Monthly Archives: January 2014


Yesterday I attended the funeral of someone who has been a source of great inspiration to me in studying Chinese Medicine and the culture behind it and as a result it has deepened my understanding of the human body and Medicine from a completely different perspective.
I was able to visit China with him and experience acupuncture and Chinese medicine as practised in a General Hospital in a China. He facilitated my completion of a diploma in Chinese herbs and acupuncture as approved by the University of Beijing.

His lectures were animated, frequently amusing as he shared his knowledge with great enthusiasm and passion. He treated everyone in the same manner and it was difficult to know if he was introducing you to a patient, fellow student or visiting professor! On one occasion he introduced me to the Dalai Lama when I was in the middle of buying needles in the clinic as apparently he had asked him to pop in to the clinic in Camden whilst he was in London.

On many occasions we have not only talked about medicine but shared the things that make us really appreciate our health and enrich our lives: art and culture; music and poetry; food and song as he felt that these are the things that can bring cultures closer together and lead to fruitful integration.

He worked passionately with boundless energy aiming to integrate Eastern and Western medicine for over four decades. Professor Mei was actively involved in many leading academic and clinical institutions in developing a global integrative model for medicine. His passion inspired his vision for a globalised medicine that cares for humanity and a new paradigm of medicine and health.
He revolutionised modern Chinese medicine through his invention of the world’s first disposable acupuncture needle and designed the earliest range of micro-processor electro acupuncture and TENS apparatuses. He also pioneered the systematic approach to Chinese herbal medicine by developing the TCM Classic range of capsulated Chinese herbal extracts.

As you can see I am only one of many who have been inspired by his contribution to medicine

When he wrote this letter last month little did anyone know that he would pass away so suddenly and not be able to share the Chinese New Year of human enlightenment on February 1st 2014. However, many of us reading this letter including his family feel that they must be energised by the work he has done and to continue with the same fervour.

Farewell 2013, Welcome to the Year of the Wooden Horse!
Many of us may have experienced a year of change caused by the dynamics of the Black Water Snake. As 2013 is drawing to a close we look forward to the year of the Wooden Horse that will set the milestone for the next decade to come. According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the energetic cycle of Qi that will manifest itself in a qualitative manner that will influence our health, personal relationships as well as the social and natural phenomena. All the knowledge of the human race will be needed to help us move towards the next horizon in enlightenment.

At this defining moment in history, science and philosophy will engage in a dialogue that will shape our future reality. This may be a sober thought for the new year festivities, but I myself am looking forward to the burst of new energy and to share with you the hope and the excitement of the arrival of a new axial age.

Let’s enjoy this moment of festivities with the tea of life and the wine of wisdom. The Chinese Taoist notion of “wu wei er wei zi (无为而为之)” which means “doing as if you are not doing” is a pearl of wisdom for this moment. As the natural environment is being increasingly damaged by our deterministic actions, we need to learn to act within the ways of nature, rather than recklessly changing it according to our own image. Ceaseless economic growth should be in tune with the ecology of our earth. To me, meaningful living is to be at one with nature.

Goethe once said “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” This brings me to an important principle in Chinese medicine regarding the ‘heart’ in relation to the mind and body. In many ways we are all artists in life. As we cultivate our heart to achieve clarity of mind we may be feeling alone. But are we really alone? The heart is not only affecting our physical wellbeing but is also affecting our relationship with our surroundings. Our relationship with nature, our loved ones and society at large are all affected by our actions stemming from our hearts and minds.

I mention this because I think by cultivating our heart we can get ourselves ready for the next stage of human enlightenment. A human being with a noble heart, in a noble society, will not need the strict governance that the law makers are endlessly fabricating in modern times. We will then be free, harmonious and engaging in the essence of living.

At this celebratory moment I wish you peace and happiness in your heart.

Man Fong Mei

at the AcuMedic Forum, London


老子云“无为而无不为”和孔子说“无为而 治”,都表达了一种“无为而为之”的境界,即强调凡事顺其自然,不多一分亦不少一分,力求平衡! 中国人的哲学智慧是人生不是什么都不做,而是做出来的东西不违反自然规律。

回到工作的层面,中医的养生之道核心是鼓励养心,中医的“精气神”概念值得我们进一步思考,这也适用于治疗当前社会的某些病态 现象。养心不但促进个人健康,治疗疾病,也令社会和谐,给人类发展带来新的生机。

辞旧迎新之际,来共同思考一下自己的行为和价值观是否传承了古代圣贤的智慧,以平衡现代消费主义的影响。谨祝各位身心愉快!马 到成功!




