Millions of us cutting out everything from gluten and dairy to sugar and fat….but how many of us really need to?

Millions of us are cutting out different foods and ingredients from our diets, without any medical guidance to do so.

Shona Wilkinson
Shona Wilkinson
That’s according to new research released today which shows that almost one in ten have eliminated dairy from their diet – half of those based on their own self-diagnosis, slightly less wheat – more than 40% having self-diaganosed an intolerance, and a similar number gluten – with half of those having made the decision based on their own knowledge.

Furthermore, following the war on sugar in the last two years, one in five of us have eliminated it from our diets, while one in six have ditched fat.

The study by Nutricentre also asked respondents what other measures they have taken to improve their health and or lose weight in the last two years, with a third having tried eating smaller portions, one in six skipping meals and a similar number skipping breakfast.

More than one in 20 have gone on a juice diet, while slightly less have tried weight management classes and soup diets, with some having gone vegetarian and some vegan.

But do these measures actually work? And what do you need to know if you are set on cutting out certain foods in 2016?

Recent research suggests:-

• As many of us continue on with our new year health kicks, a new study released today looks at the trend for eliminating food groups from our diets as a fix-all solution to weight and health issues

• Almost one out of ten say they have cut out dairy in the last two years, with similar numbers having eliminated gluten and wheat

• More than 40% who have eliminated those food groups have done so after self-diagnosis

• With the war on sugar one of the biggest health stories of the last year, it’s no surprise that more than a fifth have cut out sugar, while one in six have got rid of fat in their diet

• But could the trend for cutting things from our diet without medical advice to do so, be unnecessary?

So Patient Talk interviewed Shona Wilkinson, a leading nutritionist, to get the facts straight!

PatientTalk.Org – What are the common food groups being eliminated and why? And is the overall effect a positive one?

Shona Wilkinson- Nutricentre has done a study on over 2000 people, and we’ve actually seen that about 1 in 10 people are cutting out a common food group. These seem to really be wheat, dairy, fat, and sugar, as the predominant ones. So sometimes this can be necessary, and sometimes it can’t. So we just have to be a bit careful if were cutting out whole food groups from our diet, to make sure that were not cutting out nutrient groups as well.

PatientTalk.Org- Is it really possible to cut out fat and sugar from a diet given basic chemistry?

Shona Wilkinson- Probably not. And I don’t know quite why you’d want to cut them totally out of your diet. Why would you want to cut out fat from your diet? This was a message that was going around in the 70s and still seems to be hanging on out there at the moment, so no we don’t want to cut fat out of our diet. Sugar, yes it’s not great for us, but again we don’t want to cut it totally out of our diet. And as soon as you cut something out of your diet, the one thing you can guarantee is that you have real cravings for it, so don’t cut it totally out of your diet, we’re talking about reducing it.

PatientTalk.Org- And how much of it is intolerance related?

Shona Wilkinson -As far as the wheat and dairy is concerned, quite a lot of it. So talking about wheat, quite often people when they have wheat in their diet it can give them digestive problems, so it could be cramping, it could be diahrrea, it could be constipation, quite often a lot of bloating as well. So that can be an intolerance. As far as dairy is concerned, common side effects of having dairy are usually kind of mucus related, a blocked nose, blocked air passages, that kind of thing.

PatientTalk.Org- Okay. What is the difference between an allergy and intolerance?

Shona Wilkinson- There’s a big difference between an allergy and an intolerance, so an example would be, being a celiac. A celiac is someone who has got an auto immune disease and cannot have gluten in their diet. So that’s an actual allergy. The difference there would be someone who gets digestive problems after they’ve had gluten. So rather than it being very severe it could be just a bit of bloating. So they are very two distinct different things.

PatientTalk.Org – So in terms of severity, an allergy is a way more severe problem than an intolerance?

Shona Wilkinson- Absolutely and it can in some cases be life threatening.

PatientTalk.Org – Why has gluten intolerance increased in the last few years?

