Author Archives: Harry Bourner

Is it worth worrying about your ibuprofen usage?

Research into anti-inflammatory tablets has clarified that this medication is closely linked to heart attacks. The study which was conducted at the University of Montreal has received a huge amount of coverage, but should it concern you?

This research is reminder that NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are not harmless; although these drugs have already been linked to heart failure and strokes in the past, they are still sold all over the country in supermarkets where no professional advice is given on how to take the drugs correctly.

What did the research highlight?

The research explored health records of around eight million patients who had an average age of 77 and whether or not they had used NSAIDs, such as: ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.

People who had used NSAID were found to have a 19 per cent higher chance of being admitted to hospital for heart failure. However, many news outlets also failed to point out that drugs like diclofenac are more dangerous than ibuprofen which the articles seemed to be focused more heavily on.

How was the media coverage of the story?

A large quantity of the coverage failed to highlight how the correlation between anti-inflammatory medication and heart problems was already well known.

The story received a huge amount attention from various media outlets and tended to exaggerate the research which had been conducted. Here are some of the titles:

  • Ibuprofen WARNING: Regular usage for just ONE week ‘increases heart attack risk’
  • Common painkillers may raise risk of heart attack by 100%
  • Taking ibuprofen to treat pain ‘for just ONE DAY increases your risk of heart attack by half’

What was the view of experts?

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation stated in response to growing concerns about the consumption of NSAIDs that, “It has been known for some years now that such drugs need to be used with caution in patients with, or at high risk of, heart disease. This applies mostly to those who take them on a daily basis rather than only occasionally.”

Chief medical officer at the Australian Heart Foundation, Garry Jennings stated, “There is really no information which suggests that they can cause either a cardiac arrest or a heart attack out of the blue. I think that is very unlikely.”

The overuse of NSAIDs can lead to various complications such as: stomach ulcers, and liver and kidney problems. Jennings stated, “They’re not smarties, they’re serious medications.”



So what should I do?

Researchers have highlighted how ibuprofen can still be taken, but consumers should stick to small doses and only take it for as long as it really has to be. It is also important to remember that you can always look for nondrug treatments, such as ice packs and muscle sprays for any inflammation which you may be facing.


Listen to more about the issue below, with interviews from various professionals questioned about some of the points above:

Risk of heart attacks from common painkillers

A new study suggests that there is a link between the frequent use of anti-inflammatory painkillers, for example: ibuprofen, and heart attacks.

Research shows that using these forms of painkillers would raise the risk of heart attack, ‘between 24 and 58 per cent overall’ in comparison with not using painkillers

The new study suggests that taking ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory’s increases the likelihood of having a heart attack within the first month of taking them if consumed in high doses.

Research conducted throughout 2013 found that a years worth of high-does treatment with ibuprofen and diclofenac (a treatment used by thousands of arthritis sufferers in the UK) causes three avoidable heart attacks and one fatal heart attack for every 1,000 users.



It was stated by Michèle Bally of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre that, “Taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction [heart attack].”

It is clear that doctors should consider both the positives and negatives when it comes to prescribing drugs, as sometimes they can create more dangerous issues.

So should you be worried? For most people under the age of 65 and those without heart problems, the answer is no. Most doctors also already try to avoid prescribing anti-inflammatory medication to people with these issues. The worries about these types of drugs also seem to only apply to those individuals who take the tablets on a daily basis.


Cuts cause conflict for university

The University of Westminster plans to make huge job cuts after a successive year of under enrolment of students.

In April, management made a statement to the trade unions that there will be large-scale redundancies due to a lack of undergraduate applications.

The university is asking staff to volunteer to resign in return for a lump sum payment and the signing of a settlement agreement. It is now planned that student numbers will drop from 13,000 to 10,000 from now until 2021. Senior management held a series of meetings on Thursday at which they attempted to outline the current situation.


Geoffrey Davies, the teaching member of the Court of Governors at the university, stated that, “I think a large portion of the problems which we face have been caused as a result of the Vice Chancellor and senior management failing to realize the enormity of the problems.” The former head of mass communication and journalism at the university also stated that, “…with falling birth rates and low satisfaction levels, courses should have been cut a lot earlier than now as this would have been a much more effective and calm way to cut costs.”

