Ode to NHS

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News

A poem has been penned to help children understand how NHS medical care works and honour the service in its 60th year.

When the NHS turned 60 in June, the nation looked back over six decades of free health care since the NHS’s inception in 1948.

The first babies born under its watch were interviewed, while experts pointed out the innovations that revolutionised care.

But now the NHS is attempting to connect with a new generation.

This week it unveiled a poem it commissioned from children’s laureate Michael Rosen and artwork by top illustrators including Helen Oxenbury, Tony Ross, Ed Vere, Axel Scheffer and Nick Sharratt.

“These are the hands” is designed to teach children about the NHS and its history.

Tito, aged 10, from New End school, Camden, studied the poem and the history of the NHS over the past few weeks and felt it had taught her something important.

“I really like the poem,” she said.

"I wanted to express the idea that it serves us cradle to the grave"
Michael Rosen

“I thought that was really emotional.

“Children will really like the poem because it is sort-of like a nursery rhyme.

“When I went to hospital with my sister who needed her tonsils out she was all attached to tubes and I think having a poem like this to explain about hospitals might have helped her.”

Heartbeat rhythm

Classmate Theo, aged nine, agreed: “I liked the way it had a constant rhythm a bit like a heartbeat.

“I think it would cheer up children going into hospital.”

Teacher Steve Buzzard said it was a great educational tool.

“I think it is a delightful idea getting the children’s poet laureate to write a poem celebrating the NHS at 60,” he said.

“We studied the poem and found it a really good way of teaching the children about the NHS and how long it has been going.”


These are the hands

That touch us first

Feel your head

Find the pulse

And make your bed.

These are the hands

That tap your back

Test the skin

Hold your arm

Wheel the bin

Change the bulb

Fix the drip

Pour the jug

Replace your hip

These are the hands

That fill the bath

Mop the floor

Flick the switch

Soothe the sore

Burn the swabs

Give us a jab

Throw out sharps

Design the lab.

And these are the hands

That stop the leaks

Empty the pan

Wipe the pipes

Carry the can

Clamp the veins

Make the cast

Log the dose

And touch us last.

Michael Rosen said writing the poem had been a wonderful opportunity to give something back to the NHS, which had cared for his family since its inception.

Mr Rosen said: “When I came to write this poem, I wanted to express the idea that it serves us cradle to the grave, but I also wanted to celebrate everybody in the service.

“There are many different kinds of essential work going on every minute of the day and I wanted to show that.

“The NHS brought my five children into the world, saved the lives of two of them (one had septicaemia and the other pneumonia), and gently nursed my parents through to the end.”

Dr Sheila Shribman, the NHS national clinical director for children said: “It is fantastic and captures the essence of the care given.

“Children are on the whole healthier than they used to be, but there are still children who need to come into hospital and poetry is one of the important ways of communicating with them.

Professor Peter Hindmarsh, paediatric endocrinologist at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital said the poem should be widely disseminated.

“I think you could have it available in any of the NHS’s distribution formats and you might want to include it with the hospital slip that goes out with appointments from hospitals for a new appointment.

“Children might have ideas, rightly or wrongly about what is going to happen to them and I think anything that helps bring down the mystery or anxieties must be applauded.”

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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Magnesium Deficiency

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Most people are unaware of the significant role that magnesium plays in the body. It activates over 300 biochemical reactions necessary for our bodies to function.

Millions suffer from magnesium deficiency without knowing. Or, at least they don’t realize that their health problems may be due to a lack of magnesium. Symptoms associated with and/or directly related to PMS, leg/muscle cramps, Osteoporosis, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure, kidney stones, and irregular heartbeat may be due to low levels of magnesium in the body.

Calcium intake may be one reason many people are magnesium deficient. Calcium needs magnesium in order to assimilate into the body. If too much calcium is consumed, the body will pull magnesium out of body parts creating a deficiency. Many Americans drink pasteurized milk as a way of obtaining calcium. Unfortunately, milk is about 8 parts calcium to about 1 part magnesium – much more calcium than the 2:1 ratio needed for proper assimilation. All the extra calcium can result in calcium deposits such as kidney stones, gallstones, and arthritic conditions.

Calcium and magnesium also work together in the muscles. Calcium causes the muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. Therefore, insufficient magnesium can cause cramping and muscle stiffness. PMS is mostly due to a magnesium deficiency. Besides cramps, a common symptom of PMS is a craving for chocolate.

