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Nine mental health tips for students starting university

“When you’re stressed and worried yourself, it might seem like you hardly have the time or the energy to invest in other people. But you can help yourself by making it a priority, since research suggests helping others helps reduce stress levels. No matter how nervous you’re feeling, you can guarantee there will be others out there feeling the same. Go over, introduce yourself and invite them for a drink; you’ll be helping them and yourself at the same time.”

7. Go easy on yourself

“We can be our own worst enemies when we find ourselves in situations of stress. While it’s good to be self-aware, being overly self-critical will only drive those feelings of insecurity. In fact, experts believe self-criticism can just make us more miserable. So instead of dwelling on your every failing, focus on how and why you value yourself. This shift will help make you stronger, more productive, less stressed, and yes, happier.”

Article source: http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/nine-mental-health-tips-for-students-starting-university-36119865.html

10 simple weight loss tips

10. Sleep more

Getting your eight hours shut eye is just as important as your diet and exercise regime when it comes to weight loss. In a study by the University of Leeds,  1,615 adults reported how long they slept and kept records of food intake.

Indicators of overall metabolic health such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and thyroid function were monitored, as well as weight and waist circumference recorded.

Those who slept for six hours or less a night had waists that were on average 1.1 inches (3cm) larger than those who slept for nine hours.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/nutrition/diet/10-simple-weight-loss-tips/

5 Health Tips for Young Women

Presented by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Photo credit: Getty Images

These tips are presented by Aisling Lydeard, WHNP from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

What is the HPV (Human papillomavirus) vaccine and why should you get one? 

The HPV vaccine is the only vaccine known to protect against cancer including cervical, vulva, vaginal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers. HPV can be transmitted to the vagina and cervix through sexual activity. The best time to vaccinate is prior to sexual activity between the ages of 11-12 for boys and girls. However, if you did not receive the vaccine at a young age it is still beneficial to receive up to the age of 26, even if you’ve had an HPV infection or abnormal pap smear, as it can provide protection against strains you may not have been exposed to.

How often do I need a Pap smear?

Pap smear testing is an important part of preventing cervical cancer because it can pick up early abnormal changes in the cells on your cervix that could progress to cancer if left untreated. Your initial pap smear should be performed at 21 years old and if the test is normal, repeated every three years until 30 years old. At age 30, you should receive a combined test including a Pap smear and high-risk HPV test to determine how frequently you should be screened in your thirties.

What’s the best type of contraception for me?

Contraception is not “one size fits all.” The wonderful thing about contraception of our day and age is that we have many varieties to fit individual lifestyle needs. Many younger women are choosing longer acting methods such as an IUD (hormonal or non-hormonal contraceptive device placed in the uterus) or implant (4 mm progesterone rod implanted in the arm) versus the more traditional birth control pill, patch, injection, or ring. IUDs available today have a smaller diameter and an extremely low number of hormones that work very well for adolescents. One appealing feature of a long acting method for young women is that you don’t have to remember to take a daily pill or change a patch­–once the device is in place, there is no work on your part. The key is to talk with your gynecologist so that you can understand the pros and cons of all methods and choose the method best for you and your lifestyle.

How do I find the right gynecologist with whom I’m comfortable?

Finding a gynecologist that you are comfortable being open and honest with is the most important component. Friends and families are often great sources for recommendations. Ask people you are close to if they have a gynecologist that they have a good relationship with. You can find provider profiles on hospital and health center websites and will be able to see their training and interests. You can also search for a gynecologist who has clinical interests and specializes in something that might be an issue for you like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pelvic pain, or sexual dysfunction.

What’s the most important thing to know about my sexual health?

Education and protection is key! It is important to educate yourself about prevention (read about the HPV vaccine, talk to your health care provider, etc.) Have open and honest communication with your gynecologist about your sexual health and relationships so that you can be aware of diseases and risks in order to have healthy relationships.

For more information on women’s health, turn to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center by visiting www.bidmc.org.

Article source: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/sponsor-content/health-tips-young-women/

Back to school: Practical tips for kids with mental health disabilities

By EOWYN T. GATLIN-NYGAARD, Guest Columnist

Eowyn T. Gatlin-Nygaard is a therapist at Richfield-based Headway Emotional Services.