The university have stated that they have seen a fall in application numbers yet the fall for westminster is less than for competitor universities; recently the university fired the staff of a unit set up to promote a new revenue called Business Development, evidencing how cuts are already occurring.
The University of Westminster was contacted, but failed to respond on the issue.



Truck rams people on Stockholm street

It is reported by Swedish Police that a vehicle has rammed into people on a street in central Stockholm.

Three people are confirmed dead; there has been reports of shots fired. There are a number of people who have also been reported as injured.

The incident took place on Drottninggatan, one of the major pedestrian streets, at 15:00 local time.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the country has been “attacked and everything indicated that this was an act of terrorism”.

Shots have also reportedly been fired in another part of the city, says BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, citing security sources.

US strike on Syria: Is Trump a hypocrite?

If Donald Trump has made anything clear during his presidency it’s that he will do absolutely anything to stop refugees from receiving help and entering the US. This is why many people feel that his decision to airstrike against Assad is a bit hypocritical.

It is reported that one of the reasons why the airstrike took place was because, “Trump was affected by images of dead children among casualties and felt compelled to act.” However, being exposed to images of defenseless dead or injured Syrian children seems to have become reality nowadays. For example, the image of Aylan Kurdi lying on the beach. However, at the time this this image was published, Trump was talking about taking action to ban muslims from coming to the United States.

It seems ironic as if Trump really did care about Syrian children, surely he wouldn’t ban Syrian refugees. PBS Frontline reported that, Between 2011 and 2016, at least 470,000 — more than 11 percent of Syria’s entire population were either wounded or killed. Instead of opening the US, he signed an executive order declaring that the US would not issue new visas to travelers from particular countries for 90 days.

Claude Taylor, a one of Clinton’s staff wrote,  “Now that there’s been a chemical gas attack and Trump felt compelled to act, will his policy change?” “Ok Trump. Put your policy where your mouth is. Reverse your refugee ban. Open our borders to Syrian refugees. Do it now.”

There is also a large amount of hypocrisy surrounding the idea that the military decision to launch an airstrike on Syria was something which he once claimed was “very bad” and “dangerous”.

Three years ago when Barack Obama was debating whether or not to take action on Assad after using chemical weapons on his civilians in 2011 when he was trying to stop a rebel uprising.

However, in a large amount of tweets published from June through to September in 2013, Mr Trump made it clear that it was a bad idea for Obama to attack Syria and claimed that, “The president needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution”. Congressional authorization didn’t seem to concern Trump when he launched the attack yesterday, something which left the democrats very concerned; highlights the hypocritical actions of Trump.


Watch Donald Trump order the military strike below:


US airstrikes on Syria: Will there be more?

Donald Trump calls on the world to help the US end the devastation which Syria is being exposed to, highlighting that there may be more attacks.

Donald Trump ordered an airstrike after seeing the damage which was caused in Syria; the White House has claimed that, “This is a reaffirmation of America’s moral leadership in the world.”

The airstrike shows a clear difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, as Obama had always talked about “red lines” when it came to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, however in contrast to Trump, he didn’t react to them when they occurred.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s supporters will feel that the decision shows strong leadership qualities, however his critics may feel that the reaction may have been to sudden and needed further debate.
Trump was quoted saying that his actions were a direct response towards a “vital national security interest” in an attempt to stop the use of chemical weapons on anyone around the world.

Opinions in the US remain divided:



The airstrike which involved 59 missiles hitting a Syrian airbase has also weakened US-Russia relations, recently a Russian defence ministry statement was read on Russian television and claimed that the US attack had been “ineffective” and claimed Syrian authorities were looking for 36 Tomahawk missiles which fell outside the base and missed the target.

The statement also pointed out that Russia would now stop further cooperation and communication with US forces in Syria.

The question which seems to have come to the forefront after the airstrikes is whether or not there are more strikes to come. A US official has called the strike a “one off” but Donald Trump’s request for other countries to join the US to stop the “bloodshed” seems to say something different.

This attack has put Trump in a direct confrontation for the first time with Putin, a supporter of the Assad regime, who was until now a man the US has stayed impartial about.

In response to the attack, Russia has called it, “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law”, with President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman saying he felt that the US had carried out the strikes as part of a “far-fetched pretext”.

