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ss triple helix - summer 2017,  Eutychus


Grey crime wave

Where are the present-day John Howards and Elizabeth Frys? Few would disagree that our prisons are a festering problem. A Guardian 'Long Read' has drawn attention to an issue that largely goes unnoticed, though CMF members serving as prison doctors are well aware of them. The demographics of the prison population are alarming. In 15 years, the number of prisoners aged over 60 has tripled; numbers of octogenarians almost doubled in the last two years. Our prisons, many of them built more than a century ago are not fitted to their needs. Guardian 19 June 2017

Game mocks psychiatric illness?

Bedlam (the nickname given to the notorious Bethlem Royal Hospital) inspired several horror books, films and TV series and could be one of the root causes why, to this day, stigma attaches to psychiatric illness. But have we learnt our lesson? Apparently not. Out now is an 'escape game' set in a fictional asylum. To win you solve a series of clues to find your way out. Critics among health professionals say it is 'demonising mental health'. The company concerned has apologised but insists the game doesn't 'mock psychiatric illness'. BBC 14 June 2017

Two kinds of liberalism

Tim Farron's resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrat Party rightly invites heart-searching. He styled himself as a 'liberal to my fingertips' but found himself ensnared between rival versions of liberalism. For Farron it was 'about defending the rights and liberties of people who believe different things to me'. He lost out to a nastier, politically correct version with no space for differences in thought. Over the last decades this rancid form of liberalism has gained control of what Bill Bright many years ago called 'the mountains of culture'. Nick Spencer, Tim Farron and the two kinds of liberalism. Total Politics 15 June 2017

Pioneers in healthcare

Wise words from Dr Anil Ninan Cherian. The ICMDA course director told 49 graduating South Sudanese health workers: 'You are going to find the health system which is yet to stabilise. Let the conflict there not destabilise you'. War in their country meant the course was moved from Jonglei in South Sudan to the Ugandan capital Kampala. The programme is jointly supported by the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID), a Dutch NGO, and Anglican International Development UK (AID). These pioneers have an uphill task and need our prayers. All Africa 17 June 2017

Social media dangers

Instagram and Snapchat are not good for the mental health and wellbeing of young people, a new report has revealed. The #StatusOfMind report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Young Health Movement (YHM) says while there are some positives derivable from social media, more needs to be done to counteract its negative impact. RSPH and YHM claim that 71%of young people want to see pop-up heavy usage warnings on social media. Instagram and Snapchat have the worst impact on young people's mental health, the report revealed. Digital Health 27 May 2017

A veggie tale

A five-a-day habit is recognised as a gateway to good health. But how do parents coax children and young people to buy into the proposition that it's very good for you and - even more importantly - do something about it? Terms such as 'wholesome' lack appeal and sound boring. Now a team at Stanford University may have hit on a solution. They tried a new approach in the university cafeteria. Veggie sales went up by 25% when indulgent labels were used, like 'sizzling beans' or 'dynamite beets'. BBC 13 June 2017

Not all it's cracked up to be

At £11,000 per attempt and a low success rates, egg freezing is expensive. There are also doubts about its effectiveness as an 'insurance' against inability to conceive by natural means. 'Not what it's cracked up to be', said the Daily Telegraph. Certainly egg freezing is surrounded by much PR spin. An American woman who tried and failed to conceive said, 'There is so much positivity about egg freezing, and I am pro the idea, but there is not a lot of realism. Egg freezing is highly marketed - and not all doctors are being transparent with the data'. Daily Telegraph 18 March2017

Binge watching bad for health

Eutychus has noticed a new video from YouTubers AsapSCIENCE warning that binge watching is bad for your health. It lists several health complaints which it traces to over-indulgence: dry eyes,especially if you are a contact lens user; short-sightedness; reduction of sleep quality, particularly among those who watch immediately prior to going to bed. Bad news for men: watching 20 hours of TV a week can apparently reduce sperm count. Too much time in front of the TV is correlated with diabetes and heart disease, and according to AsapSCIENCE, shortened lives. Metro 15 June 2017

Two billion overweight

More than two billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and their weight is responsible for health issues, says anew study. Put another way, one-third of the global population carries too much weight and this is fuelled by urbanisation, poor diets and not enough exercise. The USA tops the league table of obese children and young adults (13%) with Egypt top for adult obesity (35%). The study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers analysed data from 68.5 million people between 1980 and 2015. CNN 12 June 2017

Mending a fragmented NHS

As the NHS approaches its 70th anniversary, Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, has embarked on what he says is 'the biggest national move to integrating care of any major western country'. He promises 'eight accountable care systems' and 'better joined up services in place of what has often been a fragmented system that passes people from pillar to post'. He announced nine areas in England - covering around seven million people - which will be the forefront of nationwide action to provide joined up, better coordinated care. We wish him well. I-News 15 June 2017
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