For many kids, going to back to school means making new friends, learning and growing. But for kids who have a mental health disability, going back to school comes with some unique challenges.

Not only do they have to navigate the regular stuff – like new classrooms and new rules – but they also have to manage their mental health symptoms, which can be overwhelming for both kids and their parents or caregivers. If you are the parent or caregiver of a child with a mental health disability, there are a few things you can do to make the transition back to school a little easier.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is check in with your child. Set aside time to have a conversation and find out what they are both excited and nervous about. Review things they struggled with last school year, such as staying in the classroom or getting along with peers, then come up with a few strategies to address these concerns and building on what has worked before. Once their concerns and yours have been addressed, steer the conversation toward some of the regular things kids look forward to about the start of the school year, like what outfit they can wear on the first day or what activities they want to do.

Sometimes kids will say they have no concerns and that nothing will go wrong this year, but that is most likely wishful thinking. If your child does this, let them know that while you want the year to go well too, it is normal for kids who have mental health disabilities to struggle at times. Be sure to let them know that you will love and support them even if some of last year’s problems resurface. This is important because kids often feel like they’ve failed if their symptoms return or worsen. It is important for both you and your child to go into the school year with reasonable expectations. As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

Another thing you can do early in the school year is connect with your child’s teachers and guidance staff. When you talk with them, let them know what concerns you and your child have, and work with them to find solutions.

If your child has a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP), this is a great time to explore what the accommodations in it will look like this year and review what worked and didn’t work last school year. IEPs and 504 Plans are legal documents that ensure school staff and parents are on the same page with regards to supporting students with disabilities.

If your child is not on an IEP or 504 Plan, consult with school staff for more information and to see if getting one would be helpful. When you check in with school staff at the start of the year, make sure to also let them know about positive things in your child’s life and what your child’s hopes are for the new school year.

Raising a child with a mental health disability isn’t easy, and no family does it without help. Keeping an open dialogue with your child about their mental health, and seeking support can make a huge difference in helping children cope with mental health symptoms. If at any time you feel your child needs more support, reach out to the school or check in with Headway to see what type of support is available. If we can’t help, we’ll gladly refer you to someone who can.

Article source: http://current.mnsun.com/2017/09/19/back-to-school-practical-tips-for-kids-with-mental-health-disabilities/

Supplements and Health Tips That Will Improve Your Mindset

Starting a business is stressful. You’re wearing a million different hats trying to establish and grow your business, and there are always going to be unexpected challenges and obstacles that put a strain on your objectives. As a result, many entrepreneurs have to work long hours — often, while keeping their day job — battle uncertainty and still do great work.

That’s why it’s important to try to do other things in your life to help relieve some of that strain. By living a healthy lifestyle — exercising, eating right and so on — you’ll have more energy and positivity to help you jump any hurdle in your way. That’s why Entrepreneur Network partner Ben Angel breaks down a few quick tips on how to treat your body right while you’re building your business.

Click play to learn more.

Related: How to Trick Your Brain to Love Criticism

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical. Watch video from our network partners on demand on Amazon FireRokuApple TV and the Entrepreneur App available on iOS and Android devices.

Click here to become a part of this growing video network.

Article source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/300498

5 Wellness Tips to Help Control Your Multiple Sclerosis – Health …

If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), what triggers your symptoms – numbness, muscle weakness, fatigue, blurry vision or other problems – may be a mystery. Stress can play a role. So can infections. You may always be on the lookout for ways to prevent flare-ups.

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“Patients with MS often find wellness advice online, but much of it isn’t supported by scientific evidence,” says neurologist Mary Rensel, MD. “It’s easy to become distracted by, and spend too much money on, products or behaviors that may have little or no effect on your MS.”

But more and more scientific research is identifying what truly does temper MS symptoms. Dr. Rensel, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Multiple Sclerosis Health and Wellness Initiative, has studied recent findings and turned them into wellness recommendations. She says all MS patients should have these five things:

1. A low-salt Mediterranean diet. Most studies agree that the Mediterranean diet — rich in fish, olive oil, whole grains, vegetables and nuts — is an effective anti-inflammatory diet. That makes it a wise choice if you have MS, an inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system, Dr. Rensel says. Some research indicates that a Mediterranean-style diet helps maintain brain health and may reduce the risk of MS.

