Spectator Health


February 2015

E-cigarettes save lives

I understand why health activists are so reluctant to trust them, says Derek Yach. But the verdict is in — and it’s time to act



Editor's Letter

Editor’s letter

21 February 2015

Welcome to this, the fourth edition of Spectator Health. In this issue our cover piece is by Derek Yach, defending e-cigarettes. Dr Yach has been a Professor of Global Health… Read more


Check up

Check up

21 February 2015

  The new risks of reading in bed   Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? They have become some of the most popular gifts as more and more people… Read more

Vidago Palace, Portugal

Health spa

A spa that's really a spa (and not really expensive)

21 February 2015

Although spas have been around for centuries, they soared in popularity towards the end of the Victorian era, when it was common practice for the well-to-do to ‘take the waters’… Read more


It’s about as common for someone who’s never smoked to start vaping as it is for them to start using nicotine patches or gum

E-cigarettes save lives

21 February 2015

In the 1970s, a group of students in South Africa were planning a campaign against tobacco. I was one of them. We paid a visit to Rembrandt, the country’s leading… Read more

Running for life: Sebastian Coe in record-breaking form in 1979

From the Olympics to the office

21 February 2015

The benefits of exercise are well documented. Whatever your age, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life. It can help… Read more


The diet to beat cholesterol

21 February 2015

He sat there, looking woebegone but resigned, and asked the inevitable question. ‘OK, Doc, so tell me — what mustn’t I eat?’ Freshly informed that his cholesterol was high, he… Read more

Communal fun and games: a grandmothers’ outing sets off from the East End, 1933

How to avoid a nursing-home nightmare

21 February 2015

Speed dating on morphine probably isn’t the best way to choose a long-term partner. But it’s a bleak necessity for many people looking for a care home. Incapacitated in a… Read more


Should you skip the PSA test?

21 February 2015

You probably know your blood pressure numbers, have a fair idea of your weight, perhaps even your waistline, but — gentlemen only — hands up if you monitor your prostate… Read more


An expert’s guide to eating disorders

21 February 2015

  What are eating disorders?   Eating disorders are characterised by abnormal attitudes towards food that lead to a change in eating habits and behaviour. The main eating disorders are… Read more


The common cold survival kit

21 February 2015

It’s that time of year — the weather gets cold, the heating gets turned up and my waiting room fills with sniffling patients. Unfortunately, most of them don’t need to… Read more


Hidden high blood pressure

21 February 2015

What’s your circulation? Unless you’re a newspaper editor, I bet you think of it as the heart pumping oxygen-rich blood around your body to the brain, kidneys, muscles, sex organs… Read more



The cure for hypochondria

21 February 2015

These days it’s difficult not to be ill. In fact, it’s impossible to be well. Few of us do not have, or at least indulge in, risk factors for catastrophic… Read more


Is reading in bed bad for children's eyes?

21 February 2015

It’s quite hard, growing up as a bookwormy kid. It’s rock and a hard place, Scylla and Charybdis (bookwormy, see?). On the one hand, you get called ‘Data’ by your… Read more


The power of protein

21 February 2015

What are the first things that come to mind when you think about protein? Meat? Cheese? Muscle? Weight lifters? All quite understandable, but protein is an integral part of a… Read more


Sex doesn't have to mean intercourse

  ‘Who can tell … What the Hell … Women want?’   So runs the men’s chorus from Act Two of The Merry Widow. And indeed quite often it is pretty… Read more


My battle with migraine

21 February 2015

Since I relinquished my Sunday-night Chinese takeaway — with emphasis on the seaweed starter and crispy duck pancakes — I can honestly say that my battle with migraine has been 90 per… Read more

Focus On


The spine: a user's manual

21 February 2015

Call it what you want — spine, vertebral column, backbone or back — it’s there to support us throughout out life. Without it we’d be a lump on the floor,… Read more


Better ways to treat back pain

21 February 2015

Treatment for lower back pain is undergoing a sea change. Why? Well, mainly because it has to: according to a report released earlier this year, lower back pain is the… Read more


A spinal surgeon answers your questions

21 February 2015

Q Is it true that sitting on those large exercise balls or funny-looking chairs where you kneel help back pain?   A One of the commonest causes of back pain is sitting… Read more