse Mary O'Reilly with cardiologists Dr William Fennell, Dr John Kenny, Dr Conor O'Shea and Dr Ben Glover at the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic in Cork’s Bon Secours Hospital.

Deirdre O'Flynn

Picture: Staff

MOSTLY MEN

which include serum cholesterol and a cardiac marker. A cardiologist will review your results and, within two hours, you will know if further action is required. “It is very easy to get it checked out,” says O’Reilly, adding that in Ireland, we have reduced acute heart disease but we have not cut down on the number of people who die suddenly from heart disease. “Chest pain should never be ignored.” Time is of the essence when it comes to

heart welfare in the case of a heart attack. “A heart attack damages the heart muscle, so if you get chest pain, arm pain, jaw pain, tummy pain and feel unwell with exertion, do take it seriously,” says cardiologist Dr Ben Glover. “We can fix all these problems if we get them in time. I could almost name patients who are alive today because of the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic.” One of the big advantages of the clinic is that tests, such as an angiogram, which could

Helping fathers understand autism

Hair more important to males than money

AUTISM spectrum disorders are a range of very complex, unique, and hidden disabilities that impact on both the individual with a diagnosis and the whole family. In particular, fathers often struggle to come to terms with their child’s diagnosis and try to be strong for their family — ignoring their own need for information and support. Autism NI has produced a new

MEN affected by hair loss would rather have more hair than more money, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). Such is the trauma of hair loss that an incredible 60% of those surveyed felt that thinning hair or baldness affected their chances of securing a new job and actually may inhibit career progression. “The effects of hair loss are under-estimated — it can be

TAKE 1

factsheet for fathers, written by parents for parents. It explores the impact of diagnosis and the range of typical feelings fathers may have. It deals with how to feel involved in your child’s life and identifies how fathers can help. This factsheet is downloadable from the Autism NI website for free. Hard copies can be ordered from the Autism NI central office at 00 44 2890 401729.

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KIDS MS READaTHON: Children are being asked to turn off the TV, pick up a book and get reading for the MS READaTHON, which will take place from October 14 to November 14. Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch, seen here with little ‘aliens’ Clodagh Burke, left and right, Hannah Murnane, both from Bantry, urged teachers and students to sign up for the event. Ten-year-old Abigail O’Regan whose mother, Alison, has MS, is hoping to raise €10,000. Find out more or sponsor Abigail at www.msreadathon.ie or call 01-6781600.

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Male health

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crippling for some people, said Dr Sushil Ranga, member of ISHRS and chief surgeon at Cork-based Hair Transplant Ireland. “Some of the patients we see claim to have lost all self-confidence as a result.” Hair Transplant Ireland offer Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) as a surgical option, and this has rapidly become the preferred option for Irish men suffering from hair loss. For more information, log onto www.hairtransplantireland.ie.

take weeks or months to arrange otherwise are done on the same day, says Dr Glover. Patients could also have an angioplasty — a procedure to widen blocked arteries — on the same day or surgery within the week once they have been processed by the team at the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic. ● A visit to the clinic costs €300 on the day. For additional queries or bookings, call 021-4941942.

DId you know...

67% of Irish men feel calm or peaceful all or most of the time (Source: Central Statistics Office, Ireland)

TIME OUT FOR KIDS

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NEW GAMES: National Game Playing Week is sponsored by Hasbro Ireland which has been making board games in Waterford for more than three decades. New games this year include Shark Chase, €24.99 for ages 5+ and some new versions of old favourites. Game of Life Adventures Edition, has a rotating game board, €24.99, age 9+; Bop It XT, €31.99, age 8+, now has six different commands; while in Monopoly Electronic Banking — Ireland edition, €30.99, age 8+, credit cards replace cash.

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CLASSIC PLAY: Around the world children spend five billion hours a year playing with Lego bricks. As the trend for educational continues to grow, a number of LEGO sets have again made the top Christmas toy lists released by retailers in recent weeks. Among the items tipped for the Top 10 by online retailer Littlewoods Ireland, (www.littlewoodsireland.ie) is the classic Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon, €164, age 9+.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

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PLAY TOGETHER: National Game Playing Week, when schools and families are encouraged to get involved and have fun playing board games, will run from October 28 to November 4 this year. Now in its ninth year, the week will begin with School Game Playing Day on Friday 28, when pupils bring in their favourite board games to play in class and raise money for their school or charity. Check out www.ngpw.ie to find out how your school can join in and for tips on hosting your own family games night.


