Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Quest for Personalised Health

Interesting Article on the Journal of Chinese Medicine
There is still lot of skepticism about ancient Oriental philosophies and remedies in majority of population, but this is simply due to pure ignorance of both Western professionals and their patients. As more and more people are experimenting alternatives to conventional medicine, I am confident that Eastern methods of healing will find the way to be appreciated as they should all around the globe.

Quest for Personalised Health: Exploring the Emergent Interface of East Asian Medicines and Modern System Sciences  13/06/2011  

A cutting edge 'Quest for Personalised Health: Exploring the Emergent Interface of East Asian Medicines and Modern System Sciences' conference took place in London over the weekend. Organised by Volker Scheid with Bridie Andrews and Jan van der Greef, it brought together systems biologists, physicists, sinologists and Chinese medicine researchers and practitioners. The speakers were top drawer - Prof. Denis Noble (Professor Emeritus and co-Director of Computational Physiology), Nathan Sivin (Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania) and Prof. Andrew Pickering plus a host of experts in systems sciences, Chinese medicine and the interface between them.
    In what was at times a confusingly disparate two days, one main theme seemed to emerge, and that was how best to handle complexity. The early excitement surrounding the genome project was based on the expectation that having identified the 30000 genes in human DNA, manipulation of individual genes would lead to dramatic new solutions for human disease. It is now apparent that this reductionist approach simply isn't working, and that it is the interaction of genes within the human organism, mediated by higher level systems and a host of environmental factors, that determines health and disease. The attempt to track the complex way this entire system functions has led to overwhelmingly indigestible amounts of data. Concurrently, the pharmaceutical industry has hit a wall with fewer and fewer new drugs produced  at ever greater cost. The single bullet approach appears to be nearing the end of its useful life at the same time as it becomes apparent that it delivers less than it has claimed. If reductionism is therefore too limited, and complexity too overwhelming, how can medicine move forward?
    One answer may be to learn from Chinese medicine - as long as it is approached with respect and an open mind. One key feature of Chinese medicine - at the level of best practice - has been its skill in managing complexity. Traditional diagnosis incorporates a wide array of information beyond the relatively narrow confines of disease category whilst the medicine - especially herbal medicine - handles an array of complex prescriptions, each composed of  several complex ingredients combining synergistically, often in known ways. How does it cope?
    First, Chinese medicine is characterised by the recognition that there may be a variety of possible solutions to the same problem. Different doctors are much more likely to prescribe different prescriptions of herbs or acupuncture points for the same patient than they are to come up with identical prescriptions, and yet although it is recognised that some solutions are likely to be more effective than others, there is no one single 'right' way to respond to an individual patient.
    Secondly, Chinese medicine is able to flexibly interweave treatment at the level of the disease, the presenting pattern and the individual, thus spanning a range from the more reductionist to the more complex and variable. It is perhaps the pattern recognition aspect that offers the most to systems sciences, and fascinating work is being done on exactly this by those such as Professor Jan van der Greef and Jan Schroen from the Sino-Dutch Research Centre for Preventive and Personalized Medicine, both of whom presented at this conference. Pattern differentiation can be seen as the integrating factor between the relative reductionism of disease identification and the relative complexity of unique individual presentation.
    Thirdly, Chinese herbal medicine offers a kind of modular approach, with an arsenal of base prescriptions (many tried and tested over centuries) which are then tailored and modified for the patient by the addition and subtraction of ingredients or by flexible combinations with other prescriptions. Of course it would be naive to think that Chinese medicine handles this approach without disagreement and contradiction. Prof. Yi-Li Wu showed how Sheng Hua Tang (Generating and Transforming Decoction) was misused in late Imperial China by practitioners who applied it as a one-size-fits-all treatment for postpartum women, despite the fact that it was designed to warm and move blood stasis and was therefore potentially contraindicated (and harmful) for women suffering from heat and deficiency. Her presentation also raised the more complex question of how and when Chinese medicine practitioners should prescribe unmodified formulas, modified formulas or entirely different formulas.
    It is hard to do justice to the range of presentations at this conference, several of which took me to the edge (and beyond) of my ability to handle systems science, biology and physics. And the range of presentations - from the history of qi in ancient Chinese philosophy to the weaknesses and potential pitfalls of Chinese medicine research - threatened to overwhelm at times. But it was hard to escape the feeling that these discussions were taking place at the cutting edge of 21st century medicine.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

June' 3rd Monday.

