Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2011: Food for Thought


BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 21 December 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7447
  1. Desmond O’Neill, consultant physician in geriatric and stroke medicine
  1. 1Trinity College Dublin, Centre for Ageing, Neurosciences and the Humanities, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to: D O’Neill doneill{at}

The sweets celebrating 90 years of Jelly Babies left Desmond O’Neill with a bitter aftertaste

A bag of Jellyatrics sat on the patient’s bedside locker, a gift from her granddaughter. These superannuated jelly babies (created to celebrate 90 years of Jelly Babies) prompted predictable good natured banter, allowing my mind to wander off on a variety of confectionery and gerontological fugues.

First was curiosity as to which older people might feature in the pack—what would gelatinous versions of mature figures such as Charlotte Rampling, Helen Mirren, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood look like? Sadly, the manufacturers suffered from demographic and sociological tunnel vision, and those once pluripotential jelly babies had gained little from the longevity dividend: Frau Zimmer, Mister …

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