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14 Beauty

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Scrub up well

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The news on... SUDO... IN A TUBE OKAY, so as beauty products go Sudocrem isn’t exactly up there with Tom Ford’s new make-up collection. In fact, it’s arguably not even a beauty product at all, but one thing is for sure — we always have some around the house. Still, because we don’t use it every day, we find the tub can get a bit messy. Now, Sudo have solved all our problems because the wonder cream is being launched in a tube. No dusty bits — just the classic white cream that solves all our sunburn, spot and skin outbreaks. Nifty. Sudocrem, from €2.15 for 30g.

Emily O’Sullivan

Banish dull skin this season with the help of exfoliators, be it a DIY blend or a high-tech product

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HE pictures taken after I had second baby within 19 months of the first are far from flattering. I was exhausted, permanently, and something really weird happened to my skin. I didn’t notice it and the time but when I look at pictures, I am clinically grey, if there could be such a thing. It’s easy to see why — sleepless nights, irregular eating, breastfeeding, a toddler and a baby to look after, and an unhealthy addiction to Marks & Spencers chocolate swiss rolls. It’s no surprise why I looked like a lump of granite. But lately the Dull Face has been creeping back. The horror. It’s probably because it’s the beginning of winter, or maybe because I’m tired, but I am definitely starting to look a little greyish around the gills. Okay, so I had no summer holiday and the weather here was rubbish, so that may be part of the problem, but instead of spending loads of money on expensive radiance-boosting creams, I am determined to tackle it with exfoliating, because generally it’s a lot less expensive. Google “benefits of exfoliating” and you’ll quickly see that the most frequent words that crop up are ones such as “radiance”, “vibrancy”, “fresher” and “youthful”. Naturally, I like the last one best of all because, while I have not yet entered the Pauline Fowler school of wrinkles, youthful I am not. I’m determined to get rid of the Dull Face, so it’s time for Project Exfoliation.

Take three... MOISTURISING LIPSTICKS COMING into the autumn my lips start to get strangely dry. I’ve several lipbalms to hand at any one time. Lipsticks are all very well, but they can be an absolute nightmare on dry lips. Give yourself maximum comfort by opting for a deeply hydrating product that gives colour and comfort.

Picture: Getty Images

The really great thing about exfoliators is that, in my experience, you don’t have to spend that much to get a decent and reasonably effectively one. Hell, you could probably throw one together from the contents of your fridge if you were so inclined, (although perhaps avoid the eggs and that jar of Lloyd Grossman sauce that’s been sitting at the back for about 17 months). There are loads of recipes online for decent options that don’t involve unpleasant ingredients (oatmeal and water works just fine for example, not glamorous, but effective) so have a hunt about, if you like the DIY approach. For my part, I have a fondness for one exfoliator in particular so it was straight to the Origins counter for some Modern Friction. There’s something about this product that I love. It has a slightly gluey texture but once applied to the skin it feels like it’s getting to work on the dead skin cells. Your face feels

immediately refreshed after it. Honestly. Countless high-tech exfoliators have come and gone over the years, but this one remains constantly good. The main thing is to keep it reasonably simple. Some of the worst exfoliators I’ve tried are ones that have decided to be too clever and have thrown in a ton of chemical ingredients; some of the best are ones that have kept it simple, from companies such as The Body Shop, Clarins, Nuxe, Aveda, St Ives, The Sanctuary and Liz Earle. Resist the temptation to use rough products — even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you do not need an exfoliator with the consistency of gravel. It will eventually do damage. Instead, go for super-fine particles or gentle small beads that will take away the bad stuff without leaving you looking like the Sunday roast. Nice.

– a powder in fact that you make into a creamy paste by adding water. We love the feel on the skin, and really like the effects afterwards. A classic and deservedly so.

Clarins Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream with Microbeads, €30. There’s not a lot to say about this one, other than that we like it. It’s a simple exfoliator, no fuss, no messing, no gimmicks — the beads roll gently over the skin and wash away effectively. Use on dry skin and rub in before rinsing off.

