Vaping: We’re being fooled again….

grayscale photography of smoking man

Normally coal-mine owners don’t advise on climate change and Mcdonald’s or Mars don’t advise on healthy eating so why all of a sudden is Big Tobacco advising on health? Big Tobacco, which produces a product that has killed countless millions over the last 100 years and will kill countless millions in the coming years, is now positioning itself as a business committed to our health and well-being. You really need to applaud the nerve. There are now more than three …

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Good Science, Bad Science. The ups and downs of ivermectin…

multicolored stairs handrail

I first came face-to-face with Bill Campbell where he stood outside the old stone fish house at the top of the Mall in Ramelton. As he was a newcomer to the Lennon river bank I stopped to ask who Bill was and why he was there. To my shame, I had never heard of him. Since his 2015 Nobel Prize for medicine this 92-year-old son of Co. Donegal has become an international celebrity; the man who discovered ivermectin the drug …

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What is behind the spike in excess deaths?

colored pencil lined up on top of white surface

Vaccine season again. Flu is likely to be a problem this winter and it is essential that all those eligible get their flu jab as soon as possible. Vaccination generally is an incredibly effective public health intervention. We were all convinced with the miracle that was the Covid19 vaccine programme but, as we jab patients for the 5th time with a vaccine that has had little modification since introduced in December 2020, perhaps we need a proper critical assessment of …

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Heroin Assisted Treatment is coming but will it reduce drug harms?

A person using spoon and syringe in consuming illegal substance

Increasingly it seems, politicians, media columnists and other opinion leaders support further liberalisation of recreational drug use. The Utopia they seek is to rid society of the drug pushers and the cartels. The mess drug use creates in any society is unpleasant to say the least and when things are at their worst it is then, in moral panic, we move; creatively, innovatively with much less resistance towards other ways to address the problem. The War on Drugs was lost …

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Rishi Sunak and the Science and politics of Covid19…

text

The Spectator got great publicity for its interview last week with Rishi Sunak.  The Spectator’s lockdown-sceptical editor Fraser Nelson sees his interview with Rishi as a coup being the first, in advance of a public inquiry into Covid19, to suggest that democracy wasn’t working well during Covid19 and that too few unelected scientists were alone in deciding and making policy. Superficially it all sounds as if Rishi was against lockdowns just unable to influence things even though he was the …

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The depressing facts about depression treatment…

Shot made while filming for yesHEis project

Clinical depression is a very serious mental condition bringing untold misery to millions and, being strongly linked to suicide, depression, if not properly managed can be fatal and too often is. Yet we are not good it seems at managing clinical depression and it’s not really anyone’s fault rather it’s a failure in a systems approach that has attempted to standardise treatment, something generally good in itself, but in depression, sadly, maybe making things worse. The paradigm of current management …

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With an update vaccine just licensed where are we now with Covid19?

What now? | Follow on Instagram: @timmossholder

Back in February when England dared to introduce its “living with Covid19” policy – the first of the UK regions to do so – they were accused of risking the lives of thousands, perhaps millions. At that time, supposedly more sensible, less reckless, leaders in the other UK regions, including N. Ireland, said they would not play “covid-roulette” with the lives and wellbeing of their citizens. Most sensible people back then were livid with the English policy and rightly so …

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When the NHS is found lacking, think “Vive La France!”

eiffel tower, love, hands

A constant burning pain in my chest woke me from a deep sleep around 5 a.m. I got up and walked to the bathroom, tripping over my suitcase and wakening my sleeping wife. Standing in the bathroom I hoped the pain might lessen but it stubbornly remained. I had had some chest pain and was breathless walking back from the restaurant the evening before. Biarritz has a steep incline up from its roaring surf beaches but the pain had eased …

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Turkey Teeth and Harem Hair, Is medical tourism lengthening our waiting lists?

Galata view from the Golden Horn

I had a short trip back to Istanbul this June. When I last visited in 2016 I had cause for concern. My concern was, it seems, ill-founded and poorly judged and my hopes that things would improve were granted. In 2016 there had been an attempted military coup and since then things generally have gotten worse; an economic crisis in Turkey created by the financial ignorance of its for-life president Tayyip Erdogan, the proximity to a tragic war in Ukraine …

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Is addiction a disease?