He finished the letter with this poem he wrote which I found very appropriate and was reproduced on a bookmark and given to everyone who attended the funeral. He was an artist, poet, philosopher, physicist and Chinese physician.
The bookmark also had a drawing of plum blossom….
The Chinese word for plum blossom is known as the meihua (梅花) : you may be familiar with drawings of these in Chinese paintings. Mei is Chinese for plum.
Plum blossom
The Moment

This is the moment

I am in your presence

You are in my presence

Together we sip our tea of life

This is the moment

Together we indulge our imagination

The sweet memory of the past

The excitement for the future

The hope we share

In this winter air

Our presence together,

In celebration.

Prof. Man Fong Mei

5 December 2013


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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Last year I wrote about Dengue Fever
and this blog was visited by many readers.
dengue fever
Last weekend I was working in West Middlesex in the PCC at the weekend and a mother came in with her sick child and was very worried as she had just returned from Malaysia and Dengue fever was rife. Her child had a high fever and was very unwell and needed to be referred to the paediatricians promptly.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Deaths from dengue in Malaysia shot up last year, doubling that of 2012, as the tropical country battles with a raging mosquito-borne virus that claims hundreds of lives annually in Southeast Asia.

Four patients — three women and one man — died in the week ending Dec. 21, leaving 88 dead in Malaysia in the first 51 weeks of this year. In 2012, 35 people died in Malaysia of dengue, data from the Ministry of Health show.
Malaysia suffered the worst dengue bout on record in 2010, when 134 people died and 46,171 cases were reported. In 2011, 36 people died in Malaysia, with 19,884 people infected.

As of Dec. 21, dengue cases totaled 41,226 , nearly doubling from 21,444 cases in same period in 2012.

“As long as infection and outbreak of dengue fever continues, the risk of death remains,” said Lokman Hakim, deputy director general at Malaysia’s Ministry of Health.

The virus, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, causes severe fever, headaches, rashes and muscle and joint pain. Severe forms can cause hemorrhagic fever. No vaccine is currently available, and treatment is largely limited to intravenous rehydration.
Dengue fever
Selangor state, which borders the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, has been hit the hardest, reporting 24 deaths, the Ministry said. The southern state of Johor that borders Singapore, has recorded 21 fatalities.

Selangor is home to 88 of the 89 dengue “hotspots,” or areas that have witnessed a jump in outbreaks, with Negeri Sembilan accounting for the other.

refer to the previous blog  for further links and advice.

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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Cervical cancerCervical Cancer Prevention Week 2014
19-25 January 2014

A quarter of young women are ‘embarrassed’ to have cervical cancer smear tests
Women put off cervical cancer screenings because they are worried it will be painful and embarrassing, a new study shows.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland all women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for cervical screening. In Scotland screening is currently between the ages of 20 and 60 and will be raised to 25-64 in 2015.

Usually at this surgery Mary our nurse who has had many years of experience is the sample taker.

Tips for attending a cervical screening:

· First time or nervous? Tell the sample taker.
· Worried about discomfort? Ask the sample taker to use a smaller speculum.
· Feeling embarrassed? Wear a skirt as you can keep this on during the test.
· Try to relax and distract your mind.
· Don’t want to go alone? Take a friend to wait in the waiting room with you.
· Not sure what to expect? Go to the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website or call their helpline (0808 802 8000).

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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Last year when I read the article written by researchers who worked with elderly residents at a US care home claiming that vociferously singing of classic numbers from hit musicals can boost the brain function of people with Alzheimer’s disease, I was delighted to hear this as I have always felt that singing and dancing with gusto are great for morale but now an added bonus if it boosts brain function. Also I was thrilled to know that my children and grandchildren will be encouraging me to sing Abba songs for the rest of my life! Singing Singing for brainOver a four-month study, the mental performance of patients who took part in regular group singing sessions improved compared with others who just listened. The sessions appeared to have the most striking effect on people with moderate to severe dementia, with patients scoring higher on cognitive and drawing tests, and also on a satisfaction-with-life questionnaire at the end of the study. Hence. When I met up with a doctor colleague I had not seen for years and told me she was playing the piano for people with Dementia and she wanted to spread the word I thought it made a good idea for a blog! The details are below:- image


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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Gout in the UK is on the increase

This week it was reported that the prevalence of gout – traditionally associated with too much port and an unhealthy lifestyle – is soaring in the UK, according to a study.