Dear Friends,

This is a little update following our monthly meeting this week. It has been a very dynamic evening with lots of positive feedback from last event at St John's and some new and fresh ideas to look forward to as well. Warm welcome to Brett, Jake and Caroline that joined us for the first time. Other present: David K, Myra, Sarah, Brian, Charly, Eamer, Nat. Apologies from Tony and Sheila.

The benefit reassessment has been discussed: the Mental Health Resistance Network, specially Dave Skull, deserve great praise for the hard work being done to educate people on their basic rights being trampled on by the British Government.

Dave Skull and COIN (Community Options Involvement Network) have worked hard in producing a easy to read document for people from the moment they receive the "calling letter".

David Amery has also sent us an updated document to the one distributed on the night of the 10th, with the and mental). The need to create a working group In East London that might duplicate the work that the MHRN are doing was discussed. If anyone is free and willing to get on board please let us know or contact the MHRS directly on mentalhealthresistance-owner@lists.aktivix.org

Charly informed us on the next Your Day Your Say event to take place on the 4th of August on the theme of Complementary Therapies. Being this one of the main issues FEEL campaigns for, Charly has invited us to participate to it with a stall. Everyone was also encouraged by Charly to take part to COIN, which is the body that plans the upcoming YSYD events. Next meeting is on the 4th July, 3-5pm at Albert House, 62 Roman Rd.

Jake has invited us to the forthcoming screening of Healing Homes the documentary of an inspiring method of recovery practiced in Sweden. The screening will take place at LARC on Mon the 27th June 7-10pm and there will be a chance to debate the current psychiatric system and its faults.

Current economic crisis eventually is affecting any field and big pharma is included, as last week article on The Guardian showed.
Now,  more than ever it's time for service users to speak up and out about what best helps in their condition, if they do know, and be suspicious of those professional that don't allow to be challenged: they are only wetting their pants because they don't have answers to give you and intimidating you keeps you on your old rotten boots, securing their salary. A real professional listens to you.

Jake has also told us about the SPEAK OUT AGAINST PSYCHIATRY event which is organised for the 27th July 4-6pm in front of the Royal College of Psychiatry. Police has been informed about this and it will be a fun and peaceful protest with the aim to make friends with the professionals unless they have all sold their souls to Big Pharma. Discontent in patients and carers can not longer be ignored. Banners will be prepared sometimes soon. Get in touch if you have any queries and you wish to get involved writing to speakoutagainstpsychiatry@gmail.com Committee members are very much welcome.
All FEEL members demonstrated enthusiasm and support for the SOAP's initiative.

David has been contacting Roland Littlewood to invite him on a future FEEL event on the theme of STIGMA & RACISM. It was discussed weather or not having more official speakers, when with such hot topic more people could participate contributing from the floor. Approximate date is for mid November at Kingsley Hall.

Some agit-prop was also suggested by David to take place on the 15th of September in front of ELFT headquarters at the East One building, during the trust AGM.

We received some feedback from Patricia, correcting the wrong statement I sent out in the last mail. Apologies to Patricia were sent.

