Welcome to my February news update with the pick of the most interesting stories in health and wellbeing over the last month. Please explore these new findings and be sure to share them with your friends, families and colleagues.
With warmest good wishes, – Dr Rosy Daniel
Natural & Holistic Remedies
Cubans turn to natural remedies in midst of prescription drugs shortage
Cuba has a long folk history of using medicinal plants in both Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies and for the treatment of common ailments. Today, with many prescription drugs in short supply—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic—plant-based medications and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, cupping, and therapeutic massages have become increasingly important. Cuba’s economy has been ailing for decades, exacerbated by mismanagement, longtime United States sanctions, the collapse of the Soviet Union—Cuba’s former benefactor—in 1991, and limited trade with friendly nations including Venezuela, which has endured an economic crisis of its own.
Holistic treatment: is laughter really the best medicine?
The astronomical success of Bo Burnham’s 2021 comedy special Inside reveals a universal truth: comedy is inherently tied to all extremes of the human experience. Burnham himself recognises the complicated relationship between his comedy and mental health, having taken a four-year hiatus due to his panic attacks on stage. Conversely, Inside exists in a state of flux – the viewer is a voyeur watching the specific deterioration of one man’s mental health in isolation. And yet, they find catharsis in its commonality. Equal parts pervasive and perversive, it is irrefutable that Burnham’s special uniquely encapsulates the spirit of the times.
Will Omicron end the pandemic? Here’s what experts say
The variant’s rapid spread, different vaccine strategies and varying levels of immunity worldwide make the pandemic’s future difficult to model. On 11 January, just seven weeks after the Omicron variant was first reported, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a “tidal wave” of infection washing from west to east across the world. Fifty of the 53 countries in Europe and central Asia had reported cases of Omicron, said Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe. Countries would have to cope as best they could, he said, guided by their individual epidemiological situation, available resources, vaccination-uptake status and socio-economic context.
The Health and Environmental Benefits of Seaweed Are Beyond Impressive
Although you’ve likely had seaweed on your cucumber rolls or maybe in the form of a salad, the benefits of seaweed are immeasurable. The beloved marine plant sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, and it’s been deemed a superfood, providing numerous health benefits to those who eat it. That’s why a number of companies in California are currently dedicating time, space, energy, and money to growing it. “The growth of the seaweed aquaculture industry is good for the economy and good for the ocean,” reads an article from the Global Seafood Alliance. “The process of growing seaweed is environmentally-friendly.
How a lifetime of recording the world’s wild places is leaving a unique legacy of sound
The life’s work of British audio recordist Martyn Stewart captured tens of thousands of hours of pristine soundscapes brimming with life, some from sonic environments now lost. Now it’s being preserved to help the planet – and its people. The rush of seawater against a stone shore, the soft rustling of a tree canopy, the hiss of cicadas drifting on waves of heat-humid air. These are the sounds of nature long associated with mental wellbeing, a kind of auditory balm to sooth stressed minds. Switch your visual senses off and allow your imagination to linger on what you hear, and the suggestive experience of listening can transport you anywhere – as well as reveal the densities and intricacies of life present in any one landscape.
Plastics in soil threaten food security, health, and environment: FAO
Plastic pollution has become pervasive in agricultural soils, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the UN agriculture agency, posing a threat to food security, people’s health, and the environment. While plastic refuse littering beaches and oceans draws high-profile attention, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Assessment of agricultural plastics and their sustainability: a call for action suggests that the land we use to grow our food is contaminated with even larger quantities of plastic pollutants. “Soils are one of the main receptors of agricultural plastics and are known to contain larger quantities of microplastics than oceans”, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said in the report’s foreword.
To see lots more exciting news and evidence go to www.health-e-learning.org.uk and see the health-e-information platform.
Researcher – Sophie Daniel, Health and Wellbeing Trust
Images bought from iStock Getty images – https://www.istockphoto.com