This is how stigma works

Originally posted on Mind Hacks:

Sussex Police issue a statement about ‘Concern for missing Chichester man’, ITN News report it as ‘Police warn public over missing mental health patient’.

Sussex police:

Police are appealing for information about missing 43-year old Jason Merriman, who left The Oaklands Centre for Acute Care in Chichester on unescorted leave at 12.45pm on Friday 11 April. He was due back the same afternoon but has so far failed to return.
There are concerns for Jason’s welfare as he has mental health problems, and police advise that he is not approached by members of the public.

ITN News:

A mental health patient who has been missing from a care unit in Chichester for more than a day should not be approached by the public, police have warned.

Amazing really – (via @Sectioned_)

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Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, Dublin

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Astonishing place.

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John Waters (not the other one) on depression: ‘Not even wrong’

John Waters (the columnist, not the other one - don’t confuse them!) is quoted in

Age-standardised disability-adjusted life year...

Age-standardised disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rates from Unipolar depressive disorders by country (per 100,000 inhabitants). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

today’s Sunday Independent as follows:

“I don’t believe in depression. There’s no such thing. It’s an invention. It’s bullshit,” he said, “it’s a cop out.”

To which I can only say ‘wow’! There are at least two possibilities here. The first is that he has been misquoted, or that there are substantive elisions around the quote which provide some form of moderation (like he is speaking about the universe of possibilities for himself, as in ‘I don’t do depression, personally’).

The other possibility is much more straightforward: John has been accurately quoted and he truly believes this about depression. In which case, this statement brings to mind Wolfgang Pauli’s remark: ‘It is not even wrong’.

Then I wondered where to start.

I could have started by citing the DSM-IV definition:

‘a person who suffers from major depressive disorder must either have a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities consistently for at least a two week period. This mood must represent a change from the person’s normal mood; social, occupational, educational or other important functioning must also be negatively impaired by the change in mood. A depressed mood caused by substances (such as drugs, alcohol, medications) or which is part of a general medical condition is not considered to be major depressive disorder.’

had thought about providing a whole bunch of references to actual clinical evidence (maybe even citing some some individual personal testimony, or perhaps even thoughts from a famous person).  Or some evidence on treatment; or even some material from a textbook.

Of course, I might be wrong, and what I’ve been teaching students is all wrong:

(Depression, the common psychological disorder, affects about 121 million people worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) states that depression is the leading cause of disability as measured by Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) and the fourth leading contributor to the global burden of disease. By the year 2020, depression is projected to reach second place in the ranking of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) calculated for all ages. Today, depression already is the second cause of DALYs in the age category 15-44 years.) .

And I wondered if I should cite this major study:

Background

Depressive disorders were a leading cause of burden in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 1990 and 2000 studies. Here, we analyze the burden of depressive disorders in GBD 2010 and present severity proportions, burden by country, region, age, sex, and year, as well as burden of depressive disorders as a risk factor for suicide and ischemic heart disease.

Methods and Findings

Burden was calculated for major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymia. A systematic review of epidemiological data was conducted. The data were pooled using a Bayesian meta-regression. Disability weights from population survey data quantified the severity of health loss from depressive disorders. These weights were used to calculate years lived with disability (YLDs) and disability adjusted life years (DALYs). Separate DALYs were estimated for suicide and ischemic heart disease attributable to depressive disorders.

Depressive disorders were the second leading cause of YLDs in 2010. MDD accounted for 8.2% (5.9%–10.8%) of global YLDs and dysthymia for 1.4% (0.9%–2.0%). Depressive disorders were a leading cause of DALYs even though no mortality was attributed to them as the underlying cause. MDD accounted for 2.5% (1.9%–3.2%) of global DALYs and dysthymia for 0.5% (0.3%–0.6%). There was more regional variation in burden for MDD than for dysthymia; with higher estimates in females, and adults of working age. Whilst burden increased by 37.5% between 1990 and 2010, this was due to population growth and ageing. MDD explained 16 million suicide DALYs and almost 4 million ischemic heart disease DALYs. This attributable burden would increase the overall burden of depressive disorders from 3.0% (2.2%–3.8%) to 3.8% (3.0%–4.7%) of global DALYs.

