Peer feedback is such an integral part of the design process and allows for further development and discussion of an idea. When discussing my draft proposal with a classmate I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they had quite an in-depth knowledge about Type 1 Diabetes, not only from the perspective of understanding the disease but also the issues surrounding the topic. This really helped when discussing my proposal and meant that I received some fantastic feedback that has allowed me to develop my proposal soundly.
My partner really liked my devised process of generation, collection, and collation that would result in a final exhibition. We discussed that at the core of my proposal was the idea of connection, exploring how this connection could be fostered between people living with Type 1 Diabetes as well as wider society. It was suggested that to inspire these connections individuals could be given the opportunity to deliver their postcards themselves to the exhibition space. Not only would this provide people with the opportunity to meet each other in person but it would also humanise the issue and disease.
One issue I did face when discussing my proposal with my partner and tutor was that I was still struggling to articulate by issue and devised response in a way that it could be understood clearly. It was suggested that I attempt to narrow in on my target audience and issue so that my response is more targeted and specific. I’ve put a lot of work into trying to better refine my proposition so that my issue and generative practice are clearly linked and explained.
When living with Type 1 Diabetes there is a ‘constant and tiring mental dialogue of trying to balance the un-balanceable, trying to do right not wrong and with you, the only listener.’ It is this constant cognitive battle that sufferers struggle to voice, particularly to those not living with the disease.
TOP (Type One Peers) is a generative practice and service project that aims to bring people living with Type 1 Diabetes together to talk about their chronic disease, not just in medical terms but in a social, every-day manner. The project seeks to engage sufferers in a process that will see them first visualise their individual cognitive struggles before coming together alongside other young people living with Type 1 Diabetes to discuss, support and share these struggles and stories.
A TOT package is mailed out to all registered NDSS (National Diabetes Service Scheme) individuals, containing a collection of A5 postcards. Each card requires a different response from the individual and are specifically tailored to engage and explore the mental and physical struggle of living with Type 1 Diabetes. The proposed draft postcards with their tasks and aims are shown below:
Depending on location and context, participants are then invited to either send back their completed postcards or bring them in themselves to a local workshop that will engage sufferers in curating and putting together an exhibition. The exhibition will ultimately be a visualisation and exploration of Type 1 Diabetes that goes beyond stereotypes and the physical aspects of the disease but rather focusses on the mental and cognitive struggles that are so hard to voice and share for those living with Type 1 Diabetes.
Due to time, economic and distance boundaries there will also be an online exhibition that allows those who cannot physically be at the workshop and space to still engage and connect with fellow sufferers. By bringing together individuals throughout this experience it is hoped that it will empower them to share their stories and provide supporting for one another in a way that they may currently struggle to do.
The exhibition also provides an opportunity for those living with the disease to communicate and begin a discussion with the general public about how the cognitive demands of this disease can be better managed and understood. It is hope through this process that sufferers learn to express their cognitive battles with the disease more freely not only with their peers but others in their life. It’s also hoped that this struggle is recognised by the general public so that other support systems and networks arise.
When considering the stakeholders of the issue of obesity and healthy living, you better clear your schedule for the next hour, make a cup of tea and have several large pieces of paper on standby to record all the major participants you can think of. The world of health is the world we live in every day and are unable to simply take a holiday from. As humans it is within us and around us every moment of our lives, which is precisely why everybody and everything we are, plays a part in how it functions in the bigger picture.
During a class exercise recently, I was required to do just that (minus the cup of tea, sadly). With my group we wrote down as many stakeholders as we could and positioned them in line of most important and influential to least. Gaining this overview we uncovered some insightful and surprising positioning within the list. Some stakeholders we had thought would be big players in the issue, when compared to others, were actually less important than those we initially considered less important. For example, economic position was deemed of higher influence than that of social media in its line of influence. This insight lead me to the idea that healthy living may just be a luxury for those with a socio-economic affordability for it, leaving the poorer to become poorer and unhealthier.
Furthering on in class we decided to plot out the relationships and connections between stakeholders which formed an intense web of lines, communicating how complex this issue is and how many influences have other influences via other stakeholders.
On leaving my class I decided to pursue this map and create my own, with particular focus on four crucial areas to draw connection between the groups and view any overlaps in influence. After listing initial stakeholders for the four main groups; emotional, medical, humans and environmental, I decided to pick an important word from each group and link it up with words from alternate groups. This mapping exercise further displays the complexity of the issue. I was interested to see though, how substantial the human and emotional group was in connection and influence with other stakeholders.
During a following class a week later, another mapping exercise was conducted but this time it was not concerning stakeholders only, but any word that could be related or influential to my topic. My group decided to divide our answers into five categories; education, expectation, support, role models and social to address the question of who and how these elements are formed. We also made subcategories listing who would use those words in everyday conversations. From this exercise I drew the conclusion of support being a crucial element to the recovery of a healthy lifestyle, however, not a readily available offering in today’s society.
These 7 mobile apps will help you find GMO and additive-free foods by Healthy Holistic Living, 2016
This image displays an emergence between the food and produce market and portable technology. It is a representation of how two unlikely elements can be paired through their connecting feature of data to create a further efficient source of information for tracking, keepsake or other personal reasons. Unlike written understandings of this, the picture allows us to see and interpret how the technology is used in the real world.
Farmacy by Piraro, 2011
A comic styled image with a humorous and witty catch, this image draws the audience in by utilising their knowledge of generalised pharmacy perception, as a place of medication and healthy influence and highlights the importance of eating healthy regularly in keeping the body in a positive state. The use of humour furthers the audience’s connection with the image, unlike traditional written statements and explanations.
5 ways to get fit and healthy by Women of Substance, 2015
A powerful image displaying a female actor kicking a mountain of junk food. The food has been made bigger than her, to symbolise how large the struggle is to rid our lives of such things. Images like the one above plant an idea into the minds of the audience quite quickly and efficiently, without the use of words.
Microbiome by NaturalHealth365, 2016
Unless you’re a doctor or studying the human biome, our internal structures are not something we like or have to think about much. This image almost acts as an infographic or informative insight into our internal gut system and how gut inflammations are caused through our biome. It assists our understanding in guiding our minds creativity towards imagining this as explained in words.
How your gut flora prevents you from getting fat and sick by Natural Mentor, 2015
Another powerful image, quite scientific in nature, suggesting humans are predominantly created from DNA and our genetics. This emphasis placed on merging the two highly recognisable forms is effective and easy to understand.
Magical ways to control your health and fitness by GagaTrends, 2015
This image is actually used as a feature image for a previous blog post of mine on the same topic, post one. In this blog post I gave an overarching view of obesity and healthy living subjects presented in the Australian press. The reason behind this image choice is because the items presented in the image are associated with our first thoughts of the term healthy living.
10 facts about obesity, by eNews channel Africa, 2014
Another image I have used as a feature image displays an overweight child, positioned next to a pizza box and playing video games. This, unfortunately is one of the stereotypes younger generations of people have today when the term ‘gamer’ or ‘overweight’ are used. It’s effective in conveying an emotive and therefore engaging and successful image.
Augmented reality fitness games coming to tablets and phones by TechRadar, 2013
The emergence of technology and physical activity has become an idea that seems to be accelerating at speed into shaping the future. This image is an example of augmented reality doing just this and encouraging people to get off their couches while gaming, instead of sitting, as pictured in the image above.
Food additives and behaviours by Yummy Tuckers, 2014
The image above displays a quite literal representation of the chemicals and additives being placed into a common household breakfast item. It is effective in doing so as these chemicals are usually hidden quite well (even on the information and ingredient panel) and the general consumer is not consciously recognising they are in what they are eating.
Doesn’t work, does it? by Kevin Prezzi, 2016
It’s no secret that our society is over medicated and under enthused about life in general. This image heavily communicates how reliant humans, as a collective, are on the pharmaceutical market. It suggests we are full yet still consuming medications, toxins and drugs ‘off a silver spoon,’ as the saying goes.
Augmented reality fitness games coming to tablets and phones, 2013, TechRadar, date viewed 19 August 2016, < http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/tablets/augmented-reality-fitness-games-coming-to-tablets-and-phones-1188130 >.
Doesn’t work, does it, 2016, Kevin Prezzi, date viewed 20 August 2016, < http://www.kevinpezzi.com/blog/steve-jobs_mel-gibson_cancer_appearance.php >.
Food aditives and behaviours, 2014, Yummy Tuckers, date viewed 20 August 2016, < http://www.yummytuckers.com.au/food-additives-and-behavior/ >.
How your gut flora prevents you from getting fat and sick, 2015, Natural Mentor, date viewed 19 August 2016, < http://naturalmentor.com/how-your-gut-flora-prevents-you-from-getting-fat-and-sick/ >.