Other studies have found that too much salt in your diet can trigger MS symptoms. “If you have MS, limit sodium to less than 2,000 mg a day,” Dr. Rensel says.

2. At least 150 minutes of moderate movement per week. Regular aerobic exercise can improve fatigue from MS and potentially some brain repair functions. “I recommend that patients with MS follow the same exercise guidelines as the general population as they are able: 150 minutes of moderate movement per week,” Dr. Rensel says. “A combination of aerobic activities and stretching has helped many of my patients improve stamina and reduce MS symptoms.”

3. Vitamin D levels between 40 and 70 ng/mL. Various studies suggest a link between vitamin D and MS. People with higher levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop MS. And people with relapsing MS have lower vitamin D levels than the general population.

“The evidence isn’t clear on how much vitamin D to take, but keeping vitamin D levels in your blood between 40 and 70 ng/mL seems to help minimize disease progression in most studies,” Dr. Rensel says.

4. No smoking or tobacco products. Research shows that smokers have a higher risk of autoimmune conditions, including MS. And smokers with MS have more flare-ups and disability. “If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit,” Dr. Rensel says. “Pharmacologic aids like nicotine patches and gum, when added to behavioral programs like quit groups, can improve success rates.”

5. Routine mental health screening. Depression is more common in people with MS. And it can worsen fatigue and cognitive function. One study directly links psychological stress to new MS brain lesions. “Screening and managing psychological conditions, including connecting patients with a mental health professional when needed, improve quality of life and MS outcomes,” Dr. Rensel says.

People with MS should see their primary care provider regularly, in addition to their neurologist, she says.

“PCPs are valuable partners in helping MS patients with these wellness recommendations,” she says.

Article source: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/09/5-wellness-tips-to-help-control-your-multiple-sclerosis/

Ten tips to rescue your health from social media

Most of you reading this will be within a metre of your smartphone and a minute or two from checking one of the omnipotent social media platforms enveloping our lives. While we know that chronic use of these platforms can have a negative health impact, is it really time to hit the ‘Delete Account’ button? Dr Nick Knight delivers ten rescue tips to making sure your health remains bolstered, and not battered, by social media.

The (online) elephant in the room: social media can be bad

To know the right steps to take with social media, you need to know where the wrong steps can take you. With that in mind, let us briefly summarise some of the main physical and mental health concerns generated from excessive social media use. These include:

* Generating lower self-esteem when you compare your real life to others’ virtual lives
* Being a source of significant distraction from your much more important offline life
* Triggering physical health issues such as posture-related muscular strain and eye fatigue
* Interfering with quality sleep by disturbing your circadian rhythm (your body clock)
* Encouraging addictive tendencies that compound all of the above

The science of reward

Social media use is all about triggering your reward centre in your brain. This reward system comprises complex neural structures and pathways in the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop. I know. Basically, like any addictive drug, your Likes, Retweets, Comments and Followers act like a giant neuroendocrine shovel pouring dopamine (your neuroendocrine neurotransmitter that feeds on pleasure and reward) into your brain’s reward centre. Quite simply, you are left wanting more and more. Just think about when you’ve finished exercising, had amazing sex or achieved a goal, and you get that rush – that’s your dopamine.

That’s what these ten tips are about, supporting a healthier structure in your life, allowing you to control the cascade of dopamine and ultimately remain in control. To achieve this, we are going to look at three different elements to your social media use: how much you use it (Part 1), what you look at on it (Part 2), and finally, how you process what you look at (Part 3).

Part 1: How much you use social media

With its origins in Shakespeare, “too much of a good thing” still has powerful meaning in modern life. Like alcohol, sex or a beloved sports team, your social media use is no different, existing on a spectrum of zero interest to pathological obsession. The goal is to find that sweet spot of usage where you reap the benefits yet mitigate the harm. Here are the first five tips to help you achieve this.

Tip 1: Buy an alarm clock
Lying in bed with your phone and scrolling through social media wipes out your sleep-inducing melatonin. Instead, turn your phone off, and to kill any impulse checks, put it out of sight.

Tip 2: Schedule your social media use
Applying boundaries and structure instead of an unchecked tsunami of random scrolling throughout the day will make you more productive, focussed and ultimately in control.

Tip 3: Make sure you are present with others
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” said philosopher Simone Weil. You have a real life, so embrace it and the people you are with. Save a quick scroll for the loo.

