gmusic@nurturingnatures.co.uk

020 7193 8216

Joining forces; Telomeres, social, psychological and political challenges

 

In the last few days I came across yet another interesting article [1] showing that prenatal stress is linked with  shorter telomeres. Telomeres are those caps on the end of chromosomes that can fray and shorten with stress and age [3], are a classic biomarker for health. Shorter telomeres are bad news, heralding ill health, and indeed, early death, or in other words early stress might program the body to develop a faster metabolism, which also leads to faster ageing and more physical and mental illness. One recent meta-analysis looking at over 40 papers corroborated how early adversity, such as abuse or neglect, links with shorter telomere length [2].

Continue reading
  1445 Hits
  0 Comments
1445 Hits
0 Comments

Obesity, unhappiness, and poverty: the urgent need to avoid simplistic solutions

A version of this blog can also be found on the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust website here, 

An NHS Trust in Yorkshire recently decided to deny non-urgent treatment to obese patients and also to smokers. A recent guardian article called this a form of discrimination similar to racism. It is true that we are facing an epidemic of obesity and linked health issues including diabetes and heart conditions. The solution is not to discriminate against or blame people who in many ways are already victims. There is a danger that our discourses about food and obesity become another way of blaming the poor for their poverty and its effects. People are criticised for being lazy, greedy, lacking control or selfish, yet often what drives eating is far outside consciousness and has sensible explanations.

Continue reading
  1201 Hits
  0 Comments
1201 Hits
0 Comments

Austerity and neoliberalism are bad for our health and wellbeing

 

Goodness, what a turn-up for the books! The International Monetary Fund has now stated that neoliberalism and its accompanying policies of austerity and rising inequality are a bad thing, even for the economy let alone for people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Inequality is recognised as particularly pernicious, and it has increased drastically via a system that has bettered the financial lot of the very very few at the expense of most people, and also at the expense of a thriving economy. The health and mental health effects of this have been shocking, as I show below.

Continue reading
  1831 Hits
  0 Comments
1831 Hits
0 Comments

Investing in health? We need early interventions or else it is too late

The labour party seem to be pledging to invest heavily in the NHS. While this is commendable there is a degree of naivety in how the crisis in healthcare is being understood. More than anything this is because the roots of so many health problems are in very early experiences, and start with psychological stressors, or rather psychobiological insults, which affect which genes are turned on or off, an epigenetic effect which indeed transmits across generations. An old fashioned medical model in which current, and purely physical,  symptoms are identified and treated, can no longer be sufficient. 

Continue reading
  5755 Hits
  0 Comments
5755 Hits
0 Comments

Betting, risk-taking, poverty and stress

A forthcoming government document  is about to  report a huge surge in spending on betting and gambling in the poorest areas of Britain. Particularly worrying is the high levels of betting using high speed machines  In the 55 most deprived boroughs of the country there are  2,691 betting shops,  and over £13bn was bet and apparently  £470m of that lost during the, last year. In contrast our 115 richest areas had just 1,258 bookies, even though  the population was the same, and only  £6.5bn was bet with losses of  £231m, within the same 12 months.

Continue reading
  3481 Hits
  0 Comments
3481 Hits
0 Comments

After the giving and receiving. Materialism and happiness and tough lives

This year in some circles we have seem a backlash against materialism. Typical is a new book by Robert Wolman called Stuffocation [1], arguing that stuff does not make us happy, but rather it is experiences and relationships which do. Much research bears this out and such analyses can make important points, but maybe leave out what might be propelling people to consume. 

Continue reading
  3467 Hits
  0 Comments
3467 Hits
0 Comments