The small Balkan country of Albania has undergone a rapid transformation in the past three decades. Fred C. Abrahams' new book documents the country's struggle. Click here to read my review of Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Modern Europe for The Spectator.
With 102,000 respondents, The Global Drug Survey is the biggest study of recreational drug use ever conducted. With exclusive access to figures on Image and Performance Enhancing Drug use provided to Men's Health Magazine, I analysed the growth of IPED use amongst a new generation of men between 2014-15. Click here to read more about the study.
Aatish Taseer is one of the boldest, and most controversial Indian writers of recent times. Click on the title above to read my review of Taseer's new novel, "The Way Things Were" for The Spectator.
Overwhelming evidence points to a growth in penoplasty procedures amongst British and American men. In this long-read for Men's Health Magazine, I set out to meet the plastic surgeons and erotic performers who are driving forwards the phenomenon, and interviewed the ordinary men who are determined to go under the knife.
Valium's invention was a milestone in psychopharmacology, which spawned many developments in psychiatric medication. Unfortunately, we're now over-prescribing drugs - such as SSRI antidepressants - which don't necessarily work. Click on the title above to read my piece for The Spectator.
In 2014, Valium (still known as Mother's Little Helper) celebrated its 50th birthday, Prozac turned 25, and the ‘Psychiatrist’s Bible’ was republished for the first time in 13 years. Click on the title above to read my piece for The Telegraph on why pharmaceutical companies are still pinning the hopes for their brightest drugs on their female patients.
In February 2015, The Rock (an actor perhaps best known for his cuisine themed catch phrases) gives Men's Health Magazine Middle East his guide to life. It's therefore down to my colleague Ben Paynter and I to tell readers what's really "cooking" - via recipe cheat-sheets for the Gulf's most balanced & delicious dishes. Buy online at Pocket Mags, via the iTunes store or at all good news-agents across the Middle East.
On Trainspotting's 25th birthday, it is not Heroin - but Valium - which is killing Scotland's poorest people. I set out to investigate why the tranquilizer known as Mother's Little Helper is present in the bodies of 72% of all male victims of drug related death. Click on the title above to read the full story for Vice. Photographs are reproduced courtesy of Harrison Reid.
My work on Leo Sternbach (the research chemist responsible for the discovery of Benzodiazepine tranquilizers) was commended for The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Click here to read more about the competition, here for reviews of the winners' work by The Lancet and here for commentary on the competition from The New Criterion.
The cost of U.S medical procedures, now act as a serious barrier to the delivery of care; while UK waiting-times remain lengthy. Meanwhile, luxury Eastern European clinics offer premium care - which can be reimbursed by insurers for free. Women's Health Magazine sent me across Europe to work out whether we are really better abroad. Click here for syndication enquiries.
My essay about premature dementia amongst Scotland's homeless was short-listed for The 2012 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, which is awarded by The Spectator for writing which evokes "the most acute and profound observation of a culture alien to the writer." Please click on the title above to read the essay.
Ultra-modern "Smart Drugs" are allowing high-performers to medicate against life's pressures and excesses. I investigated the "Alice in Wonderland" world of memory modification capsules, methamphetamine-related "think" pills & synthetic "love" potions for Esquire Weekly (Issue 21).
The global market for psychoactive substances is changing. Use of "legal high" drugs, has left authorities flat-footed. Twenty five years after the publication of Trainspotting, I conducted some of the first laboratory tests possible, on the legal substances which differ by mere molecules from Schedule I drugs.
Is it ever possible to turn back the clock & make your body "brand new" again? Check out my fool proof guide to re-setting your body, for January 2015's edition of Men's Health ME. It's available at any good Emirates retailer (or via Pocket Mags outside the GCC).
"For two men, and a helpless nation, fight night in Florida was both a realisation and desecration of the American Dream." Esquire Weekly (Issue 24) published "The Fight That Changed America" to mark the 50th anniversary of Muhammad Ali's defeat of Sonny Liston. Click on the title above to read the full story.
Ryszard Kapuściński wrote that the region of Kolyma "will pass, together with Auschwitz, Treblinka, Hiroshima and Vorkuta, in the history of the greatest nightmares of the twentieth century." Click on the title above to read my essay, "On the Road With the Ghosts of the Gulag" for The Wall Street Journal (Europe)
Men across the world are capitalising on short flight times and low prices, to access high quality healthcare across Europe. Tirana is a choice destination for cheap, high-quality operations, so Men's Health's new Middle Eastern edition sent me to Albania to explore the phenomenon. Scroll left for images or click here to buy December 2014's magazine via Pocket Mags.