Alter ego

I have been, for many years and mostly from an academic point of view, fascinated by addiction. Perhaps my fascination was sharpened also by a subconscious worry that a genetic curse afflicting both my maternal and paternal families, going back many generations, might too be visited on me. A great grandfather on my mother’s side was banished to America in 1907 before he “drank the farm”. Both my father’s grandparents were drunks causing their children, including my grandfather, to be …

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General Practice is making pharmacists’ lives very difficult and is potentially risking patient safety…

medicine, pills, blood pressure

GPs locked the surgery doors on 16th March 2020 and have, it seem, only resumed a basic service. Officially no one is saying so; it’s an uncomfortable truth and GPs are everywhere making the case they work harder than ever. Perhaps they do. When GP spokespersons appear outside practices to tell us how exhausted and burned out they are we might be hearing the truth or we could be witnessing spin at its apogee. Patient access remains constrained to the …

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Partition had very negative side effects for this pharmacist…

pharmacy, antique, old

It was the best of times it was the worst of times……. Because of my obsession with great stories and always keen for a better one, I was enthralled by a BBC podcast “The Pharmacist” which charted the rise and fall of a respected Belfast pharmacist Matthew McDonald MPSI who practiced in Belfast in the first quarter of the 20th Century. From what history his great-great grandson, Australian Ian McBurney, could find it seems the political environment he lived and …

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Christians should support the right to life by get vaccinated…

vaccine, coronavirus, medical

Perhaps it’s me, but I just couldn’t see where Jim Wells was coming from in a recent Belfast Telegraph article on his views of Covid vaccines. Here’s Jim as reported in the Tele which might give some sense of why I was confused. “It is not an anti-vaccine issue it is an ethical issue. I have had a large number of Christians who have said to me: ‘Look we are not opposed to vaccines and are not into these conspiracy …

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American Big Pharma and the US opioid epidemic…

With such focus on Covid19, the US opioid pandemic has largely been ignored in the UK yet continues to destroy lives, devastate families and fracture communities and it worsened rather than lessened as Covid19 ravaged the US. The US Centre for Disease Control published provisional data recently showing that 2020 was a record year for drug overdose deaths with 93,331, up 29% from a year earlier. 500,000 deaths between 1999 and 2019 need to be explained so cities, states, counties …

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Fifty Years of Drug Prohibition in the UK…

On 27th May 1971 the UK government brought onto the statute books the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) and for the last 50 years this Act has dictated how drugs with a potential for misuse, controlled drugs (CDs), are handled by healthcare professionals and what punishments criminal courts must impose for possession or supplying illegally. The MDA created drug classes and drug schedules and the public often confuse these terms. “Class” determines the level of sanction for possession or supply …

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The tricky business of vaccinating young people…

Wednesday and Saturday for the past 8 weeks have been vaccination days in the pharmacy. The community pharmacy Covid19 vaccination service (CPCV) was launched at the end of March and 340 out of our 525 pharmacies signed-up. It’s a well-planned service and pharmacists have considerable clinical freedom and autonomy to get on with vaccinating the age cohorts, in support of GPs and the bigger vaccination centres, with one key requirement; no wastage of the precious vaccine! We get ten, 4 …

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Questions remain about the origin of Covid 19…

I try to avoid being duped by conspiracies theories. When I read about a cabal of paedophiles in the basement of a Washington pizzeria, I switch off. When Donald J Trump is too quick to say that Coivd19 was made in China, I know better. I always try to keep objectively to the facts convinced I can spot the lunatic fringe at their zany work from a mile off. But sometimes, somehow, a weird story cannot be easily dismissed. Things …

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With an abundance of caution, Ireland shoots itself in the foot by deferred use of the AstraZeneca vaccine…

In the 1960s, US President Johnson was considering mandatory vaccination to eradicate a number of infectious diseases but was advised against it. The move would, he was told, cause 30,000 cancer deaths and 100,000 heart deaths. The President asked how the advisor knew this to which the adviser replied that this was the annual number of deaths from cancer and heart disease in the US but with mandatory vaccination, each one would be causally linked to a vaccine. This was …

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We need to be vigilant against the antivaxers…

Medical scientists are more positive than they have been for months. If the science is right – and we trust it is – twenty-one days after 95% of the most vulnerable have had their first covid-19 vaccine they should have 70% protection against the virus and then there should be a sharp fall in the numbers hospitalized and ending up in ICU. Mission accomplished in protecting the NHS and this should be happening mid-March. The Covid-19 virus will off course …

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