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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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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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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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

Continue reading…

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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School exclusion ‘linked to long-term mental health problems’ – study

19/08/2017 Jamie Doward 0

Research shows that exclusions can amplify pupils’ psychological distress and encourage behaviour it intends to punish

Excluding children from school may lead to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a major new study has shown.

The research by the University of Exeter also finds that poor mental health can lead to school exclusion.

Related: Can a new technique stem England’s rising tide of school exclusions?

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Jeremy Hunt accuses Stephen Hawking of ‘pernicious falsehood’ in NHS row

19/08/2017 Nicola Slawson 0

Health secretary reacts to physicist’s claim that the Conservatives are trying to implement US-style health insurance system

Jeremy Hunt has accused Stephen Hawking of a “pernicious” lie after the physicist said it seemed the Tories were steering the UK towards a US-style health insurance system.

Hours after the health secretary was criticised for claiming Hawking was wrong in the row about the government’s seven-day NHS plan, he leapt back into the fray with two tweets defending the Conservative party’s record on the health service.

Most pernicious falsehood from Stephen Hawking is idea govt wants US-style insurance system.Is it 2 much to ask him to look at evidence? 1/2

NHS under Cons has seen more money,more docs and more nurses than ever in history.Those with private med insurance DOWN 9.4% since 2009! 2/2

Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever 1/2

And whatever entrenched opposition,no responsible health sec could ignore it if you want NHS 2 be safest health service in world as I do 2/2

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

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What I’m really thinking: the disappointed counsellor

19/08/2017 Anonymous 0

While in the final year of my training, undertaking a placement in a mental health service, I saw how stretched these support services are

I put four years of my life and £12,000 of my hard-earned savings into training to be a counsellor. I sacrificed my time, relationships and mental health so I could give my all to this exhausting and emotionally draining course, which included spending two years in personal therapy.

While in the final year of my training, undertaking a placement in a mental health service, I was exposed to how stretched these support services are. Despite still being a trainee, I saw clients who were suicidal, psychotic and seeking help for borderline personality disorders. I was not trained to help these clients, but I didn’t have a choice. They had to see me or go back on the waiting list for six months. Staff did their best to support me but they were so stretched, I was left to cope with difficult situations by myself.

Related: What I’m really thinking: the burned-out businessman

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

18/08/2017 Stephen Hawking 0

The crisis in the health service has been created by politicians who want to privatise it – when public opinion, and the evidence, point in the opposite direction

Like many people, I have personal experience of the NHS. In my case, medical care, personal life and scientific life are all intertwined. I have received a large amount of high-quality NHS treatment and would not be here today if it were not for the service.

The care I have received since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease as a student in 1962 has enabled me to live my life as I want, and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe. In July I celebrated my 75th birthday with an international science conference in Cambridge. I still have a full-time job as director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and, with two colleagues, am soon to publish another scientific paper on quantum black holes.

Related: Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

When public figures abuse scientific argument to justify policies, it debases scientific culture

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Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

Exclusive: Physicist criticises ministers over funding cuts, privatisation and pay caps before address revealing his reliance on health service

Stephen Hawking has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support.

The renowned 75-year-old physicist was speaking to promote an address he will give on Saturday outlining how he owes his long life and achievements to the NHS care he received, and setting out his fears for a service he believes is being turned into “a US-style insurance system”.

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

Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever 1/2

And whatever entrenched opposition,no responsible health sec could ignore it if you want NHS 2 be safest health service in world as I do 2/2

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Hate hearing someone eat? It could be misophonia – or plain old misanthropy | Nicholas Lezard

18/08/2017 Nicholas Lezard 0

I think misophonia – a phobia of sounds – is perhaps as much an existential condition as a physiological one. For me it’s worse the morning after a few drinks

For some time I lived with someone who did not like the way I breathed. Apparently I do not breathe regularly; I hold it in and release it, as if I am perpetually in suspense, or on the alert for some calamity. (This seems about right.) For some time, I assumed that this was simply a building frustration with the fact that I was breathing at all: but it turns out she may well have had misophonia, a condition whose sufferers are tipped into rage by sounds like other people eating, clicking a biro, or, indeed, breathing. Researchers at Newcastle University bunged volunteers into an MRI scanner, played recordings of “trigger sounds” and watched the misophones’ brains light up in outrage.

Well, we’ve all been there. That, though, is the problem. And although I am no scientist, or at least unable to get my hands on an MRI scanner in order to verify their results, I would suspect that the condition is more flexible than these good scientists are leading us to believe. Indeed, it was in order to quash scientific scepticism about the condition’s existence that the experiment was performed in the first place.

One does not have to be misophonic, for instance, to be distressed by the sound of someone playing music on their phone

Related: Crisps, keyboards, pens​ – how do you treat an unusual phobia?

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