From: patricia howlett

Hi & thanks for the newsletter.
I wanted to correct wthe point accredited to me @ the St Johns meeting.
I said:
The CCHR was an American-based organization who were campaigning against the use of psychotropic drugs.
Their campaign dvd available free The Marketing of Madness spoke of the excessive use of medication including the drugging of children. Not "children in America" as you printed. This has been, and currently, is excessive in this country and others around the globe!! I was a teacher in special schools for years and so have first hand experience of this.
I also spoke of the DSM which diagnosis shyness in children as "social affective disorder" which they now have a drug to treat.
The reason I referred to CCHR was due to their extensive publications & research to uncover the truth not that I am, nor promoting Scientology as this is where this work began.
Even the best of loonies have some great accomplishments!!!
I would appreciate it if you could print a correction, either just to put the truth of what I said straight, or if you want, to desseminate the full information of my contribution as above.Thanks.
One Love,

Thank you all for reading and sharing with us lots of tremendous important info.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

June Newsletter.

Dear Friends,

We wish to thank all of you that helped and got involved in
FEEL event in support to the MHRN (Mental Health Resistance
Network) last Friday the 10th.
Thank you Ms Angela for letting us access a church smelling of
fresh flowers; to the Madlark for entertaining us with their music
and for supplying the sound system, to Ms Ann for offering her
BSL interpreting, for the wonderful performance from Frank & Sophie and to all the expected and unexpected speakers.
All really appreciated!!!

The MHRN are ruthlessly continuing their campaign against the
welfare benefit cuts, meeting in South London about once per
month. Anyone that wishes to get in touch with them, please
send an email at mentalhealthresistance-owner@lists.aktivix.org

Mike informed us about the Slice of Life in London project
an idea started by Kirsty Hall and Furhan Iqbal aimed at
helping young unemployed people with mental health problems.
Visit their blog http://sliceoflifelondon.wordpress.com 

Marion shared some views of the projects happening in
Ealing and invited anyone interested to get in touch with
them at marian.obrien@loudandclear.org or 07896811226

Patricia raised the issue of the drugged American children,
allarm sent out by the campaigns of the CCHR

John invited us to the projection of the documentary Healing Homes
Mon, June 27th 7-10 pm at LARC, 62 Fieldgate St, E1 1ES
This film by Daniel Mackler explores a non-medical approach to
mental illness which has had a lot of success in Sweden
An open discussion will follow the viewing. Free admission

Another invitation from John is to participate to the Speak Out
Against Psychiatry an original protest of this kind
to take place right in front of the Royal College of Psychiatry
on Wed, 27th July, 4-6pm to make our voices heard and
demand a change in a damaging system as psychiatry is

Some more discussion will follow at our FEEL meeting next
Monday the 20th 6.30-8.30 at LARC. Please join us if you can.

To follow a few other bits of information that might interest some of you.


Radio interview with Catherine G Lucas Founder, Spiritual Crisis Network Tues 14 June 4pm GMT, repeated Sun 19 June 3pm GMT, talking about her new book and the SCN Visit www.stroudfm.co.uk and click Listen Live

SCN new blog: http://www.in-case-of-spiritual-emergency.blogspot.com/
Website http://www.spiritualcrisisnetwork.org.uk/SCN.shtml
SCN monthly meeting on Fri 17th June, 7-9pm at the Buddisth Centre, Roman Road



This is to let you know about significant developments in local Soteria Network groups around the UK. Firstly a new local group has started up in Brighton over the last few months, and there is now a Soteria Brighton webpage on our website, under the 'local groups' section here. If you would like to get involved with the Brighton group there is a form that you can complete (which can be accessed through the Soteria Brighton page) on which you can indicate how you would like to be involved.
The other local group which is continuing to develop is Soteria Bradford, who are starting to run workshops for people who are interested in volunteering to work in their project as well as others who are interested in the Soteria and Windhorse approaches. The first workshop will take place on Saturday 2nd July. To find out more about this workshop and to book a place, please click here.
Thanks for your continuing interest in the work of the Soteria Network.

With Best Wishes,
Soteria Network.


