Filed: Health

Wise Words

What drives me especially mad about this subject is the deranged notion held by some parents — usually middle-class — that there is somehow a gigantic medical conspiracy to keep them in the dark about MMR. “There’s something we’re not being told,” they mutter ominously, as though the medical profession collectively gets its kicks by making people ill and deliberately triggering autism in their children. Read more ›››

Babies and Bathwater

I’m no scientist and never had the wit or application to become one, but I do have faith in science to do its best. That might sound odd until you look back and realise that far too many people think that scientists only exist as a conspiracy to do us harm.

Like the MMR and fluoride debates. I’ve no problem with people questioning whether MMR causes autism and Crohn’s disease, or that fluoride is mass-medication and causes fluorosis, bone cancer in seven-year-old boys, infertility or as used by the Nazis (and Soviets) to make folk docile. (Have you ever met a docile Brummie?) Read more ›››

Don’t Panic!

The cartoons in the Guardian are usually driven too much by anger to be funny, but in the wake of the ‘Ohmygod bird flu is here’ stories, I laughed out loud at this one by Martin Rowson.

But on the bird flu note, an old saying in these parts: “It isn’t the cough that carries you off, but the coffin they carry you off in.” Don’t have nightma Read more ›››

A swan? Ah, g’wan!

The Daily Mail was at it again today, claiming success/failure as its own with its “Bird Flu Kills British Swan” red headline. (Shouldn’t that be ‘flu’ with the apostrophes?) The poor bird died in Scotland, but as with a Scot’s victory at the Olympics that becomes ‘British’ while one from someone south of the border is always branded ‘English.’ Read more ›››

One Flu Over the Parrot’s Nest

As Councillor Bob observes, these are worrying times for the Parrot household. The bird flu has landed in the shape of a parrot that died in quarantine having been shipped here from Surinam in South America.

And as we know, if this avian flu mutates into a version that can pass from human to human we’ll be in dead lumber and millions will certainly die. (It says so in the Daily Mail, so it must be true.) Read more ›››


One of the things about being off work is that you get to listen to some of the bizarre drivel that passes for national debate. This morning there was a Five Live phone-in about alcohol and whether we should increase its cost to cut down binge drinking and lawlessness on our city streets.

There is no point rehearsing the many fatuous arguments, but I was struck by the spokesman for the Libertarian Alliance who was one of the most bombastic, unpleasant people I’ve heard for a while. Anyway, to quote from their own website: Read more ›››

Taking Care of Yourself

When I was growing up, my mum and my nan had a cure for most minor ailments, or at least something to relieve the symptoms. Sore throat? A butterball would be prepared — a knob of butter rolled into a ball and then dipped in sugar to be sucked and allowed to melt in the mouth. (Sounds revolting, I know, but they were quite nice really and the greasiness would ease a dry throat.) Read more ›››


There is some tosh talked about MRSA, not least by the politicos in the four or five yearly spat over votes. The messages are that a) it’s all to do with dirty hospitals, b) could be solved by a return to ‘Matron,’ and c.) it could also be solved by a politician’s waving of a magic wand. Bollocks. Read more ›››