Spectator Health


September 2014

Diagnosis: Scandal

Arbitrary health screening doesn’t work — it simply turns well people into patients, writes Dr Margaret McCartney


Pride and pain: first world war veterans march to Buckingham Palace in 1964, on the 50th anniversary of the conflict

Check up

Check up: Taking the pulse of health stories in the news

27 September 2014

Drink danger on civvy street With the recent 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war, an apposite piece of research explored how ex-soldiers may turn to alcohol… Read more


Editor's Letter

Editor’s letter

27 September 2014

Welcome to the second edition of Spectator Health. We had some great feedback from our readers after the first issue and I’m delighted that so many of you took the… Read more

Dolder Grand Zurich

Health spa

Health spa: our anonymous reviewer heads for the Swiss hills

27 September 2014

Continuing our series of undercover reports from the world’s best health spas, our reviewer hopped on a plane to stay at the exclusive Dolder Grand, in Zurich. While Zurich might… Read more



Are you a hypochondriac? Here are ten symptoms you must not ignore

27 September 2014

I have a cartoon on my office wall at home that I look at every day when I am writing. It shows a GP standing beside the bed of a… Read more


How I nearly choked to death

27 September 2014

If anyone ever dares you to take part in an eating competition, I’d recommend you spit in their eye. Because eating contests kill people. Really, they do. Recently the former… Read more


Turning well people into patients

27 September 2014

Seen your doctor recently? You may have been asked about your memory. This would be quite usual if you had memory symptoms — like forgetting phone numbers, or wandering into… Read more


The vitamins your doctor takes

27 September 2014

Whether you think supplementing your diet by taking additional vitamins, minerals and super-nutrients is common sense or money flushed away, there’s no ignoring the pharmacy shelves heaving with fizzy tablets,… Read more


How you can beat those ‘senior moments’

27 September 2014

We’ve all been there. You walk into the kitchen, and as you cross the threshold you’re suddenly at a loss to remember what it is you were intending to do… Read more


The age of personalised medicine is upon us

27 September 2014

It all started 30 years ago, deep in the Wasatch Mountains, a 40-minute drive along narrow, winding roads from Salt Lake City, Utah. It was early December 1984, and a… Read more


The little white miracle pill

27 September 2014

For millions of people, a low dose of aspirin has become a morning routine along with brushing their teeth and reading the paper. Taking a baby aspirin, as the 75mg… Read more


Personal view: Keith Vaz says that too much sugar is killing us

27 September 2014

White poison; pure, white and deadly; the silent killer. These are just some of the phrases that have been used to describe the toxic and addictive substance otherwise known as… Read more


How do I find the right therapist?

27 September 2014

It’s not always easy assessing the various merits of umpteen therapists, cross-referencing qualifications, experience and specialities, while also, at the apex of a panic attack, pleading with a 999 telephonist… Read more



How exercise stopped me from falling over

27 September 2014

I seem to have developed a propensity for falling over. Sometimes it is dramatic, as it was on stage the other week at the Haymarket theatre, when I hurried out… Read more


Bad Medicine: myth of the warm-up

27 September 2014

As you get older, you may notice that everything takes a little longer to get better. If you have a drink or two in the evening, you no longer leap… Read more


Second opinion: the dangers of opioids

27 September 2014

  ‘Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’ ‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’ ‘The dog did nothing in… Read more


Sex and relationships: getting back in the saddle

Time was when people routinely stayed for decades in marriages that were devoid of fun or frolics. How very different life is in 2014! Today, divorce has become commonplace. Recently,… Read more


What to eat: paying a price for quick-fix diets

27 September 2014

Imagine that you have a 21-year-old nephew or godson who has a problem managing his finances. In addition to a student loan, he has managed to amass debt on a… Read more

Focus On


How your lungs work

27 September 2014

The lungs breathe life into the body. Every breath you take, as the Police sang, draws air into the lungs. From here oxygen is transferred into the blood for it… Read more


Consultant Q&A

27 September 2014

Q Why are there different types of inhalers? What do they do and does it really matter which one I keep with me? A There are a number of inhaler types… Read more

The UK has a higher rate of asthma than would be expected

Why do we Brits have such a bad record on lung disease?

27 September 2014

‘COPD is the third biggest cause of death worldwide,’ says Dr Nick Hopkinson, medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation and consultant physician at the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital.… Read more