Tip 4: Develop a focussed approach
Understanding why you use social media reinforces your overall control. If it’s for work, then develop a marketing strategy. If it’s just chatting shit and arguing online, then good luck.

Tip 5: Ensure your art imitates your life
Develop a social media platform that truly reflects who you are in real life. Say what you would say in real life; comment how you would in real life – especially to the person’s face. Be real.

Part 2: What you look at on social media

Social media is awash with both great and terrible advice in equal measure. One of the key issues is that anyone can be an expert on it – whether they actually are is another question entirely. So, whether you are discovering health information opportunistically or deliberately seeking it, here are two tips to get reliable information.

Tip 6: Seek unpolished and genuine inspiration
While motivational content is dripping all over social media, choose the positive, realistic and unedited representations of health. The celeb Photoshopped to an inch of their life isn’t that.

Tip 7: Listen to the experts
Personal trainers, dieticians and healthcare professionals permeate social media. When you find them, just ask yourself if they are reliable, experienced voices for the topics they raise.

Part 3: How to process what you view

So now that you have viewed the health information on social media, you need to decide if it has simply provided a transient pleasure or whether it serves as an offline stepping stone to help you lead a healthier life. Here are three final tips to help make this a reality.

Tip 8: A stepping stone from online to offline
Reading about a health condition is a really good start: it helps you understand and contextualise it. Now use that as a trigger to see your GP and discuss the bothersome issue.

Tip 9: Triggering your personal cycle of change
This is about realising how you feel about a specific health issue, such as losing weight. Your social media view may nudge you into a new phase, giving momentum to your health journey.

Tip 10: Consolidation through your support network
Sharing and discussing your health interests and journey with online (or offline) groups of like-minded people is a cathartic and powerful way to consolidate your evolving health choices.

The takeaway

The impact of social media can rest anywhere between the devil and the deep blue sea. With the power of a swipe or a click, it can alter not only how you feel about your own health but also directly affect it. These ten tips are certainly not rocket science but rather intended as simple reminders to help make sure social media and your health continue to have a positive and amicable relationship. If not, divorce her.

Article source: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/ten-tips-to-rescue-your-health-from-social-media

Seniors to get safety and health tips

Palestine Healthcare Center will host a Senior Appreciation Day on Sep. 26, from 3 p.m to 5 p.m. at the Ben E. Keith building, 2019 W. Oak St.

“This is the second year we’ve done this,” said Dayna Mitchell, business office manager for Palestine Healthcare Center. “We want seniors to know that they’re not alone. There are people out there, ready to help.”

Mitchell told the Herald-Press that, though the event is aimed at seniors, it is open to the entire community. “There will be food, door prizes, and entertainment,” she said. “Everyone is welcome.”

In addition to food and fun, Mitchell said many sponsors will be on-hand to provide valuable information to area seniors. There roughly 2, 650 people, 65 or older, living in Palestine, about 14% of the population.

“The Police Department will be here, providing tips on how seniors can avoid scams, as well as to provide safety information,” Mitchell said. “The Fire Department will give instruction on fire safety and on smoke-detectors, too.”

Area hospice providers – Heart to Heart Hospice and Hospice Plus – will educate seniors about the way hospice operates. Cigna and United Healthcare will answer questions about insurance. Anytime Fitness will provide health and exercise tips to seniors and the community.

The event is free to the public. For more information, contact Palestine Healthcare Center, (903) 729-2261.

Article source: http://www.palestineherald.com/news/seniors-to-get-safety-and-health-tips/article_7a9ec0b2-9cb1-11e7-8e36-cf8ba352a950.html

5 Health Tips for Young Women – Boston Magazine

Presented by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Photo credit: Getty Images

These tips are presented by Aisling Lydeard, WHNP from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

What is the HPV (Human papillomavirus) vaccine and why should you get one? 

The HPV vaccine is the only vaccine known to protect against cancer including cervical, vulva, vaginal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers. HPV can be transmitted to the vagina and cervix through sexual activity. The best time to vaccinate is prior to sexual activity between the ages of 11-12 for boys and girls. However, if you did not receive the vaccine at a young age it is still beneficial to receive up to the age of 26, even if you’ve had an HPV infection or abnormal pap smear, as it can provide protection against strains you may not have been exposed to.

