Blog and News

PHE Review On Sugar Consumption Published

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On average young people and children eat three times the recommended amount of sugar, while adults consume over double – facts that have helped lead Public Health England (PHE) to publish an evidence review of ways in which to reduce sugar consumption in the UK.

Sugar Reduction: The Evidence For Action has concluded that there are a range of contributory factors that have led to a rise in sugar consumption, including promotions, marketing, advertising and how much sugar is in manufactured food.

Action to tackle the problem includes reducing the number and volume of price promotions in restaurants and retail, the marketing of high sugar products to young children and both portion size and sugar content in drink and food products.

Eating too much sugar can result in weight gain, dental problems and other health issues. In England, nearly two-thirds of all adults are either obese or overweight, while a tenth of those aged between four and five, and nearly a fifth of those aged between ten and 11 are obese.

“There is no silver bullet solution to the nation’s bad sugar habit. A broad and balanced approach is our best chance of reducing sugar consumption to healthier levels and to see fewer people suffering the consequences of too much sugar in the diet,” chief nutritionist at PHE Dr Alison Tedstone said.

If your diet is concerning you and you’d like to start eating more healthily, get in touch with your local GP in Hertfordshire to find out how to start. We here at The Thornhill Clinic would be more than happy to help.

Mole Count Predicts Higher Risk Of Melanoma?

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You might want to count the number of moles you have on your right arm and then book yourself an appointment with a private GP in Bedfordshire if you have more than 11.

This is because new research coming out of King’s College London has revealed that the mole count on this part of the body was the most predictive of the entire number of moles that a person would have. Women with over seven moles on their right arm had nine times the risk of having over 50 on their body, while women with over 11 were more likely to have more than 100 in total – so were at a higher risk of developing melanoma.

Mole count is one of the best ways of determining risk of developing skin cancer, in spite of the fact that 20 to 40 per cent of melanoma cases arise as a result of pre-existing moles.

Simone Ribero from the Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology, and lead researcher on the project, said: “The findings could have a significant impact for primary care, allowing GPs to more accurately estimate the total number of moles in a patient extremely quickly via an easily accessible body part. This would mean that more patients at risk of melanoma can be identified and monitored.”

If you’re concerned about a mole, come and talk to us at the Thornhill Clinic. We can assess it for you and work out the next course of action, be it mole removal or otherwise.

Ebola: What We Don’t Know

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If you have been considering speaking to the best private GP Bedfordshire has to offer about your travel health and the risk of ebola in some countries you may be interested to hear what we don’t yet know.

The ebola epidemic that peaked at the beginning of this year is now considered to be largely under control. However, the west coast of Africa is still on high alert following the devastating impact that the disease has had on the local population.

Because of the sheer scale of the epidemic, researchers were able to investigate the disease in a way that they have not been able to before.

Previously ebola epidemics were very short and occurred in rural locations which made them hard to study. Doctors and researchers who travelled to areas affected by ebola were able to study the disease as they were there for a long time.

However, the recent readmission of a nurse who contracted the disease when working with ebola patients, has highlighted how little we know about this disease.

What we don’t know:


It had been believed that contracting ebola made you immune in the future, but this is still not well understood.

How long you are infectious for

Recent studies show that ebola is present in semen up to nine months after surviving the disease.

What the long term effects are

One westerner who contracted ebola reported that his eye ball changed colour a year after contracting the disease. It was discovered the virus was present in his eyeball.

Lyme Disease Vaccine To Become A Reality?

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Lyme disease appears to be of growing concern in the UK, with cases on the rise, but now a vaccine against the infection could soon be seen thanks to researchers over in the US who have identified an antibody that attacks the bacteria that causes the illness.

Scientists at UMass Medical School’s MassBiologics who found the antibody now hope that this breakthrough will help in the creation of a jab to protect people year in year out, the Daily Mail reports.

“In our strategy, individuals would receive an injection in the spring of a single human monoclonal antibody targeting a protein on the surface of the bacteria that would provide immediate protection against Lyme disease,” Dr Mark Klempner said.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans if they’re bitten by infected ticks, tiny creatures that live in woodland and feed on the blood of mammals and birds.