Magical ways to control your health and fitness, 2015, GaGaTrends, date viewed 20 August 2016, < http://www.gagatrends.com/magical-ways-to-control-your-health-and-fitness/ >.
Microbiome, 2016, NaturalHealth365, date viewed 20 August 2016, < http://www.naturalhealth365.com/microbiome-gut-inflammation-1857.html >.
These 7 mobile apps will help you find GMO and additive-free foods, 2016, Healthy Holistic Living, date viewed 22 August 2016, < http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/these-7-mobile-apps-will-help-you-find-gmo-and-additive-free-foods.html >
5 ways to get healthy, 2015., Women of substance, date viewed 22 August 2016, < http://www.womanofstyleandsubstance.com/5-ways-to-get-fit-and-healthy/ >.
10 facts about obesity, 2014, eNews channel Africa, date viewed 21 August 2016, < https://www.enca.com/10-facts-about-obesity >.
When understanding and discovering any complex system the system can only be appreciated when attempting to map the stakeholders involved. It is only then that you can see the intricate web of players, their values and relationships and how they make up a larger system and influence each other. Stakeholder mapping alongside a collection of visual research has allowed me to appreciate these systems, their intricacies and portrayals through a visual format apposed to the written texts I have previously discovered.
When asked to produce a stakeholder map in class on the topic of Obesity and Healthy Living it was quite daunting task. The system and stakeholders form such a complex web and we worried that we wouldn’t be able to cover every actor and relationship within the time and space constraints.In the end we were very happy with the map we produced, whilst not clear it is well thought out and conveys a basic overview of the stakeholder involved in the issue.
We were later asked to map stakeholders based on their values and relationships. This provided much more challenging as we really had to put ourselves in the shoes of each stakeholder and discuss their position in the grand scheme of things.
The two stakeholder maps we created in class was based on the overarching issue of ‘Obesity and Healthy Living’. As my research has led me into the quite specific topic of Type 1 Diabetes I wanted to take these two maps on relationships and values to create a more specific map of the topic, breaking this down into human and non-human players.
When creating an image bank to reflect all that I have been researching and discussing I have really tried to find images that either depict some reality of living with Diabetes or allow me to challenge societal assumptions. Many of the images I’ve found cleverly reflect the treatment of Diabetes through the use of needles and other harsh means. It’s very easy to hide the treatment of Diabetes so I think that imagery and artworks are a great way for people to express their frustration and the more hidden aspects of the disease.
Despite the freedom of visuals to communicate I did find it difficulat to find any images that conveyed the overall experiene of what it is like to live with Type 1 Diabetes. I put this down to the silent nature of the disease in that people living with it look perfectly healthy and normal. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 is a bit easier to stereotype as seen in image 4, where those suffering are predominantly overweight. Due to this, I struggled to find imagery that could really reflect the experience of living with Type 1 Diabetes and not just a treatment or small aspect of it.
I feel these images reflect many of the issues I’ve previously talked about around the subject of Type 1 Diabetes however do so in a more lighthearted way than my textual sources have. It is amazing what can be communicated through an image and I feel a lot is said through the particular images I’ve chosen.
Image 1: Swiss-abetic Pen & Ink by Birdwing Press
Image 2: Jellybeans In a Jar by J. Tyler
Image 3: Complication of Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 from A Fair Go
Image 4: Diabetes Sucks by Noah Health
Image 5: Newcastle Walk to Cure Diabetes by R Osland
Image 6: Icecream Cones by The Taable
Image 7: Diabetes Art Day by M. Mokate
Image 8: Campaign Image by #NoPricks
Image 9: Diabetic Fingertips found on Google Image Search
Image 10: Diabetic Thirst by E. Loli
A Fair Go, 2014, Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 – Complications, viewed 20th of August <2016, http://afairgo.net/diabetes-mellitus-type-one-complications/>
When attempting to map out the stakeholders for Obesity and healthy living one starts to comprehend just how many people or tangible/ intangible contributors impact the issue holistically.
Through working in a small group we were able to identify an array of different influences. One key insight was our realisation that challenged our initial thoughts admitting to thinking that social media was the biggest influence of obesity and healthy living, yet it scaled quite low when compared to somewhat uncontrollable circumstances such as economic position, (this may cause you to think we really don’t know what we are talking about) but humour me for a second.
If you were not in the position to get access to a good sources of fresh produce one has no choice but to gravitate towards cheaper options, foods with low nutritional substance or fast food. Also depending on the area you are living in a local supermarket might not be as accessible.
A week later we were asked to produce another map, this time we included any word that could be related or influential to the topic. We received feedback from our tutors and peers and began to break down our 5 key contributor based on our own personal believes, these included (in order) Role models, Support, Expectations, Education, Social.
What was interesting is that most of these contributors are relative to one another; for example expectations would go hand in hand with support and when you think of role models I think your family specifically your parents, not having these three aspects working together can really create a struggle in your judgement and motivation to prevent or combat obesity and/or live a healthy
10 Research Images
Food Design 2012 ‘You are what you eat’
This image was found on tumblr with little information or research behind it. I was particularly drawn to it because of its clever use of composition to represent a person by combining a selection of fast food sources with heavy carbohydrate foods. It is a common trend to target the ‘human image’ for example this character is clearly over-weight and emotively unhappy portraying a pessimistic view to the effects of unhealthy choices both physical and psychologically.
Lesage, D. 2014 ‘Obesity starts from childhood’
This image was made by a Graphic designer named Karen Hurley and Art director David Lesage for a advertising campaign for French Ministry of Health to promote awareness of childhood obesity. Again this image targets body image using an indulging image of an ice-cream which is easily relatable for both children and adults.
Parker, J. ND ‘Global threat waiting area’
I found that comics illustrations are quite powerful in their ability to use comedy to represent a serious issues such as obesity. For example in this image our understanding of all three issues (Obesity, bird flu and global warming) are heavily impacting factors on humanity. Yet the most concerning problem in this image is obesity cleverly represented by a weight distribution and the emotions shown on each characters face.
This image shows the reality of obesity (far more concerning) than any alarming virus or environmental fear in relation to mortality.
Raeside, 2016 ‘Obesity and health care system’
This comic is by Raeside which do alot of illustrtions targeting Healthcare systems and the Government. I chose this one because it struck me instantly. labelling the scale as our Healthcare system represents the lack of support or attention to a major problem which is Obesity. With the character shown still holding a soft drink and a shirt titled ‘Obesity’ tells me that he himself is completely oblivious to the problem.
This image differs from the rest because it is the first time that the issue is not specific to an individual but targets a support system that is not doing its part in helping people in need.
Personal trainingSF 2012 ‘One of the best ways to lose stomach fat’
Finding this artwork on a 42 ways to lose fat page didn’t give me a lot of insight to this image so I decided to dig deeper. I found that it is actually an advertising campaign for Companhia Athletica, ran by SÃ£o Paulo whom collaborated with Brazilian advertising agency DM9 DDB on a set of captivating ads to motivate obese people to lose weight. There is a series of the same style silhouette characters with fit and athletic bodies imprisoned inside.
This is the first image that I can see the two (over-weight and fit) subjects used in contrast expressing the intrinsic belief that wants change as a physical element.
Katie Couric 2014 ‘Fed Up’
This image was incredibly educational using a simple comparison to effectivvely communicate the ‘hidden’ sugars in different products. The purpose is to open people’s eyes to products which may seem harmless because of its use, yet by contrasting them with a product that one could assume is loaded with sugar/ unhealthy can lead to somone having a changed perspective with their food section
Ahfon, 2008 ‘Anti-obestiy campaign’
I found this image to be the first one that represented an obesity treatment with a negative connotation suggesting that children have no choice but to be shaped into something that is more ‘perfect’ in appearance. Also the language is very in-formal using slang such as ‘fatty’ to single out the children, which are shown in a distressing manner.
DRL: Heart 2010 ‘Don’t treat Diabetes to your heart.’
This advertisement was quite similar to my second image again targeting sweets and associating ice-cream with something that is loaded with sugar. Where it differs is the directed cause/ impact showing the heart as a heavily effected organ.
Unlike my other images this one uses text to resonate with its audience “People with diabetes are 2 to 4 times likely to get heart disease” further reassuring the issue.
Granlund, G. 2012 ‘World wide obesity’
This image is unique as it targets a broad scale, combining the world with a human which seems to be ignoring the obvious weight problem. The text prompts a reaction with an alarming 30% increase of obesity it seems this image is communicating a lack of acknowledgement of a serious issue world wide.
Piraro, D. 2014 Then, sometime after the invention of home computers, things began (…)
I feel that this image was the first to suggest technology as a major problem in relation to weight-gain. Relying on humour in both the text and using the human evolution ending in an obese figure proposes a projection of our future if we as humans let technology take control of our livelihood.
For someone living with Type 1 Diabetes it’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone knows and understands the disease and if not, that they should. This somewhat arrogant view was challenged when undertaking an interview and probing activity as part of design-led ethnography.
I devised four probing questions that I hoped would open up discussion and allow my interviewee to really articulate their assumptions, knowledge and understanding of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. My hope for these questions was that I could develop a better understanding of how people view those living with Type 1 Diabetes and the assumptions they make.
My probing questions:
What comes to mind when I say Diabetes?
Do you have any experience with Diabetes? Say with family, friends, peers?
What type of body do you associate with Diabetes?
If you were diagnosed with Diabetes today how do you think your life would change?
I wasn’t however prepared for if my partner had no previous experience or knowledge of Type 1. Quite naively it hadn’t even crossed my mind that this was a possibly, perhaps because to me it is so normal and day-to-day. Once realising my questions were too tricky for someone that knows nothing about the disease I began trying to adapt my questions to make them a little broader whilst also explaining a bit about Type 1 to my partner. I realised after my partner very apologetically couldn’t answer my questions that my interview would have to take a different path.
With some help from my tutor I was able to delve into my partners own experience with health and wellbeing, particularly in relation to his birth country, China. I asked him questions about Chinese culture and the health of people over there and he informed me of the smog in China and how this has a enormous impact on the health and wellbeing of the Chinese. The most interesting thing I learnt throughout the process was that the smog in China is so thick that at the end of a day when people take their masks off, the filters have black sludge on them. I found it hard to imagine when my partner told me this, we are so used to clean fresh air here in Australia and it really made me appreciate this.
It was a really eye-opening experience to carry out an interview that was so different to the one I’d played out in my head. It was a fantastic experience for me learning to think on my feet and ask probing questions. What eventuated was me not so much learning about the area I was focused on but being engaged and enlightened in a much more personal and interesting topic to my partner that in turn informed and engaged me.
Some interesting points I took away from my interview are
There is a bigger focus in China on Cancer as a leading health issue apposed to Diabetes
Air Quality is seen as a big threat to the health of the Chinese
The ‘smog’ effects lungs, teeth, skin and general ability to exercise and be outside
Government has attempted to fix to smog but it as seen as a helpless situation, very few people have hope it will ever change
There is a focus on physical health apposed to invisible e.g. Amputated limbs vs. mental health disease
When deciding on a probing activity for my partner to undertake it was tempting at first to focus on increasing his knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes. In the end however I appreciated that my interview had taken use down a different path and that this was now an opportunity for me to learn more about China and their healh and wellbeing. I started out with quite complex and time-consuming probing tasks however was advised to keep these simple so as not to make the task feel like a chore.
My probing exercise:
Undertake 3 x 10minute research sessions on the health of China. Record any interesting points and health terms
Write out how the life of Chinese people would be different if the smog disappeared
The outcomes I received from this activity were really fantastic. It was amazing how when somebody can relate to an issue or is passionate about it how it inspires them to throw themselves into a task. Being able to access Chinese news and website my partner was then able to translate many of the statistics and research for me, invaluable information. It was also really great to see health terms highlighted clearly, this really informed the associative word task we undertook the following week.
When reading my partners response to what would change if the smog in China didn’t exist I suddenly realised how interlinked the smog and health are. As my partner pointed out that alongside the health risks, the smog has additional physical and emotional effect on people. It stops the Chinese from spending time outside and exercising as well as blocking the sun meaning most days and grey and dull. Being informed of this issue that is so foreign to us was really incredible and I feel lucky to have learnt so much from my partner and his access to relevant information.
Looking back on the interview process some part of me wishes I had been better prepared with broader probing questions however at the same time I am so happy with how the process evolved and the path it took. I have learnt so much and been engaged in a totally new realm of health that I wouldn’t have been otherwise. In saying that I would have liked to do some more unique and creative probing exercises. Due to the nature of the topic the interview led us to it was hard to come up with fun and original tasks to give to my partner. In this particular circumstance I do think that the probing exercises turned out well and really benefited both my partner and I.
In the recent blog post Truths of Type 1 Diabetes I explored the emotional and social impact living with Type 1 Diabetes and a lack of support can have. Tackling these social issues requires a long-term intervention and strategies to ensure a better support network and management for diabetics.There are however many exciting and fast-paced innovations in the field of Type 1 Diabetes that make living with the disease a littler easier for people like myself.
A common issue faced by people living with Type 1 Diabetes is the large amount of needles used day to day. Between injections, blood glucose tests and site insertions Diabetics use over 3000 needles a year. There are options these days in regards to injecting insulin in the form of an insulin pump, decreasing 5 – 10 injections a day to just one needle insertion every three days however testing your blood glucose level (BGL) is imperative in the proper management of Type 1 Diabetes and is done so by pricking your finger with a needle to draw blood for reading by a metre multiple times a day.
Just recently Abbott have released the first needle-free BGL monitoring system called The FreeStyle Libre Flash. This system works by inserting a sensor into the upper arm that can be scanned using the monitor to receive not only a BGL but also detecting patterns and trends. This breakthrough technology is the first of it’s kind in offering needle free testing, providing ease of use and making living with Type 1 Diabetes just a little bit easier. Abbot have very effectively engaged with a major issue for those living with Type 1 that is in no way a cure but rather explores a major detriment of the disease and developed the appropriate technology in response. Whilst this technology doesn’t completely obliterate the use of needles as the sensors insertion still requires a needle, it drastically decreases the use of them and enables easier and more user-friendly BGL testing.
Whilst it’s clear Abbott have very successfully engaged and provided a solution to this issue there are still social barriers the deter people such as myself from using this new system. The system is usable whilst swimming, showering, exercising and in most day to day situations. Despite so many benefits, for me the idea of having another thing attached to me in addition to my insulin pump is a big turn off. With an insulin pump, the site and pump can sit comfortable and discreetly under my clothing however with the Libre it is inserted on the upper arm in clear view. For someone such as myself who lives in the sun and at the beach, the thought of the sensor being so blatantly obvious really deters me as it screams ‘there’s something wrong with me’. For me I would rather keep using needles to prick myself, draw blood and test my BGL to avoid this more intrusive technology.
It’s clear that whilst Abbott have provided an emergent solution to an ongoing issue there are still further areas of engagement that need to tackle the more social aspects surrounding the Libre. This project is however a fantastic example of all the exciting and emergent outcomes that are coming to fruition as technology improves and issues surrounding health and obesity are explored. My hope is that we can continue to develop, test and respond to these innovations in a way that allows people living with Type 1 to feel more ‘normal’ as some might say.
When we see a problem within our community or the lives of others, it’s easy to feel helpless for a moment. We consider the situation, how small we are in comparison to the world and simply turn a blind eye when the realisation is too much and our own micro lives start flooding back into centre stage. It takes a different kind of attitude to evoke change. Firstly, the individual or group must identify a who and how for their why. Over the last few weeks I have been uncovering insights into the injustices and inequities towards healthy living attitudes. In particular I have discovered the emergence of augmented reality and education systems to change worldly perceptions and attitudes towards healthy living.
Augmented reality (AR) is a term created by Professor Tom Caudell in 1990 (Lass 2015) to define a recreation of reality that has been altered with overlaid graphics. Unlike virtual reality, AR stands alone as it utilises real existing environments, allowing the audience to be connected and influenced to it, through the device.
One area AR is proving to be increasingly revolutionary is in the area of healthcare. ARnatomy (Carson 2015) is a term used to describe the emergence of these two sectors. HELPlightning is an ARnatomy concept that does just that. Utilising two screens, HELPlightning connects the camera data from one screen to the camera data of another screen, overlaying the two images and essentially acting like a modern day remote support system.
Present presence by Help lightning 2016
The system involves two users at it’s current development state, one who has a visual problem and a responder who has the knowledge but not access to be physically present to assist in the situation. The creators of HELPlightning, thanks to the statistics provided by the British Journal of Clinical Psychology realised the power of statistics and turned the discovery of nonverbal cues being 430% more effective than verbal cues into a design solution for existing problems.
Present presence by Help lightning 2016
Along with its direct application to healthcare and education, HELPlightning has the capacity to completely replace remote assist technologies such as those used on computer systems currently where authority is given to another party to do a complete system takeover. Potentially it could be used in long distance education, to make customer help lines quicker, and even save lives in remote areas where emergency medical assistance is not available. It works to maximise speed, quality, satisfaction and experience and minimise delay, cost and waste.
Mental Health in Australia is an incredibly diverse issue and one that lacks the adequate conversation, education and funding that it deserves and requires. Such a conclusion has been drawn from the analysis of five secondary sources regarding mental health in Australia. The articles chosen exemplify many journalists’, experts’ and individuals’ desires and attempts to raise awareness of Mental Health issues in Australia and each respectively prompt necessary and open conversation about such issues.
Open conversation about mental health issues is often rejected or steered clear of due to unjustified stigma surrounding mental health. The immense disparity present between the national conversation regarding physical health and that of mental health is an issue unto itself and needs to be continuously addressed until it disappears.
Article One: Australians are spending more on mental health services and employers need to take notice
Published in February of this year on the independent media outlet The Conversation, this fact driven article, written by Professor Allan Fels explores new data regarding the “direct financial impact”(Fels, 2016) that mental illness is having on Australian business.
Fels effectively grabs the reader’s attention from the outset of the article by quoting newly released data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – “Australians spent an estimated $8billion on mental health related services between 2013-14” with the reciprocating financial impact on Australian business “…being in the vicinity of $11billion…due to absenteeism and reduced productivity”(Fels, 2016). Whilst Fels opens his article with this newly acquired data and lets similarly staggering statistics carry his article, it is clear that Fels is incredibly passionate about mental health awareness and upon further research it became apparent that Fels is personally invested in the issue as he has a daughter with severe Schizophrenia, perhaps being the original motivator for his involvement in various mental health networks. Regardless of this however, the article is unspecific in its acknowledgement of mental illnesses, simply referring to mental illness as a whole throughout the entirety of the article.
An area that has not been greatly discussed in Australian media to date, the financial ramifications of mental illness in Australia are clearly greatly concerning and Fels, as an expert in mental illness, having served on numerous mental health government advisory boards, discusses such ramifications with clarity and concern but projects a sense of optimism for how Australia can tackle it.
If we enable people to live contributing lives – to lead the type of fulfilled lives we all seek in terms of relationships, family and jobs – we can lift national productivity and make our country a kinder, better place to live. (Fels, 2016)
Fels acknowledges the improvements seen in the awareness and conversation surrounding mental health in Australia and recognises organisations making a difference in the business sector like that of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance that formed “a few years ago” and their partnership with Beyond Blue to create the national campaign Head’s Up. It must be considered however that there is perhaps some bias when regarding Fels affiliation with government groups but this being said, his personal experience with mental illness and his involvement in non-government organisations to do with mental illness encourages me to find Fels a trustworthy and reliable source.
Article Two: Therapies for OCD
Whereas Allan Fels’ in his article addresses mental illness as a broad issue, in this article we delve into the specifics of one particular mental illness – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). As an episode on Lynne Malcom’s podcast series for the ABC’s Radio National (RN) program All In The Mind, Therapies for OCD invites its listeners to understand the often devastating effects that OCD can have on sufferers themselves as well as their friends and family. The podcast is structured as an interview between Malcom, whom is the Executive Producer of RN’s Science Unit, and various individuals who are connected in one way or another to an OCD sufferer.
Malcom holds a science and communications degree and is deeply fascinated by the “workings of the human mind” (Radio National, abc). Malcom has won multiple journalism awards in science and has won two awards for this podcast series in the mental health services media achievement awards, thus deeming Malcom and this source as reliable and trustworthy. Her passion for this area of interest comes through very clearly in her series and a sympathetic tone is employed from the outset of the episode. Malcom puts her interviewees at ease and shows immense compassion and understanding for the often debilitating circumstances they have been in. Furthermore, Malcom makes the content somewhat more relatable to her listeners to ensure the gravity of some of the situations are best understood.
Most of us can relate to uneasy thoughts, like whether you’ve left the stove on or the door unlocked when you go out, but when these anxieties compel you to spend hours checking and re-checking, your life can be ruled by them.
There are many well-known figures in history with obsessions and compulsions. Howard Hughes was an American aviator, film producer and one of the wealthiest people in the world. His obsessive compulsive disorder was compellingly portrayed by Leonardo di Caprio in the film The Aviator.
The focus of the article however is on different therapies that have worked for sufferers that Malcom speaks with and this part of the conversation is often navigated through the interview of Rocco Crino, the Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Charles Sturt University. Malcom’s inclusion of this expert in the episode allows for a clear explanation, in easy to understand language, of the facets and behaviours of OCD, allowing for listeners to initiate their own discussion about mental health and disorders such as OCD. Following on from this Crino explains the OCD therapy approach named ‘exposure and responsive prevention’ whereby sufferers are exposed to their triggers without being allowed to initiate their OCD behaviours such as compulsive hand washing.
Malcom’s motivation for creating this podcast, beyond her general interest in mental illness, is to create conversation and raise awareness of the debilitating nature of mental health disorders. Malcom is largely concerned with eliminating the unjustified stigma that surrounds mental illness as is evident in this podcast.
