Category Archives: Mental Health

Disability genes to be probed by Welsh scientists

Cardiff University experts will look at faulty genes underpinning the learning disabilities that can go hand in hand with challenging behaviours and adult mental health problems
Welsh scientists are to probe why children with learning disabilities often end up with behavioural problems and troubled mental health in adolescence and adulthood.

Experts from Cardiff University will look at faulty genes underpinning the learning disabilities that can go hand in hand with challenging behaviours and adult mental health problems.

Professor Jeremy Hall, from Cardiff University’s MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, and scientists from Cambridge University and the University College London, hope to recruit 10,000 people to the study.

Professor Hall said understanding the link to faulty genes would see parents given more information and better prepare them for the future challenges they face.

The research also offers hope more effective treatments will be developed. Experiments on mice with Rett syndrome – a developmental disorder that almost always affects girls – have reversed the condition after treatment on the problem gene.

Professor Hall said: “There are an estimated 1.5 million people with intellectual disabilities in the UK and a significant number of them are children under 18 years of age.

“Whilst we know intellectual disability can be caused by events such as extreme premature birth, birth injury or brain infections, research has found that minor chromosomal anomalies – known as copy number variations (CNV) – are strongly associated with children with an intellectual disability.”

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9/11 Hero Suffering PTSD Says NYPD Won’t Give Him Disability Pay

A decorated police officer whose heroics on 9/11 saved countless lives but left him an emotional wreck says the NYPD is stiffing him out of retirement money.

Michael Mazziotti, 63, is suing the city, claiming the police department took seven years to approve his on-the-job disability pension for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression — and now it won’t give him the back pay he deserves.

On the day of the World Trade Center attacks, Mazziotti guided scores of office workers from both towers. He watched trapped victims leap to their deaths and carried bystanders to safety as debris from the buildings rained down on him.

In the aftermath, he spent days at Ground Zero in hope of finding survivors.

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Esther Rantzen: Why I’m setting up a ‘ChildLine’ for old people

Esther Rantzen’s new charity, The Silver Line, aims to bring conversation to the silent lives of so many elderly Britons

y experience setting up ChildLine has proved to me that it is easier to confide to a stranger on the telephone. Some older people have asked to receive regular calls from our befriending team, our Silver Line Friends, at times when they can speak honestly about their pain, when their sons and daughters cannot hear them. “I don’t want to be a burden” is the regular phrase we hear.

Over the last 10 months The Silver Line pilot has been running in the North of England, we have taken around 4,000 calls, and received 400 requests for regular calls from Silver Line Friends. All the calls are free to the caller, and lines are open night and day, 24/7.

Some of our most emotional calls come through in the bleak small hours around dawn. I spoke this week to a professional carer, who lives with a lady who has such profound dementia that she spends day after day in tears. At the end of each working day, the carer told me: “I go back to my bedroom and start crying, too. I will never give up on her, I will look after her until her last breath.”

The carer had never revealed her own feelings before. “But we all need someone to talk to,” she said.

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13 ways to stay healthy in 2013 from Age UK

Improve your health and wellbeing in the coming year with these 13 simple steps – you don’t even have to give anything up

So this year, we’ve come up with 13 simple tips – one a day – to help get your year off to a great start.

e.g. 13. Exercise your brain

New US research shows that keeping your brain active by reading, writing, completing a crossword or doing a Sudoku puzzle can help to delay memory loss and even reduce the onset, or progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, German researchers found that you need to keep your mind AND body active to get the most benefit – so 30 minutes of exercise, such as gardening, housework or a gentle walk, combined with 30 minutes of puzzle-solving, on top of your usual daily activities, could help to ward off dementia.

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Queen Victoria: The real story of her ‘domestic bliss’

To the outside world Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family seemed the embodiment of domestic bliss, but the reality was very different, writes historian Jane Ridley.

The marriage between the two first cousins – the young Queen and the clever, handsome German prince – was a love match. Over 17 years, nine children were born: four boys and five girls.

Paintings and photographs projected an image of a virtuous, devoted young couple surrounded by obedient, fair-haired children.

Though sexually infatuated, the young couple were locked into a power struggle. Albert took over more and more of Victoria’s work as queen as her pregnancies forced her to step aside. Victoria was conflicted: she admired her “angel” for his talents and ability but she deeply resented being robbed of her powers as queen.

There were terrible rows and Albert was terrified by Victoria’s temper tantrums. Always at the back of his mind was the fear she might have inherited the madness of George III. While she stormed around the palace, he was reduced to putting notes under her door.

Though she was a prolific mother, Victoria loathed being pregnant. Repeated pregnancies she considered “more like a rabbit or a guinea pig than anything else and not very nice”.
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Jane Ridley’s Bertie: A Life of Edward VII is published by Chatto & Windus. Queen Victoria’s Children is broadcast on BBC Two on Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, and Thursday 3 January at 21:00 GMT

GP contract changes may hit services, says doctors union

BMA says doctors will have to do more work for less pay under shakeup aimed at reducing toll of avoidably early deaths

The GP contract dictates how England’s 36,000 family doctors look after their patients. Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian

Family doctors and ministers are at loggerheads after the government decided to impose changes to the way GPs work.

GPs’ leaders claim the shakeup will mean doctors will have to do “much more work for less pay”, and said some surgeries may have to cut services.

Ministers say the changes will lead to more cases of dementia, diabetes and other conditions being spotted earlier and fewer deaths from the main killer diseases.
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Cuts will leave mental health sufferers in Lambeth housebound, charity warns


Many hospitals and care homes for people with learning disabilities are failing to deliver patient-centred care, says the Care Quality Commission (CQC) watchdog. The regulator launched a programme of 150 unannounced inspections of hospitals and care homes in response to last year’s Winterbourne View scandal.


The national review aims to assess whether people are experiencing safe and appropriate care, treatment and support, and whether they are protected from abuse. Analysis of the first 40 inspection reports reveals that many care organisations are failing to deliver services based on people’s individual needs. Specific problems found were: care records being inaccessible to people; people with learning disabilities were not sufficiently involved in planning their daily lives; and care plans not being written in plain English and lacking an identifiable goal.


Bernadette Hanney, national project lead for the learning disability review, said: “People must be placed at the centre of their care. We have found that too often people are not involved in the development of their care plans. And often those care plans lack detail about the person’s preferences, which can have an adverse impact on the quality of care provided.

Read more in The Guardian