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Medical Hotline: August 2006

Food facts

The best source of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids, all essential to healthy living is in fruit, vegetables, lean meat and fish, legumes, nuts, berries, shoots, dairy products, nuts and grains and cereals, all as unrefined as possible. This is the best known source, and has the correct balance. Just the same, supplemental ones are a good idea if there is any nutritional deficiency, such as during convalescence from illness, a restricted diet or age.

Fish advantage

Although Signs generally advocates a vegetarian diet, some people are often advised to eat more fish. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to protect the heart, probably reduce the risks of asthma and help arthritis. Around 35 g two to three times a week is needed. All kinds of fish are nutritious. Take six to eight 1000 mg fish oil capsules a day to have the same beneficial effect. This is a lot to swallow, and sometimes causes bloating and abdominal discomfort. The fresh or canned fish works better.


Some people benefit from the use of prolotherapy. This means the injection of a weak glucose solution into the area of pain, often the fibrous ligaments. In some but not all cases, it brings relief. Nobody knows how it works. It is probably by improving blood circulation and relieving spasming of the microscopic fibres.


Sometimes people are advised to be treated by cryotherapy. Cryotherapy means application of cold. It comes in various forms, but the most common is a fine spray of liquid nitrogen aimed at the skin lesion. It kills the skin cells, including the unwanted lesion, often an early skin cancer. New skin grows underneath, but not the cancer. It is very effective and heals rapidly. It may leave a blister and red spot for several days, but this soon vanishes. Ice and frozen carbon dioxide were often used in the past


Asthma is particularly common in Australia. Some doctoers believe the puffers, which usually give a postive outcome and make life easier, are over-used. Others claim they are under-used. It is best to dicuss the matter with your doctor, and work out a system that seems most appropriate for each infividual. Puffers certainly beat some of the terrible forms of medication given in years past which at the time were the only option.

Breast Exam

Some women have stopped breast self-examination because it is now considered nmot worthwhile with the medical test now avilable. Self-examination by women a few days after the start of menstruation when the breast tends to be soften has been recommended for many years. A significant number of lumps (some cancer) have been decteted this way. However, with regular mammograms advised for women over 50, it has waned in popularity. Mammograms may deext cancer when the size of a grain of rice, and amendable to treatment. Nevertheless self-examination remains a simple intervention that costs nothing with no radioation exposure.

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