CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Tories are not simply “out of touch”, their policies are deliberate and malevolent

The propaganda regarding sick and disabled people and other benefit claimants is not based on naivety either: it is deliberate, and calculated, a horrible and wicked attempt to justify their punitive approach to stripping welfare provision from the vulnerable to redistribute to the already wealthy. David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling have all contributed a selection of propagandic pieces of work to the press – largely the Sun and the Daily Mail. The language they use – words like “scrounger” “fraud” and “workshy” and the implied “burden on the State,” together with their knowledge that so-called benefit fraud was a mere 0.7% indicates clearly that the policies aimed at removing welfare provision, and the propaganda campaign that has led to an increase in hate crimes directed at the sick and disabled, are intentional. 10,600 sick and disabled people died last year between January and November, within six weeks of their ESA claim closing. It’s very telling that the Department of Work and Pensions do not monitor or account for just how many of those were passed as ” fit for work” by Atos, or awaiting Appeal. Furthermore, this Government introduced targets into the Atos contract when they renewed it in 2010: 7 out of 8 sick and disabled people to lose their benefits.

The Tories are not simply “out of touch”, their policies are deliberate and malevolent | kittysjones

Who Really Benefits from Welfare?

To make things worse the current UK government is targeting the benefit system for cuts (£18 billion annual cut by 2014-15) – this is shown in Figure 1. It has declared that the benefit system is in need of radical reform and it is in the final stages of passing its Welfare Reform Bill. Under the cover of something that could have been good – a redesigned tax-benefit system – we will have something that is an attack on disabled people and people in poverty.

Who Really Benefits from Welfare? – Simon Duffy | kittysjones

Get Better... Or Else?

Disabled people have precious few illusions left about how the DWP views us, but a new pilot programme is going to take that relationship into even more disturbing territory. Starting in November, 3000 disabled people in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance will be forced, under threat of sanction, to attend medical interviews "to address barriers to work", or as DWP minister Mark Hoban put it in the press release "to address health problems". This is at best ethically dubious, forcing someone into a medical process without their consent and which is not with their own specialists, nor even necessarily with someone competent with their specific disability. The only other example of a compelled medical relationship* is for people sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and even they are at least guaranteed that the medical staff involved are mental health professionals and/or their own doctors, while the DWP merely state the meetings will be with "doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists".

Where's the Benefit?: Get Better... Or Else?

Blood Test for Fibromyalgia

Researchers have developed a reliable way to use a finger-stick blood
sample to detect fibromyalgia syndrome, a complicated pain disorder
that often is difficult to diagnose. If it were someday made available
to primary care physicians, the test could knock up to five years off
of the wait for a diagnosis, researchers predict.

Life as we know it: Blood Test for Fibromyalgia

Repeat Test Reveals Dramatic Drop in ME/CFS Exercise Capacity

One of the biggest problems of getting ME/CFS taken seriously is that often we ‘look’ normal, even though we feel lousy, and most lab tests produce ‘normal’ findings. How do we prove to the world that we are sick?

Repeat Test Reveals Dramatic Drop in ME/CFS Exercise Capacity

Monday, 29 July 2013

The idea of paying £25 to see a GP is cruel, but nothing is unthinkable under this government

The Independent revealed last week that 51 per cent of GPs support a charge between £5 and £25 for each appointment – effectively a flat-rate tax on healthcare – to ‘deter’ patients.

The idea of paying £25 to see a GP is cruel, but nothing is unthinkable under this government | Left Foot Forward

Chemical Sensitivities and Fibromyalgia

"Today I walked through a department store and the saleswoman sprayed a card with perfume and held it out to me. I was like "no thanks" and she kept insisting I take it and trying to sell it to me and it reached a point where I got a -little- angry and told her that I have fibromyalgia and buying this is basically like buying migraines I can spray on whenever I "need a spritz". She looked at me confused but then left me alone. This is why I don't go outside."

Via: HUGS AND SPOONS

Atos Suffers Two Major Body Blows

Atos have been left reeling after two severe blows to their survival as providers of medical assessments in the course of a week.  First, a government audit has found that their work capability assessments are so poor that not only must all their current health professionals undergo retraining but also new providers are to be brought in to break up the Atos monopoly by next summer.