Conclusions

GBD 2010 identified depressive disorders as a leading cause of burden. MDD was also a contributor of burden allocated to suicide and ischemic heart disease. These findings emphasize the importance of including depressive disorders as a public-health priority and implementing cost-effective interventions to reduce its burden.

But then I wondered if I should bother…

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These charts explain what’s behind America’s soaring college costs

Originally posted on Quartz:

The growing $1.1 trillion student debt burden in the US has been well documented, yet concerns are subdued. That’s because the burden, unlike the housing crisis, won’t cause a sudden economic crash . Instead, it will prompt a slow strangulation of spending spread over many years. Congress has made some minor efforts to reduce interest rates on debt, but the necessity for such large loans must be scrutinized. And that means confronting the indulgences of colleges.

Tuition costs have soared in recent decades. In 1973, the average cost for tuition and fees at a private nonprofit college was $10,783, adjusted for 2013 dollars. Costs tripled over the ensuing 40 years, with the average jumping to $30,094 last year. Even in the last decade the increase was a staggering 25%.

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The ability of colleges to raise costs has been facilitated by a sharp increase in federal student aid. Lenders freely dispense…

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Your reality is 15 seconds in the making

Originally posted on Quartz:

When you really focus your attention on something, you’re said to be “in the present moment.” But a new piece of research suggests that the “present moment” is actually a chunk of the recent past, and it’s about 15 seconds long.

Jason Fischer of the University of California at Berkeley, the lead author of the study (paywall), said he wanted to know how our perception changes as we shift our attention from one thing to another. For example, how does your brain process the motion of the annoying housefly buzzing around your kitchen, as opposed to its companion you’ll be swatting next?

His research, published with his co-author David Whitney, suggests that when we focus on something, the image we perceive isn’t a snapshot of it at that moment, but rather a sort of composite—a product mostly of what we’re seeing now, but also influenced by what we’ve been seeing for the previous 15 seconds or so. They call this ephemeral…

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Nearly a quarter of Britain’s masters students are Chinese

Originally posted on Quartz:

British university masters programs are increasingly dominated by students from China, who now make up 23% of the total enrollment, according to a new study on English higher education —only narrowly behind the 26% of students who are British.

Of the 144,760 overall post-graduate students in Britain overall, 40% are British. Chinese students are a close second, about 21% of the total, and their ranks increased by 9% from the 2011-12 to 2012-13 school year:

Home-country-of-foreign-students-in-British-post-grad-programs-2012-2013-Number_chartbuilder

More than half of the Chinese masters students in Britain (52%) are studying management or business studies, a group that includes the Chinese tourist who was kidnapped this week in Malaysia, shortly after she was accepted into a graduate program in the UK. Many of them may are going abroad because of a dearth of high-quality universities in their own country. Among China’s wealthiest families, Britain is the preferred destination for higher education, ahead of the US and Canada.

Despite…

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The cost of open access publishing: a progress report

Originally posted on Wellcome Trust Blog:


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The Wellcome Trust recently published details of how much it spent on open access publishing in the year 2012-2013 in an attempt to make the debate around the costs of open access publishing more evidence-based. The data we released fuelled much discussion online and Robert Kiley, Head Digital Services at the Wellcome Library, gives an update…

At the Wellcome Trust we are keen proponents of openness and transparency so we published details of our spending on open access publishing, (as reported by UK institutions and the Trust’s Major Overseas Programmes who are in receipt of an open access block grant) for 2012-13. Within a few hours of releasing this data we were pleased that the web community were working to enhance and normalise it. The version now available through Google Docs is far richer than the original dataset, and includes additional data elements such as DOI’s, licence terms and…

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