Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 07 November 2013 10:24

Exotic cars lusted after/driven

I freely admit to being a car nut.  That is someone who has gone past the simplicity of just being an enthusiast, into someone for whom cars have taken on a new dimension.  With this affliction, there are times when driving exotic cars rates even higher than sex with Angelina Jolie (my current impossible dream).

Thursday, 07 November 2013 10:23

What did we learn from Abu Dhabi?

Well, we learned there’s a lot of sand surrounding the race circuit.  They have a lot of camels.  The marina has a lot of boats moored there.  Everyone has luxury motorcars with upholstery made of petro-dollars.  We also learned that no matter how much money that the pimps at the pumps have, it doesn’t make for a good Formula 1 race.

Thursday, 07 November 2013 10:22

Natter Nosh and Noggin

The Pattaya car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park.  The next meeting is on Monday November 11 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m.  A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations).  Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers.  A couple of the members are scrutineers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so they may have some scuttlebutt about the F1 scene.  Always a fun night.  Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of the members (when they were younger)!  The Car Club nights are always on the second Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!

Thursday, 07 November 2013 10:20

New Honda F1 Engine fires into life

If you want to hear the sounds of 2015, then turn your speakers up as Honda has captured the roar of its new F1 engine as it fired up for the first time.  Here is the link: http://youtu.be/431h20gvm3M

The engine is being developed for the 2015 season where Honda will participate under a joint project with McLaren.

Manabu Nishimae, President of Honda Motor Europe Ltd., commented, “It’s exciting to hear the cry of our new born Formula One engine for the first time.  Our engineers are working hard to develop the engine and we are all looking forward to the start of the 2015 season.”

Honda will be in charge of the development, manufacture and supply of the power unit, including the engine and energy recovery system, while McLaren will be in responsible of the development and manufacture of the chassis, as well as the management of the new team, McLaren Honda.

From 2014, new F1 regulations require the introduction of a 1.6 liter direct injection turbocharged V6 engine with energy recovery systems.  The opportunity to further develop these powertrain technologies through the challenge of racing is central to Honda’s decision to participate in F1.

Throughout its history, Honda has passionately pursued improvements in the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and in more recent years, the development of pioneering energy management technologies such as hybrid systems.  Participation in Formula 1 under these new regulations will encourage even further technological progress in both these areas.  Plus, a new generation of Honda engineers can experience the challenges and thrills of operating at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Honda will base its European racing operation in Milton Keynes from June 2014.

Last week I asked what three and four wheeled cars were designed by two aircraft engineers, and what were their names?  It was the Messerschmitt, designed by Herr Messerschmitt and Herr Fend.  These micro-cars had rubber independent front suspension.

So to this week.  The town of Neckarsulm lent its name to what cars?

For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The male child is born with a subconscious fascination for the anatomy in his nappy.  Watch an infant learning his anatomy.  As the boy turns into man, what goes on in his underpants becomes a major pre-occupation.  As the man turns older, fear of cancer in the underpants is an even greater pre-occupation.

Of course what I am referring to here is Cancer of the Prostate.  And unfortunately prostate problems are extremely common, a situation we men have to live with.  Like all things, there is a downside as well as the fun side.  In fact this year in the United States, almost 180,000 men will be told that they have prostate cancer.

With all our older friends getting prostate problems, does this mean there is a rise in the incidence?  Are our underpants too tight?  One reason for the ‘apparent’ increase is the fact that prostate cancer is a condition of aging, and we are all living longer.  The statistics show that by age 50, almost 50 percent of American men will have microscopic signs of prostate cancer.  By age 75, almost 75 percent of men will have some cancerous changes in their prostate glands.  Do the maths.  By 100 we’ve all got it!

So does this mean that life really ends at around 76?  Fortunately no.  Most of these cancers stay within the prostate, producing no signs or symptoms, or are so slow-growing, that they never become a serious threat to health.  The good news is you die of something else before the prostate gets you!  You die with it, rather than from it.  That is an important fact to take in.

The real situation is that a much smaller number of men will actually be treated for prostate cancer.  About 16 percent of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lives; 8 percent will develop significant symptoms; but only 3 percent will die of the disease.  Put another much more positive way, 97 percent won’t die from prostate cancer.

While some prostate cancer can be ‘aggressive’, breaking out from the prostate gland itself and attacking other tissues, including brain and bone, fortunately this is the minority scenario.  The great majority of prostate cancers are slow growing, and it can be decades between the early diagnosis and the cancer growing large enough to produce symptoms.  That’s the second important fact to take in.

So let’s look at diagnosis and get the “blood test” out of the way first.  The blood test is called Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA for short (we medico’s love acronyms).  Up till then we had another test called DRE (digital rectal examination), which, quite frankly, was not all that popular.  As medical students, we were taught, “If you don’t put your finger in it, you’ll put your foot in it!”  Despite this, ‘buyer resistance’ was high, so when news came through about a “blood test”, millions of men began rejoicing and the sale of rubber gloves plummeted.  Unfortunately, PSA is not a go/no-go test.  A normal range test doesn’t guarantee you haven’t got it, and an elevated result doesn’t automatically mean that you are about to claim early on your life insurance (or your dependents, anyway).

However, there is good news.  Serial PSA examinations can show the rate of cancer growth, and the rate of increase is more significant.

Like many other cancers, prostate cancer can only be fully diagnosed and ‘staged’ by biopsy.  ‘Staging’ has four main grades.  Stage I cannot be felt and is diagnosed through pathological testing.  Stage II can be felt, but it is confined to the prostate.  Stage III is coming out of the gland and Stage IV has grown into nearby tissues.

This is where you need to discuss your options with your doctor.  If you are a young man with stage IV, then you have to make up your mind quickly.  But if you are 75 with stage I or II, then you have more time, as you will most likely die of other causes before the prostate cancer gets you.  For these people, “Watch and Wait” has much going for it, but you must be prepared to get to know your urologist.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 13:48

Abu Dhabi GP this weekend

The Abu Dhabi Yas Marina grand prix circuit hosts the GP this weekend.  Abu Dhabi is the most oil-rich in the region and the 5.55 kilometer Yas Marina Circuit has been built using the motorists’ money, extracted at the petrol pumps.  Roll on electric power!  It was also one of the most boring race tracks and has been universally christened ‘Yawn’ Marina.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 13:46

Back to the future

Caterham Cars (builder of the Lotus 7 clones) has opened the order book for the Seven 165 - its new entry-level variant of the iconic sports car, powered by a very-compact, turbocharged Suzuki engine.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 13:43

Latest Smart version is electric

Mercedes-Benz’s tiny Smart city car is the champion European money-muncher of all time, and electric cars are likely to be the next big loser, according to a report from Bernstein Research in London.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 13:42

What did we learn from the Indian GP?

Well, we confirmed that Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) has been the class act all year and is now the youngest driver to win the World Championship four times.  Undoubtedly the quickest driver in the quickest car, an unbeatable combination.  I just wish he would stop using the extended digit.  It makes him look very arrogant, and apparently he is not, but is certainly sending the wrong message to the fans.

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