Shona Wilkinson- Yes gluten intolerance has seemed to increase in the last few years and there’s two schools of thought about this. Partly because one reason could be its quite trendy at the moment to follow a gluten free diet. The other reason is purely the amount of gluten we have in our diets nowadays. So we may have toast or cereal for breakfast, followed by a sandwich or baguette or some sort for lunch, followed by a pasta meal in the evening. That’s quite a common diet for a lot of people nowadays, and if you think about it that’s wheat, wheat, wheat for every single meal, and it’s just becoming too much for our bodies to deal with. So if you’re in that kind of situation, it’s just a matter of reducing your intake, or perhaps cutting out of your diet for 12 weeks and then slowly reintroducing it at a steady slow level and letting your body let you know what is the amount it can deal with every day.

PatientTalk.Org – What is the difference between celiac and gluten intolerance?

Shona Wilkinson – yes so celiac is an actual auto immune disease. It’s medically recognized and it can be life threatening. An intolerance is when you get slight digestive conditions after eating wheat containing food. So they are very different, one is a medical condition and one is more an intolerance that you just can’t cope with it as much.

PatientTalk.Org – What is a juice diet and how would it work?

Shona Wilkinson – Yeah, the juice diet again is quite trendy at the moment, especially it being January. Basically its people living for probably usually about 7 days, just purely on juices. We have to be very careful about this because it’s not really training you on how to eat healthily so by the end of your juice diet you can just go back to your normal unhealthy eating habits. But also with juices, they tend to be predominately fruit, which can be high sugar content. So not the healthiest of thing, not something a nutritionist usually recommends.

PatientTalk.Org- Is there much evidence of self-diagnosis? How is it done? What are the dangers, if any, associated with self-diagnosis?

Shona Wilkinson – Yes the study done by Nutricentre shows that 40% of people have eliminated food groups from their diet just on self-diagnosis. This is usually just by monitoring their symptoms, some people keep a food diary and monitor any symptoms they’ve got after they’ve eating a certain type of food. A lot of people reading things on the internet. There aren’t really any dangers of this unless you’re cutting out a food group and not getting the nutrients that you need. So for example if you become a vegan, then you have to be careful that you’re still getting the nutrients that you need there. Self-diagnosis can also be done through a blood test, which is quite an accurate way to see if you’ve got a food intolerance. There’s lots of other tests out there which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend, but a blood test is the most accurate.

PatientTalk.Org – Does this trend suggest a decrease in confidence in traditional health care providers?

Shona Wilkinson- I don’t think it does, I think it’s just that people are more health aware nowadays, and they have access to more information through the internet.

PatientTalk.Org- What common ways are used by empowered patients to improve their health?

Shona Wilkinson- Yes, I think people are now more aware of their health. They’re more aware of where to find out information. I think also people know that if you cook your food at home you know exactly what’s going into that food. Whereas if you buy a ready meal for example you can probably guarantee it’s got sugar and salt in it to begin with because that’s what our taste buds like. So I think the health empowered patient is knowing that they want to cook their food at home and be a bit more aware of exactly what they’re eating.

PatientTalk.Org- Finally what advice would you give to somebody who has just diagnosed themselves with an allergy or intolerance?

Shona Wilkinson – Yes I wouldn’t like to think that anyone is diagnosing themselves with an allergy that has to be done by a medical professional. If they think they have a food intolerance, try keeping a food diary and making sure that you do. And perhaps speak to a nutritionist to get some advice, the best way to deal with this.

Thought for the Day from Star Trek

Thought for the Day from Star Trek

Star Trek Quote
Star Trek Quote

Anaphylaxis – what are the signs, causes and treatments of Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis – what are the signs, causes and treatments of Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis (or anaphylactic shock) is a severe, sometimes life-threatening allergic reaction that can develop very fast!

This infographic looks at signs of anaphylactic shock. It causes and its treatments.

Have you ever had to deal with a case of Anaphylaxis or have you ever suffered from an anaphylactic shock yourself? If you have would you consider sharing your story in the comments section below.

Many thanks in advance.

Aid Training’s Anaphylaxis Infographic
Aid Training’s Anaphylaxis Infographic

Over three quarters of us experience problems sleeping – Read our interview with sleep expert Sammy Margo for some great tips

Sammy Mango
Sammy Mango

We’ve all heard the theories of what can help and hinder you having a good night’s sleep, but how much of what we all believe is fact and how much is fiction?