Bobbi Brown Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15, €24. It might be quite a slim lipstick (we prefer them a bit fatter because they last longer), but if you’ve got dry lips and you don’t want to make them worse, then this is a great choice. Cocoa shea butters, jojoba and avocado oils amp up the hydration aspect, while an SPF 15 keeps those babies protected from the sun. Mango Butter Lipstick, €18. I’ve been using this non-stop over the last few weeks and it’s really very good. Okay, so the colour doesn’t last as long as other lipsticks, and it does give a soft sheeny look, but it’s really comfortable to wear. More like a lip balm than a lipstick. Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick, €10.45. It’s got quite a good colour saturation, and a soft, not too glossy feel to it, thanks to joboba oil and shea butter. It wears well through the day and comes in 16 shades.

STUFF WE LIKE Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator, €13.49. Using very fine apricot granules and grape seed, The Sanctuary’s Radiance Exfoliator might look like a bowl of porridge that’s been left out all day while you’ve been at work, but it works a treat. There’s also pumpkin, papaya and pineapple, meaning a good combo of natural ingredient to help you look your natural best. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, €46. It says “daily” but we don’t think you need to use this one every day. It’s very, very fine

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Origins Modern Friction, €43.50. It’s place as our favourite exfoliator is assured. This one is great. I’m not sure if it’s the gluey texture or the effect, but it’s an excellent choice that is effective enough to use about once a week. Not cheap, but worth it, if the Dull Face is bad. It’s dermabrasion, without the dermatologist or the discomfort.

REN Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish, €26. Part of REN’s sensitive skin range, this exfoliator uses juniper and peppermint to give a light, refreshing wash to the skin. It’s a great one for natural skincare

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enthusiasts too because it doesn’t use any petrochemicals, sulfates or synthetic fragrances. Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator, €14.75. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser is undoubtedly enough to exfoliate the skin (in fact, muslin cloths make great daily exfoliators), but if you’re looking for a little extra radiance, then check out this exfoliator. Designed for skin suffering with blackheads, blocked pores, congestion or flakiness, it uses jojoba beads in cocoa butter to keep the skin in tip top condition.


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Natural health

Q 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

I have a lot of belching, gas and flatulence, especially after eating dinner. It is very embarrassing. I have had this problem since I was 20 years of age, now I am 70. I have gone to different GPs to no avail. I recently had a very bad attack of constipation, so my GP prescribed Movicol, which helps a little. I have a very good appetite, eat home cooking mostly, and fibre for breakfast. I get hungry more often than I should.

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without any obvious digestive upset, then the next step is to change the way you combine your meals. Just avoiding proteins and starches at the same meal can make a huge difference in how much gas your body produces, and also helps to improve the transition time of foods in your system.

A. The problem you describe can occur as a result of a number of underlying issues, from digestive sensitivity, through to more chronic bowel conditions. If your GP visits have not uncovered the presence of diverticulitis, coeliac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, then it’s likely that it is something more straightforward such as food intolerances or even just a case of being more sensitive to certain food combinations. Since you have a home cooked diet, with a fibre-rich breakfast, I think it would be worth ruling out common food allergens, such as wheat and dairy. I’m aware that this sounds like the advice that everyone seems to trot out as a ‘cure-all’, however, when it comes to such long term digestive issues with severe constipation, it is always best to eliminate the less complex causes first. Begin by taking simple meals rather than complex combined recipes, so that it is easier to identify how the individual ingredients are affecting your digestive system. Keep a journal of what you eat and how you feel within the hour after having eaten it, including whether or not the food causes gas or bloating. Within as little as a week you will have a clear pattern as to whether or not dairy, grains, or both are the culprits. Constipation is a clear sign that your digestive system is compromised, while the constant hunger suggests that there is an issue with nutrient absorption in the gut. Movicol works in the short term to relieve constipation but it will not address the underlying cause. Movicol passes through the gut into the bowel without being absorbed along the way, enabling it to soften impacted faecal matter and make stools easier to pass. It contains macrogol (polyethylene glycol ‘3350’), along with sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and potassium chloride to ensure that the electrolytes and water are in balance.

