In October the Astronomy group studied the Moon and we next meet on Monday 13th November 2:00pm at the Driftwood Spars, Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes at 2:00pm to look at the Search for Extra-terrestial Life.

Many of us meet for lunch beforehand at 1:00. Parking in the hotel car-park is free for us, but do give your registration number to the bar-man when you come in.

Do come and join us.

John Baldock  (01872 554241,


Last month I gave a talk on “Salt, Diet and Health” which explained that although a small amount of salt is essential for life most of us are eating too much, mainly from processed food. This often leads to high blood pressure(BP) as we age.  A small reduction in salt levels by industry and education of the public has contributed to lowering BP, resulting in less heart disease and strokes. However, we now have an obesity epidemic with associated insulin resistance. A high insulin level causes the kidney to retain sodium and raise BP. Essential hypertension and many other chronic diseases are a consequence of our maladaption to our modern environment and lifestyle. We need to look to evolutionary biology for solutions to maintain long term health rather than the mechanistic approach of modern medicine and a “pill for every ill”.
On 14th November Martin Smith will talk on “Manipulating Plants”. Martin was a lecturer in horticulture and his talk will look at how chrysanthemums can be timed for a specific flowering time and the ramifications of developing an industry to achieve this. Firstly, by understanding the plant itself and then providing the necessary conditions for efficient growth - light, temperature, atmosphere, water and nutrients, without introducing pathogens to, what has become, a crop grown in many different countries. Also as a contrast; how to keep tomatoes growing for as long a season as possible, which will include hydroponics.                                  
On 12th December Dr Adam Feldman, Senior Lecturer, Exeter University, will talk on an “Overview of Renewable Energy with a Cornish Interest”.
      Roy Fisher  01872 270528


On October 11th, Roy Fisher gave the Science Group a talk entitled "Vitamin D Update".

Vitamin D Update Talk
Despite the explosion of interest in vitamin D, with over 20,000 publications in the last 5 years showing its importance in maintaining good health there has been a failure to translate this research into good guidance. For too long we have been told to avoid sun exposure during the middle of the day, cover up or use sun block to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Together with our increasingly indoor lifestyles, this has contributed to an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency involving around 75% of the population. This has been identified by Prof Michael Holick as the most common medical condition in the world with sometimes devastating, if not fatal, consequences.1
Vitamin D is more than about bone health. It stands uniquely apart from all other vitamins, as it is a hormone that can act on up to 2000 genes that are involved in metabolism, muscle and cardiac function, immune and neurological functions as well as regulating inflammation. Optimal blood levels of 25-OH vitamin D are essential from before birth, right through to old age. A deficiency in this crucial vitamin, is already blamed for the reappearance of rickets, the painful and deforming bone disease in children and increased falls in the elderly.  More recent evidence now links low vitamin D levels to a rise in a whole host of “modern” diseases, some of which were virtually unheard of in the pre-industrial era. These include increased risk of heart attack, common cancers, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases(eg multiple sclerosis) and asthma.
Our ancestors mainly lived outside and would through sun skin exposure produce 10,000 – 20,000 IU vitamin D daily, much more than today. Our diet only provides about 10% of our needs. Given that current UK guidelines advocate a mere daily 400 IU2, we need to top up the tank.
Achieving an optimal blood 25-OH Vit D level of  75 nmol/L requires a 3-step strategy:

  1. Sensible sun exposure on arms and legs for 10-15 minutes between 11.00 – 15.00 without sun block.
  2. Fortification of staple foods(bread, milk, fruit juice) as in the US.
  3. Vitamin D3 supplements, 2000 IU daily between October and March, when we are unable to make vitamin D.

This would result in considerable health benefits with potential savings to the NHS of £27 billion 3.
Roy Fisher
Retired Clinical Biochemist


Roy Fisher




For all activities, please check our Google Calendar to confirm dates, times and locations

Richard Allen Groups coordinator