A new survey released today put a number of truths and untruths around sleep to respondents to see how clued up the public is about sleep:

Only 12% believe the theory that eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares – Certain cheeses do give you nightmares, Stilton cheese for example has proved to give people vivid dreams

One in seven think going to the gym in the evening helps you sleep – This is a myth, as the body will be overheated meaning people would have trouble going to sleep. Going to the gym during the day though would definitely help you have a better quality night’s sleep

One in seven believe you can catch up on sleep at weekends – This is a myth, the only way people can catch up on their sleep is by having early nights

One in eight believe watching TV helps you sleep – Yes and no. It can help you sleep and relax you, though the blue light can disrupt somebody’s sleep

One in ten believe drinking alcohol will give you a better night’s sleep – Drinking alcohol will help you sleep but it will prevent you from having a good quality night sleep

Almost 60% believe caffeine keeps you awake – yes it does keep you awake, but it also differs from person to person. People are advised to not drink it after 11pm

Almost a quarter of people believe everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night – This varies from person to person, the average amount of sleep is between 6-8 hours

In fact, the research by Intel saw almost 30% say they need more than eight hours sleep, while almost a quarter say they need less than seven hours.

The survey also saw over 80% say they have experienced sleep problems, with one in five saying it is an ongoing problem. Over a third of Brits (38.8%) are also saying that they believe their bad sleep quality and duration are factors affecting their health.

When it comes to what people believe are the best ways to get a good night’s sleep, regular exercise, a warm bath, a healthy diet, listening to relaxing music and avoiding technology topped the list – but do all these methods work?

Sleep expert Sammy Margo (Author of the Good Sleep Guides for adults and children, and qualified chartered physiotherapist) talks us  through sleep fact and fiction and reveals the nation’s 2016 surprising resolutions.

Patient Talk – So what constitutes a good night sleep for a child and adult?

Sammy Margo- A good night sleep for a child an adult is fundamental and important for your general health and wellbeing. A goodnight sleep is all about a blend of quality and quantity sleep. And some recent research carried out by intel using 2000 respondents looked at understanding what is considered to be a good night’s sleep. And many people believe that a good night’s sleep is somewhere in the region of 8 hours sleep. But in fact that’s not quite true, this varies from person to person. The average amount of sleep is between 6-8 hours but the reality is that it’s very personal, so, if I say to you “how do you feel when you wake up in the morning?” and you feel fabulous and you’ve only had 4 hours of sleep that suits you, however if I say to you “how do you feel in the morning?” and you’ve actually only had 8 hours of sleep and you feel rubbish it may be that you’re not getting the quality and quantity sleep that you need.

Patient Talk – What are the benefits of a good night’s sleep both in terms of health and wellbeing?

Margo –  The benefits of a good night’s sleep both in terms of health and wellbeing range from the fact that you feel great, you look good, you perform well at work, you’ve got a good memory, you’re sharp, you’re happening. Your weight is well under control, it can be because the hormones are affected, your sleep hormones affect your weight. Generally over rule your life is a better place to be. We also know that there is a strong correlation and there’s a huge amount of research around depression and insomnia or insomnia and depression, we’re not sure which comes first, the chicken or the egg but we know that there is a strong correlation between the two.

Patient Talk – What problems may arise from a poor night’s sleep?

Margo – A poor night’s sleep may well mean that you can’t concentrate, you’re irritable, you don’t feel great, you feel edgy. But over a long period of time these may well result in more severe consequences. And bearing in mind that we spend 1/3 of our lives asleep and 2/3 of us are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, and there are many health conditions associated with this we really need to take sleep very seriously.

Patient Talk – What are the main causes of a poor night’s sleep?

Margo – the main causes of a poor night’s sleep are often related to anxieties, concerns, worries, that’s the mental side of things. But also may be due to poor sleep hygiene, such as not having a bedtime routine, not sleeping in a decent bed, with a pillow not being in a good position, being uncomfortable, aches and pains, and other medical conditions or snoring. There are so many causes of a poor night’s sleep and these really need to be addressed.

Patient Talk – How should a person prepare for a good night’s sleep?

Margo – As a sleep expert one of the most important things that I encourage is setting yourself aside time for a bedtime routine. Many of us are so busy leading 24/7 lifestyles we’re sedentary, were mentally overactive and physically underactive, so definitely setting aside time for a bedtime routine which includes a hot drink, a warm bath, listening to some audio be it on the radio or audio book, and then dimming the lights and going to sleep. That really is how to prepare for a good night’s sleep. However, for some people buying these activity and sleep tracking devices such as the basis peak (?) can help you understand your statistics for your daytime and night time. And by using one of these devices this will actually allow you to accumulate data so that you can then move on to impacting on different aspects of your life. So for example if you’re a coffee drinker and you reduce the amount of caffeine that you’re drinking and you check in with your basis peak you may well understand that caffeine impacts your sleep in a major way and you can do something to change it. So anything that you can measure, any data that you can measure and correlate you can then have an impact on and it’s a really useful tool to use.

