A Skin Miracle in a Bottle


A reader writes to say that her partner, a kitchen fitter, is grateful for the barrier hand cream Gloves in a Bottle (£10.50 for 250ml, victoriahealth.com). ‘He told me that grouting makes his hands dry and uncomfortable. When he used Gloves in a Bottle, they were so much better.’

Dump The Bumps

My column on molluscum contagiosum (MC), a viral skin infection common in children causing tiny itchy bumps, triggered lots of readers’ tips. Most said GPs had been unable to help, merely stating that it would eventually go away. These natural remedies proved successful anecdotally…

  • Mollu-Skin Kit for age eight plus, with Silver-MSM Mollu-Skin Serum spray, Glucamune and olive leaf extract, £44.99, 100percentnature.co.uk: ‘My nine-year-old son had this infection down the right side of his body for eight months. Within six weeks and two treatments, it was completely gone.’
  • Higher Nature High Stability Active Colloidal Silver Spray, £16.60, victoriahealth.com: ‘The MC lesions covered my four-year-old grandson’s torso but disappeared within six weeks.’
  • Apple cider vinegar, available nationwide: Dr Mary Wu Chang, commenting in Journal Watch Dermatology, says: ‘This is often a successful treatment, applied topically at bedtime.’
  • Naturopathix ZymaDerm homeopathic topical skin formula with iodine, echinacea and thuja in a base of tea tree oil, £17.99, livingiseasy.co.uk/zymaderm: ‘My seven-year-old suffered from MC for 18 months. This solution was amazing.’
  • Nelsons Thuja 30c homeopathic remedy, £5.45, nelsonspharmacy.com: ‘The rash went within days; it recurred once, but the thuja worked again.’
  • Nelsons Rhus Tox 30c homeopathic remedy, £5.45, as above: ‘I gave my eight-year-old son the maximum dose daily; within two weeks his skin was clear and MC has not returned.’

Power Of Song Aids Stroke Recovery

In 2009, my friend’s husband had a severe ischaemic stroke. He is now without speech, although otherwise relatively fit. My friend is desperate to help him.

About 85 per cent of strokes are ischaemic, caused by clots forming in blood vessels. Blood flow to the brain is cut off, and brain cells become damaged or die within three to four hours. (The remaining 15 per cent of strokes are haemorrhagic, meaning a bleed in the brain.)

One stroke survivor in three develops communication difficulties, known as aphasia. ‘Aphasia is caused by damage to the areas of the brain responsible for language. As a result the ability to speak, understand, read and write becomes limited,’ says Dr Clare Walton, research communications officer at the Stroke Association (stroke.org.uk/aphasia).

Stroke survivors can recover communication through speech therapy. ‘However, recovery varies enormously and can take years,’ says Dr Walton. The Stroke Association runs a number of support groups.

Singing may help patients regain their speech, according to a recent US study led by neurologist Dr Gottfried Schlaug. Brain scans showed that damage to the part of the left-brain involved in speech processing could be overcome by re-routing language processing to the right-brain’s music centre. In the UK, some community-based stroke support groups include weekly singing sessions. The Singing Nuns at Harlow Stroke Support Group in Essex (based on the film Sister Act) recently visited their local Princess Alexandra Hospital’s stroke unit. Assistant operations manager Alan Zeller said, ‘It was incredible to see patients who struggle verbally stand up and sing. Stroke patients often suffer depression. Singing is joyful and helps their mental attitude, which in turn helps rehabilitation.’

An inspiring book for stroke patients and their families is My Year Off by Robert McCrum (Picador, £8.99*). When Robert, an old friend of mine, had a serious stroke aged 42, he tried acupuncture – there had been a study in Hammersmith Hospital – and found it beneficial. (For therapists, visit acupuncture.org.uk.)

Website of the Week mespace.org

Bella Hoare’s son Charlie, now 15, has been very ill with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) for four years. His main symptom is exhaustion, so Bella designed this website where sofa-bound teenagers can create and share pictures, videos, play games and make friends. PS Anyone needing a quick lift should look at the Doodle Gallery.

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