Sunday, 20 October 2013

A TV Snip, Sunrise, Sleep, and a Letter to Father Christmas


Last week was an amazing week, or rather a week of amazing experiences and encounters. Some of which I witnessed from afar. For example, watching Dr Doug Stein perform the first vasectomy live on Australian TV to launch the inaugural World Vasectomy Day. This was said to be the world’s first vasectomy-athon with 184 doctors across 25 countries signed up to perform 1000 vasectomies over a 24 hour period.It was organised as part of a global campaign to address population, freedom of choice, family planning and sustainability of the planet.

Other experiences were a multi-sensory delight. There was the Birthday Cakes in the shape of ice cream cornets baked by a friend for Jacks 2nd birthday, delicious to look at and eat. That sun rise on Wednesday. I was stuck on the M62 on my way to Liverpool and a Council of Deans of Health meeting. I was stuck in traffic feeling fairly miserable when the sky was lit up by the deepest red you had ever seen. Over the next 20 minutes the sky line was transformed into a glorious riot of reds, oranges, and yellows. I tried taking a photo but failed completely to capture the experience.  

Possibly I was feeling a little miserable on that morning, because I had enjoyed sufficient sleep to be completely brain washed. Nancy Schimelpfening (what a delightful name) reported in last Tuesdays Las Vegas Guardian, (to my mind a more interesting paper than the British version) on the paper published in the journal Science on the work of Dr Maiken Nedergaad. He, is the co-Director of the Centre for Translational Neuromedicine, in the US. His study looked at the glymphatic system in the brain which he has discovered, cleanses the brain of toxic molecules while we sleep. The results of the study could have implications for the treatment and prevention of several neurological disorders including some of the dementias.

However, I was probably feeling miserable because I was sitting in my car travelling at a snail’s pace rather than at the speed of light, and such inactivity doesn't suit me. Actually inactivity of any sort is not a good thing for us. Physical inactivity has shown to be the principle cause of a number of health conditions including 13% of Type 2 diabetes, 18% of colon cancer and 17% of breast cancers. Doing something as simple as taking a daily walk could prevent 36,815 people dying prematurely from such diseases. Life changing steps to be taken indeed.

Not taking enough exercise, could be one reason why like me, some people have difficulty getting enough sleep. Other reasons might also include drinking too much alcohol (not one that applies to me), disrupted circadian rhythms, stress and of course, an uncomfortable bed. The most comfortable bed I've ever had was a water bed. As these were all the rage in the late 1960s and early 70’s younger reader may not know what these were. Essentially the bed was one giant mattress filled with heated water that fitted into a wooden frame.

I think they went out of fashion very quickly, but now I have found the modem day version of the ubiquitous water bed. It’s called the Exbury Egg (look here) Exbury Egg, and I so want one for Christmas. There are only 65 days left until Christmas Day. So yesterday I got out pen and paper and wrote my letter to Father Christmas. I told him I had been good all year, and after all, I did stop contributing to the gene pool some 30 odd years ago.