Patient Talk – What’s your views on napping during the day?

Margo – I’m a big fan of napping during the day. And this is something that’s culturally done in Spain and in Japan. However, what I will say is this is a bit of a tricky one when you’re a busy working person, it’s virtually impossible. And the way our culture works, although I have to say it’s changing, is that were not geared up to nap during the day. I am a big fan, so if you’re planning on napping, nap between 12 and 2, um somewhere in the region of 30 min to an hour is absolutely fine for a nap. Try not to nap too close to your bedtime because that may well disrupt your night’s sleep and you need to do it on a regular basis in a regular position so I’m a huge fan, there’s lots of different styles of naps and think about doing it but obviously for those you who are working it’s very difficult to nap.

Patient Talk – What myths are there about sleep that you would like to see, so to speak, put to bed?

Margo – There are certain myths that I need to put to bed and I’m going to read them to you, and this is based on research that’s been carried out by intel, so this research found that only 12% believe the theory that eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares. But in fact certain cheeses do give you nightmares, stilton cheese for example has been proven to give people vivid dreams. And this research carried out by intel, says that 1 in 7 people think that going to the gym in the evening helps get you to sleep but this is a myth as the body will be overheated meaning that people would have trouble going to sleep. Going to the gym during the day though would definitely help you have a better quality night’s sleep. And 1 in 7 people believe that you can catch up on sleep on the weekends but this is a myth, the only way people can catch up on sleep is by having early nights. 1 in 8 believe watching tv helps you sleep, yes and no, it can help you sleep and relax you, though the blue light can disrupt somebody’s sleep. 1 in 10 believe drinking alcohol will give you a better night’s sleep, drinking alcohol will in fact help you sleep but it will prevent you from getting into the deep quality, the deeper stages of sleep. And almost 60 % believe that caffeine keeps you awake. Yes it does, it does keep you awake, but it also differs from person to person, people are advised not to drink after 11 am. And almost ¼ of people believe that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep. This varies from person to person, the average amount of sleep is between 6-8 hours. These are some of the myths that we’ve had to shatter based on the research of 2000 respondents carried out by intel.

Pregnancy – Morning sickness find out more here! Some tips for tackling morning sickness

When does morning sickness start?

Find out more in this fascinating infographic.

Here are a few ideas (gleaned from my wife mainly) on how best to deal with morning sickness.

a) Start by drinking loads of water!
b) Eat something plain for breakfast! Rusks might be a good idea.
c) Try and avoid the kitchen or anywhere with strong cooking smells.
d) Wear loose clothing
e) Finally just take it very easy!

Do you have any tips? Why not share them in the comments section below!

Courtesy of: Pregnant

New review of caffeine and sleep studies highlights need for further research. Does caffeine keep you up at night?

Effect of caffeine and coffee on sleep quality varies, based on individual factors

Caffeine and sleep
Caffeine and sleep

Coffee, Caffeine, and Sleep[1], a systematic review by Ian Clark[2] and Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Landolt[3], both of the University of Zürich, examines the results of 58 peer-reviewed epidemiological studies and clinical trials into the effects of caffeine and coffee on sleep.

Overall, the review finds that caffeine typically prolonged sleep latency, reduced total sleep time and sleep efficiency, and worsened perceived sleep quality. Caffeine blocks the adenosine neuromodulator and receptor system, impairing a regulator of sleep-wakefulness. Individuals will respond differently to caffeine based on factors including their age and sensitivity levels.

The authors noted that the studies suggested possible evidence of a dose-response relationship between caffeine and sleep structure: for example, higher bedtime doses of caffeine reduced subjects’ amount of slow wave sleep (also known as ‘deep sleep’). No clear dose-response relationship was found in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Outside the laboratory, the authors expect that the general population is consuming enough caffeine to also impact their sleep.

