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Avoid fad diets and ‘party drips’ this New Year, says UK’s top doctor


It’s now 2020, the start of a New Year, and for many people that means following a set of resolutions, one of the most common of which will be to lose weight over the next 12 months. But if you’re keen to shed some pounds in 2020, don’t try to do it using fad diets because they don’t work and can even be harmful, says NHS England’s top doctor. Speaking about diet pills, "tea-toxes" and appetite suppressant products, Prof Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said they are not quick fixes. Furthermore, they can even cause side effects, such as diarrhea and heart issues, he added. How to spot a fad diet? Well, according to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), any diet that promises rapid weight loss of more than 2lbs (0.9kg) of body fat a week should be viewed with caution. If it sounds too good to be true, then it more than likely is – despite any celebrity recommendations it might have. The best way to get in shape safely is through sensible eating and regular exercise. Professor Powis also warned the public against using so-called ‘party drips’ as quick fix hangover cures. These nutrient therapy IV drips are usually made up of saline solution, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin C. But some individuals can react badly to them and, in the most serious cases, death can occur due to a toxic overdose.

Eating vegetables is better than taking supplements, finds research


Many people do not get all the nutrients they need from food and so take supplements to compensate. It’s something that’s worth an absolute fortune to the companies that produce them, with people spending around $30 billion per year on supplements in the United States alone. But new research shows that nutrients from supplements are not as good as those from food and that the latter is linked to a lower risk of all-cause mortality and cancer. According to the research paper, published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, many people would be much better off spending money on fruit and vegetables instead of supplements. By analysing data from 27,725 participants in the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Medford, MA, found that supplements do not afford the same benefits as eating different foods. For example, getting enough vitamin K from leafy greens and magnesium from legumes, nuts and whole grains was associated with a lower mortality rate. However, consuming 1,000 milligrams a day of calcium in supplement form was associated with a higher cancer risk, while getting excess calcium from food wasn’t. Speaking about the findings of the research, Fang Fang Zhang of Tufts University and study senior author, said: “Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements.” In other words, while supplements can help people who cannot get certain nutrients from foods due to allergies, they are not a silver bullet for health.

UK soft drink sugar tax takes effect


From Friday, drinks manufacturers in the UK will have to pay a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell, following the implementation of the ground-breaking sugar tax in the country. While ministers and campaigners say the tax is already driving positive results, with many manufacturers cutting the amount of sugar in their drinks ahead of the change, others say it’s still too early to tell. Indeed, while Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade have cut the sugar content of their drinks, Coca-Cola hasn’t. The UK joins a small handful of countries, including France, Mexico and Norway, which have introduced similar taxes in an attempt to reduce sugar consumption. Manufacturers will need to pay the levy – equivalent to 24p per litre - on any of their drinks that contain more than 8g per 100ml. It is not yet known whether the costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of price increases. Drinks containing 5-8g of sugar per 100ml will be subject to a lower rate of tax of 18p per litre. Pure fruit juices that do not contain any added sugar will be exempt, as are drinks with high milk content (due to the beneficial calcium they contain). The new tax is expected to raise around £240 million a year, which will be invested in schools sports and breakfast clubs.

Low calcium levels may raise heart attack risk


Calcium is well-known for its role in promoting healthy bones, but a new study suggests it could also be beneficial for heart health too. Cardiac arrest, or heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States today. In fact, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), approximately 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCAs) occur in America every year. Furthermore, almost 90% of people who experience SCA die as a result. The primary cause of SCA is coronary heart disease. However, around 50% of women and 70% of men who die from SCA have no medical history of heart disease, suggesting other significant risk factors are at play. For the study, researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, CA, analysed data from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study. They found that the risk of SCA was increased by 2.3-fold for people who had the lowest blood calcium levels (under 8.95 milligrams per deciliter). More importantly, this risk remained after confounding factors, including demographics, cardiovascular risk factors and medication use, were accounted for. Dr. Hon-Chi Lee, of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, said: “This is the first report to show that low serum calcium levels measured close in time to the index event are independently associated with an increased risk of SCA in the general population”.

