Curing Brain Cancer, Heart Emojis & Alternative Sugars!

The Weekly Dose - Episode 95

Sugar Is Sugar….

It seems the entire online world is hell bent on demonising sugar. As with everything, moderation is paramount.

There are also those individuals and companies that take this sugar battle further in an attempt to persuade you that “healthy sounding” sugar alternative or “exotic” sugars are healthier for you….

This is nothing but clever marketing.

Coconut sugar, castor sugar, cane sugar, agave nectar, date sugar and the 50+ names for sugar that exist.

Whilst many of these may sound “natural” and wholesome; this is in language alone. They are all still sugars with a fancy name.

If you want to eat something that contains this because you like the taste, go right ahead.

Just know that you are empowered by science and not led astray by smart marketing which attempts to make you part with a bigger chunk of your money.


Can we cure an aggressive brain cancer?

We have some positive signs from a small clinical trial that tested a new mRNA vaccine for an aggressive brain cancer.

Interesting as well as testing it in human patients, 10 pet dogs were also included! (this was because dogs are the only non-human species prone to developing spontaneous brain tumours)

The type of cancer in question is a glioma and is practically fatal and there doesn’t exist any treatment options with curative intent, so this trial was the only ray of hope for these patients.

After being given the vaccine, dogs lived for an average for 139 days compared with the usual 30-60 days.

In 4 human patients with glioblastoma – all patients were either disease free for a longer period of time or survived longer than expected although the full clinical effects of the vaccine are yet to be fully understood.

mRNA vaccines are part of a branch of personalised vaccines that can target patient’s specific cancer and cancer proteins (neoantigens)

The trial will now be expanded to include children and even more adults – fingers crossed for promising results for what is a cancer with a currently abysmal survival rate.


What I’m Doing This Week….

If you caught my Instagram stories last week, you will know that last week and the week before were tougher than usual.

A week of nights followed by a heavy week of operating long hours left me with extremely depleted energy levels.

To top that off, I decided to hit a leg session in the gym on Friday morning and during a light warm up I felt a give in my lower back and immediately returned home after just 5 minutes of working out!

I was barely able to stand or walk for a few hours but thankfully I’m walking relatively pain-free now (and I’m still going to make the show don’t worry!).

I self diagnosed myself with a muscle spasm most likely in my lumbar region and after lots of tramadol, diazepam, anti-inflammatories and heat patches later…I’m back!

Once the initial injury on your back subsides, regular and gentle movement is key to stop the muscles seizing up again.

That brings me to my next point – things are ramping up for my show next Friday…Friday 10th May!  If you fancy an evening of laughs and accidental learnings..grab a ticket and come and see me!

You can get tickets here:


What You Should Watch:

Baby Reindeer (Netflix)

I finally got round to watching this and I am not disappointed.

Trigger warning – it does contain lots of references and themes around grooming, sexual abuse, rape and stalking. It’s not necessarily an easy watch but what I found fascinating was that the main actor and writer of the show was the victim and it’s based around his own true story of abuse and stalking.

Really eye opening and gives a different perspective around what constitutes abuse (both mentally and physically).


Break Down To Build Up…


The last 2 weeks of my professional career and personal life have been tough. I won’t bore you with details but it got me thinking during a moment where I was lost in my own thoughts…

If everything came to you easily without having to put much work into it – how would you cope with an obstacle when you faced it?

Going through failures, lows and rejections are the moments in your life that mould you. Just like muscle fibres break down when you weight train in order to undergo a process of rebuilding and hypertrophy to make you stronger…. your hardship will build your mind back up again to be even more resilient.

In hindsight, I thank the tortuous moments of my life that I hated at the time. It makes the good moments that much sweeter.


Why Does The Heart Symbol Look Nothing Like The Real Human Heart?

Your heart is an asymmetrical lump of muscle and tubes filled with blood. Not very romantic. However in emojis, art, drawing and pictues we manifest the heart as this anatomically incorrect curved diamond shaped obect to depict our internal blood pump. Why?

It seems the earliest illustrtation of the heart shaped symbol appeared in a 13th century text inspired by Aristotle’s description of it. One hypothesis is that the heart symbol we know and recognise is based on the leaf of the giant fennel plant silphium (now extinct) and used by the ancient world as a form of birth control. Very romantic indeed.

So the next time you want to send a heart emoji, saying I ❤️ you, instead be a purist and consider saying ….