How often do I need a Pap smear?

Pap smear testing is an important part of preventing cervical cancer because it can pick up early abnormal changes in the cells on your cervix that could progress to cancer if left untreated. Your initial pap smear should be performed at 21 years old and if the test is normal, repeated every three years until 30 years old. At age 30, you should receive a combined test including a Pap smear and high-risk HPV test to determine how frequently you should be screened in your thirties.

What’s the best type of contraception for me?

Contraception is not “one size fits all.” The wonderful thing about contraception of our day and age is that we have many varieties to fit individual lifestyle needs. Many younger women are choosing longer acting methods such as an IUD (hormonal or non-hormonal contraceptive device placed in the uterus) or implant (4 mm progesterone rod implanted in the arm) versus the more traditional birth control pill, patch, injection, or ring. IUDs available today have a smaller diameter and an extremely low number of hormones that work very well for adolescents. One appealing feature of a long acting method for young women is that you don’t have to remember to take a daily pill or change a patch­–once the device is in place, there is no work on your part. The key is to talk with your gynecologist so that you can understand the pros and cons of all methods and choose the method best for you and your lifestyle.

How do I find the right gynecologist with whom I’m comfortable?

Finding a gynecologist that you are comfortable being open and honest with is the most important component. Friends and families are often great sources for recommendations. Ask people you are close to if they have a gynecologist that they have a good relationship with. You can find provider profiles on hospital and health center websites and will be able to see their training and interests. You can also search for a gynecologist who has clinical interests and specializes in something that might be an issue for you like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pelvic pain, or sexual dysfunction.

What’s the most important thing to know about my sexual health?

Education and protection is key! It is important to educate yourself about prevention (read about the HPV vaccine, talk to your health care provider, etc.) Have open and honest communication with your gynecologist about your sexual health and relationships so that you can be aware of diseases and risks in order to have healthy relationships.

For more information on women’s health, turn to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center by visiting www.bidmc.org.

Article source: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/sponsor-content/health-tips-young-women/

SUNDAY SHARE TIPS: Purplebricks, Drax and NMC Health | This is …

We round up the Sunday newspaper share tips. This week, Midas analyses the bumpy fortunes of ‘next generation’ estate agent Purplebricks, the Times looks at the future prospects of  power firm Drax, and the Telegraph assesses healthcare operator NMC.

MAIL ON SUNDAY 

Property website Purplebricks has been back in the headlines after another complaint against its adverts was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Two people complained that its claim, ‘Viewings – we take care of them all,’ made in its most recent campaign, was misleading as viewings are not included in the firm’s fixed fee.

In itself, it is not a major issue. Purplebricks agreed to amend the wording and the ASA says the matter is resolved.

But it is not the first time Purplebricks has come under the cosh.

Just two months ago the ASA upheld complaints against the firm over exaggerated claims about how much customers could save by using its services rather than a high street estate agent.

That came less than a year after it received a slap on the wrist over similar claims, and it also sparked an investigation into the business by the BBC’s Watchdog. All that has made for something of a bumpy ride for the firm’s investors in recent weeks.

Shares peaked at 514p on August 8 and have since fallen back to 389¾p. On their worst day, they dropped 7 per cent after Radio 4’s You And Yours accused the company of exaggeration.

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Despite the recent turmoil, shares in the firm are still worth three times as much as a year ago, when they were 130p. That is because, crucially, Purplebricks has tapped into that all-important trend of the consumer abandoning the high street and going digital.

Launched in 2012 by Irish brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce, Purplebricks offers estate agency services for a set fee rather than a percentage of the sale price, typically 1.5 per cent.

The downside is that the flat fee is paid upfront rather than when a home sells, unless the seller chooses the slightly more expensive ‘pay later’ option.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the firm is rapidly snatching market share away from high street estate agents and has increased its share of the UK online market to 72 per cent.

Purplebricks has already expanded into Australia, where first-mover advantage has seen it gain traction quickly. Now it has set its sights on the US. The firm has raised just shy of £50 million from investors to fund its push across the Atlantic. It formally launched its business there on Friday and will roll it out state by state.

While it will not be the first of its kind in the US, the market there is huge. There are about 5.5 million property transactions in America every year and the commissions are high – around 5 or 6 per cent. Purplebricks needs to snag only a small portion of these sales to make this venture a success.

