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The Most Inspiring Stories From The Mail’s Good Health Supplement On Its 30th Anniversary

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Whatever you do, don’t ‘Google’ it – that was the advice I was given after being diagnosed with a serious illness just over two years ago, and which I promptly ignored, as you do.

I regretted it pretty much instantly: the internet is crammed with some scary personal stories, as well as often well-intentioned, but too often confusing, misguided and frankly wrong, information.

Of course there are also some superb charity websites offering incredible support and advice. 

But they aren’t necessarily up with the latest thinking, not least when it comes to diet and lifestyle. That’s because they have to wait for the definitive research.

That’s no criticism — evidence-based medicine is the bedrock of the best care, and it’s what we’ve prided ourselves on reporting in the Good Health section. 

Yet sometimes patients can’t wait for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to make a ruling allowing a new treatment to become available on the NHS.

And sometimes patients have exhausted their options — or don’t know that there are in fact other options. And that’s where Good Health comes in.

For a huge range of common problems, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to chronic pain, depression and other mental health conditions, as well as the obscure and sometimes only recently identified, our award-winning journalists have gone straight to leading experts for their insight into the cutting edge

For a huge range of common problems, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to chronic pain, depression and other mental health conditions, as well as the obscure and sometimes only recently identified, our award-winning journalists have gone straight to leading experts for their insight into the cutting edge.

You just can’t get this kind of access on Google.

There is not always a simple answer, and there is often debate and controversy about the ‘right’ approach or even diagnosis.

But what matters is that you, the reader, have the information to help you make an informed decision – even if it’s simply to ask your healthcare provider if ‘this new treatment I’ve read about’ could help.

One of Good Health’s strengths has been its focus on new thinking about diet and lifestyle, not just as prevention but as treatment – an idea increasingly being embraced by mainstream medicine. 

For instance, as Mail columnist Dr Michael Mosley points out on this page, type 2 diabetes was long regarded as a progressive disease, inevitably meaning a lifetime of increasing medication – even then, the risk of stroke and heart disease remains higher.

But as we reported back in 2015, researchers were already looking at how losing weight and, specifically, swapping to a low-carb diet could change this.

At the time this ran counter to standard advice for people with type 2 to eat ‘plenty’ of starchy carbs such as pasta, but studies have since found it can help reverse type 2 diabetes, and GPs all over the country are offering low-carb diets to patients in their practices.

It’s not the only approach – a groundbreaking study led by Professor Roy Taylor at Newcastle University showed that a rapid low-calorie weight-loss scheme can reverse type 2; this scheme is now being trialled in the NHS.

Regardless of the subject, at the heart of Good Health has been the people who’ve generously told their stories, in often very intimate detail, to help others.

Their stories have helped illustrate the often tricky biology and science involved in medicine (the medical jargon our journalists and editors have to untangle can be mind-numbingly obtuse).

They’ve also helped break down the taboos – around women’s post childbirth incontinence, for instance, and the tragedy of suicide. 

And importantly, they’ve helped drive our campaigns to change things for the better.

We all owe much to drug companies for life-saving medicines, as well as to our incredible, wonderful NHS – and I speak as a beneficiary of both – but mistakes have been made, patients have been harmed and worse.

As a result of these campaigns, guidelines and policy have been changed.

But it’s only thanks to people coming forward with their stories that we’ve been able to shine a light on these issues, the Daily Mail working as a force for good.

But one of the most satisfying things about editing Good Health – as I’ve done for 15 years – is hearing from doctors about you, the readers, coming in ‘waving bits of Good Health’ at them. 

We regard this as the ultimate badge of honour, and hope you will continue to wave your bits of paper – or screen grabs – for many years to come!

I’m proud Good Health sticks its neck out… Dr MICHAEL MOSLEY charts some of breakthrough stories covered 

By Dr MICHAEL MOSLEY for the Daily Mail 

For 30 years Good Health and I – sometimes together! – have covered some of the most extraordinary years in medicine, including, perhaps, the biggest health story of our lifetime, the Covid-19 pandemic.

From ever-shrinking surgery tools and minimally invasive procedures, to scanning machines that work in 3D and vaccines for a pandemic virus developed in under a year, it’s been an amazing period of breakthroughs big and small.

As the health section marks its 30th anniversary it’s a great time to look back at how medicine, and our health, have been transformed. 

Here is my very personal take on what I think are some of the most important changes of the past three decades, and the kind of medical advances we might see in the future.

Gut Instinct 

Perhaps one of the most significant developments has been in our understanding — and appreciation — of the gut. The gut is not the most glamorous of organs and, for a long time, its problems were the butt of jokes, or simply taboo.

But along with its microscopic inhabitants (mainly bacteria), it has a huge impact on our health: research into gut health has exploded in recent times and, with it, has come the realisation that treating the gut could play a wider role in a range of conditions including those affecting the brain.

We now know that buried along the entire digestive tract is a very thin layer of brain, made up of the same cells (neurons) found in your main brain. There are more than 100 million neurons in your gut, as many as in a cat’s brain, which makes your guts pretty smart.

Your ‘gut’ brain keeps in touch with your main brain via the vagus nerve, which seems to be an important pathway for certain conditions. Recent research, for example, suggests that Parkinson’s disease starts in the gut and spreads to the brain via the vagus nerve.

As the health section marks its 30th anniversary it’s a great time to look back at how medicine, and our health, have been transformed.

As the health section marks its 30th anniversary it’s a great time to look back at how medicine, and our health, have been transformed.

As the health section marks its 30th anniversary it’s a great time to look back at how medicine, and our health, have been transformed. 

And thanks to the Human Genome Project, a vast project which 20 years ago provided the first draft of the roughly 25,000 genes that make us human, not only have we been able to explore our own DNA, but also, for the first time, the trillions of microbes that live in and on us.

Scientists have shown that the balance of bacteria in our gut affects many things, including our appetite and weight and also our mental state (using the vagus nerve as a super highway to the brain).

It’s widely acknowledged that our microbiome can be affected by factors such as exercise, sleep and diet (we’re all now familiar with ‘prebiotics’ — foods rich in fibre that feed the ‘good’ bacteria in our gut — and ‘probiotics’, living bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut).

But we also know there are more radical ways of changing our gut bacteria, including with a faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) — transplanting faeces from a healthy donor into the person you want to treat.

In January 2013 the first scientific trials were done, testing FMT for Clostridium difficile, a common gut infection that kills more than 1,600 Britons a year….

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