Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2013

A festive blog: Happiness and health

Blog on happiness

This is a season in which we all wish one another happiness for both Christmas and for the New Year. It is a time for happiness. However, research into happiness does not confine itself to seasons or birthdays but looks at overall happiness with life and, in some cases, attempts to relate that sense of happiness to our health. For this blog, I draw on a paper published in the Journal of Happiness Studies and no, this is not a joke, such a journal does exist published by the Springer[1]company and edited by Prof Antonella Dell Fave from Milan. Today’s blog centres on a paper from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam entitled:“Healthy happiness: effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventative care[2]”.
The author begins by accepting the view that physical health can be influenced by positive and negative mental states although this does not suggest any role for positive mental health in prevention of serious illness such as cancer. In this re…

Swedish report on diet and physical activity revals very weak science

The Nobel Laureate (immunology) Sir Peter Medawar once said that “If politics is the art of the possible, then science is the art of the soluble” and there is no better way of solving a problem than breaking it down to ever smaller units and then building it up again. In cell biology, this is easy. Isolate an enzyme and study its characteristics in the test tube. Then see what happens when an intact cell is put through its paces. Lucky cell biologists! Studying free-living humans poses an entirely different challenge with the boundaries of investigation set by factors ranging from ethics to practicalities of modern day life. Notwithstanding these challenges, the study of how the human diet influences our health must proceed with the highest possible rigour. In certain areas we can claim tremendous success such as the role of nutrients in neural tube defects, in age-related blindness, in blood lipids, in blood pressure, in bone disease and the like. In obesity, we have let ourselves do…