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Recent Medical Reports


From time to time, I will write on new aspects of the feeding and care of our companion animals. Also on how they fulfil evolving roles in our lives and contribute in newly discovered ways to our well being. Did you know that as you stroke your companion animal, your blood pressure decreases? As you can gather, I am an animal lover and currently am a "donkey-handler" for the model for Shrek's Donkey, actually a minature donkey, named Perry and also for his companion, a standard donkey, called Miner 49er.

Using minature horses and ponies as guide animals for the blind, started in North Carolina, USA in 1999, although foretold in films many years previously. The cost of training these equines is about a third of that required for training dogs and the horses live about 3 times as long. Horses take a bit longer to train, but once trained they never forget. Recently a Guide Horse Training Center for the Blind has been established in Nottinghamshire, UK. As I know from taking Perry, the above mentioned donkey, into confined spaces, such as a small classroom, equines seem to enjoy the challenge and perform with aplomb. I feel the real challenge is going to be to educated the City authorities. Let your imagination fly, as you see a guide pony board a jet or bus, take an elevator (lift) or go shopping. I know Perry would be game, but what about my fellow citizens.

(More on this at a later time).


The nutritional gurus tell us to eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise and all will be well. So why do many of them die in their 50s, whereas others who smoked and never ate a "balanced" diet, such as Sir Winston Churchill, live into their 90s? The experts next tell us it is all in our genes. Looking at members of my own family, I feel there is no simple answer.

There seem to be at least 3 basic types of dieting:

TYPE 1 - Which I call Ethnic Inspired dieting.
Why can the French, for example, eat croissants and pastries, high in saturated fats, plus an assortment of breads and cheeses, drink plenty of wine and then be leaner and have less heart disease than the average American? The answer seem to be that they take time over their meals, enjoying the presentation, as well as the food items, thus ending up eating smaller portions with fewer total calories, than their American counterparts. Hence, moderation in all things, including moderation.

TYPE 2 - Which I call Big Name diets
For example, in the Atkins diet you are supposed to eat large amounts of protein and fat and very small quantities of carbohydrates, sugars, along with little fruit and vegetables and hence, little fiber. The question arises, does long term use of this diet, increase the possibility of kidney damage, loss of bone density and raised cholesterol levels? Two studies published in 2003 in the USA suggest not, however, experts in the UK consider the jury is still out and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, England has banned the use of the Atkins diet from their facilities. It would seem to me that total calories do count and long term, moderation should also be considered.

TYPE 3 - Which I call Novel Name diet pills
These pills are often highly advertised as "Loose a large amount of weight in a few weeks". After an initial loss in the first few weeks, about a pound per week is really "pushing" it. Consider your goals. Do you wish to loose say, 10 pounds rapidly and then change over to a slow, but steady loss, followed finally, by a "hold" pattern for the rest of your life?

When considering any diet pills, find out what is in them and what each ingredient contributes, for example, is it a laxative or diuretic, does it elevate cholesterol, etc. If the contents are not stated in the "advert", do a "Google Search" on the Name of the pill. For example, a Google Search on "Himalayan Diet Pill" turned up the following ingredients - Cardamom, Commiphora mukul, Boerhaavia, Tribulus terrestris, Emblica officinalis, Terminalia belercia, Terminalia chebula and Nepalese Mineral Pitch. (Many of the individual ingredients of common supplements and their main properties are listed under my Herb and Supplement section. Use of my Site Search Engine to find them can be helpful).

When dieting always consider you goals and then choose how you wish to achieve them. For example,

  1. A fast start - perhaps, fast one day a week, drinking only water, say for 10 weeks. During the rest of the week average a certain number of calories per day, but vary your food types.
  2. After 10 weeks, eat every day, but again watch your average daily calories and keep varying your food types.
  3. Long term, keep watching those calories, but experiment with different ethnic foods and/or imaginative methods of preparation. I can see you saying, where will the time come from? A favorite cookbook of mine contains recipes taking only 5-10 minutes to prepare, mainly from fresh ingredients with liberal but artful use of herbs and spices.

(More on this at a later time).


The fruit of the grape, particularly red grapes, their skins, their seeds and juices, including wines, contain many phytochemicals with medicinal properties. A polyphenol, called RESVERATROL has been the subject of much research in the last couple of years. Resveratrol, which is found in red wine, mulberries, peanuts, bean sprouts and Japanese Knotweed, was found in 1999, by scientists at the University of Milan, to catalyze the enzyme Map-kinase to regenerate neural cells. This may be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimers and Parkinsons. In 2000, researchers found that Resveratrol could help in the treatment of the herpes simplex virus and by its ability to lower blood fats could be protective against some forms of heart disease. In 2002, Resveratrol was also found to have significant anti-inflammatory potential. Now in 2003, Harvard and other scientists have found that Resveratrol can increase the production of sirtuin connected enzymes, which prolong the life of yeasts (70%), fruit flies and worms. Animal studies will begin very shortly.

Grapes and grape seeds also contain a group of phytochemicals, often collectively called Pycnogenol, which contain about 50 times more antioxidants than Vitamins C and E and which may be helpful in a number of microcirculatory problems including chronic venous insufficiency and macular degeneration.

(More on this at a later time). Home Page

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