The Anonymous Widower

Belmont Station – 20th January 2023

These pictures show Belmont station.

Note.

  1. The first four pictures show the remaining double track between Sutton and Belmont stations. The double track finishes shortly before the station.
  2. All trains use the only platform, which is numbered One.
  3. The remains of the second platform.
  4. There is sufficient space to put in a second track and restore the second platform.
  5. The steel stairs up to the bridge over the railway.
  6. The bus station outside the station.
  7. The S4 bus takes everybody to and from the Royal Marsden Hospital.
  8. There was no signage on the station about which bus to take to the hospital.

There is a large amount of traffic outside the station, which very much seems in a hurry.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Balham – Gateway To The Royal Marsden

With apologies to the late great Peter Sellers and his iconic Balham – Gateway To The South.

After breakfast this morning at Leon on Moorgate, I decided to go and look at Belmont station, which is the nearest station to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton.

Currently, Belmont has a two train per hour (tph) service from Victoria which goes via Clapham Junction, Balham and West Croydon.

From Moorgate the easiest route was to go via the iconic Balham station, where I took these pictures.

Note.

  1. There are two fast and two slow tracks through Balham station.
  2. There is a cafe on the two slow platforms.

I transferred here to an Epsom Downs train for Belmont.

The only problem was that I just missed one train and had to wait half-an-hour for the next.

The service between Victoria and Belmont needs to be increased in frequency.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Food, Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Levelling Up Funding Will Double Train Services To Belmont In Surrey

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Advent.

This project is outlined in these three paragraphs in the article.

An award of £14.1 million to Sutton Council from the government’s Levelling Up Fund will unlock the full potential of the London Cancer Hub and allow the number of trains running to the village of Belmont in South London to be doubled.

The London Cancer Hub is a world-leading life sciences campus that is being developed at Belmont in Surrey, and which will create 13,000 jobs and £1.2 billion each year for the UK economy.

Until now, Belmont has been poorly served by public transport and the money will enable its train services to be doubled to four trains an hour, and extra direct services from Belmont to London Victoria.

This document from Sutton Council gives more details in this paragraph.

This bid will double train frequency between Belmont and London Victoria from 2 to 4 trains per hour by building a siding turnback south of Belmont Station. It will improve accessibility at the station and provide better routes for people walking and cycling to the station from the nearby area and The London Cancer Hub. As a result, public transport accessibility will improve and active travel will increase.

This map from CartoMetro shows the current track layout at Belmont station.

Note.

  1. The Epsom Downs branch used to be double track, with a second platform at Belmont station.
  2. There used to be a cross-over South of the station.

I suspect a length of the other track will be reinstated, with a cross-over the other way round to create the turnback siding.

This will allow two extra trains per hour to run between London and Belmont, that will turn back at Belmont.

In Could Third-Rail Tram-Trains Work The Epsom Downs Branch?, I walked up the hill to the Royal Marsden Hospital and it wasn’t an easy walk, as these pictures show.

Perhaps all trains should be met by a zero-carbon shuttle bus.

Going to a cancer hospital is not a pleasurable experience, especially for a child, so why not liven it up a bit with a ride in the best zero-carbon bus, that can be found?

 

 

 

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 14 Comments

Mexico Tightens Ban On Smoking In Public Places

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the sub-heading.

Mexico has brought into force one of the world’s strictest anti-tobacco laws by enacting a total ban on smoking in public places.

And these three paragraphs outline the story.

The step, which was first approved in 2021, also includes a ban on tobacco advertising.

Several other Latin American countries have also passed legislation to create smoke-free public spaces.

However, Mexico’s legislation is considered to be the most robust and wide-ranging in the Americas.

If I was going to list countries that I felt would bring in tough anti-smoking legislation, I don’t think, I would have named Mexico.

January 15, 2023 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Should Those With Long Covid Be Checked For Coeliac Disease?

One of my Google Alerts picked up this interesting page on the British Medical Journal.

In response to this paper on the journal, which was entitled Long Covid—An Update For Primary Care, a retired GP named Andrew Brown had said this.

The update reminds us that alternative diagnoses should be considered in patients presenting with long covid symptoms. I suggest that screening for coeliac disease should be added to the list of conditions to look for. Coeliac disease occurs in more than 1% of the population, with many more cases undiagnosed. Typical symptoms of fatigue and GI problems are the similar to those of long covid.