Dairy-free diets a 'ticking time bomb' for bone health, warns charity


There are all sorts of diets out there, but a certain type in particular could be a "ticking time bomb" for young people's bone health, according to a leading charity in the UK. Dairy-free diets, which see the amount of dairy consumed significantly reduced or cut out completely, says the National Osteoporosis Society, are putting people's health at risk. That's because milk and other dairy products are important sources of calcium, which boosts bone strength. A survey by the charity found that a fifth of under-25s are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet. Furthermore, its findings suggest many young people are seeking and following dietary advice they find online. While some of this advice can be good, the charity warns that some individuals are restricting what they eat too much. Prof Susan Lanham-New, head of nutritional sciences at the University of Surrey and clinical advisor to the National Osteoporosis Society, said: "Diet in early adulthood is so important because by the time we get into our late 20s it is too late to reverse the damage caused by poor diet and nutrient deficiencies and the opportunity to build strong bones has passed." In the UK, the Department of Health recommends 700mg of calcium a day for adults and pregnant women, but that increases to 1,000mg a day for boys and girls between 11 and 18. Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the human body and helps to regulate metabolism, promote healthy bones and teeth, controls muscle contraction and blood clotting, and transmits information via the nervous system.

Ureteroscopic Stone Removal


URETEROSCOPIC STONE REMOVAL What is a urinary tract stone? Waste products (from the food we eat) that usually dissolve in water are eliminated from the human body in the urine. If there is a lack of solvent (urine) or an excess of solute (the waste product the kidney stone is made of, eg. calcium, uric acid, oxalate, etc), then a supersaturated solution occurs. The solute settles (crystallises) out of the solution, in the kidney and forms a stone. Urine normally has chemicals that inhibit stones forming. In some people with kidney stones, these inhibitors seem not to work properly. The ureteroscopic stone removal procedure consists in freeing the ureter (using a mini-invasive rigid device), or the kidney (using a flexible device) from the stones by breaking them in pieces and removing if possible the fragments. The surgeon inserts an endoscope into the bladder through the urethra. Under X-ray screening, a flexible guide wire is inserted into the affected ureter between the kidney and the bladder, it will guide the endoscope into the ureter. A longer endoscope (either rigid or flexible) is then inserted into the ureter and may be passed up to the kidney if necessary. The stone is disintegrated using ballistic probe or laser fragmentation and the majority of fragments extracted with special retrieval devices At the end of the procedure a soft plastic tube or stent (JJ stent) may be set up between the kidney and the bladder to avoid renal colic induced. The Ureteroscopic treatment allows breaking down urinary stones into small fragments and getting rid of them during the procedure for immediate relief. This treatment is used when less invasive treatments can not be used or have not proved to be efficient; indeed sometimes the stone is too large to break up with ESWL, or not suitable for ESWL, and endoscopic surgery is then required.   About the medical devices and the surgical technique used For ureteral stones is used a mini-invasive rigid ureteroscope with a guide wire, a ballistic probe or a laser Holmium fibre for stone fragmentation, and a basketorgraspingforcepsdevice forstoneextraction. For kidney stones it is used a flexible ureteroscope with a ureteral introducer, two guide wires, a laser fibre, and a basket catheter for stone extraction. The procedure is screened both by X-rays and a video camera. A ureteral stent may be set up at the time of surgery. Its goal is to facilitate the urine flow from the kidney to the bladder, and to avoid renal colic. It will also dilate the ureter and then permit stone’s fragments migration after removal. The JJ stent removal is usually done under local anaesthesia between 1 and 4 weeks later. Implants used all come from suppliers that are: o Renowned worldwide, o Accredited by European medical device standards, o Selected for their quality and longstanding reputation. When checking out of the hospital, a document bearing the prosthesis’ serial number will be given to you to enable long-term follow up in the best possible conditions. And then? During the following days, you should drink between 1,5 and 2 litters /day to flush your urinary system and minimise any bleeding. You may experience pain in the kidney over the first 24-72 hours, due to the insertion of the instrument or by the presence of a stent. In case of stent it is better to avoid walking too much. If need be, anti-inflammatory painkillers will help this pain which normally settles after 72 hours but will be continue if necessary. It will take at least 10 days to recover fully from the operation. You should not expect to return to work within 7 days. You can prevent further stone recurrence by implementing changes to your diet and fluid intake. Blood, urine analysis and spectrophotometry analysis of stones’ fragments will help to find the best diet for you.

