The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On eScooters!

Consider.

  • This article on the BBC is entitled Emily Hartridge: TV Presenter And YouTube Star Dies In Crash. It is an extremely sad tale and it has led to the inevitable call to ban electric scooters.
  • There is also this article on the BBC, which is entitled Iris Goldsmith: Teenage girl dies in ‘quad bike’ accident. This is another extremely sad tale and many are questioning, what a teenage girl was doing, riding a quadbike.
  • And then there’s this article on the BBC, Which is entitled Govia Thameslink Fined £1m Over Gatwick Express Window Death.

Young people and some older ones too, often do stupid things.

Many also crave danger and go mountaineering, riding on the tops of trains or jumping into rivers from a great height.

Doing things out of the ordinary is a natural reaction and is one of the reason, why humans are the most successful species on this planet.

I think the problem is the way we bring up children.

  • My parents let me do anything I wanted up to a point.
  • They also taught me lots of skills.
  • From about twelve, I used to cycle all over London.
  • I spent endless hours in my father’s print works doing things that would be frowned upon now, because they are too dangerous.

A couple of months ago, I was interviewed by a sixth-form girl student, in the volunteering I do at Barts Hospital in giving experience to prospective doctors.

She had lived in an over-protective environment and hardly left home on her own.

It was almost child abuse. She didn’t say, but I suspect she’d even been driven to and from school.

When it came to our own children, C and myself were fairly liberal and it was strange how, two became very street-wise and had the occasional scrapes, whereas the other was generally well-behaved.

Perhaps, we didn’t get everything right, but I like to think, we gave them a good appreciation of risk!

And that is one of the mot important things to learn in life, as often, those that ca’t assess risk, come to unfortunate ends.

I do feel my youngest son’s unhealthy lifestyle was a factor in his getting pancreatic cancer, especially if he was coeliac like me! But then he wouldn’t get tested!

His daughter though, seems to have a good appreciation of risk, but then if your father dies, you probably do!

To return to the eScooter, which is where this post started.

They Look Fun!

They certainly look fun and I constantly want to have a go on one.

Remember, I have crashed a twin-engined aeroplae and ridden horses in the Masai Mara.

At seventeen, I also sat on the back of a motorcycle, the wrong way round and went through the Mersey Tunnel.

Was I wearing a helmet? Of course not!

Are They Dangerous?

The risk depends on where they are used and how competent the rider is!

Ask any A & E doctor, what sport causes the most injuries and they’ll say something like rugby or horse-riding!

When A & E doctors start complaining about eScooters that will be the time for action.

Would Training Help?

Training isn’t the important thing.

However experience, especially that gained in a safe environment is important.

But to legislate that training should be mandatory will only have the reverse affect.

Conclusion

It’s a difficult problem, but we must teach everybody to appreciate risk.

When I joined ICI in 1969, I went on a formal Health and Safety course.

It has proven to be invaluable all my life an I haven’t worked on a chemical plant since 1970.

July 17, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts On a Red And Processed Meat Tax

This article on the BBC is entitled Should There Be A Tax On Red Meat?.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A “meat tax” could prevent almost 6,000 deaths per year in the UK, according to researchers, but should politicians be telling people what they can and can’t eat?

Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – to reduce consumption.

They also go on to suggest these levels of tax, with examples.

In the UK, the study suggests a tax of 14% on red meat and 79% of processed meat.

This would mean the price of a 227g Tesco Sirloin Steak would increase from £3.80 to £4.33.

And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsbury’s the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69.

It is probably peer-reviewed research, but I doubt it would ever be introduced.

I have few questions.

Would I As A Coeliac Get Extra Tax Relief, As I Need To Eat Red Meat?

I don’t eat much red meat, but to keep my B12 at a good level, I need to eat a quality steak or burger.

Regular levels of B12 help to keep your immune system strong, which is the body’s first line of defence against cancer.

Why Do Coeliacs On A Gluten Free Diet Have A 25% Less Chance Of Getting Cancer?

Research at Nottingham University has shown this.

Being coeliac is unlikely to be beneficial, as whoever heard of a disease that let you live longer?

,So could it be the non-eating too of gluten?

Also, as many who eat a lot of red and processed meat, eat it with a bun or lots of bread,

Could this be significant?

Research needs to be done that considers consumption of red and processed meat, taking eating gluten into account.

How Would I Reduce Cancer?

There are other substances and circumstances that are proven to cause cancer.

  • Smoking tobacco and other drugs.
  • Eating too much and being obese
  • Drinking too much.
  • Too much sunbathing.
  • Diesel and petrol vehicles
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.