Second, an upper tribunal judge has ruled that the opinion of a physiotherapist – on whom Atos are heavily reliant both for carrying out WCAs and even more so for PIP medicals -  is of no value if the claimant has a mental health condition.  The ramifications of this decision could be huge.

Read more in the Benefits & Work 24 July 2013 newsletter

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Animal Model Breakthrough Increases Our Understanding of POTS; Points to New Therapeutic Targets

Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) occurs when the heart goes into tachycardia (rapid heart beats) upon standing, causing dizziness, fatigue, cognitive problems, anxiety  and other symptoms. The most common type of orthostatic intolerance found  in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), POTS appears in various forms, can be quite disabling,  and is often  difficult to treat.  Quality of life scores for people with POTS, for instance,  are similar to people with congestive heart failure.

Animal Model Breakthrough Increases Our Understanding of POTS; Points to New Therapeutic Targets - Health Rising

How Cameron’s plans to block on-line porn could also block political sites

So I’m wondering now that Cameron has announced there is to be a clampdown and censorship of adult content on the internet, will anyone other than a few techies notice if mature content – including political websites – is included in the censorship too?

By my past experience of our half-asleep political class in this country – both left and right – I seriously doubt it.

How Cameron’s plans to block on-line porn could also block political sites | Pride's Purge

Proof of Progress for Fibromyalgia: Disease Status & More Solid Diagnoses

The new criteria, which are another option rather than a replacement, look at a wide range of physical symptoms in addition to widespread pain. It includes two questionnaires, and a combined score reveals whether you do or don't have the condition. In case that doesn't seem very iron-clad to you, it's important to understand that the medical community is in love with questionnaires. It relies on them for all kinds of things, so it's a comfortable tool for a doctor.

Proof of Progress for Fibromyalgia: Disease Status & More Solid Diagnoses

(I'd love to get hold of those questionnaires and see how I score.)

Monday, 22 July 2013

Help for Sleep in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Coming? New Sleep Drug Suvorexant Expected to Hit the Market This Year

Sleep or the lack of it is a serious issue in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Not just your energy level but your ability to think clearly, your sensitivity to pain and your emotional well-being can be affected by the amount and depth of sleep you get.

Help for Sleep in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Coming? New Sleep Drug Suvorexant Expected to Hit the Market This Year - Health Rising

Disabled benefits claimants test: Atos reports found 'unacceptably poor'

The Department for Work and Pensions is to bring in additional providers alongside Atos Healthcare to administer the work capability assessment (WCA) for disabled benefits claimants, after a government review admitted that reports by Atos assessors were of unacceptably poor quality.

Disabled benefits claimants test: Atos reports found 'unacceptably poor' | Society | guardian.co.uk

Drug-Induced Sun Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I've never heard of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome causing sun sensitivity (although it wouldn't surprise me - we can be sensitive to just about everything.) But now, I've discovered that we can become photosensitive because of our medications.

Drug-Induced Sun Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Will GPs betray the Sick and Disabled too?

Yesterday, BBC Wales reported that GPs in South East Wales have been instructed not to write letters to support their patient's benefit appeals. The Bro Taf local medical committee, representing GPs, says "writing letters stops doctors seeing ill patients" amounting to an "Abuse of resources"

It clearly escaped them that these patients are ill enough to be making a claim for out of work subsistence benefits and therefore likely to be some of the most unwell people attending their surgeries. (My emphasis.)

Diary of a Benefit Scrounger: Will GPs betray the Sick and Disabled too??

Sunday, 21 July 2013

According to the Tories, economic terrorism is the new humanism

How can they NOT know that their massive cuts to social safety nets  and lifeline benefits have gone much too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger, and sometimes, death? This IS economic violence. This IS deliberate and calculated, and not “short-sighted”, or down to simple incompetence. This Government knows exactly what it is doing.

