Sunday, 15 May 2011

So many stories – so little time

According to Harold Camping, head of a network of 66 radio stations in the U.S., the end of the world is nigh. May 21st in fact, according to the Californian businessman is ‘Judgement day’. In Los Angeles, some of his hoardings announcing Doomsday have been embellished with graffiti providing a helpful countdown noting the number of shopping days till the end of society.

There are several other interesting stories in the news today – all linked with our survival and the quality of life during our time spent on planet earth. So in the very remote likelihood that Mr Camping is right – I thought I would cover some of them in this blog – so I can rush out and do some shopping while I still have the chance…..

‘Free salad bid to cut obesity’
Presumably, in an attempt to placate the healthy eating lobby and to endorse its commitment the wellbeing of society in general, Pizza hut is offering customers unlimited free salad with their meals. This is part of the ‘responsibility deal’ with Andrew Lansley, UK Secretary of State for Health, aims to increase industry’s role in encouraging the nation to eat more healthy food. Very laudable. Just one point, other well known food outlets in the UK (and probably elsewhere) already offer  ‘all you can eat’ salad deals with their menus. And that’s just what the obese do – they will pile their plates with salad, croutons, oily dressing and then down them alongside their pizza, burger and plate of chips. Nice gesture but could do better. Hot news - salad with Pizza doesn’t make you thin. Salad INSTEAD of calorific and fatty foods will help you lose weight.

Alzheimer’s test for all over 60’s
A very emotive subject and as the daughter of parents who both suffered from severe dementia for some years before their deaths, a matter very close to my heart. The government is suggesting that everyone over 60 could be tested for Alzheimer’s. Now that there are drugs that appear to halt the progression of this distressing disease, there may be some merit in this, especially if early diagnosis can prevent irreversible decline. But this is also fraught with difficulty. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. So if someone is given the ‘all clear’ for Alzheimer’s, that doesn’t mean they won’t suffer dementia caused by for example, vascular problems. The drug treatments for Alzheimer’s don’t cure the disease, but may delay degeneration and provide a family with extra precious time to interact and be recognised by their loved one. The balance between benefit of early diagnosis compared with the distress of knowing early on what you may be facing is a hard choice to call. I’m really not sure about this plan but will keep a close eye on the debate.

Bonus plan for curing addicts:
Chris Grayling, employment minister has suggested that a new approach is needed to deal with the crack cocaine and heroin addicts who cost £1 billion annually in benefits. Grayling is suggesting that organisations that can wean addicts from their habit and help them find employment should be paid bonuses for their achievement. Why not? It seems like a good plan and a win-win situation. I know from years working in sales and business development that bonuses generate success so good luck to all concerned.

Back to the Apocalypse:
So how will you spend your last days? I’m working on it, and apart from the essential, of course, time spent with my family – there will be three other things that must receive some attention. The handsome young man, a gin and tonic and some chocolate. Or should it be chocolate, gin and young man – or gin, man, chocolate….

One thing can be sure, my last days won’t involve salad or an Alzheimer’s test.


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