Some of these also cause other health problems.

I’d start with absolute bans on these.

  • Diesel and petrol vehicles.
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Possession of illegal drugs.
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.
  • Sales of high strength alcohol.
  • Jobs with a proven record of causing cancer like coal mining.

And these things would be compulsory or introduced.

  • Everybody should keep a record in a smart-phone app of what they ate and their weight.
  • Owning a diesel or petrol vehicle would need a special permit.
  • Alcohol could only be bought in special licensed shops.

Obviously, other draconian measures could be introduced.

I doubt it will ever be acted upon, by any Government that wants to win an election.

So What Can We Do That Is Practical?

My view is that we have to nudge people into doing the right thing.

Diesel And Petrol Taxes To Subsidise Zero-Emission Vehicles

Note that I use the term zero-emission vehicle, which is a category that includes battery and hydrogen power at present. But it is a class, that could include other vehicles in future, that have yet to be invented.

If diesel and petrol taxes were to rise and the revenue were used to subsidise the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, then this might persuade more people to switch to zero-emission vehicles.

Money could also be allocated to research into zero-emission vehicles.

Zero-Emission Zones In All Towns And Cities

London is getting an Ultra Low Emission Zone, but this is only the start.

They should be Zero Emission Zones.

They should probably be paired with parking areas outside the zone and connected to it, by a zero-emission high quality rail or bus link.The link could be a segregated walking or cycling route.

The first town or city that uses this model to create healthy air quality will probably reap an enormous dividend.

From recent developments, I suspect it will be the City of London.

Smoking Would Only Be Allowed By Consenting Adults In Private

As smoking had a lot to do with the death of my son I feel strongly about this.

My wife also may have died from secondary lung cancer. But she had never smoked, although she got enough cigarette smoke from her tutor at University, who chain-smoked Capstan Full Strength.

Is There A Radical Approach?

Liverpool University Pancreatic Cancer Research Unit have one of the most impressive databases I have ever seen! It contains every pancreatic cancer case, that has been notified to the University.

They use it to look for links between factors, that might be a clue to what causes this terrible disease and for possible cures.

But imagine an enormous database of all UK cancer cases, that was processed to show how the cancers related to post codes, occupation, age, weight, smoking and drinking habits etc.

Access to an anonymised version of the database would be allowed through the Internet or a phone app.

Would access to the data, nudge people to change their bad habits?

I also know of ten-year-olds, who pester their parents to stop smoking, so imagine what a tech-savvy child would do, if given access to the app. Schools could teach them to use it responsibly.

Could it bring the whole country together to reduce levels of cancer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Treatment Turns Up Heat On Tumours

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in Tuesday’s Times.

It describes research at the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering, where ultrasound is used to heat liver cancers to over 39.5 °C. The raised temperature then triggers the release of a drug.

The last quote of the report is from a researcher involved.

We can now begin to realise the promise of precision cancer medicine.

I’ve read about other ideas with the same outcome of precision.

I suspect my grandchildren will have a much higher chance of being cured of cancer.

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Angelina Jolie Gene Testing For All?

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

This is said.

Testing all women for the “Angelina Jolie gene”, even if not considered at risk, would prevent cancers, save lives and is cost effective, say doctors.

Having lived for forty years with my wife, who suffered breast cancer and then a few years later died from a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, I know a lot about the emotional problems of cancer.

Many cancers and other diseases, like my coeliac disease, can be found in our genes.

Our youngest son died of pancreatic cancer, which was probably not helped by his smoking and poor eating and health habits.

If he had been a coeliac, which could have been likely because of my genes, that wouldn’t have helped either! But he wouldn’t be tested!

Speaking for myself, my life might have been very different, if I had been genetically tested as a child!

In the future, genetic testing will become much more the norm, as doctors, researchers, scientists and engineers will reduce the cost of doing a full genetic test.

The BBC article also says this.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, estimated the impact of screening all 27 million women over 30 in the UK.

They said it would:

  • prevent 64,500 more breast cancers
  • prevent 17,500 more ovarian cancers
  • save 12,300 more lives

The study also said mass screening would be cost-effective for the health service.

But why stop at breast and ovarian cancer?

I feel strongly, that anybody likely to be a coeliac, should be tested at birth.

Keeping to a gluten-free diet, is getting easier every year and research at institutions like Nottingham University has shown, that coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are significantly less likely to get cancer, than the general population.