Gout is a type of arthritis where swelling and severe pain which can develop in any joint, imageespecially at the base of the big toe. Crystals of sodium urate produced by the body can form inside joints and can cause sudden and severe pain, together with swelling and redness.

One in 40 people in the UK is affected, four times more common in men between the ages of 30-60 years of age, according to analysis of 15 years of results, in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal. It can also run in families.

Between 1997 and 2012, the prevalence of gout rose by 64%, increasing by around 4% every year.
Gout is one of a few types of arthritis where future damage to joints can be avoided by treatment.
Prof Alan Silman, the medical director of Arthritis Research UK, echoed the concern about obesity and identified foods which are high in purine such as red meat, shell fish and dairy, and red wine and beer aswell as yeast and yeast extracts (like Marmite)as potential contributors.
Gout not diet

What causes it?

Our bodies all have a breakdown product called urate (or uric acid). Most urate is produced Goutby the body. It breaks down substances known as purines and usually passes out in our urine.

If urate does not pass out of the body, or if you produce too much, it can build up and form crystals. Gout is caused when these crystals build up and form around the body’s joints, causing inflammation and pain.

Urate builds up either because too much urate is being produced by the body or because not enough is being passed out in urine (which may indicate kidney disease). Some other diseases can also increase your likelihood of developing gout, including heart disease, psoriasis and the treatment of some blood disorders such as leukaemia.

Not everyone with high urate levels will develop gout. We do not know why some people develop it. However, if you are overweight you are more likely to develop it. A good diet and weight loss will reduce your chances of developing gout.

According to the latest research genes may play a part in increasing your risk of developing gout.

You are at risk of developing gout

  • if you are very stressed or have had an illness
  • if you injure or bruise a joint. If you are prone to gout, and you have more pain in a joint than you would expect after a minor bump, it could be an attack coming on, so get treatment straight away
  • by taking diuretics (water tablets) or low-dose aspirin. Some people take these for high blood pressure or to prevent heart disease

How to help yourself during an attack of gout

An ice-pack (or pack of frozen peas), wrapped in a cloth, can be put on the sore joint for 30 minutes, several times a day, to bring relief and reduce inflammation.
A frame over your foot to keep bedclothes off it can relieve pain at night.
How to manage the effects on your life

If you are overweight, losing weight very gradually can help reduce the amount of urate in your blood. Do not go on a starvation diet. That can make gout worse.

Moderate exercise is very important for keeping your joints moving. A physiotherapist can give you exercises that are right for you.

Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink as dehydration can trigger gout. Alcohol, especially beer, can make it more likely for gout to flare up.

Drink lots of water – between 1.5 and 2.5 litres a day (six to eight glasses) to help prevent kidney stones. This can stop urate forming into crystals. Drinking five or more cups of coffee daily has been shown to increase the amount of uric acid that is excreted. For the best advice on how much water you should drink, talk with your doctor.

While it is helpful to cut down on foods which contain purines, 90 per cent of purines are produced in the body.

If you think you have gout (or any kind of arthritis), see your GP.

If you want more information about gout

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Posted by on January 18, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Have you ever been to the doctor and come away and not said what you wanted to say?
For young people this can be particularly difficult and recently I found this website which I am sure many people will find helpful especially in the case of emotional conditions which are difficult to share.

Doc readyDoc Ready is a digital tool that helps young people to prepare and make the most out of mental health related GP visits. It helps young people to know what to expect during a GP consultation, plan what to say and record the outcomes of their appointments.

About Doc Ready

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Posted by on January 18, 2014 in Training and Advice




Waiting On His Blindness, by John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

When I studied this poem for GCE O level I didn’t understand what it really meant but as the years have passed by it has become much clearer. As you become older you realise that you have to stand back and let younger colleagues move forward.
We all have a place in this world and we all perform a function, regardless of our ability or disability. The word order of this sentence may make it more difficult to understand. In modern English it would be something like: “They (those people) who only stand and wait, also serve.”
John Milton wrote this sonnet more than 350 years ago after he had gone completely blind. He was inferring that despite someone having any disability they always have a purpose in life.