The Next Generation of Surgical Tools: Self-Dissolving Surgical Clips


Surgical clips are a ubiquitous part of surgery and have helped surgeons close off blood supplies during important invasive procedures for some time now. However, these surgical clips have traditionally been made out of stainless steel or titanium and following certain surgeries, such as a gallbladder removal, are actually left inside the patient. While the risks of doing this are minimal and complications rare, there still exist and these clips have been known to find their way to other parts of the patient’s body. But now, a collaborative effort between Kobe University engineers and surgeons has yielded what could be the next generation of surgical clips; ones that dissolve safely inside the body. The new clips contain calcium and zinc and in trials involving mice they did not raise the levels of magnesium found in the body. A Kobe University spokesperson said: “The volume of the implanted clip was reduced by almost half after 12 weeks. Therefore, the clip is likely to dissolve and exit the body within one year.”   Of course, we can’t expect these self-dissolving clips to start being used for human surgery just yet. There is a lot of further testing that needs to be done, including human trials. But, if proven to be successful, they could revolutionise the way in which surgeons conduct surgery going forward. For more information about the wealth of world-class medical procedures we can help facilitate here in France, contact us through our website today.   Photo credit: Kobe University

Top 5 Foods to Aid Recovery After Surgery


Any type of surgery, whether minimally invasive or more drastic in nature, will leave your body needing a certain period of time to recover. And during this recovery period it is important that you take good care of your wounds by changing dressings where necessary and taking any medication prescribed as part of your post-surgery care. However, many people don’t realise that the foods you eat following surgery can also have a significant effect on your recovery. Here are 5 top foods that should definitely be part of your post-surgery diet: High fibre foods Foods that are high in fibre aren’t just healthy but they also help to prevent constipation. Eat whole grain cereals, bread, fruits and vegetables to aid your recovery. Lean protein Protein is the building block of muscles and it’s therefore important to get a decent supply following surgery. Choose turkey, pork and chicken if you’re a meat eater or tofu, soy and beans if you’re not. Fresh fruit and vegetables As well as being a great source of fibre, fruit and vegetables contain key vitamins and minerals, plus immune boosting antioxidants. Consume dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach. Low-fat dairy products Some people may advise against dairy products because of their tendency to sometimes cause constipation. This shouldn’t be an issue, however, if you’re eating lots of fibre too. The high levels of calcium and protein make dairy products great additions during your recovery period. Low-fat yogurts and cottage cheese are the order of the day. High-calorie foods That’s right, while the dieting world is telling us to consume less calories, the opposite is true following surgery. After all, your body is healing and needs all the energy it can get. A well-balanced diet is the key to a speedy recovery. And what better place to recover and eat yourself healthy than in a country famed for its cuisine like France. Photo Credit: Flickr

How are kidney stones formed?


At France Surgery kidney stones can be removed surgically using the ureteroscopic stone removal procedure. This procedure breaks the stones up into small fragments which can then be removed. This procedure has been developed in order to allow the removal of kidney stones when less invasive treatments have not been successful. Kidney stones are formed by the build-up of substances in the body, including ammonia, uric acid, calcium and cysteine. These substances can build up naturally, however there are certain risk factors which increase the chance that a person will develop kidney stones. Medical conditions such as cancer or kidney disease increase the risk as well as not drinking enough fluids. Some people are unfortunate enough to have recurrent kidney stones which return frequently and can occur for many different reasons. It has been discovered that the following factors may play an influential part in whether people will develop recurrent kidney stones: A person has had a period of inactivity A person has a history of kidney stones in their family Previous kidney stones – especially if they have occurred before the person was in their mid-twenties A high-protein, low-fibre diet Previous kidney or urinary infections Disease of the small intestine or an intestinal bypass