Why Grenfell survivors can’t begin to recover while painful limbo continues

21/08/2017 Alexandra Topping 0

Psychological support can be of little help to people who have no home or no body to mourn, psychiatrist Dr Lynne Jones says

The Old Chapel in the St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing in west London is no longer solely a place of worship. But for attendees of a workshop on how to support survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, one of the carefully stencilled Beatitudes on the wall still resonates powerfully. “Blessed are those that mourn,” it reads. “For they shall be comforted.”

Whatever the beliefs of those attending the free Doctors of the World session, entitled “Grief, loss and disaster: how can we help?”, it is a maxim they are steadfastly trying to follow. But what soon becomes clear is that the path towards comfort for Grenfell survivors begins not with professional psychological assistance, but with sympathy and the provision of the essentials they have lost.

Related: After Grenfell: a carnival to remember

Related: Just 30% of Grenfell Tower fire funds have reached victims

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Ambrosia: the startup harvesting the blood of the young

21/08/2017 Gavin Haynes 0

The notion has been parodied on TV, but a real company is offering transfusions of teenager’s plasma to reinvigorate older people. At $8,000, it’s a bit of a bloodsucker

What we now call “intergenerational fairness” has suffered a lot lately, and it’s not about to be improved by the news that the Baby Boomers are sucking the blood of the young. Although, in fairness, they are only after the plasma.

In Monterey, California, a new startup has emerged, offering transfusions of human plasma: 1.5 litres a time, pumped in across two days, harvested uniquely from young adults.

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Connor Sparrowhawk: no risk assessments before teenager’s death, tribunal finds

Dr Valerie Murphy faces sanction after tribunal finds further failings over death of 18-year-old who drowned at NHS unit

A senior psychiatrist failed to carry out any risk assessments on an epileptic teenager before he had a seizure and drowned in a bath, a medical tribunal has found.

Dr Valerie Murphy was the lead clinician responsible for treating Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, who died in an NHS care unit in Oxford on 4 July 2013.

Related: ‘We never thought he wouldn’t come home’: why did our son, Connor Sparrowhawk, die?

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Jamie is psychotic and won’t go outside. Mental health services are failing him

21/08/2017 Nuwan Dissanayaka 0

As a psychiatrist, I work hard to support his wish to remain in the community but there are many barriers

We’re standing in front of Jamie’s* door for the second time today. It’s been 10 minutes but at least it’s stopped raining. This could be any one of the hundreds of crumbling red brick terraced houses in Leeds.

It’s not a surprise that there’s no sign of Jamie, beyond the sounds of his dogs barking and the bass music reverberating inside. The door still hasn’t been fixed since it was forced by the police prior to his last admission three months ago. Just as we’re about to leave, Jamie opens the door.

Our focus on therapeutic relationships is often​ ​usurped by a short-term approach to long-term mental illness

Related: Mental health services are in crisis but we NHS bosses can change this

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Nightmare weekend? Don’t worry, removing bad memories is a step closer | Mo Costandi

21/08/2017 Mo Costandi 0

US scientific advances are making the premise of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind more of a reality – goodbye bad and sad times

New research shows that weakening the connections between specific groups of brain cells can prevent the recall of fear memories in mice. The study, published earlier this week in the journal Neuron, has led some – including the study authors themselves – to speculate that this will eventually lead to treatments for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and, inevitably, to news stories mentioning the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which an estranged couple undergo a procedure to erase memories of each other from their brains.

Related: Mind-control device lets people alter genes in mice through power of thought

Related: So forgetting is good for you. But why does it have to be my friends’ names? | Michele Hanson

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How I learned to stop worrying and listen to my hormones

21/08/2017 Sophie Heawood 0

I thought getting an app to track my menstrual cycle was ridiculous, but its revelations have explained so much about my personality

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in LA when my friend Lou says, “Give me your phone and I’ll download an app that tracks your menstrual cycle,” like we’re suddenly starring in a uniquely naff advert for solipsism in the 21st century.