If it’s detected early on, the symptoms of Lyme disease can be treated effectively but if they go untreated or the disease is not spotted soon enough, you can suffer severe symptoms that last a long time.

Symptoms of the disease include a circular rash where the tick bit, with some people also experiencing tiredness, muscle pain, fever, chills, joint pain, neck stiffness and headaches.

If you’re concerned that you’re showing some of the symptoms and think it’s likely you’ve been bitten, book an appointment with your GP in Bedfordshire to see what they think. We here at the Thornhill Clinic are more than happy to help.

MMR Vaccination Rates Fall

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If you are looking for the most affordable private GP Bedfordshire has to offer then head down to The Thornhill Clinic.

If you have children, we are able to advise on the MMR.

This vaccine protects your child against measles, mumps and rubella. All of these illnesses can be fatal and can cause complications, particularly when pregnant women catch them.

Rates have fallen across the country, with just 92.3 per cent of children receiving it in 2014-15, which is off the target of 95 per cent that is required to achieve herd immunity, The Guardian reported.

They are however not as low as rates were between 1996 and 2004 when they fell to 80 per cent. This lead to an unvaccinated generation and a significant outbreak in 2012.

If you are concerned that you are a member of the unvaccinated generation and want to make sure you are up to date, then come in to talk to us. We can test for your level of immunity and of course, offer you the vaccination if we agree you need it.

It is particularly important that women who are planning on conceiving are immune to the diseases as they can cause complications in pregnancy, and in order to ensure they are not exposed it is even considered advisable to get other members of the family vaccinated in order to prevent accidental exposure to an infection.

You can read more about the MMR and other vaccines that protect against measles mumps and rubella on the NHS choices website.

Two-Thirds Overlook Long Term Damage For ‘Healthy Tan’

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If you’re looking for the best private doctors Hertfordshire has to offer for consultation and removal of a worrying mole, skin cancer may be one of the outcomes weighing on your mind – however, for the majority of the UK, achieving a tan is more important than the long-term effects on their health, according to a new survey by SunSense.

The survey comes as a result of the awareness group’s ‘Dying For A Tan’ tour, which saw them tour the country with an ultraviolet camera to raise awareness about the real effects of tanning.

Dr Kerryn Greive, scientific affairs manager for SunSense, said: “There is no such thing as a healthy tan, but having one makes us feel good. Unfortunately, exposure to UV radiation from the sun and other sources, including sun beds, is a major cause of skin cancer.”

The tour looked to educate people who thought that there is a way to achieve a healthy tan through moderate sunbathing or use of sunbeds of the long term damage being caused to their skin and the cancer risks associated with exposure to the sun.

The survey found that 70 per cent of people believed there was a way to achieve a healthy tan, while 60 per cent sunbathed or used sunbeds in spite of knowing the risks of premature ageing and skin cancer. However, after being exposed to the damage their skin had been subjected to by the sun using the UV camera, 70 per cent then vowed to change their ways and give up the pursuit of a suntan.

Angelina Jolie Mastectomy ‘Raising Awareness Of Breast Reconstruction’

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The recent news that Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy to reduce the chances of her developing breast cancer has helped improve knowledge of breast reconstruction options.

This is according to a new study by researchers at the Medical University of Graz, which found that when celebrities go public with their health problems, articles in the media help to boost public knowledge about conditions and procedures, Reuters Health reports.

Dr David Benjamin Lumenta of the university said: “The key finding was that Mrs Jolie’s announcement did indeed affect the public opinion going beyond gene-positivity (and) actually improving the awareness that breast reconstruction can be achieved with the use of one’s own tissue and that it can be done during the breast removal operation.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the world and if you’re concerned about your general health or want a check-up, make sure you make an appointment with a doctor in Bedfordshire. We here at the Thornhill Clinic will be more than happy to help with any problems you may be facing at the moment.

Figures from Breast Cancer Care show that one in eight women in the UK will develop this disease at some point in their lives, with almost 55,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer each year… the equivalent to one person every ten minutes.

