by Dr. Iain Corness
Update September 26, 2015
No fat - fast!
Dig out some photos of yourself
taken 10 years ago. Be honest with yourself and then count the number of
new holes in your belt. You have certainly added a few kilos. Now is the
time to get them off, and this diet will help.
I have published this “diet” before, and those who have stuck it out
claim that the weight loss is spectacular.
I took interest after a friend of mine had dropped some weight. “Fifteen
kilos in two months,” was his proud reply. He had done this by following
a “diet” – and one that had obviously worked! This is put forward as a
seven day diet, and although I am not always in favor of ‘crash’ diets,
this one does merit some study. It is reputedly from Sacred Heart
Memorial Hospital and is used in their cardiac care unit for overweight
patients to lose weight prior to surgery.
It states the first no-no’s as being bread, alcohol, soft drinks, fried
food or oil. Agree totally, though probably half of you have already
decided it’s too hard!
After that there is a concoction called Fat-Burning Soup (FBS) which you
make up and keep in the fridge. You gobble FBS any time you feel hungry
and have as much as you want. You are also advised to drink plenty of
water suggesting 6–8 glasses a day along with tea, coffee, skim milk,
unsweetened juice or cranberry juice.
The physiology of hunger works that when the stomach is empty, messages
are sent to the brain to send down food. Fill the belly with
non-fattening food and the hunger pangs will be less, but the weight
does not go on.
Here is the recipe for the Fat-Burning Soup:
4 cloves garlic
2 large cans crushed tomatoes (810gms)
2 large cans beef consommé
1 packet vegetable packet soup
1 bunch spring onions
1 bunch celery
2 cans French beans (or fresh)
2 green capsicum
10 cups water
Chop all veggies into small pieces. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes stirring
well and then simmer until veggies are tender. Add water if necessary to
make a thinner soup.
Now the other downside to dieting is food boredom. A week of FBS, water
and cranberry juice will sap the resolve of most overweight people, so
what this diet does is allow you to add different items on a daily
basis. Here are the suggestions.
Day 1, any fruit except bananas. Eat only soup and fruit today.
Day 2, all vegetables. Eat as much as you like of fresh, raw or canned
vegetables. Try to eat green leafy vegetables. Stay away from dry beans,
peas, and corn. Eat vegetables along with soup. At dinner reward
yourself with a jacket potato and butter.
Day 3, eat all the soup, fruit and veggies you want today. Don’t have
the jacket potato today. If you have not cheated you should have lost 3
kg. (That is an amazing loss in three days – but keep going anyway!)
Day 4, bananas and skim milk. Eat at least 3 large bananas and drink as
much skim milk as you can today. Eat as much soup as you want. Bananas
are high in calories and carbohydrates, as is the milk but you will need
the potassium and carbohydrates today.
Day 5, beef and tomatoes. You may have 600 gm of beef or chicken (no
skin) and as many as 6 tomatoes. Eat soup at least once.
Day 6, beef and vegetables. Eat to your heart’s content of beef and
veggies. You can even have 2-3 steaks (grilled) if you like with leafy
green vegetables. No baked potato. Be sure to eat soup at least once.
Day 7, brown rice, vegetables, fruit juice. Be sure to eat well and eat
as much soup as you can.
By the end of day 7, if you have not cheated, you should have lost 7 kg.
The theory is good, but I caution against losing too much, too soon.
If your weight loss needs are greater than 7 kg, then continue for
another week, but I do not recommend much further than two weeks at one
time, and do not repeat the program within three months.
Update September 20, 2015
Australian researchers may
have beaten the Hep B virus
Fairly ‘technical’ this week, but with
Hep B killing three quarters of a million people each year, this is an
Dr Marc Pellegrini and Dr Greg Ebert from the Walter and Eliza Hall
Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia have been awarded the
Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research for their work on the
Hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or any another body fluid from
a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who
is not infected. This is called “horizontal” transmission. This can happen
through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection
equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some people, hepatitis B is
an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term,
chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at
infection: approximately 90 percent of infected infants become chronically
infected, compared with 2 percent – 6 percent of adults. Chronic Hepatitis B
can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Vaccination against Hepatitis B has been possible for many years and is very
effective. Despite vaccines, the prevalence of chronic HBV infection is
highly variable, ranging from 0. 1 percent in the United States to 20-30
percent in some Pacific Island nations. There are an estimated 360 million
people who are chronically infected, of whom almost one million people die
annually of HBV-related liver disease. Chronic hepatitis B is the major
cause of hepatocellular carcinoma in the world. So, despite the vaccine, Hep
B remains a major health risk.