The authors noted that caffeine exposure may be altered as a function of body weight, for example, older adults tend to consume the same amount of caffeine as younger adults but typically weigh less. Older adults may also self-limit the amount of caffeine they consume due to perceived sleep problems. The paper highlights the lack of research conducted into the effects of caffeine in this age group.

Several genes have also been identified that affect an individual’s sensitivity to caffeine. The ADORA2A and ADA genotypes, as well as the DARPP-32 and PRIMA1 genes, have all been connected to caffeine’s impact on a person’s sleep quality. The same amount of caffeine can therefore affect two otherwise similar individuals differently, depending on their genetic make-up.

Clark and Landolt point to a number of limiting factors in existing studies, predominantly the lack of research into the effects of caffeine on women, older adults, and individuals outside North America or Western Europe. Habitual caffeine intake in some study participants could also be a confounding variable when not controlled for.

The authors of Coffee, Caffeine, and Sleep note caffeine’s value as an aid in reducing sleepiness, especially for tasks such as driving at night – and cite the legend of a Yemenite abbot who prescribed coffee to his monks to aid them with their night time prayers. The paper finds no links between coffee consumption and negative health implications, but does note that poor sleep hygiene practices contribute to increased health risk. The review concludes by recommending areas where further research into caffeine and sleep is needed, such as further investigation of how and why an individual’s genetics could predispose them to caffeine-induced sleep changes, and establishing timing and dose-relationships relating to EEG sleep variables.

1.    Clark I and Landolt HP (2016) Coffee, Caffeine, and Sleep. Sleep Medicine Reviews, doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2016.01.006, published online ahead of print

2.     Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Zürich, Switzerland

3.    Zürich Center of Interdisclipinary Sleep Research (ZiS), University of Zürich, Switzerland

Anti-oxidants – check out these top tips for healthy eating in our new video

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Blackberry and Basil Sauce
Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Blackberry and Basil Sauce
Now January is out of the way, many of us will be attempting to keep up our healthy eating but could be lacking inspiration.  Don’t simply stick to dull salads; how about making eating well that bit easier?  Try this tasty sweet potato soup with a blackberry twist that will be sure to warm you up this winter.

Nutritional Health Coach, Sunday Times best-selling author and creator of the Glow Guides App, Madeleine Shaw has teamed up with British Summer Fruits to launch the Eat Smart campaign.  The campaign aims to encourage people to cook from scratch using fresh, natural ingredients and educate them on the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables as shocking new stats from British Summer Fruits, reveal that one in ten Britons (11 percent) never eat the recommended daily amount.

So watch our video as she shows us how to whip up this super easy and healthy sweet potato soup with a blackberry and basil sauce, which is sure to give you that important energy boost during the weary winter months.

Not only is this recipe rich, creamy and full of flavour, but a handful of berries can also help to contribute to one of your five a day and are an important source of vitamins and minerals, as well as helpful anti-oxidants.

It’s the perfect recipe for anyone trying to be healthier this New Year, or for those who simply want to try something new.


Also follow some of Madeleine Shaw tops tips for healthy eating.


1) Don’t skip breakfast

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, adding a portion of fruit into the mix is the perfect way to supercharge your day ahead. A handful of yummy berries can naturally sweeten a bowl of porridge, or popping a cup of strawberries in the blender with almond milk can whip up a quick and easy smoothie. Fun fact: As little as 7 strawberries (80g) provides your recommended daily amount of vitamin C!


 2) Mid-morning Grazing

Keep a pot of raw fruit or chopped veggies on your desk, and munch on them when you feel tempted to reach for sugary snacks with your mid-morning cup of tea. Alternating between sugar snap peas, chopped carrots and a pot of mixed fruit will keep your energy levels up until lunchtime!


 3) Double up on vegetables for lunch

Your lunch probably contains some veggies already, whether it’s a nourishing soup or some lettuce leaves next to a juicy chicken breast. To maximise your recommended daily intake, double the quantity of vegetables you would usually put in and try to find new ways to incorporate leafy greens, whether it’s wilting some spinach into your soup or adding some tomato to your avocado on toast.


 4) Post workout raspberries

Planning the body’s recovery is just as important as your exercise plan. I like snacking on a punnet of raspberries or blending them into a shake, which is an ideal treat after a sweaty gym session. Phytochemicals in raspberries, which give them their ruby rich skin, guard against exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) and can help speed up recovery. So grab a handful of these little gems, and you might not feel as stiff the next morning.


