Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘Health

Vitamin D & sunshineOver the weekend, I read an article about vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin D deficiency is on the increase in modern society. When the sun hits human skin, it is the shorter ultraviolet B rays that helps (via a long convoluted mechanism) vitamin D in the body to enable calcium to enter every body cell. Calcium helps to create and maintain strong teeth and bones.

Summer sunshine makes many more times more vitamin D than the body requires if you expose your arms and legs without sunscreen for 10 – 15 minutes in the middle of the day 2 – 3 times a week. This short amount of time however is still controversial among scientists due to the risks of skin cancer. Fair skinned people make vitamin D the fastest. Darker skinned people can have difficulty during the winter months because of the tilt of the earth in relation to the sun. To supplement this shortfall, people resort to vitamin D tablets when increasing foods high in vitamin D could be more beneficial. Such foods include fatty fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel, fortified (added vitamin D) margarine and egg yokes.

Medically, a lack of vitamin D and its link with calcium can lead to bone and muscle pain, neurological problems (particularly in the elderly) and an increase in the risk of cancer.

LRC links to Vitamin D

Ross & Wilson anatomy and physiology in health and illness 10th edn (2006) by A. Waugh & A. Grant

Food: the chemistry of its components 6th edn (2016) by Coultate

Trust me I’m a doctor DVD (2014) by the BBC

NHS Choices: how to get Vitamin D from sunlight

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Cancer books

Last week, a gene breakthrough for breast cancer was reported in the media. NHS Choices expands on the details of this research which was originally published in the scientific journal Nature.

This large study was conducted by British scientists but funding came from a number of sources across the world. It involved 560 people with breast cancer with scientists comparing the DNA from their cancer cells with DNA from their surrounding normal cells. They isolated 93 genes that if they mutated, could make normal cells become cancerous.

This was a laboratory study, hopefully leading to a better understanding of the genetic mutations and their causes and in the much longer term, targeted personalised treatments for breast cancer. Doctors and scientists believe that through limiting alcohol, keeping physically active and maintaining body weight, the risk of breast cancer can be reduced.

To find out more about cancer, psychological support for cancer sufferers and personal stories of people with cancer, explore these items on the web and the LRC catalogue:

Oxford Dictionary of Science 6th edn. (2010) by Daintith and Martin

Advanced Biology (2000) by Roberts, Reiss and Monger

In the body of the world: a memoir of cancer and connection (2013) by Ensler

Gratitude (2015) by Sacks

Health Psychology 5th edn. (2012) by Ogden and also as an ebook

Cancer Research UK

rottweiler-outline-800pxLast week was Depression Awareness Week. To help raise awareness we would like to share information and resources about emotional disorders and mental health.

In an article for The Guardian, Tim Lott describes depression as a curse. Tim recounts what it feels like to be depressed. Depressed people have more persuasive, bleak imagination and a deep-rooted sense of the meaninglessness of modern life.

There is a secret feeling most people enjoy that everything, at a fundamental level, is basically OK. Depressives suffer the withdrawal of that feeling, and it is frightening not only to experience but to witness.

The MIND charity has information online on depression. In addition, we have a number of books that look at depression, its symptoms, causes and treatments.

Freeman and Freeman’s ‘Know Your Mind’ (2009) draws on sound advice from across a great variety of authoritative sources on maintaining and improving psychological health.

They have also written ‘The stressed sex’ (2013) looking at why more women suffer from depression than men.

Johnston’s  ‘Living with a black dog’ (2008) uses a visual expression of depression as a black dog to give an insight into what depression and living with a depressed person feels like and what can be done to improve the situations.

There is a Dawsonera e-book available through the VLE eresouces, Brier’s ‘Brilliant Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ that looks at boosting self-esteem and grappling with negative thinking.

It’s a changing field of study but the stigma against depressed people is persistent, it will take us all to lift the curse.

Self-help material - Susan Jeffers and Louise L. HayHere at our Hillcroft College we frequently run courses with confidence building in them and our students tell us they want more of it. And they’d also like more self-help material in our Learning Resources Centre.

Following their feedback we’ve been boosting up our material on confidence, positive thinking and overcoming anxiety and fear.

So here’s our pick of what we have so far – with material by Susan Jeffers and Louise L. Hay. We’ve got them in audio and print to suit our learners. They come with tips to help you think positively through mantras, meditation and positive visualisation.

Susan Jeffers and Louise L. Hay both have inspiring websites to take you further on your journey with daily affirmations.


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