Jan 032015
 

Wishing all friends and fans of You must be nuts! a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Talking of a healthy 2015, a couple of days ago, Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the UK-based King’s Fund, identified Three challenges and a big uncertainty for the NHS in 2015:

– preparing for a spending review after the UK General Election in May 2015;

– much closer integration of health and social care;

– ensuring that the NHS has the leadership in place to deliver the highest affordable standards of care; and

– which political parties will form the coalition UK Government after May 2015.

If you have watched the film, you will realise that the challenges (and the health of many in the UK) could be reduced even before the elections by addressing apparent ethical flaws and under-regulation in:

– the dietary advice published by the NHS;

– the treatment guidance given to NHS doctors (about which senior health professionals have already called for an independent investigation); and

– the allocation of public funding for medical research.

To help with the first of these, here is the list we compiled for the film of NHS web pages which continue to discourage people from eating saturated fat (in spite of the evidence that eating saturated fat has nothing to do with increased heart disease and that a low fat diet could cause dementia):

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Fat.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/video/pages/fat-the-facts.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Eat-less-saturated-fat.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/SouthAsianhealth/Pages/Fat.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1124.aspx?categoryid=51

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Obesity/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/03March/Pages/Saturated-fats-and-heart-disease-link-unproven.aspx

Meanwhile, the following NHS web pages are among those which advocate eating more carbohydrates (in spite of the evidence that a high carbohydrate diet increases the risk of dementia, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer):

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/starchy-foods.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx#close

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eight-tips-healthy-eating.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/loseweight/pages/the-truth-about-carbs.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eatwell-plate.aspx

https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/food-and-health-tips/healthy-eating-in-pregnancy/

If you know of other official UK websites offering similar dietary advice, please post them in the comments below so that we can add them to these lists.

You are welcome to use the lists, for example, to encourage the UK Health Secretary to take these pages offline for revision in line with the latest scientific research, as most of those commenting on the pages had recommended long ago. The 1950s low-fat dogma (and not scientific evidence) on which all of the above NHS web pages are based has been widely discredited.

Yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron fired the starting gun for the General Election. All the major UK political parties are looking for ways to reduce the country’s budget deficit. Fixing the above web pages and the guidance given to doctors could save the NHS billions in drug and healthcare costs while easing the pressure on health professionals.

Could 2015 be the year our health stopped being harmed by the national dietary guidance and the drugs cocktail prescribed routinely to older people?

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. – Thomas Jefferson (1809)

Jan 062014
 

This is Alph, Beel & Chah-Lee’s New Year message, which we’re sending to our friends and relatives. We’ve uploaded it as an unlisted video on YouTube to allow you to share the YouTube link (http://youtu.be/bs9tMzxLoWQ) with people you care about too.

As with the film and the prequel, the puppeteers were Enrique Nicanor (Alph & Beel) and Kaberi Chatterjee (Chah-Lee). The voices were provided by Enrique Nicanor (Beel) and Obhi Chatterjee (Alph & a rather hoarse Chah-Lee!).

Jan 012014
 
Poster image for You must be nuts!

Poster image for You must be nuts!

I should introduce you to my friends Alph, Beel and Chah-Lee. They are puppets. You must be nuts! tells the story of how their exploration of the film’s interviews changes their lives.

Here’s the prequel:

The puppet family

Alph and Chah-Lee are husband and wife. They live in the UK.

Chah-Lee is the more health-conscious of the two. Every time a new diet becomes popular, she has been following it in the hope of returning to her once-slim figure.

Alph is the one I know best and through whom I met Chah-Lee and Beel. He is fascinated by current affairs and science. His iPad is his window on the world and we came to know each other through an online science discussion forum.

Beel is Chah-Lee’s Spanish father. He has travelled extensively and has lived in Spain, the UK, Latin America, the US and France. He met and married Chah-Lee’s mother while he was living in the UK.

Chah-Lee’s keen interest in health developed partly in reaction to seeing her mother gradually put on weight. As Chah-Lee was growing up, her mother started suffering health problems related to her obesity and diabetes.

As a result, after Beel had worked for many years as a senior executive, he and his wife decided to live in Spain. They set up ‘Beel’s Beach Bar’ together on its Mediterranean coast. Although Chah-Lee’s mother passed away a couple of years ago, Beel continues to run the bar.

The background to the puppets

Needless to say, Alph, Beel and Chah-Lee are fictitious characters. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Of course, Alph, Beel and Chah-Lee could be anyone – A, B and C – and they could be living anywhere in the world. Their dialogue is derived from various informal conversations with friends and colleagues over the past year about dementia, dietary advice, prescription drugs and/or what constitutes a healthy diet. It aims to cover all the typical questions which arise in any such discussion.

The puppets were kindly created for the film by Enrique Nicanor. His past credits include creating and animating the original puppets for the children’s TV series The Magic Roundabout and producing and directing the Spanish version of Sesame Street for its first three years.

Elisabeth Christ provided the voice of Chah-Lee, Enrique provided the voice of Beel and I provided the voice of Alph. Kaberi was the puppeteer behind Chah-Lee while Enrique was the puppeteer for Alph and Beel.

Amid the increasingly grim findings of my research and the challenges of caring for someone with dementia, Alph, Beel & Chah-Lee provided a welcome source of light relief. The two days of filming the puppet sequences were strenuous but fun. My father was our fascinated and patient live audience while we filmed the breakfast scenes over several hours on Saturday.

Wishing you a dementia-free 2014 … and beyond.