BSLM Conference 2017: Vital Optimism at Work

Being our inaugural event as a brand new charity, completely unsponsored and in an uncertain world, it did lead to some anxieties about the interest which might arise. However, the quality of the speakers and the range of topics clearly went down very well and attracted over 100 participants (over both events) on a warm summer’s day in Bristol’s Clifton Village in the shadow of the famous Brunel Bridge. It was humbling to see so many folk staying on late into the afternoon with happy and fresh faces! And what positive feedback!

A hearty thanks to everyone involved. The ‘greater good’ in healthcare is alive and well. Roll on to a bigger (and possibly even better) conference in Edinburgh in 2018.


Lifestyle Medicine fits between and includes conventional medicine and public health.

An understanding of the determinants of disease allow us to promote healthy behaviour  at individual level up to planetary level by acknowledging the upstream ‘causes of the causes’ of lifestyle related diseases. 80% of these diseases are avoidable

Healthy longevity is linked to personality (conscientiousness), goal-setting and being integrated into the local community.  Having a purpose in life and someone to share it with are more powerful determinants of longevity than those most commonly mentioned.

Prof Mark Wahlqvist

There is a case for recognising Nature Deficit Disorder, for improving health by living near open spaces and recognising the utmost importance of ecosystems. He highlighted the dangers of drought and lack of biodiversity in our foods being cultivated.

Healthful advice:

  • Act socio‐ecologically whether personally or professionally
  • Think and plan inter-generationally
  • Gain access to open and natural spaces and gardens
  • Consider when enough is enough
  • Emphasise livelihoods over employment.


Dr Campbell Murdoch

Introduced his Human Five –which is a person-centred approach to ‘making the dream live’ at individual, group and community level.  These are Movement, Body, Nutrition, World and Mind.  By raising these at consultations an engagement occurs with patients and solutions rehearsed which matter to the patient. Lifestyle Medicine at work!

Dr Malcolm Kendrick

Exposed the myths behind the mantra that dietary fat causes heart disease and put forward his long researched view that damage to the artery lining was the key.  This can be reduced by various factors including physical activity, and certain foodstuffs which stimulate the presence of nitric oxide.

Dr Fraser Birrell

Explored the benefits of consulting with your doctor as an individual but in a group setting.  The quality and effectiveness of the consultation is increased compared with usual care. There is an application in for a grant for scaling up this model in the NHS UK wide.

Darryl Edwards

Told us of the benefits of physical activity and described some of his Primal Play methods.  It seemed to the untutored eye like adult wrestling masquerading as play!  Great fun and enjoyed by all.

Dr Alice Holmes

Presented her findings of benefit of yoga in healthcare workers. Regular yoga resulted in increased resilience, reduced stress and helped team bonding. Sadly, there was not enough time for the practical demo.

Mr Laurence Stewart and Dr Antonia Wrigley introduced us to the role from birth and to the impact of our microbiome and microbiota. Yes, it really does help to play outside in the dirt! Protecting our immune system by maintain the good bugs in our body is crucial to health.   Fermented foods are well known to assist this process.

Prof Rob Thomas

Explained the benefit of polyphenols in our food in reversing or containing cancer spread. In particular concentrated powder derived from pomegranate, turmeric, broccoli and green tea has been shown to be effective in trials. Sugar is harmful and probiotics are helpful.  In addition exercise has a large impact on reducing cancer.

Dr Tamsin Lewis

Told us of her personal journey to this point where she concentrates her efforts on ways to improve healthy lifespans through lifestyle and exercise strategies and also nutritional or nutraceutical strategies to modify lifespan.

Sam Feltham

Has been busily collating evidence in favour of a low carbohydrate and healthy fat approach to health and in particular to the management of diabetes which is so common these days.  He founded the Public Health Collaboration and along with others is actively promoting a change to current eating guidelines in the UK.

Carlos Melis-Morales

Provided us with his compelling research into active commuting to work.  Cycling or even walking briskly has a large health benefit.  Let’s get moving.

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