Battle Against Tranquilizers (BAT) are a British charity who work with communities, law-enforcement officials & healthcare professionals, to help men and women who are addicted to benzodiazepines. My previously published studies on Diazepam abuse were reproduced in BAT's 2013/2014 report. Please click here to read the full report.
As EU sanctions threaten wealth & stability in Russia, Vladimir Putin and Belarus' president, Alexander Lukashenko, are presenting a united front against Western involvement in Ukraine. But behind the smiles, the Russian president is manipulating Lukashenko. Click here to read my piece on why the men can never make friends for The Moscow Times.
Edinburgh now has the most homeless people in the UK. In the winter of 2012, I spent six weeks recording their stories. Please click here to read my feature for The Independent.
Belarus' President, Alexander Lukashenko, is often described as "Europe's Last Dictator". Lukashenko's term in office has led to huge improvements in health for women and children; yet Belarus' men now suffer some of the highest rates of alcoholism & suicide in the world. Click here to read "Surviving Europe's Last Dictator" for The Moscow Times.
For the ongoing launch of Men's Health Magazine in the Middle East by ITP Media, my guide to surviving the region's harsh environment is currently available to read in October's magazine. On sale via subscription & all good retailers across the United Arab Emirates/GCC.
EPO use has ruined the careers of many professional cyclists - but injecting the hormone has allowed many sports cheats to win the world's toughest races. In the foot-steps of my fallen heros, I set out to investigate the murky world of blood-doping for Men's Health Magazine. 'Blood Sport' has been translated & syndicated extensively. For all enquiries, click here.
My feature on amateur blood doping ('KRWAWY SPORT') has been syndicated to Men's Health Magazine (Poland). For all further syndication enquiries, please click here.
My story on health experiences & adventures in the MENA region is one of several forthcoming features commissioned by ITP for the launch of Men's Health Magazine's 41st edition in the Middle East. Complimentary copies of September's magazine are currently available throughout the Gulf States & North Africa. For all email enquiries, please click here to contact me directly.
My long-form on Edinburgh's homeless was short-listed for the 2013 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize by The Spectator, and published by The Los Angeles Review of Books. Click on the title above to read the piece, or here for the prequel, "What's Waiting At Elm Tree Loan", which was short-listed for the 2012 prize.
Siberia's past is harrowing, but its potential is staggering. Click here to read my review of "Siberia: A History of the People", by Janet M. Hartley for The Spectator.
Kiev's annual cycling race, which was once a highlight of the Soviet era, offers fresh hope to a struggling nation. Click on the title above to read "The Other Race for Ukraine" from The Wall Street Journal (Europe).
Britain has among the harshest drug laws in Europe, and among the worst drug problems. Click on the title above to read "The Low-Down on Legal Highs" for The Wall Street Journal (Europe).
Esquire Weekly compiled a list of "essential" skills which every man should learn. I contributed 4 "skill" - which included "how to" win a car auction, escape a rip-current, master a foreign language & learn to speed-read. For further details on this issue of the magazine, click here.
In Issue 45 of Esquire Weekly, contributors to the magazine wrote on "achievable" health, for men who want to make "realistic" changes to their diets, shapes & lifestyles, with little disposable time. Three of my pieces - on plastic surgery, finding a good GP and practical gadgets that really do make us lose weight - can be read in Issue 45.
After a cautious entry into the electronic cigarette market, the titans of the tobacco industry are consolidating, to control "new" nicotine. Their lobbyists are stalling European legislators; while their acquisitions teams bought approximately 67% of the market share during June 2014, alone. Click here to read "The E-Cigarette War" for Esquire Weekly (Issue 44).
Men's Health Magazine profiles a stash of the pills, potions and supplements that have the most powerful effects on your body. Tell the game-changing highs, from the health-threatening lows, with profiles of 50 experimental exercise-enhancers. Click here for syndication enquiries.
'Rezistență supraomenească, fără efort suplimentar. Te tentează? Men’s Health și-a propus să descopere ce rezultate poate să obțină un amator, dacă trișează la nivel profesionist. Află ce efecte are dopajul cu EPO asupra corpului tău.' Feature about EPO-use amongst amateur athletes, syndicated to Men's Health Magazine (Romania). For further re-production enquiries, please click here.
"…The 1990’s saw the Soviet rule-book torn to pieces, as the lawless east of Ukraine became a modern day wild west…smash-and-grab capitalism, saw rival factions engaged in a bitter fight over the country’s resources. It was a bloody struggle, as evidenced by the bullet holes that pepper the signposts near Donetsk..." Click here for re-productions of "The Battle for Ukraine" from Esquire Weekly (Issue 29).