There have been many occasions in my life when I have had to wait but if I reflect on these times they have often been shown to be valuable. When I was in Nigeria and was travelling by bus across the country to Zaria to the Hospital, where I was going to be working for an elective. Suddenly,en route in what seemed the back of beyond the bus broke down and careered off the road. Out of nowhere appeared mnumerous able-bodied men, who literally lifted the bus back on to the road, but still the bus failed to start. We waited nearly 2 days for help to arrive. I had felt waiting 30 minutes for a bus to arrive was long enough but 2 days seemed unimaginable. During that time villagers appeared selling food and many other items some of use others were just souvenirs. This was probably my first lesson in waiting and I learnt very quickly how people lived in Nigeria. Now when I see those people in Sudan or Syria on the TV waiting for food parcels it brings back my memory of having to just wait until help arrived and that feeling of being powerless to hasten the process. I only had to wait 2 days and I was not that hungry.

Since that time there have been numerous occasions of waiting.
As a doctor we often have to wait: for medication to take effect, a woman to deliver, a person to die, a patient to arrive after accepting an admission and simply to wait at the end of a phone for the right person to answer. Over the years during these waiting times I have learnt to play bridge and other card games, play darts and snooker. I have had chance to read most daily papers, many novels and of course learnt about many medical conditions as well as learn about the lives of fellow doctors, nurses, cleaners and porters. It was often a time to think about what I was doing and why and reflect. I realise that these waiting times have been invaluable in teaching me more about being patient, being aware of those around me and the lives they live and the importance of their roles as well as learning to do things I would never have dreamt of doing.
Sadly, today working is about being cost effective and if someone is simply waiting it is considered to be inefficient so that we all have to be active and productive.
In my partial retirement I am learning to stop and reflect once again and as I write up my latest appraisal at the end of each clause I am instructed to reflect. We are now being advised to have protected time on a regular basis to reflect on our work, probably not to play darts or bridge but to have time out to look at what we are doing well or not so well.
Those words written 350 years ago sound much more meaningful in that waiting may become part of life and can be a very important aspect if you allow it to be. Moreover, if that is all you can do so be it.

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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Training and Advice


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imageRecently a patient attended surgery for a health check as she was anticipating taking part in the London Marathon. When I asked what charity she was supporting she told me it was for the ‘Cystic Fibrosis Trust’  as her godchild ‘Kate’ suffers from this condition.
Running for Kate
I’m Ali & I’m Adam, together we are running for Cystic Fibrosis Trust because we love Kate & we want to raise lots of cash! 🙂

I like to use these occasions with the person’s permission to increase the awareness of the medical condition. I find myself reflecting on patients I have seen in the present and the past and record what thoughts come to mind. As doctors we appreciate people raising money to research these life threatening illnesses and in this particular illness we have been aware of the significant progress that has been made and we wish Ali and Adam good luck in their venture.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust was set up in 1964 making this year it’s 50th year!

Interestingly, both Dr. Livingston and myself always give a tiny lick when we see a newborn baby for their first health check. The reason being that an early sign of Cystic Fibrosis is that an affected child’s sweat is unusually salty, which can be noticeable when you kiss your child.

We were both paediatric junior doctors in South Wales and aware that in that region Cystic Fibrosis was not
unusual. These small children were frequently admitted to hospital and at that time the majority died before they started school. They were diagnosed soon after birth and the parents had to work tirelessly to perform daily frequent postural drainage(chest physiotherapy) prepare a special diet and to accept the inevitable frequent hospital appointments and often long hospital admissions. It is not surprising that we knew these children well and not only admired these youngsters for their courage but also had great respect for the persistent hard work as well as the love and devotion these parents gave.

