medical journalist, blogger, author
medical journalist, blogger, author
Blogging and talking about diet and
type 2 diabetes
A piece about diet and type 2 diabetes for award-winning Daily Mail Good Health in September 2015 brought a big response from readers - that led to my blog for the website HealthInsightUK. I asked how long the charity Diabetes UK, along with the Department of Health, can continue to ignore the evidence on low carb diet and type 2 diabetes - instead advising people with this staggeringly badly-managed chronic disorder of glucose intolerance to eat a 'normal' diet - ie with plenty of daily starchy carbs. The blog caused a flutter of interest. It was shortlisted for the MJA 2016 awards. Best of all, Michele Simmons, then co-chair of the Guild of Health Writers, asked me to help organise, and chair a meeting in London in Nov 2016 with the title: Can Diet Cure Diabetes? The panel included Dr David Unwin, a GP and leading 'low carb' researcher, the eminent scientist and diabetes specialist, Prof Roy Taylor of Newcastle University, research dietitian, Dr Trudi Deakin, Anthony Whittington co-director of Fixing Dad, and last but not least, the NHS deputy diabetes tsar, Dr Partha Kar. It was a great evening which speakers welcomed as an opportunity to meet each other as well as Guild members.
I reported on the meeting for the BMJ.
In January, I reported for the BMJ on a meeting of the House of Lords Health and Nutrition Committee addressed by Dr Unwin - and summarised his concerns amidst what I feel is a chaotic clinical approach to the subject in this blog.
Safe global anaesthesia: achievable and affordable
In October 2016, I visited the Mongolian Steppes and met three- year-old Gunbileg - who, as his mother explained, is alive today after an accident that ruptured his spleen, thanks to the combined efforts of committed local doctors, the donation of life-saving technology including Lifebox pulse oximeters and the support of the global anaesthesia community.
Indeed, charitable donation of low-cost, robust alternatives to first world anaesthesia equipment can chip away at the current situation where five billion people globally lack access to safe anaesthesia and surgery . I discovered this while researching the article Lifebox pulse oximetery in Mongolia published in February 2017 by Wellcome Trust Mosaic Science.
During my stay in Mongolia, I accompanied lead anaesthetist, Dr L Ganbold, to meet the UK ambassador in Ulaanbaatar to ask for British aid to pay for 20 DPA02 anaesthesia machines that could provide the basis of nationwide safe surgery throughout this far-flung country. This is already happening elsewhere - see this amazing video about anaesthesia training in Somaliland, made by DPA02 manufacturers, Diamedica.
Back home, I followed up Dr Ganbold's request. So far still waiting to hear from DFID. But the small charity SAWW has agreed to fund a single DPA02 machine, now on its way to Mongolia, and due to be delivered to a rural hospital in Mongolia’s remote western provinces in July. More will follow as further funds are obtained, says SAWW. Watch this space!
What people say
It's one of the most thoughtful, dramatic, character-driven approaches to both unique and universal aspects of the crisis we're all invested in addressing - Sarah Kessler of Lifebox on Mosaic Science article on pulse oximetry in Mongolia, February 2017.
A brilliant evening thanks to your chairmanship - Guild of Health Writers on its meeting, Can Diet Cure Diabetes, November 2016
What a great writer you are! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your piece, and think it gives a very accurate and interesting overview of the whole area. How I wish my research team could write like you....
Martin Cowie, Professor of Cardiology, Imperial College, London, September 2011.
Excellence in Cancer Reporting 2008
Jane has an impressive ability to guide the reader through important and complicated issues by use of well-drawn case studies, detailing the patient’s viewpoint, detailing the theory by clearly outlining relevant research and adding insight from interviews with leading specialists. British Oncological Association