Q. I have a 19-year-old son who has Down syndrome. For the past year he has developed alopecia at the back of his hairline. It is spreading slowly. His doctor has prescribed Diprosalic but to no avail. Can you make any suggestion as we are getting very concerned with the situation? A. Alopecia is a condition which can be either hereditary or acquired, so it is not unusual for it to occur where there is no family history. What happens is that the hair follicles in a specific area are recognised by the body as ‘foreign bodies’ which leads to the follicles themselves being ‘switched off ’ by the immune system. This is why scientists have grouped alopecia as one of the many autoimmune disorders. The good news is that the follicles are simply dormant, rather than destroyed, so it is common for the hair to grow back over time. The rate of regrowth is highly individual, however, and alopecia can appear again without warning, in the future. I am wondering about the choice of medication. Diprosalic is a combination of a corticosteroid (used to reduce inPicture: Istock flammation) and a keratolytic (used to break down thick and scaly skin). Unless these factors, or a case of seborrhoeic dermatitis, are the main cause of the alopecia, then there are other methods which may have more success in treating your son’s hair loss issue. One such option is Nourkrin, which is 100% natural, and has been proven clinically to reduce hair loss and promote growth. Utilising marine-based protein extracts and polysaccharides along with vitamin C and silica, this programme helps to stop thinning hair, promote new hair growth and strengthen both the existing and new hair. The manufacturer says most people notice a 50% It might be worth checking out psyllium improvement after six months. Nourkrin is husks as a more viable and natural long-term available from health stores or online from solution which will also help to cleanse and www.lifes2good.ie (01-750800). heal the mucous lining of the digestive sysThis is one of those conditions that can tem. have quite an emotional impact. Fortunately, A good probiotic supplement, such as Dr it doesn’t cause physical pain or impact on Ohira’s OMX, Seven Seas Multibionta, or health and wellbeing in general — but it is Biocare’s range, will go a long way towards always difficult when something like this apeliminating excess wind, since both pears without warning and very little is unlong-term digestive issues and medication can derstood as to why it occurs in the first severely diminish beneficial gut bacteria. place. If you appear to tolerate grains and dairy

I have a very good appetite, eat home cooking mostly, and for breakfast yet I suffer from belching, gas and flatulence

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

Megan puts the spotlight on:

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VERYONE has heard of cholesterol, and most of us know that we should keep on top of our cholesterol levels to keep our hearts healthy, but what exactly is cholesterol? There are two types, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Doctors used to focus on reducing LDL levels until they discovered that raising HDL levels alongside LDL reduction was even more beneficial. The HDL cholesterol helps to clean the blood vessels, removing excess LDL cholesterol so that it can be processed in the liver. A healthy total cholesterol level for adults aged 30 years plus is considered

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to be 5.2mmol/L (200mg/dL), while dietary changes are necessary if it is between 5.2 and 6.2mmol/L (200-240mg/dL). The higher your total cholesterol reading the greater your risk of plaque deposits in the blood vessels. Plaque deposits are a combination of cholesterol and calcium. Plaque is present in all ageing arteries to a certain degree, but if it is enough to narrow the arteries significantly, then the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke is greatly increased. It’s important to bear in mind that a third of all individuals with high cholesterol levels don’t end

Lowering your cholesterol levels up with heart problems or a stroke. The best way to maintain a good ratio of HDL:LDL cholesterol and minimise your risk of heart problems is to cut down or eliminate fatty dairy products and meat, avoid highly processed and refined foods, and keep active in order to regulate your weight — and remember, a little exercise on a daily basis is far more effective than sporadic bouts of well-intentioned mega-workouts. Vitamin C is a great nutrient to help with cholesterol, so ensure that you get at least 3000mg dai-

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

ly in 500mg increments. Eating oily fish or taking a good essential fatty acid supplement has been shown to improve HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels and decrease LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels. Psyllium husks also play an important role in lowering cholesterol by up to 10%. Simply take 1-2 tablespoons each day mixed well in a large glass of water or apple juice, and drink it immediately. Apples, particularly the skins, contain the bioflavanoid quercetin. This is thought to be the reason why eating two apples a day can lower your total cholesterol by as much as 16%. Any one of these tips can really turn around your cholesterol reading — so make one or more of these simple changes today.


TERAPROOF:User:noelcampionDate:05/10/2011Time:17:46:15Edition:07/10/2011FeelgoodXH0710Page:16

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011

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