Post Of The Week – Saturday 18th April 2015

1) Louis Theroux – By Reason Of Insanity

I saw parts of these two programmes a couple of weeks ago. Originally, I had planned not to post links on here as the programmes are in some ways quite disturbing. However, we ended up talking about them in one of Friday’s Year 12 lessons, so it seems like a good idea to post a link.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05nyysy

Theroux’s reflections at the end of the second programme are powerful and interesting.

2) Suicide

On a similarly sensitive but important area, this article and link to a Panorama programme deals with suicide in middle age in a responsible and thoughtful way.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32282175

3) Witholding Results From Clinical Trials

We have been revising depression this week in A2. One of the more troubling moments in this process is when we realise that what we know about depression hinges on our understanding on meta-analysis of studies of the effectiveness of anti-depressants which are likely to be subject to publication bias.

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2015/04/withholding-results-clinical-trials-unethical-says-who?utm_campaign=email-news-latest&utm_src=email

This article shows the seriousness of this issue. The World Health Organisation has now waded in, suggesting that there should be publication of all clinical trials. The full details are here.

http://www.who.int/ictrp/results/reporting/en/

4) Mental Health In The Workplace

This is brilliant. The workplace is still seen as a place where stigma about mental health exists. Here, two highly successful city businessmen talk about their journeys to understanding better their own health.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05qgk8k

5) Varenicline

An important question about Varenicline as a biological intervention to aid smoking cessation concerns its side effects. This is raised in our core content here. This study suggests that people may have over-estimated these side effects.

http://www.thementalelf.net/mental-health-conditions/depression/varenicline-and-the-risk-of-neuropsychiatric-adverse-events-and-death/

As ever, this is lucid work from the Mental Elf which stands as an excellent model for how to write about research, including a judicious summing up of strengths and limitations.

6) And More On Smoking

This is a collection of great articles.

http://www.thementalelf.net/tag/smoking-cessation/

We have already used the one about plain packaging as a public health intervention in our lessons this week. It is amazing how quickly the research is moving in this area.

7) Thomas Insel On Cause

We also used this in a lesson this week.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2015/what-caused-this-to-happen-part-2.shtml

In AS, we study explanations of abnormality. That means trying to understand what causes people to be ill. It is the word “cause” which gives us a problem. Some causes are in the foreground, some in the background.

8) Non-Alcholic Fatty Liver Disease

I have spent some of today looking again at the research on diet and eating behaviour. In the process of doing this, I have come across some research which suggests that it is the way in which fat is stored in the liver which might help us understand the links between insulin, obesity and diabetes.

http://thrive.suntimes.com/health/new-study-looks-sugar-liver/

This link explains a form of liver disease which has become more common and might help us understand a small part of this process.

9) Correlation And Cause

A standard observation in the social sciences is that correlation does not imply causation. We have had some fun in lessons looking at Tyler Vigen here. In the AS course, a strength of correlational research is said to be that it provides a good first stage of research, illustrating relationships which need to be studied further.

http://timharford.com/2015/04/cigarettes-damn-cigarettes-and-statistics/

Both of these ideas are dealt with in this elegant article.

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