• Stop throwing food in the trash: it’s killing the planet

    Stop throwing food in the trash: it’s killing the planet

    For the sake of keeping the peace I had to bite my tongue. The meal had been a rare treat: succulent sirloin steak cooked medium-rare, smothered in a rich, creamy peppercorn sauce, served alongside bowls of al dente vegetables. But as the plates were piled up at the end of the meal, I watched aghast […]

  • Hope and terror: I just had most of my frontal lobe chopped out

      The grizzly details  A little over two weeks ago, a tall Greek surgeon, with a name that literally means “to die” in Ancient Greek sawed a dessert plate-sized wedge of bone from the front of my head then cut and scraped a cancerous tumour from my right frontal lobe, leaving me with only a […]

  • Science of Cooking: Why do bananas go brown in the fridge?

    To celebrate the launch of my recent book, The Science of Cooking: Every question answered to give you the edge, published by DK Books, I am starting a special series of posts about food science. The book answers 160 commonly asked cooking questions, busts lots of culinary myths (no, don’t throw away the mussels that […]

  • The vaccine controversy that isn’t controversial

    Polio is a disease that should be long dead by now. Some readers will be old enough to remember rooms full of ‘iron lungs’ – grotesque life-support machines that did the breathing for children left paralysed by this deadly infection. With their small heads poking out through a tight rubber seal, steam engine-like contraptions sucked […]

  • Spelling out the truth about dyslexia

    We’ve all done it: mixed up our numbers and telephoned the wrong person. It’s an easy mistake that’s easy to forgive, but for one Starbucks employee, Meseret Kumulchew, getting her numbers in a jumble landed her in very hot water. While logging the temperature of fridges and water onto the duty roster, coffee shop worker […]

  • Science shows that schools should start later, so why hasn’t the penny dropped?

    The sun is shining, the birds are singing and it’s the start of a brand new day. Like many people, I love the mornings and consider myself an ‘early bird’ (after the first coffee, that is). It wasn’t always that way, however. During my teenage years, getting out of bed before 9 am was so […]

  • Suck on this: Americans’ teeth are just as bad as Brits’

    For a long time now, Americans have mocked us Brits for our terrible teeth. They have sneered with their gleaming pearly whites while we have shamefully hidden our crooked yellow fangs. British dental hygiene has been the laughing stock of the Developed World for a long time: in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the […]

  • The time I saw demons: let’s remove the stigma of mental health

    ‘The witch’ first started speaking evil thoughts into my mind when I was working in a hospital in Gambia, West Africa. To everyone else she was a concerned-looking 50-something woman crouching over a feverish relative. My supernatural sensitivities told me otherwise. Utterly oblivious, I was suffering the horrifying symptoms of schizophrenia and was utterly convinced […]

  • It’s official: you’re only as old as you feel (and look)

    “You are only as old as you feel,” or so the saying goes. This adage is great for cheering yourself up when the grey hairs start to take root, but science has recently revealed that the time-honoured expression is alive and kicking – the younger you feel, the younger you actually are. Ground-breaking new research […]

  • Beware the health scan scams: don’t be fooled by the long words

    Magic 8 Ball toys are great fun when you’re a kid. The fortune-telling plastic spheres have been entertaining children since the 1950s and are delightfully simple – you ask the black ball a question, give it a shake, and an answer ‘magically’ emerges out of the inky darkness. “Will I be popular at school?” The […]

  • Ditch the ‘detox’: don’t let the diet myth cleanse your wallet

    Lady Macbeth kept scrubbing but she couldn’t get the marks out. Shakespeare’s character was so wracked with guilt that imaginary blood stains appeared on her hands and, try as she may, she couldn’t get herself clean. It’s not just fiction: research shows that all of us have a powerful urge to wash, bathe, shower, or […]

  • Test yourself: Could you spot a skin cancer? Never miss a melanoma.

    If you ever doubted humankind’s ability to do great things for our planet, just look at the sky. Or rather, look toward the ozone layer high in the stratosphere. If you cast your mind back, you will remember that there was a lot of talk of the ‘hole in the ozone layer’ brought on by […]

  • Get off your bum! Your office chair could be killing you (very slowly)

    I have some bad news to tell you – are you sitting down? Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but your office chair could be killing you. I know it looks harmless, with its ergonomic arm rests and comfy sponge seat, but each hour you spend sitting in it could be causing your […]

  • 5 Reasons Why we are Scared of Cooking with Spices

    It’s been about a year since you last read one of my blog posts and I confess that book writing is a busy, all-consuming existence. This much-loved blog has been sadly dormant whilst I have chiselled away over a hot laptop in my writer’s cave. Throughout this blog wilderness, I have been key-tapping and kitchen […]

  • 2017 wasn’t all bad: a good news story that will change the world forever

    Now that the end is nigh for 2017, I think we’d all agree that the last twelve months have had more than their fair share of memorable moments. We’ve seen Donald Trump begin his reign of power, Kim Jong Un shoot off his shiny new intercontinental missiles, the Grenfell tower block burn down in the […]

  • Fatigue: the problem most people don’t understand

    If you’ve never experienced extreme fatigue, then it’s difficult to appreciate. It’s all too easy to say that someone is “lazy” if they complain of no energy or go for a lie down at two in the afternoon. For a long time, many doctors haven’t understood it. For people who are constantly exhausted, us doctors […]

  • Grub’s up! Why we should all start eating insects

    Once upon a time, vegetarians were seen as weirdos who had to make do with a cheese omelette when dining out. Today, non-meat eaters get some of the tastiest options. There is no shortage of meat substitutes foods to sink our laughing tackle into, like Quorn, ‘soy mince’ and tofu. But there is a newcomer […]

  • The Science of the Midlife Crisis – a modern myth?

    They say that life begins at 40. If that is true, then I have four and half years coddled up in the womb of young adulthood before I am birthed into the cold harshness of ‘middle age’. We tend not to think too much of being ‘middle aged’, and we all know someone who has […]