As a non-medical person, I would agree, as after the Asian flu of 1057-58, I was off school for a long time with long covid-like symptoms and my excellent GP; Dr. Egerton White was very worried.

But at the time, it is now known, I was an undiagnosed coeliac.

So was my coeliac disease meaning that I couldn’t fight the flu?

I cover the link between coeliac disease and long covid in more detail in Covid Leaves Wave Of Wearied Souls In Pandemic’s Wake.

January 11, 2023 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

NHS To Buy Up Care Beds To Clear Wards

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Sunday Times.

I can remember, when my late wife had her appendix out in 1967 in Barnet General Hospital, that there were two bed-blockers on the ward, where she was being treated. One had serious dementia.Has it really taken nearly sixty years to sort out this problem?

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Health | , , | 2 Comments

High Risk Of Coeliac Disease In Punjabis. Epidemiological Study In The South Asian And European Populations Of Leicestershire

The title of this post, is the same as that of this peer-reviewed paper on PubMed.gov.

This is the abstract of the paper.

The purpose of this study was to measure the incidence of coeliac disease in different ethnic communities and investigate the hypothesis that the incidence is decreasing in most European countries and the role incomplete retrieval of data may play. In a retrospective study of histologically confirmed cases of coeliac disease between 1975 and 1989 in the City of Leicester, 106 patients with coeliac disease were identified. Of these 86 were European and 20 Asian. The overall incidence of coeliac disease in Europeans was 2.5/10(5)/year (95% CI 2-3.2), in Gujaratis 0.9/10(5)/year (95% CI 0.4-1.8), and in Punjabis 6.9 (95% CI 3.2-12.3). These differences were independent of religious belief. The relative risk to Punjabis compared with Europeans is 2.9 (95% CI 1.5-5.3; chi 2 = 12.5, p < 0.01) and to Gujaratis 8.1 (95% CI 3-22.4; chi 2 = 25; p < 0.001). Gujaratis were at 0.4 risk of Europeans (90% CI 0.2-0.8; chi 2 = 6.7; p < 0.01). The incidence in the urban populations of Leicester was 6/10(5)/year (95% CI 1.3-1.9) which was significantly lower than the 3.2/10(5)/year (95% CI 2.7-3.8; chi 2 = 5.6; p < 0.001) in surrounding rural areas. This study shows that the incidence of coeliac disease in Punjabis (Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims) is 8 times higher than in Gujaratis (Hindus and Muslims) and 4 times higher than in Europeans in Leicester.

I find the last sentence in particular very significant.

I’m no medic, but I think it is reasonable to assume, that in a particular community for every diagnosed coeliac, there will be several undiagnosed coeliacs out there.

In this overview of coeliac disease on the NHS web site, this is said about the incidence of coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease is a condition that affects at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK.

But some experts think this may be underestimated because milder cases may go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed as other digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Reported cases of coeliac disease are around 3 times higher in women than men.

The one-in-100 figure is often used in web pages in European countries or Australia, Canada and the United States, so I’ll go along with that.

So does that mean that Punjabis living in Leicester, have a one-in-twenty-five  likelihood of being coeliac?

Whether you have been diagnosed though, is a matter of pure luck.

I had been having gut problems for years and then one Autumn, I didn’t see my GP, but a very elderly locum, who as I had recently had my fiftieth birthday, gave me a present of my first blood test.

It turned out my B12 levels were very low and after several months of B12 injections, which made little difference to my B12, my GP decided to send me to a consultant at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

My appointment was on a Monday morning and consultant took about ten minutes to ask a few questions, after which he said they would take a few bloods.

On the Wednesday morning, I received a letter that said, that I was probably suffering from coeliac disease and this would be confirmed by endoscopy.

Was I diagnosed solely by analysis of my blood? This was in 1997, which is after the date of the Leicester study.

Two endoscopies without sedative or anaesthetic were performed and I was confirmed as coeliac.

The first was performed by Dr. Richard Hardwick and the second by Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald.

Both doctors feature in this story on the Cambridge University Hospitals web site, which is entitled Familial Gastric Cancer – Case Study.

My problems have been minor compared to the two sisters in the story.

