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ss triple helix - Winter 2019,  Eutychus

Eutychus

Fear and immortality in Las Vegas

The super-rich have been gathering in Las Vegas recently for their annual RAADfest (Revolution Against Ageing and Death Festival) to explore myriad ways of defying ageing and death. Everything from Immortalis Klotho Formula (IKF) taken orally and rectally at the modest rate of $8,000 a course, to plasma infusions from younger donors (yes, literally taking the blood of the young to keep the old alive). The only cure missing seems to be customised portraits to keep in the attic! Tragically, even if a genuine means of slowing or even reversing ageing is ever found, none of this offers a real cure for death, pain, poverty, or God's final judgment. Wealth is as ever a great immunisation against reality, especially spiritual reality. The Telegraph 14 October 2019 bit.ly/32S8fDu

'Sadfishing' - the latest social media attack on mental health

It's good to talk. Or so we are told. But when many young people seek to share their struggles, fears and insecurities online, they are not necessarily going to get the support they need. Many are accused of sadfishing by other social media users. Sadfishing is seeking attention and affirmation by sharing exaggerated problems online. It's an accusation particularly levelled at celebrities who share their struggles on social media (by people who presumably assume being rich and famous should make you happy rather than sad). That so many young people are struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues and see the internet as their main source of social support is even more worrying. Social media can be helpful and foster community and support, but it can also expose the nastier side of human nature. The Guardian 1 October 2019 bit.ly/32VClpA

To the sea! The mental health benefits of coastal life

Island life has its benefits it would seem. Living a kilometre or less from the coast has a significant positive impact on mental health according to recent research. And this is not wealth dependent - those in low-income households who live near the sea experience an even greater boost to their sense of well-being than the rich. Creation is given by God for our benefit and that seems to go double for the seaside. Time to move to the coast everyone! The Independent 1 October 2019 bit.ly/31UBDrB

To the land! Senior doctors flee coastal life

By way of contrast, a recent report by the RCP shows just 13% of senior medical appointments are being made in rural and coastal areas. According to RCP President Andrew Goddard, 'Some rural areas are so severely "under-doctored" that patient lives could potentially be at risk.' Lack of staff in general, plus a lack of housing in these areas may be to blame. Maybe a move to the seaside would be just the tonic for doctors' sense of well-being as well as benefitting the local communities? The Observer 13 October 2019 bit.ly/34fRWkk

Struggling in the health service?

The Medical Protection Society (MPS) has found that 52% of doctors working in the UK are dissatisfied with their work-life balance. 46% feel guilty about taking time off, and almost 40% believe their employer does not give them the support they need to do their job well. This probably does not come as a surprise to most Eutychus readers. Similar reports come to CMF regularly from nurses and other health professionals as well. The bigger challenge is how we reverse any of this as a nation while we are absorbed by other political priorities. In the meantime, CMF is working on a pastoral care scheme to provide support to members as they struggle with these pressures. [See the Winter 2019 CMF News for details]. The Guardian 29 September 2019 bit.ly/2NjfEVV

Brain-damaged girl allowed to travel to Italy

In another case where the wishes of family clashed with the opinion of health professionals, the courts ruled that five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb could be taken to Italy for treatment. She has been in a coma at the Royal London Hospital since a devastating brain injury in February. The medical team said that further treatment would not be in her interests. Her parents, devout Muslims, objected to active withdrawal of treatment on religious grounds and found another hospital willing to take her. The breakdown of relationship between Tafida's medical team and her parents could only be resolved in the courts. Are the courts truly the best place to judge between worldviews when they clash over what is in the best interests of a vulnerable patient in such cases? BBC News Online 5 October 2019 bbc.in/2NjS4bz

Resourcing the battle against Ebola in DRC

As the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to claim more lives, recent research by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has found that over $546 million has been given by international donors, but less than half of that to the official DRC response. At least half of that money comes from the US, and with pressures mounting on US overseas aid, much as it is in the UK, the worry is that this will not continue. In the meantime, 241,946 people in DRC have been vaccinated with Merck's Ebola vaccine. 3,260 cases have so far been confirmed, including 2,177 deaths. A total of 486 suspected cases are still under investigation, and 117 cases remain categorised as probable Let's pray that this outbreak comes under control soon. CIDRAP 25 October 2019 bit.ly/2pYDMoL

Saving lives on the cheap is no bad thing

The Lancet has published an international, multi-centre study showing that the cheap and widely available drug tranexamic acid, can save lives when administered within three hours of mild to moderate head trauma. Already widely used to stop traumatic bleeding in other areas, debate had long raged about whether it would stop cerebral bleeding. It turns out that it is truly life-saving. And the cost of treatment? About £6.20. BBC News Online 15 October 2019 bbc.in/34g8ed0

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