Friday, March 27, 2009

UK Medical News Round Up

I'm religious and am probably going to get any male children I have circumcised (would prefer waiting actually until they can decide themselves, but it seems like it's psychologically better for them to just have the same-looking genitalia for their whole lives). It's well known that the process reduces the rate of infection. However, let's not ignore the drastic complications that can occur. Having herpes, HIV, HPV or another sexually transmitted disease is one thing. Having mutilated genitalia from a botched-up procedure is another. There're well publicised cases on this with dramatic consequences with mental stability, gender and sexual identity. As with any other surgical operation, it depends on the experience and skill of the surgeon.

What can you do? Whoa, there, cowboy. Easy, now, and take into account the risks.

The Pope & Aids:
I have no idea why anyone would expect the Pope -- of all people -- to endorse condoms over reforming behaviour. This is a religious and moral figure; of course he has to endorse that and that's the way he thinks. If not, he wouldn't have ended up where he was. Also, I dislike most Parisians. They're fairly elitist. France is really making itself out to be very anti-religious, nevermind being just secular.

What can you do? Don't start a riot.

Increased suicide in children by three times:
This could be a bad thing or a good thing. Either more children want to kill themselves or more children feel they can talk about it to a helpline (assuming wanting to talk a helpline doesn't mean less children are getting support from sources other than the helpline). Number one reason for children wanting to kill themselves, clearly visible in the quotations in that article? Family, family, family: their parents' mental health problems, their marital problems and so on. That's not to say that is strictly true for each case (e.g. sexual abuse by non-relative). I wonder if relatively recent cuts in mental health budgets, the very recent recession or other factors have influenced this?

What can you do? Help the NSPCC.

More things strike the poor kids! I wonder if we simply have kids who're simply less fit thanks to advances in medical technology. This means that the more advanced the medical technology, the more alive sick kids who didn't die of something else earlier in their development. Could be a factor with some figures.

What can you do? Keep your and your kid's genes toxin free (smoking, drugs and alcohol: I mean you) as well as apparently subjecting kids to soap and bathing less.

More growth, more sweeties:

It makes sense to want more nutrition if you want to eat more.

What can you do? Don't misinterpret this piece of news. Obtaining nutrition through healthy foods is the better choice; it is not ok to allow a kid to stuff themselves with Mars Bars simply because you think they might be tall. Preventing obesity and the formation of unhealthy eating habits is more important, especially since it can lead to complications that give normal growth a hit.

Bone Marrow Transplant:
It's not all bad news! Successful bone marrow transplants for unrelated donors are life-saving.

What can you do about it? Absolutely free/all expenses paid -- join one of the bone marrow registeries, either in the UK or your own country. It should be no more painful than the process of giving blood and I know donors here are given general anaesthetic and sufficient painkillers if they have to undergo the less likely to occur method of direct bone marrow harvest. Blacks, mixeds & asians (i.e. non pure whites): they especially need you although everyone eligible signing up would be great due to the greater chances of a perfect match.

Early diagnosis of cancer:
I had to look at the video, just to see if a typical dude from Essex really came out with ' lethargic'. I didn't see him use that word but 'mate, you're an egg with eyeballs' was brilliant.

What can you do? Keep yourself fit, eat healthy, get yourself screened when you get called up to. Some diseases, though, you just can't avoid. Try not to panic, it can be as bad as the disease. throwing up at the idea of getting treatment that makes you throw up is ironic: you've achieved the same result without even anything given to you! Because you're in pain or can't do quite what you used to, it really doesn't mean you can't continue to enjoy life. Disease is a fact of living, and coping with it is something that -- to some extent -- everyone has to do.

Red Meat:
Is this really news?

What can you do: eat as much as recommended in the article (lean red meat, 30grams a day). More realistically, you can just cut your consumption of red meat (burgers, steaks) to once or twice per week.

Teenage pregnancy and sexual education:
You have to be careful with this. I'm all for giving kids the maximum information and I do mean the maximum information. Giving them figures and contraceptive methods is all well and good but you've also got to give them the figures of the psychological effects of using these methods if there are any (this particularly applies to issues such as abortion or coming from a family with a religious background. They're not going to stop feeling guilty just because they were sexually active for whatever reason). You've got to give a child social and psychological support for sexuality and monitor them for turning into a welfare-state-dependent-
stressed-out single mother.

Informing them that there is always a way out of pregnancy (or the consequences of STD; remembering that condoms do not completely eliminate risk), will only encourage promiscuity and perhaps misuse of contraception (well if it fails, there's always an abortion) as well as underestimating the psychological effects of having an abortion. You can't ignore that religiously, socially and by evolution, women were built for motherhood and acting against these instincts can have devastating effects on them.

Focusing on methods to discourage young sexual activity is the ideal. Pregnancy and abortion are risky particularly for very young women e.g. these sad cases of girls who died here in the UK.

What can you do? Not much, unless you're a parent or a teen. Keep discussion open so that they're comfortable talking to you in a toned down way about who they like or about sex or contraception, even if you might view their activity as inappropriate. Explore your family's differing views on your stances on contraceptive methods, abortion and sex. Doing this clinically, rather than personally, can help.

Just another doc:
Hopefully, all doctors would do what he'd done.

What can you do? Thanking your docs, nurses, health assistants and other team members -- while heartwarming and helps with job satisfaction -- isn't necessary. Showing your real appreciation for these masochistic professionals through your votes or protesting anti-healthcare professional policies/cases (e.g. victimising whistleblowers). That's where you really count.

Teenage drinking:

I'm fairly optimistic about a lot of things, but definitely not drinking. Binge drinking is too ingrained in British culture and these kids will find the money somewhere, somehow.

What can you do? No clue. Lots of silly ideas flying due to desperation of the situation. The problem with education is that people will think that they are responsible enough to do it, therefore drinking earlier. Stop encouraging teenage kids to drink heavily if you do so. If you're at university, minimise the act of drinking heavily as your idea of a fun night out: a play, the cinema, sports activities and other activities yield much more long-lasting pleasure accompanied of course with a modest glass of red wine if you're not teetotal. Dammit, people, use your brain cells instead of bidding them silent; you're a fun person and you don't need drink to have a damn good time.

Disclaimer: I'm a simple medical student, prone to mistakes. Obtain proper health advice from a fully qualified health professional whom you trust and who knows you & your history.

No comments:

Post a Comment