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The Common Gloom

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JumpingJack
63289.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:04 pm Reply with quote

Preamble:

This doesn't have to be a General Ignorance question, it's got a perfectly good 'D' answer. If it isn't GI, it would fit rather well before "What's the most depressing job in the world?"

The subject matter may make it a good question for Rich Hall.

Question:

What illness do British doctors treat more than any other?

Forfeit:

COLDS
THE COMMON COLD
FLU
CANCER
HEART DISEASE
MALARIA
CHICKEN POX
SMALL POX
HIV
COUGHS
TUMMY BUG
EAR INFECTIONS
CYSTITIS
LEUKAEMIA
TOOTH DECAY

(Slightly mad suggestions courtesy of my family...)

NOTE TO STEPHEN: I think you should make them go on and on until someone gets it. Or at least until they get really depressed...

Eventual Clue:

It begins with 'D'.

Answer:

Depression.

Notes:

Depression is the commonest illness in Britain and the fourth commonest illness in the world*. It is estimated that up to 10% of women and 3-5% of men worldwide suffer from clinical (ie severe) depression in any given year.

Approximately 3,194,347 people in Britain are clinically depressed and it's getting worse. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of prescriptions written for depression every year in the UK rose by more than ten million.

An estimated 19 millions Americans are clinically depressed at any one time, which makes them rather more depressed than we are.

In Australia, children as young as five are currently being treated for depression.

In the 1920ís, the cure for depression was to sit patients with their backs to a wall and then push a table up against them to stop them running away and committing suicide. Psychiatric nurses would watch over them day and night (sometimes for years) until the depression spontaneously lifted. True. Really.

Then there is the enduringly-popular 'walk-it-off' school. Recent research involving subjects aged 20 to 45 found that half an hour's exercise three to five times a week has the same (or better) benefits on depression than drugs, regularly reducing symptoms by nearly 50%.

The incidence of depression has increased rather than decreased since the discovery of anti-depressant drugs, though whether this is a coincidence or a consequence is not known.

According to the Daily Mail, placebos are more than 30% more effective at curing depression than either drugs or herbal remedies. In a series of trials carried out between 1979 and 1996, psychiatrist Dr Arif Khan found that St. Johnís Wort completely cured 24% of cases, the anti-depressant drug Zoloft cured 25% of cases, but the sugar-pill placebos effected a complete cure in 32% of patients. In 52% of all cases there was no discernible difference between the drug and the placebo. In a more recent study comparing the anti-depressants Prozac and Efexor with placebos, the drugs won hands down with 52% cure rate, but the placebos still scored impressively with 38% .

Frankly Iím not sure I completely buy this information from the Daily Mail. It doesnít say which University, if any, or even country ĎDr Arif Khaní comes from, and the second study (where placebos do much less well) isnít referred to in the headline.

In Bangladesh, by far the commonest illness is diarrhoea, followed by intestinal worm infections.

In a national survey, diarrhoea was also found to be the commonest illness amongst US pigs, with 4.7% of over 300,000 piglets on 712 farms developing it in the first few weeks of life (USDA, 1991).

PICTURE RESEARCHERS

Q: A DOCTOR
A: A GLOOMY PERSON

Apologies:

*I regret to say I have been unable to discern what the top three are.

Links:

>>Depressing Jobs?

Sources:


s: TDT 21.3.2000 (Daily Telegraph)
s: DMA 8.5.02 (Daily Mail)
s: VTT
s: http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/1/hi/health/1578755.stm
s: www.pinkfridge.com/hab_depression/clinical.htm
s: www.wrongdiagnosis.com/d/depression/stats-country.htm
s: www.apd.rdg.ac.uk/AgEcon/livestockdisease/pigs/pigenter.htm
s: www.wrongdiagnosis.com/news/depression_treatment_may_simply_involve_exercise.htm
s: http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,9766067%5E2862,00.html
s: http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/D_0248.htm

 
Gray
63430.  Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:33 pm Reply with quote

Here's a very interesting article from Wired about depression (and other 'maladaptive brain states') that talks about the brain's ability to fix itself using meditation, placebos and a few other unusual and unexpected bits of mental behaviour.

The Dalai Lama figures largely in it, and it's a clear link to dopamine - the chemical whose lack causes depression. Using drugs to cure it makes your brain stop producing its own almost completely, whereas if you train yourself to 'be positive' you can make your own again. This is why placebos work, and belief is a powerful thing.

Quote:
"Davidson realized that the results had important implications for ongoing research into the ability to change brain function through training. In the traditional view, the brain becomes frozen with the onset of adulthood, after which few new connections form. In the past 20 years, though, scientists have discovered that intensive training can make a difference. For instance, the portion of the brain that corresponds to a string musician's fingering hand grows larger than the part that governs the bow hand - even in musicians who start playing as adults. Davidson's work suggested this potential might extend to emotional centers.

But Davidson saw something more. The monks had responded to the request to meditate on compassion by generating remarkable brain waves. Perhaps these signals indicated that the meditators had attained an intensely compassionate state of mind. If so, then maybe compassion could be exercised like a muscle; with the right training, people could bulk up their empathy. And if meditation could enhance the brain's ability to produce "attention and affective processes" - emotions, in the technical language of Davidson's study - it might also be used to modify maladaptive emotional responses like depression."

It sounds a bit new-age-y, but psychopharmacology really is a very curious area.

 
MatC
63521.  Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:11 am Reply with quote

Quote:
In the 1920ís, the cure for depression was to sit patients with their backs to a wall and then push a table up against them to stop them running away and committing suicide. Psychiatric nurses would watch over them day and night (sometimes for years) until the depression spontaneously lifted. True. Really.


If it worked, why did they stop it? Ah - too labour-intensive, I suppose.

 
Frederick The Monk
64550.  Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:29 pm Reply with quote

Not enough tables?

 
JumpingJack
65012.  Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:27 am Reply with quote

No money in it for the drug companies more like.

 

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