Spectator Health


November 2014

School rugby is mauling children

Fans don’t want to hear this, but young boys are being paralysed, writes Professor Allyson Pollock



Editor's Letter

Editor’s letter

22 November 2014

Welcome to the latest issue of Spectator Health. For our cover story we have the brilliant Professor Allyson Pollock writing on the controversial topic of rugby in schools. Her interest… Read more

Grayshott Spa Surrey

Health spa

Grayshott spa: food too delicious to be healthy

22 November 2014

In recent years the trend for detox programmes has flourished, with hotels and medi-spas quick to cash in on the trend. While many are little more than excuses to lie on… Read more


Check up

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

22 November 2014

  You’re still switched on while you sleep For years it has been thought that the brain is relatively inactive during sleep. However, research by scientists from Cambridge and Paris… Read more



Hardly anyone wants to die in hospital. Let's do something about it

22 November 2014

Of the 500,000 people who die in England each year, about half die in hospital. Many of these people have no clinical need to be there and very few of… Read more


How I joined the gym cult

22 November 2014

Something strange is happening to me. Instead of starting this piece, I have spent ten minutes exercising on my kitchen floor. I then check the MyFitnessPal app on my phone… Read more

Gym won’t fix it: 3 per cent of people become less fit through exercising

Could you be immune to the gym?

22 November 2014

You could have the sculpted physique of David Gandy or Madonna if only you exercised enough, couldn’t you? (Or something close.) If it really mattered that much to you, if… Read more


The 'breast cancer gene' is bad news for men, too

22 November 2014

Since the announcement by Angelina Jolie of her preventative breast cancer surgery last year, newspapers have been awash with further reports and case studies of women opting for similar radical… Read more

Best lay off the herring and yeast extract, dear. Picture: Getty Images

Sorry, but you don't need to be a duke to get gout

22 November 2014

Diagnosing gout in a patient this week — much to his disgust — I was tempted to remind him that in the 18th century doctors used to say that people… Read more


What Christmas dinner does to your body (and how to stop it)

22 November 2014

  Mouth   Problem Toothache/cracked crowns/chipped teeth   What’s happening? Our teeth are under stress at Christmas, says Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the awareness charity the Dental Health… Read more

Famous, successful, depressed: Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Robin Williams and Buzz Aldrin

The truth about men and depression

22 November 2014

The death of Robin Williams highlighted the role depression, anxiety and severe illnesses (such as Parkinson’s in his case) can play in the act of suicide, while the launch of… Read more

John Hurt in Ethiopia with the children and staff members of Project Harar

John Hurt meets the loneliest children in the world

22 November 2014

Prepare yourself for what you are about to see, I tell myself, waiting for the night flight to Ethiopia — as if this is possible, as if any western adult… Read more


What schools don't want you to know about rugby

22 November 2014

It’s every parent’s nightmare. I remember as if it were yesterday, that autumn afternoon 11 years ago when my son’s school phoned me at work to tell me my child… Read more



I think I've finally found the secret of a good night's sleep

22 November 2014

My morning conversation with my partner routinely begins: ‘Did you sleep?’ In response, by phone, by text or at close quarters, a full report is given. ‘I got off quite… Read more


Christmas parties are a sexual health minefield

The jolly celebrations which we enjoy each mid-winter are derived from the Roman festival of Saturnalia — a time of drinking, present-giving, singing loudly in the street and sexual licentiousness.… Read more


The superfoods that don't have publicists

22 November 2014

Do you remember noni juice? No? Let me help you out. Noni, an exotic fruit, was proclaimed a superfood about 15 years ago, and was one of the first foods… Read more


Why your phone won't give you cancer (and why people still think it will)

22 November 2014

I should preface this piece with a warning: I may be wrong. Perhaps, some day, greybeards will speak in dire tones of the Great Mobile Phone Plague of 2018. And… Read more


Can GPs really keep up with the latest medical evidence? I couldn't

22 November 2014

Medicine is a science, but not an exact one. Despite its inexactitude, however, its progress has been startling, and no sane person would want to go back to the days… Read more

Focus On


Understand your eyes (and keep them healthy)

22 November 2014

They help us navigate the world, see what’s around us and experience the joy that smiles bring. Our eyes are often taken for granted, and often they don’t get a… Read more


An eye specialist answers your questions

22 November 2014

Q I have a real problem with floaters in my eyes. They appear to have got worse in recent years. Is there any point in going to the doctor about… Read more


What you can do to keep your eyesight at its best

22 November 2014

‘My old chemistry master used to say, “You can’t buy eyes at Harrods any more, so look after yours,”’ says Raja Das-Bhaumik, consultant ophthalmic plastic surgeon at Moorfields. But although… Read more


Understanding cataracts

22 November 2014

Cataracts are the principal cause of blindness, and occur when the crystalline lens that brings light into focus on the back of the eye occludes, or clouds. Lens proteins degrade… Read more