Cystic fibrosis (also known as CF or mucoviscidosis) is a common hereditary disease. The name cystic fibrosis refers to the characteristic scarring (fibrosis) and cyst formation within the pancreas. CF is an inherited condition that affects many body functions such as breathing, digestion and reproduction. The lifelong condition becomes more severe with age and the majority have respiratory and digestive problems.
CF is one of the most common life-shortening diseases in Europe and the USA. Difficulty breathing is the most serious symptom and results from frequent lung infections that are treated, though not cured, by antibiotics and other medications.
CF is a life-shortening inherited disease, affecting over 10,000 people in the UK. One in twenty-two people of Mediterranean descent are carriers of one gene for CF, making it the most common genetic disease in these populations. Ireland not only has the highest incidence of cystic fibrosis in the world, but also the largest proportion of families with more than one child suffering from the condition.It also has the highest rate of CF carriers in the world; 1 in 19.

CF genetics

A person carries two copies of the gene associated with Cystic Fibrosis. If one of these genes is defective then this makes the person a carrier. For a child to have the possibility of inheriting the disease, a defective CF gene must be present in both parents. A child born to two carriers of the gene will not automatically inherit Cystic Fibrosis from them but instead, each child has a 1 in 4 chance of suffering from the disease.

You can’t catch or develop cystic fibrosis, it’s something you’re born with and most cases in the UK are now diagnosed soon after birth.

Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis
After campaigns from the CF trust all newborn babies in the UK are tested for cystic fibrosis.
There are a number of other ways of testing for cystic fibrosis, such as the sweat test (people with cystic fibrosis have more salt in their sweat) or a genetic test, where a swab is rubbed gently on the inside of the cheek to look for the faulty gene.these tests can be carried out antenatally or for those people at high risk.

There is currently no cure for Cystic Fibrosis. The treatment available is designed to alleviate the symptoms and help to manage the condition more effectively to ensure sufferers can lead their lives in as normal a way as possible.

How is Cystic Fibrosis treated?

CF is treated with a combination of medication, physiotherapy and exercise:

Medication – The three main types of drugs used to treat CF in the lungs are Bronchodilator medicines to open up the airways; antibiotics to fight off infection; and steroids to ease inflammation. To aid digestion CF sufferers are also required to take pancreatic enzymes with every meal and snack. Some CF medicines such as Bronchodilators can be administered by inhalation using a nebuliser. A nebuliser is a device which transforms liquid medication into a fine mist for inhalation deep into the lungs using a mask or mouthpiece.

Physiotherapy – Daily physiotherapy is essential for clearing mucus from the airways and minimising infection. Initially physiotherapy is carried out in the home by a parent or carer. Once old enough to manage their own therapy, CF sufferers will carry out their own daily routine.

Exercise – Daily exercise is very important for maintaining good lung health and physical strength and is an integral part of treating and managing Cystic Fibrosis.

It was great glee that I read this week on Google news the article in The Telegraph about Nick Talbot, who at the age of 41yrs is going to be climbing Everest. This is an amazing example of true progress in a Medicine in my life-time. Life expectancy is now a minimum of 40yrs and improving year on year. With the unfailing support of Kate’s family along with medical research and major breakthroughs in medicine Kate will reach adulthood and be able to live a near normal life.


Tackling the world’s highest mountain is not to be taken lightly by anyone. So surely someone with a respiratory disease venturing into the thin Himalayan air would be a dream too far?
Not according to Nick Talbot, a director for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
He is hoping to follow in the pioneering footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, with an eight-to-nine-week Everest climb this May.
He suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic respiratory disease that affects around 10,000 people in Britain.

To this family who by Kate’s courage and their support they have inspired Ali and Adam to run for this worthy cause. Not only are they making people aware of Cystic Fibrosis but they will be raising money to further the research to help Kate and others like her.

Ali and Adam reported on link:-
Kate is an exceptional little girl. I challenge you not to be completely smitten by her gorgeous wee face and her zest for life!!

She is also very lucky she has a fantastic twin sister, Megan. They look after each other, and it shouldn’t go unmentioned how difficult it is for Megan when her sister is unwell. Megan has been appointed chief marathon trainer for us, involving weekly pep talks and huddles!

We’ll finish this bit by saying Megan & Kate’s parents are the most courageous, loving, selfless and inspirational people. Their household is all about love and laughter.
Love &laughter

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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Have you met the ‘The Welsh Blue man of Ealing? I have to say I haven’t met him to speak to but I have seen him around in the street after a patient told me about him.  He really does have a blue appearance!
imageIt was reported in California that a man nicknamed Papa Smurf has revealed how he accidentally turned his skin permanently blue.
He suffered from stress-related dermatitis after his father’s death 14 years ago, and decided to treat it himself with home-made colloidal silver, an old medicine widely used before the discovery of penicillin.
But, he said, he has “no more acid reflux, no more sinus troubles; my arthritis went away.”
Silver was still found in some over-the-counter medicines in the US until it was banned in 1999 because it causes argyria – the condition which turns the skin blue.