 

 

 

 

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Dame Sally Davies Puts The Boot In To Cancer

The lead item on BC Breakfast this morning is detailed in this article on the BBC web site entitled Chief medical officer calls for gene testing revolution.

Dame Sally Davies is very forthright in calling for gene testing to cease being a cottage industry and be nationalised with a large database of all information, to help in the treatment of cancer.

She said that spending the same amount of money on a national system, would bring better treatments to many more patients.

But she didn’t leave it at that and criticised doctors for not wanting a nation system and patients who don’t let their data be added to the national database.

I have been told by Liverpool University, that one of the reasons for their success with pancreatic cancer, is that they have an impressive database of cases from all over the world.

Those who refuse to allow their data to help others, need to be persuaded in the strongest possible way.

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Health | | 1 Comment

It’s Cancer Good News Time Again!

These articles have appeared on the BBC in recent days.

Last June this story on the BBC web site entitled ‘Major Win’ In Pancreatic Cancer Fight was published.

It is not unexpected at this time of year, as a big cancer conference takes place around now every year.

There is also another pattern that seems to be happening in all the good news.

Research is key and often the research has been funded by Cancer Research UK and performed in our Universities.

Some techniques like innovative routes of attacking the cancer cells and understanding the action of existing drugs better seem to be more common.

We’ll never win totally against cancer, but we’ll certainly win a few skirmishes.

We should all do our bit for not ourselves, by not smoking!

June 3, 2017 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Remembering A Relative Or Friend

In seven days it would have been my late wife’s sixty-eighth birthday.

C gave her body for medical research and we had a private cremation a year or so later.

In her memory and also in that of my son, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2010, I helped to fund in a very small way some research into the disease at my mine and my late wife’s university of Liverpool.

I wrote about the research in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!

In some ways, the successful outcome of the research, gave me an enormous lift and now when I think of my son, I sometimes think, that others will hopefully not have to go through, what he and his family did!

Serious research can do that!

So I got to thinking, that perhaps when a friend or relative dies, we should start a fund and give the money to an appropriate charity, that funds research into whatever was the cause of their death.

My funding of Liverpool University’s Pancreatic Cancer research that came about because I asked Alumni Relations at the University to suggest a suitable research project for my donation.

The Devil must have blessed the donation and the research produced a positive result.

But not everyone can be so lucky.

So why not, when someone close to you dies, collect an appropriate amount of money and ask the major charity or perhaps as I did, your old University to find a project to help fund?

I would think that it could be best to go to a central charity like Cancer Research UK or the British Heart Foundation, as they might now something that was very suitable, based in a University of research institution convenient to where you live!

I feel that selecting a well-run and well-respected central charity is that they know the ropes and that the world is littered with charitable failures, set up by individuals with the best of intentions.

August 19, 2016 Posted by | Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Liverpool University Strikes Again!

In the latest alumni newsletter from my old University, there is a link to this page on the University web site, which is entitled Cancer Drug Trial Success.

This is said.

The University of Liverpool has led a successful trial of a drug trial aimed at developing new therapeutic approaches to cancer.

The trial (APR-246) aimed to test the effects of a novel compound on a specific protein, p53, found to be mutated in more than 50% of all cancers.

The p53 gene is from a class of genes called tumour suppressors which are mutated in all cases of one form of ovarian cancer (high grade serous), but have proved difficult to target in the past.

This research was also done in the Institute of Translational Medicine, where the pancreatic cancer research I wrote about in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles! was carried out.

It certainly would appear that something is being done correctly!

August 8, 2016 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

My Mid-Life Crisis

They were talking midlife crises on Radio 5 yesterday, so I sent in a text, which was broadcast.

My mid-life crisis was caused by the death of my wife and our youngest son to cancer smd then my stroke at 63. But I survived and raised money for pancreatic research at mine and my late wife’s University of Liverpool. Yesterday, I visited the unit and left feeling that there is now some hope for people suffering from this awful cancer. My mid-life crisis seemed to be receding as I took the train home.

Hopefully, life can only get better!

Incidentally, since my visit to Liverpool, I’ve spoken to three or four people, who have been affected by pancreatic cancer and I hope my attitude has given them a bit of strength to face the future.

July 27, 2016 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

When Will The United States Realise That Guns Kill People?

On the wall of my office, there used to be a picture of my wife presenting a racing trophy to a racehorse trainer.

Both are now dead.

We fight cancer with common sense and all the tools that science has given us.

Isn’t it about time, that common sense is applied to the problem of guns in the United States and other countries where they are responsible for a high murder rate?

June 12, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments