I previously posted a fascinating research paper from UCC proposing a possible link between schizophrenia and gut bacteria, on this blog on Nov 6, 2014.
Today I post a fascinating double video from Australia ,showing the vital role your gut bacteria plays in your general health.


Healthy eating slows down mental decline

Good news for your brain and body today! A new study shows that healthy eating slows down cognitive decline.

An article about the study was published in this week’s Irish Medical Times, we’ve copied it below for you to read, and we’ve peppered the article with some videos showing quick, easy and healthy recipe demonstrations.

Happy eating!


A comprehensive programme providing older people at risk of dementia with healthy eating guidance, exercise, brain training, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors appears to slow down cognitive decline, according to the first ever randomised controlled trial of its kind, published in The Lancet.

In the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study, researchers led by Prof Miia Kivipelto from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland, assessed the effects on brain function of a comprehensive intervention aimed at addressing some of the most important risk factors for age-related dementia, such as high body-mass index and heart health.

A total of 1,260 people from across Finland, aged 60–77 years, were included in the study, with half randomly allocated to the intervention group, and half allocated to a control group, who received regular health advice only.

All of the study participants were deemed to be at risk of dementia, based on standardised test scores.


The intensive intervention consisted of regular meetings over two years with physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, with participants given comprehensive advice on maintaining a healthy diet, exercise programmes including both muscle and cardiovascular training, brain training exercises, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors through regular blood tests, and other means.

After two years, study participants’ mental function was scored using a standard test, the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB), where a higher score corresponds to better mental functioning.



Overall test scores in the intervention group were 25 per cent higher than in the control group.

For some parts of the test, the difference between groups was even more striking — for executive functioning (the brain’s ability to organise and regulate thought processes) scores were 83 per cent higher in the intervention group, and processing speed was 150 per cent higher.


Based on a pre-specified analysis, the intervention appeared to have no effect on patients’ memory. However, based on post-hoc analyses, there was a difference in memory scores between the intervention and control groups.

According to Prof Kivipelto, much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. “However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive programme aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.”


How mighty is the oat?! Scientists find more than grain of truth in benefits of porridge

Remember being told about the virtues of porridge when you were a sceptical child? Well those stories appear to be even more true than your parents and teachers may have predicted. New research is finding that the mighty oat could actually lower cholesterol and clean the arteries while delivering other powerful heart-protective qualities.

The article below is by LAURA DONNELLY for the Irish Independent.

Fans of porridge have long claimed that it gives them the best start to the day – but scientists say there is evidence that it could also have a special ingredient that actively cleans the arteries, protecting against cancer and heart disease.

A meeting of researchers says there is growing evidence that a bioactive compound contained only in oats may possess protective antioxidant properties.

Oats are the breakfast of choice for many athletes and dieters, who find the high fibre levels give them energy for longer. The combination of fibre, vitamins and minerals in whole grains has also been linked to a reduced risk of diseases.

One particular fibre found only in oats – called beta-glucan – has already been credited with lowering cholesterol.

But scientists at the annual conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, Texas, yesterday said there was growing evidence that the benefits of oats do not just come from the fibre.

Researchers said studies suggested that a bioactive compound called avenanthramide could stop fat forming in the arteries, causing heart attacks and strokes.

Dr Shengmin Sang, from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, said: “While the data to support the importance of oat beta-glucan remains, these studies reveal that the heart health benefit of eating oats may go beyond fibre. As the scientific investigators dig deeper, we have discovered that the bioactive compounds found in oats may provide additional cardio-protective benefits.”


Fat formation in the arteries can become a condition called atherosclerosis in which the arteries become clogged. This can lead to organ damage or blood clots that result in heart attacks or strokes.

Previous studies have suggested that the fibre contained in porridge can reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 23pc.

Studies on children have suggested the traditional breakfast dish can help to keep obesity at bay. Youngsters who eat oats regularly are 50pc less likely to be overweight, one study of 10,000 children found.

Oats can reduce high blood pressure, which is closely linked to stroke and heart disease. They are also a source of vitamin B1 (thiamin) which is crucial for the nervous system, and folic acid, which is essential for healthy foetal development.

In an attempt to increase folic acid levels, pregnancy advisers have joined doctors in urging the British government to fortify flour with the acid to cut the number of babies developing defects such as spina bifida.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service has also said it is time recommendations to fortify flour with the vitamin were implemented in the UK.

Irish Independent

We all need the Amazon and its people

Hope you enjoy this great video that reminds us how vital it is that we protect and learn from the Amazon and its people.


It’s from TED Talks by Mark Plotkin and the title is What the people of the Amazon know that you don’t.


Pacaine – A homeopathic treatment for arthritis (An Irish discovery).


Patients with arthritis have been treated with procaine solution since the 1950’s. A Dublin doctor, Dr. Patrick A. Collins, who found that it could alleviate the symptoms of many forms of arthritis, developed the treatment. Today, an increasing number of GP’s around Ireland and abroad use the same treatment. The Lucan practice, run by Dr. Maurice Collins, continues as a specialist centre for this treatment and associated research.

What is it?

A very dilute solution of procaine in saline. Procaine was used in the past as a local anaesthetic, though its effect on arthritis symptoms has nothing to do with its anaesthetic properties.

What is the treatment called?

In order to distinguish the procaine treatment developed by Dr. Patrick A. Collins from other forms of procaine treatment, this treatment is now called ‘PACAINE’ (the initials P A C are taken from his name).

Who can be treated?

Patients with different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile chronic arthritis and arthritis associated with SLE. Other conditions such as fibromyalgia may also be treated successfully.

How is the treatment given?

The method of treatment is unusual. Using a glass rod, a measured amount of the solution is applied to the skin of the upper arm (no needles are required). The solution is just allowed to dry for a few minutes.

How often is the treatment needed?

The treatment is repeated every 4 weeks initially. Later, when the arthritis symptoms have responded, the time interval between treatments may be longer than 4 weeks (eg. 8 weeks, 3 months, etc.).

What kind of response is expected from the treatment?

Following a treatment it is not unusual for the patient’s symptoms to get worse temporarily (this is what we call a flare). Normally this will only last a few days and improvement follows. However, if the starting dose is too big the flare may last longer. Benefit may also occur in some patients without any initial worsening, but if the starting dose is too small the benefit will be short-lived.

Patients may also notice an increase in energy levels and general wellbeing after treatment with Pacaine.

Eventually, a general level of improvement in pain and stiffness is maintained and flares, if they do occur, are mild.

How long does it take to get a response to Pacaine?

The speed of response to treatment will vary from patient to patient and while some may improve quite quickly, for most patients it tends to be a slow gradual improvement with some ups and downs on the way.

Approximately 70% of patients will respond to treatment. If no reaction shows after 3 treatments, treatment is stopped. To stop after 1 treatment is a waste of time. The initial reaction may be quite slight and the patient may be expecting much more and hence not notice the slight change.

How Long do patients stay on treatment?

Every patient is different. Pacaine treatment is continued where troublesome symptoms occur. While in the early stages this is every 4 weeks, usually this interval extends to 8 weeks, 3 months or even 6 months in time. It is not possible to predict the speed this will happen.

How does Pacaine work?

It is thought that the treatment in some way stimulates a reaction in the immune system which can then influence the joints affected by arthritis and thereby alleviate symptoms.

Does the treatment have side-effects?

There are no known side-effects to this treatment.

Does the treatment interact or interfere with other medication?


It is important that other medications are not changed at all when treatment with Pacaine has started , otherwise it may not be possible to tell whether a change in symptoms is due to Pacaine or the alteration of other standard medication.

In time, it may be possible to reduce the need for painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Where is Pacaine treatment available?

Dr. John Dunphy,

Cork Road Medical Clinic, Carrigaline, Co. Cork.

Tel: 021 4371177

I.M.C. 04257


Dr. Maurice Collins,

Crescent View, Spa Hotel Grounds, Lucan, Dublin

Tel: 01 6280240