My patient then told me how he had been using colloidal silver and was I aware of silver’s amazing medical properties. He had used it to cure conjunctivitis and several infected lacerations.
I recall from my basic chemistry that the chemical symbol for silver is Ag from the Latin argentum.image Colloidal Silver is a mineral solution containing silver ions & very small charged silver particles suspended in a medium (distilled water). As the particles have the same electrostatic charge (Zeta potential), they repel each other and this keeps them in uniform suspension throughout the medium. This is why it is called a colloid. It is not a medicine, it is an antimicrobial mineral solution.From research, Colloidal silver seems to have natural antibiotic properties against biological one cell germs AND viruses. It helps to boost the immune system and acts as a second defence against infections.

imageMoreover, wound dressings which go under the name of Ag aquacel are used widely by nurses as they are excellent for healing severely infected leg ulcers, burns or wounds.
Silver has long been appreciated by the medical community. Hippocrates, “thefather of medicine,” knew of its healing and anti-disease properties. In World War I, before the advent of antibiotics, it was an important weapon against disease on the battlefield.

More recently, the FDA approved a breathing tube with a fine coating of silver, after it was established that it reduced the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia. And that’s just one example of the many roles silver plays in medicine today. It is also added to bandages and wound-dressings containing silver sulfadiazine or silver nanomaterials which treat external infections. It is used to line catheters it is effective in reducing catheter-related urinary tract infections as well as other medical instruments and is a key part of the technology behind X-rays.
The silver ion (Ag+) is bioactive and in sufficient concentration readily kills bacteria in vitro. Silver and silver nanoparticles are used as an antimicrobial in a variety of industrial, healthcare and domestic applications.

In 2007 M&S started selling Silver-lined pyjamas, which are designed with thin silver imagethreads running through the material: the nightwear is worn to help prevent the spread of MRSA. Silver, known for its infection-fighting properties, is intended to act as a “fly swatter” for any harmful bacteria. Some were sceptical about how beneficial the garments were when they were introduced in 2007, and the idea hasn’t taken hospitals by storm, but the pyjamas are still being sold, particularly for young children.
In the past, for the upper classes, most cutlery/serving utensils were made of solid silver and it would be ingested and entered the blood stream. This is where the term “Blue bloods” comes from which is actually the silver content in their blood. Although there are other factors why the upper classes lived longer such as the ate well, had better sanitation, kept warm and as a result, the will to live!
Churches use silver chalices to prevent transmission of infection when taking communion. The imagethought of sharing wine between dozens of people would be an ideal way of spreading an infection. There is no recorded incident where this has happened & One would expect the media wouhave picked up on any medical issues arising from it.

The disparity of longevity between the upper and lower classes was quite considerable. The “Not so fortunate” drank and ate from pewter which because of the high lead content, would often cause poisoning.


In metallic (elemental) form, silver is unreactive and cannot kill bacteria. To become bactericidal, silver atoms (denoted as Ag or Ag0) must lose an electron and become positively charged silver ions (Ag+). Elemental silver ionises in air, but ionises more readily when exposed to an aqueous environment such as wound exudate. In contrast, silver compounds contain positive silver ions bound to negatively charged ions or molecules. When exposed to aqueous environments, some of the silver ions become detached from the compound.
Silver ions are highly reactive and affect multiple sites within bacterial cells, ultimately causing bacterial cell death. They bind to bacterial cell membranes, causing disruption of the bacterial cell wall and cell leakage. Silver ions transported into the cell disrupt cell function by binding to proteins and interfering with energy production, enzyme function and cell replication.
image Silver ions are active against a broad range of bacteria, fungi and virusesincluding many antibiotic- resistant bacteria, such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin- resistant Enterococci (VRE).
Studies of the effects of silver dressings on experimental models of biofilms  have suggested that silver may reduce bacterial adhesion and destabilise the biofilm matrix, as well as kill bacteria within the matrix and increase susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotic.