Almost 12,000 people die from breast cancer each year in the UK – and it’s not just women who are affected. Approximately 400 men are also diagnosed each year, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your local GP if you’re concerned.

Call Made To Improve Early Miscarriage Diagnosis Procedures

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Women with suspected miscarriages should be offered two scans up to a fortnight apart so that doctors can be sure that their diagnosis is the right one, a new study has suggested.

Currently, the standard for diagnosis is one ultrasound scan or two, with the second taking place after a week.

But the Imperial College London study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that the criteria being used to initially diagnose a miscarriage from the first scan was acceptable, but the guidelines that recommend when scans should be repeated and what may be seen on such scans was not reliable and could result in a misdiagnosis.

The study authors suggest waiting up to two weeks in some cases before having a second scan to decide if a miscarriage has occurred. They did acknowledge that having to wait two weeks for a second scan could cause more anxiety, but said that doctors would have to explain to women at their first scan why they may not be able to give a firm diagnosis.

“Just one misdiagnosis of miscarriage is too many. Although we have shown some aspects of the current guidelines are very good, our new study provides us with better data to guide clinicians and improve diagnostic accuracy,” professor Tom Bourne said.

If you’re looking for an ultrasound in Luton, we here at the Thornhill Clinic can organise scans via Ultrasound Direct in Milton Keynes. If you’d like us to arrange one for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Mediterranean Diet Cuts Breast Cancer Risk, Study Shows

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A change in diet could help cut your risk of developing breast cancer, with a new study suggesting that following a more Mediterranean lifestyle where food is concerned could be of great benefit.

Carried out by the University of Navarra in Spain, the research found that a Mediterranean diet could in fact reduce the risk of breast cancer by two-thirds, so it might be worth discussing the results with your local private doctor in Hertfordshire to see how you can increase your intake of nuts, extra virgin olive oil and so on.

Estefania Toledo, lead author and researcher at the university’s School of Medicine, said: “Keeping in mind that breast cancer is the disease that takes away the most years of life from women in Spain – one in 13 women will develop this tumour at some time in their life – the results of the study propose a great step forward in the field of prevention.”

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month so even if you decide that following a Mediterranean diet isn’t the right route for you to take, you can still use next month to increase your knowledge of the disease and even raise funds for charity.

Research from Breast Cancer Care suggests that almost a fifth of women diagnosed with breast cancer waited more than a month to go and have their symptoms checked out by their GP – the equivalent to around 6,000 women each year in the UK. If you’re worried you may have a symptom or want a check up, book an appointment with us at the Thornhill Clinic today.

Host Lads Night In To Fight Prostrate Cancer

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Prostate cancer has long been an unspoken topic of conversation among men, but it is important you and your friends talk about getting regular checks with a private doctor in Hertfordshire to avoid leaving it too late to treat.

Despite being one of the most common forms of cancer in men, prostrate cancer has a high mortality rate – with one in four people dying from it in 2013. This is because men are typically too shy or embarrassed to discuss any symptoms with their partners, friends and, most importantly, their doctors.

That’s why Prostrate Cancer UK has joined forces with PokerStars to inspire guys to host a ‘Lads Night In’. The aim is to encourage blokes to get their mates around for a fun game of poker, and raise money and awareness of the disease.

Guys can hold their night in on September 25th, and the money raised will go towards vital services to treat those with prostrate cancer, and research to improve tests and eventually find a cure.

Prostrate Cancer UK said: “You’ll be joining thousands of others holding a Lads Night In and hundreds of thousands of others doing great things to beat prostrate cancer – Men United.”

It added: “High fives all around because you’re doing something awesome for songs, grandsons and men everywhere.”

Men over the age of 50, those from an Afro-Caribbean background, and those with a family history of prostrate cancer are more at risk from developing the disease. Therefore, if any of these apply to you, it is important to get checked regularly.

Early signs include frequently urinating, difficulty starting to wee, a weak flow, a feeling of not emptying your bladder fully, and taking a longer time while peeing. So seek medical assistance straight away if you’re experiencing any of these.