Tag Archives: The Guardian

HEALTHY DIET PODCASTS: “SPOON-FED” AUTHOR & PROFESSOR TIM SPECTOR

According to a recent study, obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50%. Governments around the world are now hoping to encourage their citizens to lose weight. But with so much complex and often contradictory diet advice, as well as endless food fads, it can be hard to know what healthy eating actually looks like. 

How many pieces of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day? Will cutting out carbs help you lose weight? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Speaking to Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London about his new book Spoon-Fed, Madeleine Finlay asks why we’re still getting food science wrong, and explores the current scientific evidence on snacking, supplements and calorie labels. 

Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at Kings College, London and has recently been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He trained originally in rheumatology and epidemiology. In 1992 he moved into genetic epidemiology and founded the UK Twins Registry, of 13,000 twins, which is the richest collection of genotypic and phenotypic information worldwide. He is past President of the International Society of Twin Studies, directs the European Twin Registry Consortium (Discotwin) and collaborates with over 120 centres worldwide. He has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common complex traits, many previously thought to be mainly due to ageing and environment. Through genetic association studies (GWAS), his group have found over 500 novel gene loci in over 50 disease areas. He has published over 800 research articles and is ranked as being in the top 1% of the world’s most cited scientists by Thomson-Reuters. He held a prestigious European Research Council senior investigator award in epigenetics and is a NIHR Senior Investigator. His current work focuses on omics and the microbiome and directs the crowdfunded British Gut microbiome project. Together with an international team of leading scientists including researchers from King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts University, Stanford University and nutritional science company ZOE he  is conducting the largest scientific nutrition research project, showing that individual responses to the same foods are unique, even between identical twins. You can find more on https://joinzoe.com/ He is a prolific writer with several popular science books and a regular blog, focusing on genetics, epigenetics and most recently microbiome and diet (The Diet Myth). He is in demand as a public speaker and features regularly in the media.

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TELEHEALTH IN AUSTRALIA: “RPA VIRTUAL HOSPITAL” IS A 24/7 PATIENT CARE SYSTEM

From The Guardian (May 12, 2020):

“Now, everybody is on board,” says Dr Teresa Anderson, chief executive of the Sydney Local Health District. “There is not one clinical department across the district that is not providing care virtually.”

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What a difference a pandemic makes. Although RPA Virtual Hospital was well into development when news broke from Wuhan in January, pandemic preparations meant it was scaled up far quicker than had been envisaged.

Anderson says RPA Virtual Hospital opened on 3 February with just six nurses. It now has more than 30 nurses, as well as medical and allied health teams, and 600 registered patients. Operating out of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital campus, it functions in many ways like a regular hospital, with a clinical handover, ward rounds, multidisciplinary team meetings and its own governance structures.

The virtual hospital is part of a wider suite of innovations developed at breakneck speed during the pandemic response, which include providing care in rented hotel and apartment accommodation to Covid-19 patients and others in quarantine, thus freeing up hospital beds.

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COMMENTARY

The Covid epidemic spurred development of an addition to an already good medical care system.

A group of chronically ill patients were invited into the virtual care system. Nurses are used on initial encounter. They direct the enhanced home care, referrals or hospital care as needed. Electronic devices record the care given.

Hotels are used to quarantine suspected Covid patients, with telemonitoring.

As in America, the Covid epidemic has exposed the excesses of unneeded “elective” surgery, most notoriously surgery for back pain.
We can learn a lot by studying the health care of other countries.

—Dr. C.