CoolTan Arts Midnight Largactyl Shuffle  
Saturday 18 June 2011, meet at 23:45pm for 12:00 midnight start
Meet at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG (main entrance on Holland Street)
Night time is the time for the Outsider, the sleepless, the restless, and the wanderer. Charles Dickens, an avid nightwalker, asked: “Are not the sane and the insane equal at night as the sane lie a dreaming?” Join us in the footsteps of past and present nightwalkers; learn about artists and writers who have made moonlit London their own. We will also be celebrating the summer solstice, marking the shortest night of the year, with a look at the magic of pagan midsummer.

Participate in this unique procession from the ‘powerhouse’ Tate Modern to the home of contemporary psychiatry, the Maudsley Hospital.
Walkers meet at 12:00 midnight at the main entrance of Tate Modern and finish the walk in the wee hours of Sunday at the Maudsley Hospital, where you’ll have the possibility to rest at the chapel for a few hours. Feel free to bring sandwiches, tea, coffee for the route (no alcohol please).
Walk leaders wear orange high-vis jackets and rucksack. If you cannot find the group of walkers, please call us on 0798 565 8443.


Royal College of Psychiatrists launches new website to help people return to work after mental illness

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has launched a new online resource offering information and guidance about returning to work after a period of mental ill-health. The Work and Mental Health website is divided into four main parts, and is aimed at workers, carers, employers and clinicians.


Hi People

find attached e versions of fliers / posters for the two events CREATIVE ROUTES have happening for the CAMBERWELL ARTS FESTIVAL -
a Spontaneous Celebration of the Summer Solstice in the Bardic Tradition - Open mic Poetry and Acoustic Music -

Special guest poets and performers - would be performers more than welcome - come early and register to perform to avoid disappointment -
a special 'one off' revival of the popular POET'S COMMUNION events that we used to run regularly in the sadly demised 'ART' bar in Camberwell and which there is a demand to bring back as a regular function - keep watching this space for more details - we will be back -

MONDAY 20TH JUNE-  8pm until Midnight

these events are being staged as part of the Camberwell Arts Festival -  www.camberwellarts.org.uk
for more info on the events and CREATIVE ROUTES  call  - 077 577 15035 or go to -  http://tinyurl.com/6155qzb

Featuring local ambient industrial noise merchants the mighty AMPERSAND-
Poet SIBYL MADRIGAL accompanied by highly respected multi instrumentalist improvisational musician ALEX WARD
Quirky and original singer songwriter DAVE RUSSELL
Original poet / performer FRAN ISHERWOOD
Eccentric 'theatre of the absurd' duo LE DONNE

And highly regarded singer musician CHRIS LEEDS who will - with the support of various musical friends- treat us to some of his amazing music that incorporates elements of folk , blues, country and gospel in an astounding blend -

Same info as above re Camberwell Arts Festival / CREATIVE ROUTES

All buses to Camberwell Green -
Camberwell Green. - (both events)


Dave Skull

Meet at LARC 62, Fieldgate st, Whitechapel 6,30-8.30pm


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Osborne’s heartless cuts

The shocking impact of Osborne’s heartless cuts on the disabled 

“Although 4,000 of the most vulnerable disabled claimants will be exempt because they need help through the day or night, most ill and disabled people will be forced to move into cheaper accommodation, often outside the area where they live.” 

Read full article here

Database Update

Several weeks ago in the attempt to put a bit of order in our mailing list and clear up all those wrong mails that sometimes bounce back, we have asked you to identify your preferences in terms of frequency receiving our mails and locating yourself geographically.

We would like to thank all of you that replied, and we appreciated the ones that offered a word of support and encouragement for our work. Weird the reaction of others: we understand if you feel overwhealmed by too many mails, just pop us a note and will stop bothering you; don't get MAD! ;)

If you do wish and are happy in receiving our news or perhaps wish to circulate information about your group
or organisation, please do send us a mail at any time to f.e.el.campaign@gmail.com