I look around in case anyone has heard us. “Why on earth would I want that”, I mutter to her. My period comes fairly regularly, then it goes away again, and I’m not trying for a baby, and all right, so the whole thing does actually take me by complete surprise every single month, because my head and the clouds have always been in quite close contact – but still. I don’t really feel the need to inform my phone when I’ve got the painters in.

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Imported pork from leading supermarkets may cause hepatitis

20/08/2017 Press Association 0

Sausages and ham sold at a leading supermarket may have infected British shoppers with a virus that can cause liver failure and death

Pork products sold at a leading supermarket may have infected British shoppers with a virus that can cause liver failure and death, it has emerged.

Researchers at Public Health England (PHE) probed the shopping habits of those infected with hepatitis E and found the consumption of ham and sausages from one store, identified only as “supermarket X”, was a recurring feature.

Related: Popularity of sushi has brought rise in parasitic infections, warn doctors

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Three pregnant refugees and nearly 50 others denied medical transfers from Nauru

20/08/2017 Ben Doherty 0

Asylum seekers and refugees awaiting surgeries, abortions and other treatment prevented from having overseas transfers by Nauru hospital committee

Nearly 50 refugees and asylum seekers held on Nauru – including at least three women seeking to terminate a pregnancy – are being refused, or not considered for, overseas medical treatment, in defiance of doctors’ recommendations.

Three pregnant refugee women on Nauru have asked to terminate their pregnancies, for cultural, familial and health reasons. Doctors’ requests for them to be transferred overseas for the procedure have been rejected. Terminations are illegal on Nauru, a devoutly Christian country.

Related: Australia’s offshore detention centres ‘terrible’, says architect of system

Related: ‘It’s time to act’: Liberal MP calls for Australia to take refugees from Manus and Nauru

Related: Border force doctor knew of Manus asylum seeker’s deteriorating health before death

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Bollywood’s hot new topics: open toilets, menstrual hygiene and erectile dysfunction

20/08/2017 Anupama Chopra 0

Forget all those swirling songs and plots about love, heartache and family values. Bollywood has more pressing concerns

‘This is not about defecation,” says the hero of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which translates as Toilet: A Love Story. “It is about our whole way of thinking!” What makes this startling line all the more surprising is that it is delivered by Akshay Kumar, an actor straight out of the Bollywood A-list.

The film, as the second half of its title suggests, has no shortage of such Bollywood staples as romance and love songs. But the main subject matter is one that no Hindi film has ever tackled before: open defecation. This is a singularly Indian problem. Various studies estimate that 60% of India’s billion-plus population don’t have access to a bathroom. For women, this isn’t just a question of sanitation. It’s about safety, privacy and independence.

Related: India’s women given low-cost route to sanitary protection

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Why is ketchup so delicious? Science answers the big food questions

What’s good, what’s bad and why – five food questions answered by consultant cardiologist Ali Khavandi and science writer Dara Mohammadi

Whether you’re a dolloper or a Jackson Pollocker, a plate of chips just isn’t the same without a good squirt of ketchup. But why does it make chips taste so much better? It’s the same reason Iberico ham is more moreish than the boiled stuff and why a sprinkle of parmesan makes a bowl of pasta that much fresher. The answer is the Japanese word for “savoury” or “deliciousness”, the fifth and most elusive of tastes: umami.

It may not be a coincidence that our reduction in fibre consumption has coincided with the rise in many modern diseases

The F-word has such a bad image that even KFC rebranded itself to be free of its oil-splattered reputation

In the 60s, bread manufacturers aimed for a Superman bread but ended up with a Frankenstein one

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When surgery is just a stitch-up

20/08/2017 Dara Mohammadi 0

With evidence mounting that many minor operations owe their success to the placebo effect, is it time to call a halt to some routine procedures?