According to the Tories, economic terrorism is the new humanism. | kittysjones

ME/CFS and Polio -- similarities that should not be ignored

Fortunately, I do have that friend with polio, so I steadfastly defended my decision to rest muscles before they reached paralytic muscle weakness against ignorant doctors and laypeople who insisted that I had to exercise my way back to health.  Been there, done that, saw that it made the paralytic muscle weakness last longer.
Meanwhile, those who had never seen that happen insisted that they were right, I was wrong, and that my refusal to exercise my way back to health was pure laziness ... unwilling to accept that I would have liked nothing more than to go out for a long walk or dancing the night away, but my body rebelled -- not only my legs became too weak to hold me up, but my other symptoms increased.  Not for a few hours, but for weeks afterward.  The more I toughed it out, the sicker I got.

Life as we know it: ME/CFS and Polio -- similarities that should not be ignored

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Why do mosquitoes prefer to eat some people over others?

Why do mosquitoes prefer to eat some people over others? - Boing Boing

If you seem to be the target of bloodsucking attention, there are two biological systems you can blame — your microbial flora, and/or your immune system. Your particular mix of skin bacteria play a big role in determining how well mosquitoes can smell you (and whether you smell delicious). Meanwhile, your immune system controls your allergic response — or lack thereof — to mosquito bites.

If you have to take an antibiotic, should you take a probiotic, too?

If you have to take an antibiotic, should you take a probiotic, too? - Boing Boing

It probably won't hurt, and it could help, says Scott Gavura at Science Based Medicine. But it's also worth taking a closer look at the nuance behind probiotics, too. These are promising medications and a fascinating field of research, but educating yourself on what we do know and what we don't (especially when it comes to purity of various products) is a really good idea.

Drugs to Treat Fibromyalgia Just as Likely to Harm as Help, Review Finds

Among fibromyalgia patients taking either of two commonly prescribed drugs to reduce pain, 22 percent report substantial improvement while 21 percent had to quit the regimen due to unpleasant side effects, according to a new review in The Cochrane Library.

Drugs to treat fibromyalgia just as likely to harm as help, review finds

Using a Quality of Life (QOL) scale for fibromyalgia, the studies reviewed reported QOL ratings lower than 15 on a scale of 0 to 100 even among patients on medications. [That's no surprise to me!]

You might also like: [PDF] The Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Vitamins and Minerals Can Boost Energy and Enhance Mood

Vitamin and mineral supplements can enhance mental energy and well-being not only for healthy adults but for those prone to anxiety and depression, according to a July 15 panel discussion at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo®.

Vitamins and minerals can boost energy and enhance mood

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Probiotic Therapy Knocks Down Inflammation in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Gut bacteria are a hot topic in medical circles right now, but few studies have assessed their impact on chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).  This Irish and Swiss study asked  if  inflammation was present in ME/CFS, and if it was, if a single gut bacteria (Bifidobacteriun infantis 35624) could reduce it. The answers were yes, and yes.


Probiotic Therapy Knocks Down Inflammation in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Health Rising

Monday, 15 July 2013

Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford investigate benefits system: We found no scroungers and no-one living comfortably

Margaret, after visiting many individuals for the programme, found that a grand total of zero were “living ­comfortably” on benefits, adding: “We didn’t see any of that at all.”

Nick, host of Channel 4 quiz Countdown, is hoping that viewers will come away with a “more balanced” understanding of the benefits system.

“Fraud is like this,” he says as he pinches his finger and thumb together. “One per cent.

"But that’s what we read about and it makes us think that everyone’s at it. Living off the state, on the fiddle.

“If this helps people to know the truth behind some of those Daily Mail headlines, I’ll be very pleased.

Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford investigate benefits system: We found no scroungers and no-one living comfortably - Mirror Online

Measuring Workload in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

New research supports the need for a a second test of function when trying to measure the workload - and delayed recovery rate - of people with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS.)
Researchers concluded that the results from the second test indicate post-exertional fatigue in the ME/CFS group, as well as that a single exercise test is insufficient for demonstrating impairment in this group.

Measuring Workload in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Billions in benefits go unclaimed, DWP figures show

"The government needs to start an awareness programme and move more towards a system where the DWP pay entitlements rather than an individual having to work their way through the benefits maze."

