Hamsters for Happiness

If you have limited space and still want to keep a pet, then hamsters are a good choice. They are not expensive and require little effort compared with the amount of fun they provide.

Their appearance is both sweet and comical, and they have a habit of looking directly at you, which may be how they evoke a positive emotional response. They are inquisitive, keen to learn and if kept in a clean cage they pose no harm to humans.

Hamsters for Happiness, April 2015

These are the following health benefits that all pets, including hamsters, can provide to humans:

1. Mood Elevation

Studies have shown that keeping pets that we find ‘cute’ and pets that respond to us, causes us to produce a hormone called ‘oxytocin.’ This hormone creates maternal feelings in us all. Playing and interacting with pets releases a brain chemical called ‘endorphin’ which also makes us feel happy.

2. Blood Pressure Lowering

Playing with or gazing at your pet results in a drop in blood pressure. Recent research has been conducted in highly stressed, hypertensive professional groups (including stockbrokers). After they adopted a pet, they reduced their blood pressure. This response was greater and more prolonged than with traditionally prescribed hypertension drugs.

3. Cardiac Protection

In the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial, 369 heart attack survivors were followed. Dog owners had a 1 % chance of dying within a year, compared with a 7 % chance for people who didn’t own a pet. As yet, there have been no controlled clinical trials that have exclusively studied the cardiac effects of keeping a hamster, but time will tell.

4. Allergy Prevention

We all know of people with allergies who have inflammation in the airways (asthma) or of the skin (eczema) and in some cases this may be in response to pet fur (dander) or pet saliva. Studies have now shown that exposure to a pet during infancy may reduce the likelihood of developing these allergic reactions in adulthood, possibly because the immune system becomes ‘desensitised’ to allergens when exposure occurs at an early age. This de-sensitising process may even begin before birth.

If you have a hamster, have fun!


The Morris Minor: A Personal History. By Dr Dinah Parums

My mother trained as a district midwife in north Derbyshire. Just before I was born, she passed her driving test and moved from cycling to her ‘deliveries,’ to driving. Her first car and my ‘mobile nursery’ was a 1957 Morris Minor.

Dinah Parums and her mum's Morris Minor, 1959

Dinah Parums and her mum’s Morris Minor, 1959

The Morris Minor was a car for the people, but behind its endearing form was a masterpiece of design. The design was, and is, iconic with its distinctive profile, its headlights neatly tucked away beside the front air intake, the simple panels and lack of visual clutter, an aerodynamic shape and the classic logo on the horn in the centre of the steering wheel.

The Morris Minor was originally to be the Morris Mosquito, in reference to the de Havilland warplane. Quite a good choice of name as in 1948 when the first Morris Minor was produced, England was still a country of rubble-filled, post-war cities and food rationing. The Morris Minor of 1948, went out of production in 1959, and when it did, a chapter of English industrial and social history closed.

Sir Alec Issigonis designed the car and Morris’s proprietor, Viscount Nuffield, said that it looked like a poached egg. The main design influences were American, but its designer was born in Izmir to Greek and German parents. Issigonis joined Morris Motors of Cowley, Oxford in 1936. The early adverts for the car stated that;

‘The new Morris Minor makes the most of your petrol, goes farther on a tankful. Traditional Morris reliability and low maintenance are inherent in this modern design.’

By 1961 a million Morris Minors had been built. There never was a Morris Senior.

There is now only the Alec Issigonis Way in the Oxford Business Park near the site of the closed Cowley factory as a reminder of what was created there. But there are still Morris Minors on the road, more than 50 years on.