In response to this, the US stated, “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?”

It is clear that the American people are not ready for another long military operation; definitely isn’t willing to put troops on the ground at the moment, but how long will they continue to airstrike?


The majority of nations seem to be supporting the US military strikes, perhaps suggesting that they will get involved:

BRITAIN:  Revealed that it ‘fully supported’ the strikes, calling them an ‘appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack’.

JAPAN: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan ‘supports the US government’s resolve that it will never tolerate the spread and use of chemical weapons.’

FRANCE/GERMANY:  President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Assad needs to take ‘sole responsibility’ for the US strike following the chemical attack.


Burgers and Buns in Spitalfields Market

One man. With the task to figure out the best burgers and buns in Spitalfields Market.

Ed Atkins, a normal guy gives his opinion on the best bun in the market. From Bleeker Burger where he tried the infamous Bleeker Black which is constructed of two patties sandwiched between a layer of British black pudding, to Liberty Cheesesteak where the buns oozed perfectly with melted cheese, he will decide what’s the winner.

Let’s forget what the food bloggers are saying for once and just listen to a normal guy experience different burgers and buns in the iconic East London Market.

Make sure you check out his verdict below.

How to make the perfect burger

Burgers. Often they are just put under the label of fast food. However, there is a huge amount of craftsmanship which goes into making a good burger. But the question is, what makes a perfect one?

The answer is simple, kind of, but the truth is often shadowed by the fact that almost every chef has their own way of constructing the patty, the bun and the topping. But one of the key features which is often ignores is the lean to fat ratio. There should always be at least 20% fat to 80% lean when it comes to the meat, the fat content means that a juicier burger will be a lot easier to achieve.

Another key concept to remember is that when cooking burgers, its important  to use a hefty cast-iron griddle pan. This allows the meat to be infused with the fat collected in the griddle. Mr Motz, filmmaker of Hamburger America once stated, “A great burger should be like a baked potato, or sashimi. It should taste completely of itself.”

There are also so many burgers out there right now that people feel that they have to do so much to something which should be so simple. From Jamie Oliver to Nigella Lawson  everyone seems to claim to have the recipe for the ‘ultimate’ burger which contains an array of different flavours, but the key to success seems to be to just keep it simple.

But how did the burger get so big? The first burger joint opened in Kansas in 1921 and if we fast-forward nine years, the first Wimpy was created. This led to McDonald’s where the first drive-thru was founded; 11 years on from that there were over 100 McDonalds spanning across America. Now they seem to cover every corner of the globe. The popularity of the burger has meant that so much research has gone into creating the perfect one and it all revolves around the idea of cooking simple ingredients with simple cooking methods.




To find more essential information on the perfect burger, watch the video below.

The road to recovery: Peter Johnson

What was meant to be a romantic week away turned into a nightmare. Peter Johnson was on his way to Vienna with his wife to celebrate her 60th birthday when disaster struck. The incident which occurred has led to over four years of pain to get where Peter Johnson is today but his willingness to make a full recovery keeps him improving each and every day.

Peter Johnson and his wife Meredith decided to stay in a hotel at Heathrow airport before the day they were due to fly out. The couple decided to have dinner in the restaurant and Peter ordered crab; what happened next could not have been predicted. The crab led to Peter Johnson getting food poisoning and when he woke up because he felt ill and got out of bed to get a glass of water, he fainted and was knocked out when he made contact with the frame of the bed.

Peter Johnson had been paralysed, he was unable to move a limb, he had crushed his spinal cord and suffered a broken jaw and cheekbone as a result of the fall. It was a horrific experience and Peter spent two months in St Mary’s hospital and two further weeks at Kent & Canterbury Hospital without being able to move a muscle. This was when Pete Johnson was transferred to Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury.

What was life like before you were transferred to Stoke Mandeville?


Peter in London: Credit – Peter Johnson

It was hard work, before Stoke I wasn’t able to move a limb, my legs literally wouldn’t move at all and my fingers were permanently straight out. Because of this reason I was un-able to feed myself and I was having to be hoisted in and out of bed, after two months not moving anything I had become so weak and lost a lot of weight.

How was your experience when you arrived at Stoke Mandeville?