BBC News - Billions in benefits go unclaimed, DWP figures show

Of course, that would make sense, so it ain't likely to happen!

Friday, 12 July 2013

DWP quietly ditches stats on deaths of benefits recipients

The DWP has quietly decided to ditch statistics it used to collect on the number of deaths of recipients of incapacity benefits (now ESA) and its predecessors Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA).

It is thought the numbers of deaths has sharply increased since the Coalition government’s severe cuts to social security benefits.

But to ensure that deaths aren’t cited as evidence of failure of the changes, the DWP won’t be collecting and updating its statistics.

DWP quietly ditches stats on deaths of benefits recipients | Liberal Conspiracy

The Great Debt Lie and the Myth of the Structural Deficit

 

What we need is Labour’s expansionary fiscal policies, not contractionary ones. Real, sensible economists know that the only way to address a recession is to grow the economy, and that means more public spending in the short term, to stimulate economic activity, and cutting if needed when the economy is back on the up (which needn’t mean absolute cuts, but relative cuts because the economy is growing).

The Great Debt Lie and the Myth of the Structural Deficit

If Scope and Demos can do a cumulative impact assessment, why cannot the Government?

As so many disabled persons who have been through the process have said, the worst aspect of the employment and support allowance assessment is fear and insecurity. There is the belief that a test has been created for people to fail, no matter how sick they are; the stress that makes ill-health worse; and the stress and uncertainty of repeated assessments, which are like a sword of Damocles hanging over people perpetually.

 
The Commons debate on ATOS & government treatment of the disabled

Thursday, 11 July 2013

5 Ways to Get More Done Despite Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

One mistake that many CFS sufferers make is pushing themselves to the limit, which causes them to crash at the end or middle of the day. Rather than working to the point of exhaustion, it is far better to take regular breaks and rest stops before the symptoms become unmanageable.

5 Ways to Get More Done Despite Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Vagus Nerve Infection in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The researcher says that existing literature on neuropathic pain demonstrates how such an infection could activate certain glial cells (the brain's immune system) which then, as part of the immune response, bombard the vagus nerve with proinflammatory cytokines and other things that can cause neurons (brain cells) to become hyperactive. This response, he says, could lead to exaggerated and prolonged immune-system activity, which is believed to cause many of the symptoms of ME/CFS.

Vagus Nerve Infection in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

ESA Claimants To Be Forced To Visit DWP Doctors For Health Advice

ESA claimants are to be forced to have regular appointments with DWP doctors or other health professionals, possibly employed by Atos or Capita, not to assess them for benefits but to get advice on how to improve their health. The appointments will be mandatory and can be as long and as frequent as is considered necessary in order to get claimants back into work. Pilots of this and two other schemes will begin in November. 

Benefits & Work 9 July 2013 Newsletter

Fact v fear: nine scare stories that make mugs of the British | Anorak News

A SURVEY by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London looks at scare stories and the facts behind them. These are the popular misperceptions:

Fact v fear: nine scare stories that make mugs of the British

Immigration, crime, benefits: Everything you know about the state of the nation is wrong

The real issue is not the sin of dishonesty but the sin of omission. News reporters will relay incidents of violent crime or benefit fraud without any attempt at providing context or evaluation of scale, and it is not just the right wing tabloids that are responsible.

Immigration, crime, benefits: Everything you know about the state of the nation is wrong

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

People with depression tend to pursue generalized goals

Having very broad and abstract goals may maintain and exacerbate depression. Goals that are not specific are more ambiguous and, therefore, harder to visualise. If goals are hard to visualise it may result in reduced expectation of realising them which in turn results in lower motivation to try and achieve them.

People With Depression Tend to Pursue Generalized Goals

Barber Shop

The disability stats Government DON'T want you to see

For me, this data shows that no matter how hard politicians try to smear one of the most vulnerable groups in the country, simply to cut support away from millions, human nature is what it is. We, the people simply aren't as cruel or cold hearted as those that attempt to control us from Westminster.


The disability stats Government DON'T want you to see
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