Crohn’s hits the headlines!

If you listen to any news on the BBC then you are likely to have heard something about Crohn’s disease today.I didn’t really hear a lot, so was surprised to see my Twitter feed go a bit crazy about it all from fellow IBD (Inflamatory Bowel Disease) suffers.

Today had been mildly hyped up by Crohn’s & Colitis UK as they were launching there new Fatigue in IBD microsite with tool to assess how your fatigue impacts on you. This followed a four year research project. The media and PR seemed to have been done well, and tied in with a story about the increase in hospital admissions for the under 30’s with the condition – quadrupling in the last decade.

‘The Health and Social Care Information Centre says 4,937 16 to 29-year-olds were admitted for treatment in England in 2003/4. Last year it rose to 19,405.’

So so far, so good. The day started with an appearance on BBC Breakfast by the CEO of Crohn’s & Colitis UK and Rachel Flint, journalist and IBD sufferer – you can see the interview here. However, Radio 1 Newsbeat ran with an emphasis on the research suggesting that junk food is a cause of Crohn’s disease – their article is here. Apparently the sound bytes in later broadcasts on Breakfast also used Dr Sally Mitton‘s quote about junk food. There was even a segment on Jeremy Vine – and he led with the emphasis on junk food being mentioned, However, I thought Professor Chris Probert was good in debunking some of this if you listened carefully. I had a consultation with him once when I was first referred before he moved to Liverpool, so he has my personal seal of approval.

Needless to say, many IBD suffers took to Twitter, YouTube and forums to vent there anger and frustration about this emphasis. And rightly so in my view. I quite like Thalia Skye’s video blog on the day.

I also felt that Carrie Grant‘s analysis was very good in her letter to Dr Milton – posted here with permission.

Letter from Carrie Grant to Dr Mitton

Letter from Carrie Grant to Dr Mitton

The good people at Crohn’s & Colitis UK also made a statement.

So what can we learn from this? Well I have always been very open with my friends, families and colleagues about my disease (and I was originally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis) and what it means for me. So the fact that more information has come out is a good thing, even if the emphasis has been misleading. Now the IBD community needs to challenge the myths and spread real awareness.

So friends and readers, if you have a question, please feel free to ask, or check out the Crohn’s Colitis UK website, and maybe consider making a donation – check the #getyourbellyout hashtag on social media for an easy way to donate.

To the IBD community – lets use this as an opportunity – I don’t remember coverage like this ever previously. Challenge the myths. Celebrate our achievements, offer support to those whose condition is worse than our own. I’d never heard of Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis before my diagnosis – let’s see if we can change that.

Catch up TV

So having arrived home, sorted laundry, done the shopping and fixed the wardrobe, I settled down to watch some TV with my feet up. After one episode of Man vs. Food I deemed there to be nothing else worth watching, so booted up the BBC iPlayer.

How did we survive without it? I’ve been able to catch up, in HD, with The Thick of It & Merlin from the comfort of my sofa on the big screen.

Licence fee a go go.

Have I Got News For You

HIGNFY 27 October 2010

Picture by Jon Large used under terms of Creative Commons Licence

This evening’s episode of the BBC program Have I Got News For You was, in my opinion, not as funny as it usually is. I’m a big fan, and have watched for many years. I remember Paul Merton winning when his team-mate was a tub of lard. I remember when Merton & Ian Hislop gave Angus Deaton a roasting over his behaviour shortly before he left the show. I like the satirical take on the weeks events, the guest publication and the caption competition.

And this evenings episode looked all set to be a good one. Clare Balding was presenting, Graham Linehan & Ken Livingstone were guests – all sounds promising. And it started well, mocking Tory party conference in the usual style, replaying the clip of George Osbourne being booed at the Paralympics. And then the show took a turn that cannot have been easy to navigate through – Jimmy Saville. It’s been the biggest story of the week, they could hardly leave it alone. Now I’m guessing the show is filmed a few days in advance, because there was no mention of the headstone being removed. And it became a space to vent, not about the horrors of what he is alleged to have done, but also of the way the wider media have responded in particular to the BBC where rumours it seems were rife, yet nothing was done, or even said, officially. This section of the program was light on jokes, but the few that there were were close cutting – Graham Linehan suggested that all the Jim’ll Fix It badges be collected up and melted into a stake to be driven through his grave (and has already had offers on Twitter of badges to get him started).

Saville cannot be held to account for his actions, but the climate now is so different. In my work I know that rumour can be so dangerous, particularly in child protection issues, but I hope that if there are lessons to be learned they can be – but I hope things are already in place to stop such a thing happening again.

Clare Balding’s remarks about the Daily Mail were spot on, and I hope it makes some people think about there choice of news outlet. It is not acceptable to me to print pictures of teenagers in bikinis then be outraged by paedophiles.

I thought the Abu-Hamza joke was in poor taste.

So I’ll tune in again next week – I might even check out Have I Got a Bit More News for You to see what was cut.

#oneaday, Day 43, Top Gear

I watched Top Gear last night. I like Top Gear. Cars I will never get to drive, amusing challenges and stuff being blown up. Great Sunday night viewing. Last night they turned a combine harvester into a snow plough – actually a reasonable point though pretty useless, but not a bad idea.

The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car was Amber Heard, an actress who I had, as Jeremy Clarkson’s introduction suggested, never heard of. The rest of his introduction didn’t help me out much – she is a bisexual who likes muscle cars and guns. He then conducted an  interview which told us very little and made him look and sound frankly like a dirty old man.

This is the latest in a line of gaffs that have left me wondering if it is really worth it, and thinking maybe Fifth Gear is a better option for my motoring needs.

Might go and see Drive Angry though. Mmm, Nicolas Cage….

#oneaday, Day 35, What is news?

The news that broke last night of Amanda Holden miscarrying after 7 months is very sad. It must be a very trying time for her and her family. And as Dr Adam Kay tweeted earlier, thoughts also to the medical staff who had to break the news to her.

My only question is should it have been on thee BBC News front page? Is Amanda Holden such an important figure in the UK to merit this.

The answer, obviously, is yes. It’s just that I don’t think so.

Lets hope the media give her some space and time.

#oneaday, Day 20, Outrage!

Tonight I did something odd. First, some context.

I used to live in Peterborough, where the MP is Stewart Jackson of the Conservative party. As such, I followed him on Twitter – you can see what he Tweets about here. He got in some bother once by Tweeting that sex education increased the STI rate.

Anyway, I don’t live there anymore, but never unfollowed him. Tonight, Mr J tweeted:

‘Not Going Out – rare example of brilliant BBC comedy’

A brief exchange ensued, the jist being ‘What about such and such’ covering classic and more recent comedy. The upshot was that I agreed with a Tory MP.

I fear I may be disowned shortly.

Also – who knew Stewart Jackson likes Gavin & Stacey?