Making Everything Better

Hi there!

I’m aware that the posting schedule here at has been a bit erratic recently. Sorry about that.

Nice hat, mate.
Erratic? I’ll show ye erratic, sonny – Thom Yorke

If you’re of a mind to follow me on the tweetie box or like and follow my writer’s page on Facebook or sign up for the Apoplexy Tiny Letter, the excuse for this will be revealed early on Thursday afternoon, Edinburgh time.

In the meantime, let’s stick to the stroke news, shall we?

Long-suffering readers will be aware of my recent appearance on the news here in Scotland, talking about my experience of stroke and promoting the British Heart Foundation‘s recent research into comorbidity.


Unrelatedly – you would think – I was off at a night of poetry, storytelling and song with a distinctly Scottish feel a week-and-a-half ago. So much so, that the pub hosting the event claims to have been the Edinburgh base for Billy Connolly’s early shows in the city as part of the folk group The Humblebums with Tam Harvey and Gerry Rafferty (of Baker Street fame).

It’s true. The sax solo from Baker Street does improve any song.

Billy Connolly was mentioned on the news here earlier in the week because it was a useful distraction from Brexit he’s been in touch with scientists at Harvard University regarding the possibility of him being a “guinea pig” for research into stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

That seemed to me to be a weird kind of non-story, but he does have a book to sell, and reading more of the related article here revealed some interesting titbits.

Oh, d’ye bloody think so?!

For starters, Connolly was diagnosed with prostate cancer – for which he had successful surgery – in the same week he was told he had Parkinson’s in 2013. Which, to be fair, is kind of a Royal Flush to my Full House of losing my job and having my brain explode in the same weekend.

Er, congratulations?
HAHAHAHAHA! 1-0, sonny!

More importantly, it puts me in mind again of that whole comorbidity thing. I mean, sure, maybe it’s just yer age, duck – but check out this new news from the new news news desk:

Half of women ‘will develop dementia or Parkinson’s or have a stroke’

And after that, the article really becomes a downer. So, what should we do? Eat, drink, and be merry while we have the chance?

"Some people want to go on for ever, and I obviously don't."
“Mibbes aye. But then, mibbes naw.”

Well, quite. On the one hand, is all for living in the moment. But on the other, the drink’s a terrible thing. Besides, this research from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands isn’t meant to be a total downer.

Certainly, it confirms the risk of comorbidity associated with certain diseases. And it does highlight the issue that while

[I]n middle age, there is a great deal of focus on heart disease and cancer…, diseases of the brain in later life get less attention and are less researched

Pic posed by models, you say? Really?
“But being middle-aged is as awesome as being on my period,” says man (53)

Hopefully, the study will add to the impetus to increase efforts to find a drug to delay the onset of dementia symptoms. The researchers also said that preventive measures could substantially reduce the burden of the illnesses.

Dr Carol Routledge, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said

The best current evidence suggests that eating a balanced diet, controlling our weight, staying physically active, not smoking, only drinking within the recommended limits and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check are all associated with better brain health into old age.

I’ve got to say, I’ve found that not keeping your blood pressure in check and not staying physically active are Very Bad Things, so that all sounds like good advice. Till next time…

Slàinte! Santé! Na zdravi! Prost!
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