What’s the difference between a homeopath and a surgeon? It’s a question that sounds like a joke, and it won’t have many surgeons laughing. Homeopathy is the scientifically implausible idea that diluted substances can somehow treat disease: it has never been shown to work and any effect is, at very best, a placebo effect. It’s a world away from the glinting scalpels and cut-and-dried logic of surgery. See a problem, cut it out, sew it back up. Right?

Well, it is until you start looking for evidence of effectiveness for some operations, and then you’re left thinking that the line between the two is not as clear as you first thought.

You can no longer say, as a doctor, that homeopathy is rubbish because you’re doing the same thing

Risk to patients aside, it just means that we are wasting a hell of a lot of money

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How we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate his legacy

Crews, an academic, thinks psychoanalysis is an unscientific jumble of ideas, while psychoanalyst Orbach would prefer not to throw the baby out with the patriarchal bias

For a century or more, Sigmund Freud has cast a long shadow not just over the field of psychoanalysis but over the entire way we think of ourselves as human beings. His theory of the unconscious and his work on dreams, in particular, retain a firm grip on the western imagination, shaping the realms of literature and art, politics and everyday conversation, as well as the way patients are analysed in the consulting room. Since Freud’s death in 1939, however, a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas. Now Freud is viewed less as a great medical scientist than as a powerful storyteller of the human mind whose texts, though lacking in empirical evidence, should be celebrated for their literary value.

The following debate, conducted through emails, was prompted by the forthcoming publication of Frederick Crews’s book Freud: The Making of an Illusion, which draws on new research materials to raise fresh questions about Freud’s competence and integrity.

There is nothing formulaic about the conversation in the consulting room. It’s a space of exploration

Related: The astrologer and the astronomer

Freud was a sick man who tried to saddle the whole human race with his anxious fantasies

Related: Cold War Freud and Freud: An Intellectual Biography review – the politics of psychoanalysis

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How we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate his legacy

Crews, an academic, thinks psychoanalysis is an unscientific jumble of ideas, while psychoanalyst Orbach would prefer not to throw the baby out with the patriarchal bias

For a century or more, Sigmund Freud has cast a long shadow not just over the field of psychoanalysis but over the entire way we think of ourselves as human beings. His theory of the unconscious and his work on dreams, in particular, retain a firm grip on the western imagination, shaping the realms of literature and art, politics and everyday conversation, as well as the way patients are analysed in the consulting room. Since Freud’s death in 1939, however, a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas. Now Freud is viewed less as a great medical scientist than as a powerful storyteller of the human mind whose texts, though lacking in empirical evidence, should be celebrated for their literary value.

The following debate, conducted through emails, was prompted by the forthcoming publication of Frederick Crews’s book Freud: The Making of an Illusion, which draws on new research materials to raise fresh questions about Freud’s competence and integrity.

There is nothing formulaic about the conversation in the consulting room. It’s a space of exploration

Related: The astrologer and the astronomer

Freud was a sick man who tried to saddle the whole human race with his anxious fantasies

Related: Cold War Freud and Freud: An Intellectual Biography review – the politics of psychoanalysis

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How your brain tricks you to protect your skin | Daniel Glaser

20/08/2017 Daniel Glaser 0

The neuroscience connecting skin receptors to the brain is far from straightforward, says Daniel Glaser

Sunburn continues to colour many of our experiences of the summer. Even as it draws to a close we can still get caught out.

We are all familiar with the effects, and the warnings, but what’s going on in your nervous system is more interesting than you may think. The term itself is slightly misleading. When we feel our skin burning after we’ve been in the sun for too long, our brain is actually being fooled.

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UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

20/08/2017 Rachel Ellis 0

British-built Versius device will slash costs, improve patient recovery times and help speed up keyhole surgery

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

Related: The NHS saved me. As a scientist, I must help to save it | Stephen Hawking

Related: Meet Eva, the workplace robot that won’t necessarily steal your job

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