Gresham College Lectures
Whither to the Creeping Paralysis? Progress on the road to curing motor neuron disease
How mental health law discriminates unfairly against people with mental illness
Professor Chris Shaw discusses the causes and diagnosis and treat Motor Neuron Disease as well as new cellular and animal models of disease that are informing us about disease mechanisms and will advance drug discovery
If you wish to watch a video of the lecture, or download the podcast, please visit the Gresham College website
Mental health legislation in most jurisdictions (including England and Wales) discriminates against people with a mental illness. When it comes to involuntary treatment, it fails to respect - without adequate justification - the 'autonomy' of people with a mental illness, in stark contrast to the treatment of people with a physical illness. It further discriminates against persons with a mental disorder by allowing a form of preventive detention on the basis of 'risk', without any offence having been committed. Mental health legislation thus carries underlying assumptions that people with mental disorders are not fully self-determining and that they are inherently dangerous. It is possible to frame a law based on impaired decision-making capacity, from whatever cause (whether due to a mental or physical disorder), that would counter such discrimination
If you wish to download the lecture in MP3 format, right click the following link as "Save target as" Download How mental health law discriminates unfairly against people with mental illness
Janet Treasure and Melissa Wolfe present a lecture on Eating Disorders at Gresham College
If you wish to download the lecture in MP3 format, right click the following link as "Save target as" Download Eatng Disorders
Is it all in the genes?
Our understanding of child mental health has changed over the years as attitudes towards children changed. Children are not solely immature adults who need protection and care; they have increasingly been seen as active, responsive agents who can develop mental illnesses from inside themselves.
Correspondingly, diagnoses such as depression, autism, dyslexia and ADHD have shown dramatic increases in the last few years. Is society creating more disorders? What has happened to parenting? Are diagnoses such as ADHD and autism really increasing? Are they real conditions or misattributions of ills in the schools and the families of modern societies? What can be done?
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in MP3 format, right click the following link as "Save target as" Download Child Psychiatry
Are normal people sane?
It has long been observed that mental disorders tend to run in families. However, many types of behaviour show this phenomenon and these range from rare types of movement disorder that are completely genetic to such examples as career choice or religious denomination that are largely influenced by family culture.
Geneticists have used twin and family studies to tease out the extent to which mental illness runs in families because of shared genes or shared environment and for most disorders have found that genes play a substantial role. Environment also has an important influence but this appears to consist mainly of factors that are specific to the individual and not shared within families. More recent studies are beginning to identify specific genes as well as to investigate their interplay with specific environmental effects. There are also interesting emerging findings on the role of genes on response to treatment of mental disorders.
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The Stigma of Mental Illness: Inevitable or unjustifiable?
Speaker: Professor Robin Murray
Psychiatrists have for many years regarded conditions such as anxiety or depression as being at the extreme end of a normal distribution of the characteristic. In contrast, traditional psychiatric classification considers disorders such as schizophrenia as discrete conditions qualitatively quite distinct from normality. However, recent surveys have suggested that minor psychotic symptoms are relatively common amongst the general population, and that they are increased by the same factors as increase the risk of schizophrenia. Furthermore, other studies indicate that those diagnosed as psychotic are in many ways rational. This new evidence suggests that a continuum of liability to psychosis exists, and that the mad are saner than is often thought while the normal are not so sane as we commonly assume.
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Shell Shock or Cowardice? - The case of Harry Farr
Speakers: Professor Graham Thornicroft
Stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness is common and severe wherever it has been studied. One surprising aspect of this is that many consumers report that they feel discriminated against by health and social care staff, even though these are precisely the staff who are trained and experienced in offering assistance to people with mental illnesses. Furthermore, the 'social contact' hypothesis suggests that those with more contact with people with a diagnosis of mental illness will have more favourable and less stigmatising views. This lecture will review evidence about discrimination and evidence of what is effective to reduce stigma and discrimination.
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Speakers: Professor Simon Wessely
Private Harry Farr was a British soldier executed for alleged cowardice during the Battle of the Somme. His fate was particularly tragic because he had a history of "shell shock". Last year, after many years, Harry and all the others executed for military offences during the First World War were finally granted a posthumous pardon. But what exactly had happened to Harry on that fateful day when he refused to go into the trenches? The vast majority of those sentenced to death by British Court Martials were reprieved - why wasn't Harry? What did shell shock really mean in 1916? Finally, is it acceptable to judge history by our own contemporary standards?
If you wish to download the lecture in MP3 format, right click the following link as "Save target as"Download Shell Shock or Cowardice? - The case of Harry Farr