 5) Treat yourself

Everyone needs a sweet treat every now and again, but a fruit-based dessert can offer a light, refreshing and importantly naturally-sweet ending to dinner. Blueberries are bursting with nutrients – they’re packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, as well as being high in fibre. Add them to some yoghurt, or blend with some almond milk and chia seeds to make a blueberry flavoured chia pudding!


The Benefits of Botox

Lip treatments?
Lip treatments?

One of the most important things for most people is their appearance and maintaining that appearance at all costs. In most cases, as people age they will begin to notice that their appearance begins to fade and they need more and more products and treatments to keep them looking young. For people who suffer with wrinkled and sagging skin, finding an effective treatment can be hard. One of the best treatments for loose or sagging skin is Botox. The following are a few of the benefits associated with Botox and lip augmentation Toronto.

Reduce the Wrinkles

One of the biggest benefits of getting Botox treatments is that they help to reduce and in some cases eliminate the wrinkles on your face. As people begin to age, the crow’s feet and laugh lines on their face become more and more defined. By having regular Botox injections you can stop the effects of aging in their tracks and regain that youthful appearance that you want. The Botox that is injected into the face helps to relax the muscles and therefore reducing the wrinkles that you have. The more often you have these injections, the better your face will look.

Treatment for Migraines

For many Americans who suffer from regular migraines, finding a way to reduce or eliminate them is on the top of their list of priorities. Most of the medicines that are on the market to treat migraines are highly ineffective and in most cases very expensive. One of the most effective ways to treat migraines is by having regular Botox treatments. The Botox helps to relax the tense muscles in the head, thereby offering relief to the patient. The more frequently you have these treatments, the more effective it will ultimately be.

Reduce Sweating

Many men and women suffer from an overactive sweat gland, which makes them perspire at inopportune times. This condition is very embarrassing and can make a person socially withdrawn, which can also lead to depression. In most cases, finding a treatment can be nearly impossible, which leads many people to give up. One of the most effective ways to treat this common condition is by having regular Botox treatments. The Botox helps to paralyze the sweat glands, which leads to less sweating. For people who have suffered with this condition, Botox treatments are like a miracle cure for them.

By choosing a reputable professional, like the one’s at HairFree Clinics, you will be able to get the treatments that you need to keep your youthful appearance. Be sure to go in for a consultation before choosing the right procedures for your needs.

Zika Virus – What is the Zika Virus and should we be alarmed?

Check out this excellent introduction to the Zika Virus from Dr Margaret Chan, Director- General of WHO. Why we all need to be very concerned!

Dr Margaret Chan, Director- General of WHO
Dr Margaret Chan, Director- General of WHO

“The Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 from a monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda. Its historical home has been in a narrow equatorial belt stretching across Africa and into equatorial Asia.

For decades, the disease, transmitted by the Aedes genus of mosquito, slumbered, affecting mainly monkeys. In humans, Zika occasionally caused a mild disease of low concern.

In 2007, Zika expanded its geographical range to cause the first documented outbreak in the Pacific islands, in the Federated States of Micronesia. From 2013-2014, 4 additional Pacific island nations documented large Zika outbreaks.

In French Polynesia, the Zika outbreak was associated with neurological complications at a time when the virus was co-circulating with dengue. That was a unique feature, but difficult to interpret.

The situation today is dramatically different. Last year, the virus was detected in the Americas, where it is now spreading explosively. As of today, cases have been reported in 23 countries and territories in the region.

The level of alarm is extremely high.

Arrival of the virus in some places has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads and in cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth malformations and neurological syndromes has not yet been established, but is strongly suspected.

The possible links, only recently suspected, have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika, from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions. The increased incidence of microcephaly is particularly alarming, as it places a heart-breaking burden on families and communities.

WHO is deeply concerned about this rapidly evolving situation for 4 main reasons:
• the possible association of infection with birth malformations and neurological syndromes
• the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector
• the lack of population immunity in newly affected areas
• and the absence of vaccines, specific treatments, and rapid diagnostic tests.

Moreover, conditions associated with this year’s El Nino weather pattern are expected to increase mosquito populations greatly in many areas.
The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty. Questions abound. We need to get some answers quickly.”

Thought of the Day

Thought of the Day 3
Thought of the Day 3

An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get to you.