Other effects of silver
Some laboratory studies have suggested that silver may have beneficial effects on wound healing other than the control of bioburden alone. For example, silver nitrate, nanocrystalline silver, and some silver-containing dressings have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects and to encourage blood vessel formation (neovascularisation). The clinical relevance of these findings is not yet known.


Only a small proportion of silver presented to a wound site in a dressing is involved in antimicrobial action. Most of the rest remains within the dressing or binds to proteins in the wound or wound debris. Very little is systemically absorbed and even if it is absorbed systemically, silver is excreted mainly via the biliary route in the faeces and some is excreted in urine.  Silver is not absorbed into the central or peripheral nervous systems.

Ancient civilizations reportedly used silver because they recognized a connection between the metal and their health. Today, people are also finding silver to be increasingly useful in health-related applications.

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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Many people will have had an enjoyable festive break but others it will have been a stressful time. For many a festive drink of alcohol and eating rich food will have made the occasion more enjoyable for others it will have caused an aftermath of misery.

The great thing about the start of a New Year it’s a chance to reflect of the what’s good and what’s bad about your life and stick with what’s good and try to change what’s bad.
A chance to improve our lifestyle, our living conditions, our friendships and our relationships as well as our sense of purpose.

Banksy put up four new pieces in London two years ago. One on the side of National Gallery, one in Bell Lane near Liverpool St. Station, one on Wapping High Street – all which were buffed/removed very quickly indeed, but give the message….

Banksy lifestyle

Perhaps one answer to many of your problems could be to

What does the liver do?
Your liver is the biggest organ inside your body and does hundreds of essential jobs.

  • Fighting infection and disease
  • Destroying poisons and drugs (including alcohol)
  • Cleaning the blood
  • Controlling the amount of cholesterol
  • Processing food once it has been digested

watch this video found on the website
Liver factory

Liver Health from TCM Perspective
Liver Chinese Since I have studied Traditional Chinese Medicine I have been fascinated how this completes the effects of disease and how the major organs effect the rest of the body and the mind.

The Liver(Chinese: 肝; pinyin: gān)
The Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a very important organ. The Liver in TCM has very different functions than the liver in western medicine. In western medicine, some of the functions are to produce certain proteins for blood plasma, regulate blood clotting and resist infections by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the blood stream. In Chinese medicine, the liver has 6 main functions and they are as follows:
• Regulate Qi (energy)
• Open in eyes
• Stores blood
• Controls tendons and sinews
• Manifests in nails
• Houses ethereal soul
This prime aspect of the liver can have great affect on three aspects of the body: the emotions, digestion, and the free flow of blood.
1) Strongly effects emotions
If Liver function is normal, people will have smooth flowing emotional states favoring happiness. If the flow of Qi is stagnated or stuck, they will experience frustration, depression, irritability or anger. Various pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms will also arise such as irregular or painful periods, mood swings and breast tenderness.
The Liver is the organ system most affected by suppressed emotions. Therefore not dealing with your triggers and emotions for a long time can lead to “Liver Qi Stagnation” and eventually pathologies of other body organs.
2) Affects the digestion of food
If the Qi is not flowing smoothly (i.e. from emotions), the digestion system will have trouble performing their functions. If the Liver Qi is stagnated it can affect the Stomach causing nausea, vomiting and belching. It can also affect the Spleen and cause diarrhea.
3) Blood Flow
The relationship between blood and qi (energy) is very close and they always move together. The blood cannot go where the qi does not. If the free flow of the qi is stagnated by the liver, the blood will stagnate as well. The stagnation of liver qi will still cause stagnation of blood, which will lead to the gynecological symptoms.
I remember a patient coming to the surgery with very sore eyes which she was causing her great distress. On examination there was no obvious problem and as a Western doctor I could offer no treatment. I decided to take a TCM history and as her eyes were the problem I focused on symptoms and examination accordingly. When I asked her about her menstruation she claimed she was late but definitely not pregnant, she had no appetite and had a dull ache in her upper abdomen and chest. Then I asked her about her emotions and she changed from a softly spoken, refined young women and started to cry and become very angry. Eventually she related the story of how she worked in a small boutique and there had been a robbery and she had been held a gunpoint and although she was not hurt she was extremely angry that her boss was not installing a panic alarm and safety catch on the door.