Chocolate happens to contain magnesium, and a sudden craving may be a sign more magnesium is needed. Besides chocolate, magnesium is also found in foods such as spinach, avocados, nuts, beans, bran, oatmeal, rice and tofu. Due to modern farming practices, many foods are lacking the minerals that foods once had, because they are no longer grown in mineral rich soil. Therefore, magnesium supplementation is recommended.

Many heart attacks are the result of insufficient magnesium. The heart is a muscle and without magnesium it cannot properly function and will stop beating. Racing or an unusual change in beats, angina pain, or collapsing from heavy physical exercise could be early signs of this type of heart attack.

Other factors that may deplete the body of magnesium are stress, coffee, sugar, alcohol, soda, tobacco, diuretics, diabetes, low thyroid, medical drugs, and high perspiration. Many products are now fortified with calcium in an effort to combat Osteoporosis and other health related problems. But, without the proper balance of calcium and magnesium, the problem will likely worsen.

It’s important to understand that many of the mineral supplements and mineral-fortified foods on the market contain powdered rocks and metals. These rocks and metals (mineral compounds) are mined from the earth and pulverized into powder and added to supplements and foods.

The human body cannot adequately digest these compounds – and with increasing difficulty with age. In fact, even plants rely on soil microbes to pre-digest mineral compounds so that they can then assimilate them.

To realize how ill-informed the public is about minerals, consider the questions that are often asked about mineral supplements. For example: “What type of calcium or magnesium should I take.” The fact is there is only one type of calcium and one type of magnesium on the planet: the actual elements calcium and magnesium.

Magnesium citrate, magnesium sulfate, magnesium oxide, and even magnesium chelate are compounds, not the pure, actual elemental magnesium.

Magnesium, calcium, and other minerals are available in pure, crystalloid, ionic, water-soluble, non-compound, elemental form.

Those who are experiencing the symptoms of magnesium deficiency will greatly benefit from supplementing with elemental magnesium.

[ Copyright © 2005 World Image Naturals, Inc. ]

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The Importance of Nutritional Supplements

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

The human body is made up of nutrients, not drugs or man-made chemicals. Without minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other important nutritional building blocks, life as we know it would be impossible.

Scientists have concluded that every disease can be linked to a mineral or nutritional deficiency. Cultures with people who enjoy youthful, disease-free lives and live to be over 100 years of age are getting a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. When our bodies become nutrient-deficient, disease is the inevitable result.

It was once believed that all we had to do to maintain adequate levels of nutrients was to eat a variety of foods – including fruits and vegetables. However, times have changed and food is not what it used to be.

Our farmlands are seriously over-farmed and their soils are nutrient depleted. At best, farmers will replace a narrow spectrum of minerals back into the soil. These minerals do little to enhance the nutritional quality of the crop and merely affect appearance (marketability). Many farmers make an effort to replace nutrients by growing a crop that is not harvested but tilled back into the soil. However, if the minerals are not in the soil to begin with, they won’t be in the crop that is being worked back into the soil.

Furthermore, plants rely on soil organisms to pre-digest minerals for them. These helpful microbes are often absent, due to the condition of the soil and the destructive chemicals used in farming.

Beside the harsh chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides that our foods are contaminated with, there is a wide range of processing techniques that further alter their value as safe, healthy foods. They are subjected to high heat which destroys essential vitamins and enzymes, additives are used to help change their otherwise suspect appearance, and preservatives are added to embalm them for their long transport and potentially lengthy stay on store shelves.

A tomato grown in organic, nutrient-rich soil has a deep red to burgundy appearance on the inside, and it has a delightfully strong and pleasing flavor. A farmed, store-bought tomato often has a pink to clear appearance when cut open and lacks the rich flavor of the homegrown tomato. Even farmers understand this, and avoid foods from their fields and opt for those grown in their own personal, organic garden.

Medical doctors are now catching up with science and understanding the need to supplement with dietary supplements, due to nutritional deficiencies. A recent article in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) announced that a vitamin supplement should be taken to help prevent chronic disease.

If nutritional deficiencies did not exist, neither would the problems associated with them. Nutritional supplements are an excellent way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients that are necessary for your health and longevity. [ Copyright © 2005 World Image Naturals, Inc. ]

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