The highest rates of HBsAg (Hep B exposure) were found in women of Chinese
origin (11.4 percent). This includes native Thais. Although mother to baby
(vertical) transmission accounts for more than 50 percent of hepatitis B
cases in Thailand, horizontal transmission in early childhood is also an
important mode of transmission.
The Australian researchers have found a new use for an anti-cancer drug. It
is being used to eliminate hepatitis B cells by telling infected cells ‘it’s
time to die’ – switching off the cell’s resistance to programmed cell death
that is part of a cell’s normal life cycle.
The new treatment has been developed by a team at the Walter and Eliza Hall
Institute of Medical Research, led by Dr Marc Pellegrini and Dr Greg Ebert.
For research into the treatment of hepatitis B, Dr Pellegrini and Dr Ebert
have been awarded the Prize for Infectious Diseases Research.
“This is important work addressing one of the world’s most widespread deadly
diseases,” Kim McKay AO, Executive Director and CEO of the Australian Museum
“There is currently no cure for hepatitis B, which infects 2 billion people
and causes 780,000 deaths a year,” she said.
Previous hepatitis B treatments have encouraged immune cells to attack
infected cells, but an over-active immune system carries its own health
risks. Instead, by targeting a particular protein, whose job it is to
inhibit programmed cell death, the new treatment selectively targets liver
cells that are infected with hepatitis B, bypassing healthy cells.
If this broad approach is successful, there is the potential that it may
pave the way for the development of similar treatments to tackle other major
chronic infections such as HIV and tuberculosis, which kill millions of
people around the world each year.
Established in 1827, the Australian Museum is the nation’s first museum and
one of its foremost scientific research, educational and cultural
institutions. The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the most comprehensive
national science awards, honoring excellence in Research and Innovation,
Leadership, Science Communication and Journalism, and School Science.
As well as the Hep B research, a team comprising Professor Trevor Lithgow
and Dr Hsin-Hui Shen (Monash University), Dr Denisse Leyton (Australian
National University) and Dr Joel Selkrig (European Molecular Biology
Laboratory) is very active. The team used biochemical and microbiology
techniques to understand the function of a key molecular item that is
required by bacterial pathogens to cause disease. This represents a novel
target for the development of new therapeutics to treat infections caused by
Update September 12, 2015
Dengue fever is prevalent in
tropical climates, so we have our fair share, as can be seen by the
number of patients we see with Dengue Fever at the Bangkok Hospital
Pattaya, including some with the potentially deadly Dengue Hemorrhagic
Queensland in Australia has a similar climate and similarly has the
dengue carrier, the mosquito.
Up till now we do not have much defense against the dengue carrying
breed of mosquito, but news has just come out about scientists in
Townsville (Queensland) who say they have promising results from their
bold trial designed to eradicate the deadly mosquito-borne disease.
The trial has involved the release of millions of specially bred
mosquitoes across the North Queensland city. These mozzies are specially
bred mosquitoes and carry the wolbachia bacteria which makes them less
likely to transmit the dengue virus.
Scientists had hoped the mosquitoes being released would pass on the
bacteria, leading to the eradication of the deadly virus - dengue kills
more than 10,000 people every year worldwide.
Over the past seven months, more than 2,000 Townsville residents have
had a container placed in their backyards.
One of those backyards belongs to one lady resident who said, “I’ve had
kids growing up in North Queensland all their life and there’s always
mosquitoes biting. You always have the fear that they’re going to get
something else along the line with dengue or Ross River or those sort of
things. So anything that I can do to help to eliminate, I’m more than
ready to do so.”
The Eliminate Dengue project is being run by a team of international
researchers, including scientists from James Cook University and
Melbourne University and has the backing from the Australian and
Brazilian governments as well as groups such as the Bill and Melinda
The latest results show the trial is working as planned. Dr Andrew
Turley is the field trial manager for the Eliminate Dengue program who
said, “So what we’re seeing at the moment is we’re seeing the spread of
the wolbachia bacteria increase and we’re seeing … how common this
bacteria is in the local mosquito population increase over time.”
It has now been reported that data shows that in the suburbs where the
insects were initially released, up to 80 percent of mosquitoes now
carry the bacteria.
The local city council is excited about the interim results. Gary
Eddiehausen is a local councilor and sits on the project’s reference
group. “Dengue fever affects nearly 400 million people a year right
throughout the world and if this trial is successful, it’s certainly
very exciting for what can happen right across the world in the future
and reduce if not totally get rid of dengue fever across the world.”
