Young people are emerging as the pandemic’s collateral damage. Their mental health and education are under strain, and their struggles include anxiety, isolation and poverty. Journalist Jo Waters asks what can be done to support them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted our children’s lives – emptying schools for the best part of a year, causing a spike in levels of child poverty and mental health problems and revealing a shocking digital divide in education. One commentator compared...
It isn't the jab you need to fear - even mild Covid can trigger deadly clots: With reports of people shunning the AstraZeneca vaccine, we look at the (very rare) risk
Robin McNelis’s Covid-19 symptoms were so mild he didn’t know he’d had the disease.
It was only when a routine test at the hospital where he works as a respiratory physiotherapist came back positive that he found out his headache and fatigue were caused by the virus.
‘I was surprised to be told I had tested positive and should stay off work,’ says Robin, 47, who lives in Stapleford Abbotts, Essex, with his wife Nikki, 45, a project manager, and daughter Maya, 13.
‘I’d had no temperature or dr...
A Victorian girl visits Jon all the time, but he knows she's not a ghost: Incredibly, people with sight problems often have terrifying hallucinations... from bleeding zombies to gargoyles
Every day throughout lockdown, Jon Attenborough has been visited by a small, ghostly girl in Victorian costume, who appears at his breakfast table.
‘She’s aged about seven and dressed in a white-frilled school pinafore,’ says Jon, 31, a freelance finance officer and disability campaigner who lives in Perth, Scotland.
‘She has a blank expression but stares straight into my face. Until the first lockdown she only came around three times a week, but since the pandemic she’s come every day.
Tastiest way to beat diabetes: Nine out of ten of all Covid deaths are in the world's most obese countries – and Britain is one. Boris has got the message... he's slashed his carbs. Now we'll show how YOU can too!
Let me start with an embarrassing confession: for years, patients with a weight problem were among my least favourite cases to deal with as a doctor.
Back then they filled me with despair, because despite giving them the suggestions set out in official guidelines, they rarely — if ever — lost weight, and the health of those with type 2 diabetes so often just got worse.
When I look back, I see now that it was my fault: I gave poor advice, then blamed my patients when it didn't work.
But now I'...
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The world is getting heavier, with obesity spreading at an alarming rate across the globe. Worldwide incidence of obesity tripled between 1975 and 2016. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) most people on the planet live in countries where they are more likely to die because they are overweight and obese, than because they do not have enough to eat.
“Obesity is a gateway disease for other chronic conditions,” says Ximena Ramos-Salas, policy and resear...
Can a bacteria toothpaste really fight decay? It's not just yoghurts that contain 'probiotics'... now they are in an essential bathroom product too
Probiotics — so-called 'good' bacteria — are key to a healthy microbiome: the trillions of microorganisms that live in the colon, mouth and skin, which are linked to digestion, immunity and inflammatory skin conditions.
Probiotic products used to come mainly in capsules and yoghurts, but now you can get snacks, toothpastes and drinks, too.
JO WATERS asked experts to assess a selection and we then rated them.
Bioglan Biotic Balance Chocballs, £14 for 30 balls, tesco.com
People with glaucoma sometimes ask clinicians what they can do to reduce their risk of losing their vision, and whether lifestyle changes could help. But what does the currently available evidence show?
“Patients ask about how drinking too much coffee or certain yoga positions may raise intraocular pressure [IOP],” says Dr Laura Edwards MCOptom, Specialist Optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital. “Others have questions about supplements and herbal remedies, and whether they help lower IOP. I g...
Boost your gut feeling: From a tummy massager to gummies and a tracker app, which is the best for IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects one in ten adults in the UK, causing bloating, diarrhoea, constipation and cramps.
There is no one cause — which is why it’s notoriously difficult to treat — but triggers include overindulgence, an imbalance of gut bacteria, infections and stress. This may explain a possible recent spike in cases, given the stress of getting through a particularly difficult Christmas, and the fear of catching Covid-19.
JO WATERS asked Peter Whorwell, a professor of medic...
Like a 'punch in the stomach', is how Megan Willis felt on hearing that her eight-week-old baby with partner John Hall had a life-limiting muscle-wasting disease.
'It was devastating — almost too much, too painful to process,' says Megan, 29, an events manager, who lives with John, 36, a retail manager, in Colchester, Essex.
Little Edward has the genetic condition spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), in which the lack of a protein called SMN, vital for muscle development and movement, results in pr...
Katie Cronin’s sudden death from a heart attack aged just 21 left her shocked family asking one question: why?
An administrative apprentice for BT, Katie had so much to look forward to. Nine months earlier she had married Rob, 34, a former store supervisor, and the couple had an 18-month-old daughter, Abi.
As her mother, Gill, puts it: ‘Katie had crammed a lot into her short life. She had a strong sense of purpose.’
Katie died in June 2011 after collapsing with chest pains and breathlessness ...
Can government strategy help tip the scales on the UK’s excess weight, or is there too much onus on the individual? And what do CPs think? Journalist Jo Waters reports.
A new government obesity strategy to tackle England’s burgeoning weight problem was announced at the end of July, with the hope of not only improving the nation’s health – but also reducing its susceptibility to Covid-19.
Similar anti-obesity strategies have previously been launched in Scotland (Scottish Government, 2018a), Wa...
As a second national lockdown starts, plunging the nation into social isolation, there are fears more of us will be drowning our sorrows. In part one of two articles, Jo Waters reports on Britain’s battle with the booze.
Mounting concerns about rising COVID-19 cases, draconian restrictions on households mixing and the ensuing loneliness this will cause, plus mass job losses, and the general winter gloom of dark evenings and grey November daytime skies, are a perfect storm for more people hitt...
Red eyes could be the first sign of arthritis in your SPINE: Ocular issue is a common symptom of back condition... but, like Dasha, too many people can wait years for a diagnosis
Student Dasha Karzunina assumed at first that the red, painful eye she had developed while revising for her university exams was a simple infection.
‘I’d been feeling stressed and had not been sleeping much,’ recalls Dasha, who was 19 at the time. ‘I thought it was conjunctivitis.’
Indeed, initially her GP prescribed antibiotic eye drops but, over the next few days, Dasha’s symptoms worsened.
‘I also became really sensitive to light and wasn’t able to read properly, because my vision was so b...
Napping is something that conjures up images of cute babies cuddled in their cots or pensioners snoring in armchairs – but can it also be something dynamic that can help you reboot your working day? By Jo Waters.
Certainly, taking a break from the demands of the day job is nothing new – Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvador Dali, JFK and Winston Churchill are just a few of the high-functioning creative geniuses and leaders reported to have sworn by a restorative nap to get them through their working da...
Why are cancer patients still being left in limbo? It's become the untold scandal of the Covid crisis — how as many as 36,000 lives could be lost because of delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer
Three days into lockdown, having learned that he had a growth in his prostate, Chris Durcan waited anxiously for a letter from the hospital telling him what the next steps would be.
'An MRI scan on March 23 — the day lockdown was announced — had shown the growth measured 2cm,' says Chris, 61, a technical support officer with the National Crime Agency, who lives in Birmingham with his wife Alison, 56, a secretary.
'I was extremely worried as I have a family history of prostate cancer — my youn...