I arrived at Stoke Mandeville on a Friday and over weekend you don’t tend to do a lot, however, on the Monday I went down to the assessment area and they hoisted me onto a plinth to analyse my limbs. The next day I was taken to the gym where they wouldn’t hoist me anywhere, instead they transferred me by using a sliding board. I had to commit to it and it meant my legs actually started moving on their own because you know that you are only balancing. It just does something to the brain which makes the leg move; this was only possible as a result of staying at a specialist spinal injuries hospital.

What was it like getting some of your movement back?

It was incredible getting some movement back. I couldn’t believe it because having spent two months in St Mary’s and two weeks in Canterbury without any movement after the accident. However, after being at Stoke I was getting some movement back after three days, when two of these were spent in bed.

Did this inspire you?

Because I could see the improvements so visibly, it made me want to continue getting stronger and stronger. I also wanted to make the most of the specialist treatment within the nine month period when I was at Stoke Mandeville.

What treatment are you having now? 
Now I go to the gym where I have personal trainers to work on parts that need improving, e.g certain muscles, tone and everything else.  I have had physios in the gym as well which give me massages and that kind of thing; one thing which is important to remember is that you don’t overdo the exercises as this can set you back.


Peter and his wife Meredith on holiday in Wimereux: Credit – Peter Johnson

Is there anything else which you do?

I go to an MS centre as well which has been marvellous. You do 20 sessions initially every day and thereafter its up to the individual. For me it has made incredible improvements. Its not so much helped with movement but more internally, because with damaged nerves they are always bleeding a bit and breathing the pure oxygen stops them from bleeding.

How do you keep motivated to constantly improve?

By improving and obviously you want to do it for your loved ones so their not having to work so hard; also my golf. I used to love playing it and my goal would be to get back to it. Without motivation you wouldn’t see any improvement and unfortunately this is what happens to a lot of people but its the wrong way to go about it because no one would choose to be in a wheelchair but if you have a chance of getting out of it, you have to take it. You’d have to be mad not to.


There is no doubt that Peter Johnson has dealt with the accident which occurred four years ago extraordinarily well. To go from not being able to move a single limb to the point where he can drive his own mobility car, stand for limited time with an aid, go on holiday and get back to normal life is a huge achievement. All of these things must must have seemed so far away when he was completely bed bound. Peter’s story is inspirational, he refused to give up and is now being rewarded for the hours of exercises he does day after day, one thing which Peter made clear was that, “You have to keep focused and keep pushing on” and this has clearly helped progress his recovery.

Leaked data highlights NHS failure as A&E waiting times hit record high in England

NHS waiting times have risen to record highs over winter as patients have had to wait even longer for treatments. December saw the worst A&E performance ever as waits for treatment reached their longest in more than seven years.

The newly released data shows that 2,593 people ended up waiting over 12 hours to be seen to in 2016, more than two times the amount in the previous year.

It has got to the point where some hospitals have reached such high levels of overcrowding that nurses have no option but to treat patients in corridors. In addition to this, the number of cancer patients which were waiting more than two months to undergo vital treatment hit an all time high of 25,157 in 2016.

Last week, figures showed that nine out of 10 hospitals are overcrowded and have functioned at levels which have been seen as unsafe during the winter.

Speaking during a Downing Street press conference, Theresa May stated: “We have put record funding into the National Health Service. I recognise that it is under pressure – that’s why we will be putting the £10bn extra into the NHS.

Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) stated, “The government have so far failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation. The Prime Minister cannot continue to bury her head in the sand as care continues to worsen.”Porter added, “The government must urgently look at the long-term funding, capacity and recruitment issues facing the system as a whole if we are to get to grips with the pressures the NHS faces year in, year out, but which are compounded during the winter months.”

Doctors have confirmed that recently they are ‘taking too many risks’ by sending patients home early, and nurses have also been reported saying that conditions are ‘unsafe’ and ‘worrying’.

Another element of the NHS which was below response time were ambulances which also fell below the target. The Guardian found that, within the eight regional ambulance trusts still using the long-established way of measuring performance, statistics revealed that “crews got to the scene of just 66.4% of Red 1 calls – which are life-threatening emergencies such as someone having stopped breathing or suffered a cardiac arrest – within the required eight minutes, when it should be at least 75%. Ambulance services last met the 75% target in May 2015.”