My luck had been good and I recommend that everyone who feels they could be coeliac should get themselves tested.

Cases Of Covid-19 In Leicestershire

This article on the Leicester Mercury is entitled 11 Areas Of Leicestershire Have Among Worst Infection Rates in the UK.

In Coeliac Disease: Can We Avert The Impending Epidemic In India?, I started like this.

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Indian Journal Of Research Medicine.

With the high levels of COVID-19 in Leicester and an Indian population who make up 28.3 % of the population of the city, I was searching the internet to see if there was any connection between those of Indian heritage and coeliac disease.

I know you should not try to prove a theory. But as a coeliac, I’m very interested to see how the millions of diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet like me, are faring in this pandemic.

I then talk about some extracts from the Indian research.

In a section entitled, which is entitled All Wheats Are Not Equal, I say this.

The other dimension to this problem is that not all wheat is alike when it comes to inducing celiac disease. The ancient or diploid wheats (e.g. Triticum monococcum) are poorly antigenic, while the modern hexaploid wheats e.g. Triticum aestivum) have highly antigenic glutens, more capable of inducing celiac disease in India, for centuries, grew diploid and later tetraploid wheat which is less antigenic, while hexaploid wheat used in making bread is recently introduced. Thus a change back to older varieties of wheat may have public health consequences.

So did all these factors come together to create the high levels of Covid-19 in Leicestershire?

Conclusion

I am getting bored with saying this. More research needs to be done!

 

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why A Lucky Few May Help The Rest Of Us Beat Disease

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the sub-title.

A British biotech firm believes patients who defy odds could hold the key in their blood.

These three paragraphs introduce the article.

Patient 82 should be dead. At the age of 63 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In most cases, he would not have lasted a year. But seven years on, patient 82 is alive. Not merely alive — thriving.

He enjoys gardening. He likes seeing his grandchildren. He enjoys life.

How? The answer, a British biotech company believes, could lie in his blood. Now, with the help of dozens of other anonymous patients, all of whom have defied their cancer prognoses, they hope to find it.

Note, that the company is Alchemab Therapeutics.

The article got me thinking about myself.

I belong to a group of people, who are twenty-five percent less likely to suffer from cancer according to peer-reviewed research at Nottingham University.

I am coeliac and adhere to a strict gluten-free diet.

There may be other benefits too!

I have not had a serious dose of the covids, although I may have had a very mild case at the beginning of 2020 after I shared a train with a large number of exuberant Chinese students, who had recently arrived at Manchester Airport and were going to their new University across the Pennines.

I have also since found at least another seventy coeliacs, who have avoided serious doses of the covids.

Research From The University Of Padua

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, which is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

The Times article mentions the immune system.

I believe my immune system to be strong after the reaction I had to the Astra Zeneca vaccine. I didn’t feel well to say the least after my Astra Zeneca vaccine and my GP and other doctors felt that it could be due to my immune system, thinking that the chimpanzee virus-based vaccine was a danger and attacking it.

Significantly, I had no reaction to the second dose. So had my immune system recognised the vaccine as a friend not a foe?

My son, who my late wife was sure was an undiagnosed coeliac, died of pancreatic cancer at just 37.

How did my late wife know? Don’t question her intuition and also she felt that my son and myself felt the same to her touch.

It should be noted that my son’s daughter was born with a Congenital hernia of the Diaphragm. Congenital defects can happen to people, who have a coeliac father.

At the age of 20, my granddaughter is fine now, after heroic surgery at the Royal London Hospital, at just a few days old.

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Don’t I Feel The Cold?

It’s been cold today in London, but I didn’t really feel it.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

100,000 Newborn Babies Set To Have Their DNA Fully Decoded

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the FT.

This sub-heading gives a few more details.

Genomics England programme aims to extend the number of treatable conditions detected to about 200.

I am coeliac and I do wish, I had been diagnosed at birth.

But more importantly, my youngest son, who would have been fifty this year, might still be here.

He was probably coeliac and worked as a sound engineer in the music business.

He lived the rock-and-roll lifestyle on a diet of ciggies, Subways and high strength cannabis.

He probably had an immune system, with all the strength of a plastic colander.

Consequently, he died at 37 of pancreatic cancer.

 

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , | Leave a comment