Midas verdict: If Purplebricks can avoid further run-ins with the advertising regulator, then its share price should easily recover. Ambitious expansion plans could mean losses in the short term but, if successful, should reap rewards in the future.

Read the full Midas column here 

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THE TELEGRAPH 

The battle over Saudi Aramco illustrates just how far London is prepared to go to secure the biggest share listings from all over the world.

But the last decade has seen all manner of international firms sell shares here, each with their own interpretation of best practice. In truth, governance is only part of the picture. Shareholders focused on performance can be sold a growth story from a far-flung territory but only really discover what they have bought over time.

Take the case of NMC Health, a hospitals operator and the first Abu Dhabi-based company to list in London. Anyone buying the shares in 2012 when NMC – which stands for National Medical Centre – floated to raise £117m did not realise at the time they were jumping on board one of the issues of the decade.

Priced at 210p, the stock has been hotter than the United Arab Emirates’ desolate Rub’ al Khali desert, multiplying in value more than 13 times.

This week the company takes its place as a member of the FTSE 100. Its sharp appreciation gives NMC a market capitalisation of £5.7bn.

That is some performance given NMC’s humble beginnings. Founder Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty arrived in the oil-rich UAE from India in 1973 with $8 in his pocket and the debt from his sister’s wedding to pay off. Having qualified in pharmacy, he set up as a drugs salesman, selling stock to doctors, door-to-door.

Inspired by a proclamation from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s first president, for affordable healthcare for all, he opened a pharmacy shop and clinic employing his wife, Chandrakumari, as the sole practitioner. The operation was so basic that in the early days he even used to carry patients in on his shoulders in lieu of an ambulance.

Today it has eight hospitals, two day care patient centres, nine medical centres and 15 pharmacies, plus fertility clinics in Europe and beyond that it is looking to expand.

NMC treated close to 4.3m patients in 2016. The company has done what it said it would on listing: added bed capacity in the UAE, expanded across the region including into Saudi Arabia and Oman, and focused on higher margin treatments such as IVF.

Shetty retired as chief executive in March and now serves as joint non-executive chairman.

The Shetty family retain a 24pc stake. Together with other large shareholders, the free float is only 40pc. NMC Health shares are trading on a heady 28 times next year’s forecast earnings. So high are expectations, it would not take much disappointment to put them in the sick bay.

However, growth shows no sign of waning with earnings per share on track to increase by 20pc per annum for several years to come. Much of the upside appears to have been captured, but FTSE membership could win NMC new fans including tracker funds. Worth holding.

THE SUNDAY TIMES 

Few companies have reinvented themselves as many times as Drax, owner of Britain’s biggest power station.

The plant’s notorious status as the country’s largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions ought to mean it faces certain extinction. Yet it has been able to dodge the fate that has befallen so many coal-fuelled power stations.

Drax was one of the first on the biomass bandwagon, burning wood chips alongside coal as early as 2004. Sensing coal’s demise, the company got into the alternative energy source in a big way, converting half the 4 gigawatt plant into a giant wood-chip furnace.

On top of this it has added a supply operation that sells power to businesses, creating a valuable stream of service revenues. When the government promised to end coal generation by 2025, Drax played its next hand.

It wants to build four small gas power stations around the country, convert most of the rest of the Drax plant in North Yorkshire to gas, and build the world’s biggest battery beside it.

Driving this remarkable reincarnation is its chief executive, Dorothy Thompson. She has run Drax since its market float in 2005, overseeing a share price that has bounced about along with the government’s energy policy. The shares closed on Friday at 310.1p, valuing the company at £1.3bn.

Thompson’s latest gas and battery plan is bold but has its merits. As wind turbines and solar panels generate an increasing slice of Britain’s power, National Grid is crying out for dependable power to plug the gaps when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

As secure and predictable sources of power such as coal and nuclear dwindle, the government will be forced to pay a premium for this flexibility. And, as ever, Drax wants the certainty of a 15-year government assurance before it takes the plunge.

This is gutsy stuff. As analysts at HSBC put it, Drax is not yet an income stock and its strategy is as yet unproven. Still, if anyone can do it, Thompson can.


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Article source: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/investing/article-4892688/SUNDAY-SHARE-TIPS-Purplebricks-Drax-NMC-Health.html