Mind Games

Apologies to those of you who got my draft post by email this morning. I pressed publish by mistake. It was a mess and unedited! Here is the completed one.

Due to copyright reasons I cannot autoplay the song I want to when you read my post this week! Mind you, music can be annoying on a website. So to get over this I will hum and sing it in text thus freeing me from any copyright issues….

Da…………, da da da, da da da, da, da, dahhhh,

“We’re playing those mind games together, pushing the barriers, planting seeds”

What are you going on about, Lee? Well, it was John Lennon’s birthday this week. He would have been 76. Murdered 36 years ago. I remember it vividly.

Back then, I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg which was wicked and so so illegal. No internet and the news only slowly filtered out. It was December 8th 1980. I was still taking my A levels. I won’t forget it because the drummer on Lennon’s legendary song Imagine was a guy called Alan White, who was the drummer in a huge band at the time called Yes. The next day December 9th I went to see Yes with Alan on drums in Southampton! What a small world.

Mind games, well, well, well. We will come back to these later.

I was also reminded of the 1980s’ this week when my mum gave me this book.

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I bought this for my Dad in 1981 as a birthday present. I met the amazing Douglas Badar when he visited Imperial College London where I was studying. He was signing books and I managed to meet and chat with him. What a guy. For those of you who don’t know about Douglas, you can have a good read about his life here . In summary, he lost both legs before the war and still went on to be a spitfire pilot legend and war hero.

Did you really meet him, Lee? Show me the selfie. Selfie, in 1981!? Back then a selfie meant something rather different! In fact taking photographs involved visiting Boots (a pharmacy to my American friends) to drop off film. The worst part was going back in 2 weeks to get the photos (2 weeks yes kids!). You knew that your photos had been looked at by the whole of the Boots staff! Sexting was a rather long winded affair back then, and generally the Police were at the counter when you turned up!

But I do have a photo of Douglas with a member of the legendary Bragg family. Here he is with Smudger Bragg, who not long after this photo was to become known as “One ear” Bragg.

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On Wednesday my mate Jim, who also has MND, popped round for a coffee. We had a nice chat, and amongst other things discussed an MND trial. One thing we both find tricky is walking with cups of tea or coffee, and both Jim and I took a while to move from the kitchen to the lounge without spilling our beverages! We got there.

To give you a feel for how we got on, I have to include this famous “Two Soups” sketch starring the great Julie Waters in the late Victoria Wood’s show. I have positioned the YouTube video at the right place, but rewind if you want to enjoy the entire bed wetting humour.

On Thursday, I had a hospital appointment to visit a specialist physio to see if I could improve my walking gait. My walk is now quite clumpy, sort of like a bad RoboCop. Some good advice was received, and I am going to get some small ankle straps to help. All in all I was very relaxed. Well no reason not to be. If I was to fall over anywhere, where better than a hospital?! Plenty of ambulances and doctors around. Knowing my luck though, I would fall just at the reception, and be invisible to the receptionist who would only hear a thud and an “excuse me”.

Ok, back to mind games. In last week’s post I talked about the placebo and Nacebo effect. Of course, they are incredibly interesting and show the complexities of drug trials and many aspects of human health.

What I didn’t realise last week, was that it explains something that annoyed me about the NHS in the UK and even actually private health insurance policies.

Both the NHS and private health companies spend money on homeopathy!!! Now any scientist or analytical person simply knows homeopathy does not and cannot work. There is zero evidence of efficacy. Pure homeopathy uses such extreme dilutions, that nothing of the active ingredient is present. In fact there is probably more of the impurities of the original dilution material!

But, hold on!

So although I am always angered by inappropriate NHS spending (it’s about £3m a year for homeopathy), it is in fact actually logical!!

Almost certainly any effect from homeopathy, if any, has to be a placebo effect, and all created by the wonderful human mind and areas we don’t fully understand as yet. Many years ago it was often anecdotally quoted that UK GPs (doctors) may have prescribed placebos to patients. It is most definitely not allowed or considered now, or is it?

Doctors can of course prescribe homeopathy! If there is an apparent effect, it has worked yes? So the only issue I can argue with is; why don’t the NHS produce their own cost-effective homeopathy? Jeesh my logic astounds me! But it just shows that you have to really think about things.

So all in all the benefit/cost ratio is possibly pretty good. The only other choice would be repeated visits to the doctor, or other legal placebos. What other legal placebo, Lee? Well in fact the biggest placebo prescribed in the UK today are antibiotics, perhaps even forced by patient pressure. Simple fact, they do not help viral infections, the conditions that they are mostly prescribed for! And look what that has done for bacterial resistance.

Meanwhile in the world news, I understand Russia’s Valdamir Putin has ordered high-ranking officials back to the motherland in preparation for what some of our media is calling World War III. Fortunately, they have all been given Southern Rail tickets so we have some time to prepare!

Sorry about that readers, that is a rather UK centric joke. For my global readers, we have a railway in the UK which has been making the news recently with strikes and extremely poor service.

So hopefully, unless at war with Russia, I will be back next week. Actually, imagine if we were to enter a strange Mad Max world, and in 50 years they discover my blog still getting hits!?

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One Comment

  1. jaynehalhead says:

    I loved ‘Reach for the Sky’ film Douglas Bader’s life-story, how seriously exciting to have actually met him! And ‘Two Soups’, hilarious, best ever Julie Walters sketch! Thanks for the reminders, Lee. Oh and Radio Luxembourg, used to have that on in bed, memories!

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