TongueI examined her tongue and pulse (important features of a TCM examination) and diagnosed Liver Qi stagnation with fire due to the symptoms she presented and her red tip and sides of tongue as well as a wiry pulse.
The treatment for her eyes was to deal with her anger by getting her work situation sorted out as this from a TCM perspective was causing her medical problems.

If you imagine someone having over indulged alcohol with their red eyes, emotionally labile, irritability, altered appetite and aching joints, staggering gait and poor sexual function – TCM will account for these features.

Liver disease is the fifth biggest – and fastest-growing – killer in the UK but a lack of obvious symptoms means it can be diagnosed at a late stage.
It works hard and can take a lot of abuse, but it is like an elastic band – it can only stretch so far before it breaks.

There are 3 main threats to the Liver

    • Alcohol
    • Fatty diet
    • viral Hepatitis


Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: “Overindulging in fatty food too frequently, having an alcoholic drink every night and not making time for regular exercise are major contributing factors for liver disease.

“To repair the liver and keep it healthy, people need to take at least two to three imageconsecutive days off alcohol every week, and drink within the recommended limits at other times, affecting a permanent lifestyle change.”
Only you know yourself if you can limit your drinking and it well established that some people are unable to do and need to abstain completely.

A long established organisation who can help called Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions.
More information can be obtained on their website including the helpline and email address:-

If you are effected by someone else, a friend or relative who are drinking and need to share this with others in a similar situation the following website may be helpful:-

The daily papers have been focussing on alcohol and the fact that it has become as great a problem amongst women as men and all of its terrible effects and there is even an App to track your drinking and give you feedback. The NHS choices website will give you all this information as well as how to cope with a hangover and how many units are safe to drink each week.

There are two Charities that are promoting a dry January in an attempt to encourage those people, who feel that their drinking has got out of hand, to stop and think about the effects of their drinking and by taking on the challenge, lose a few pounds while saving money. Moreover, with no hangovers you can find time and energy you never knew you had, and discover how your skin will look nicer too. Get some support and encouragement from the following websites:-

By giving it a get thinking about your drinking and prove to yourself that you can say no to a tipple or two. Thousands of people took up the challenge last year and most decided to cut down for good as a result. Take a look at the website it gives recipes for mocktails and what to do when you fancy a drink!

Cancer research

Become a Dryathlete™ and give up alcohol for January. Clear your head, feel fitter, save money and raise funds to help beat cancer sooner.


Many people don’t appreciate that unhealthy eating leading to Obesity and diabetes which leads to fatty liver disease.
Figures from the charity show that a third of people in the UK with liver disease have obesity-related non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The condition is behind a growing number of liver transplants and the problem is expected to get worse as obesity continues to rise.
Every time doctors get together to discuss Type 2 Diabetic who not well controlled and needing to start insulin the same advise from the diabetologists a is always:-
Diet lifestyle


I have seen first hand on many occasions how a diabetic that follows this advise can come off ALL medical treatment……

I blogged about this several months ago

There are several viruses that cause hepatitis. The common ones are hepatitis A, B and C. Most people recover from hepatitis A with no lasting liver damage, but hepatitis B and C can cause long term liver disease and even liver cancer.

Hepatitis A is passed out in the bowel motions of an infected person, and is passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the virus due to poor hygiene standards . Most people feel better within a few weeks. The illness can be more severe in those who are old or who have other underlying conditions.
How to look after your liver.
There are vaccines available to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccination is recommended if you are travelling abroad outside Europe and the US, but you should also speak to your GP if you think you might be at risk because of your job or your lifestyle.

Both hepatitis B and C are easy to catch through blood to blood contact and very hard to get rid of. Even a tiny amount of dried blood – too small to be visible to the naked eye – is enough to pass on the infection if it gets into your blood stream.

This could be from sharing contaminated:

  • equipment for injecting drugs (including steroids)
  • tattoo, accupuncture or body piercing equipment
  • medical or dental equipment
  • razors, clippers, or toothbrushes
  • through an open cut or wound.

Sex and passing the virus from mother to baby at birth, are also high risk factors for hepatitis B.

There are few symptoms of hepatitis B and C and people can be infected for many years without knowing, during which time liver damage can occur. An estimated five out of every six people with chronic hepatitis C are unaware of their infection.

imageYou only have one liver, it’s important to know how to look after it!

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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Training and Advice


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