This was backed up by Dr Turley from Eliminate Dengue who indicated that
while there are still years of analysis and research that needs to be
done, the results show the project can be replicated across the country
and the world.
Dr Turley said, “All our of previous field trials both in Australia and
in different field sites around the world have always focused on sort of
small individual suburb-wide trials, whereas this is the first time
where we’ve done a large chunk … in the inner city area of Townsville …
within only a few months period.
“So it’s really encouraging that potentially using wolbachia could be
applied to some of these large cities around the world where the dengue
version is much higher than what we have here in Australia.”
Whilst this is encouraging, it reminds me of myxomatosis being used to
control rabbits in Australia. A full-scale release was performed in
1950. It was devastatingly effective, reducing the estimated rabbit
population from 600 million to 100 million in two years. However, the
rabbits remaining alive were those least affected by the disease.
Genetic resistance to myxomatosis was observed soon after the first
release and most rabbits acquired partial immunity in the first two
decades. Resistance has been increasing slowly since the 1970s, and the
disease now only kills about 50 percent of infected rabbits.
Will wolbachia bacteria be the same?
Can you stop growing old?
My father was only afraid of one thing
– growing old. So he didn’t. He died aged 56 of a massive heart attack.
That’s probably just a bit too radical, but there must be a way of slowing
down this aging problem.
Fact: we are all getting older. Not wiser nor necessarily richer, just
older. However, getting on in years still beats the alternative. Just keep
your place reserved in God’s waiting room and you’ll be right.
World-wide the retirement age is creeping up. Even in Thailand’s civil
service the retirement age looks like becoming 64. In Australia it is now
67. The world is becoming an old age retirement home!
OK, so we are all living longer, what can we do to get our arthritic hands
on the elixir of youth? If you believe the popular press, the answer to
aging is multivitamins. Peddling mega-vitamins is a megabuck industry,
credited with improving your health, your love life, and fixing everything
from falling chins to falling arches.
One trend is to take daily doses of antioxidants such as beta carotene,
vitamin A and C or selenium to protect yourself against cancer, heart
disease or signs of premature ageing. There is some scientific ‘proof’ that
people who have a high level of antioxidants in their diet have a lower risk
of heart disease and certain cancers. That is why the nutritionists say we
should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. However,
other studies also seem to suggest that taking those same antioxidants in
pill form may not have the same effect and may even be harmful. Who do you
Cancer Research UK says, “These products don’t seem to give the same
benefits as vitamins that naturally occur in our food.”
The British Heart Foundation agrees. A spokesman saying, “Research does not
support the claim that taking extra antioxidants in the form of supplements
will benefit the heart.”
Let us listen to some experts in the field, and not the back of the cereal
box. Catherine Collins, chief dietitian at St George’s Hospital in London
says, “The whole idea that you must meet some vitamin and mineral target
every day of your life is a marketing myth. You can eat lots of fruit and
veg one day and not much the next but over a week you will still get the
right amount of nutrients. There is very little scientific evidence that
there is any benefit whatsoever in taking a daily multivitamin - even in old
people. You cannot exist on a poor diet then shore yourself up with a
multivitamin. The idea that taking high quantities of vitamins will give you
a health boost - like putting premium petrol in your car - is complete
Dr Toni Steer, nutritionist with the British Medical Research Council’s
Human Nutrition Research in Cambridge, states supplements cannot compete
with real food because when we eat fruits and vegetables the vitamins and
nutrients interact with other chemicals to produce positive effects on the
body. “If these same vitamins are pulled out and isolated in pill form,
there is no guarantee at all that they will have the same effect.”
Another nail in the multivitamin pill coffin came from the US journal of the
National Cancer Institute which found that men with prostate cancer who took
more than seven multivitamins a week were 30 percent more likely to get an
advanced and fatal form of the disease.
The American Medical Association found that people who took antioxidant
vitamin tablets (particularly vitamins A and E, and beta-carotene) were more
likely to die earlier than those who did not. Oops! That isn’t something you
will read on the back of the multivitamin bottle.
Let’s look at the old Vitamin C to ward off the common cold, as proposed
many years ago by Linus Pauling. Common claim: one gram doses will ward off
or even cure the common cold. Reality check: the human body can absorb only
500 milligrams of vitamin C and will excrete the excess. Vitamin C reduces
the average length of a common cold from five days to four and a half – if
you are lucky.
Finally, do I take multivitamins? No.