Article Three: Fear, Anger and PTSD: Inside The Mind of Man After War
With men’s mental health being at the forefront of media recently with campaigns such as #ITSOKAYTOTALK promoting awareness of suicide being the number one killer of men under the age of 45, Emily Verdouw’s article and video examining one returned soldier’s struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is of particular relevance and appeal to mainstream audiences. Verdouw is the Associate Video Editor for Huffington Post Australia and has through a highly personal account of Iraq Veteran James Greenshield’s battle with PTSD upon returning home, shone a light on men’s mental health and the ingrained disregard for men who show emotion and don’t ‘act tough’.
Verdouw’s voice is not present in the piece (literally) as the video is merely comprised of cuts of Greenshield and his wife recounting different events and scenarios relating to Greenshield’s PTSD, interspersed with family photographs and photographs of Greenshield in Iraq between 2006 and 2007. This videographic style of not having the interviewer heard potentially enhances the emotive quality of Greenshield’s account but also lowers the regard for the piece as research driven article. Despite this however, several statistics are dispersed throughout the video, anchoring Greenshield’s story and providing journalistic authenticity. The most startling of these facts which epitomises the heartbreaking nature of PTSD amongst returned soldiers are these two featured in the video:
Whilst the video is very stirring, the article and construction of the video is quite detached as there is no interviewer present. The narrative of the video and article is very much lead by Greenshields himself and it is more the video and article’s feature on HuffPost that alerts the reader/viewer to the importance of the issue at hand. Greenshields raises the point that men in Australian society are not well equipped enough with education and understanding of mental health and their individual emotions,
“Men have not been taught emotional literacy 101,” Greenshields told The Huffington Post Australia…If we experience fear, it’s not OK for a man to experience fear or sadness. So they go to anger, which is OK.”
Whilst this is a personal opinion of Greenshields it is one of immense concern in Australia and is exactly what the campaign I mentioned earlier, #ITSOKAYTOTALK aims to dismantle; talking about your emotions is not a sign of weakness but a sign of knowing oneself and recognising that there is a problem.
Whilst the voice in the article and video is not particularly present, some personal opinion does come through attacking the military as fostering “a culture of masculinity that rewards appearing tough and shunning emotion” (Verdouw, 2016).Whilst Verdouw doesn’t directly call for change and whilst there is not a reference to a professional opinion (aside from statistics), the video and article acts as motivation to connect with viewers/readers on a personal level to encourage sympathetic understanding of the debilitating mental disorder and furthermore encourage conversation amongst friends and family about each others emotions and struggles.
Article Four: How Journalists Should Write About Suicide
Whilst this article, published by left-wing, independent media outlet New Matilda is from 2014, the content is still incredibly relevant as I don’t believe grand improvements have been made in how journalists write about suicide and furthermore how we discuss suicide in the greater community.
The article recognises that the media plays an enormous role in how trends and social situations are perceived by the public and thus acknowledges the need for an open conversation about how the media can best positively influence the topic of suicide and suicide prevention.
New Matilda’s research into the area of discussion is grounded by this fact “Our country has one of the highest rates of suicide in the developed word and it remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-24” which is then added to by a brief historical understanding of the origins of minimising discussion on risky behaviours as to not encourage said risky behaviours. From then on the article is driven by various local and international examples of where the media has actively attempted to help in the suicide prevention cause, referencing such campaigns as the “7-day awareness campaign challenging the silence and the stigma” surrounding suicide, run by The Border Mail.
Following the examples New Matilda references, direct responsibility is placed on media outlets for how they tackle the reporting of suicide, “It is the duty of the media to identify prisms through which suicide can be sensibly reported upon” (New Matilda, 2014), reflecting their left-wing stance on the issue and their willingness to openly discuss and receive feedback on how the media as a whole can tackle the issue together.
The article is overall a positive reflection of the ways in which media outlets are trying to instigate change in suicide reporting. The article praises various media outlets for the attempts and campaigns they have run and encourages the discussion to extend beyond this article and into the wider community.
Unfortunately, the point of discussion that underpins the entire article is that talking about suicide is really difficult and there will never be a cookie-cutter answer on how to do it. New Matilda successfully discusses ways in which it has been done, shouldn’t be done and can be done in the future but there is by no means an overarching answer within the article – which is of course understandable with a topic like this.
Article Five: Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation.
Directed by Jane Manning and co-produced by Mitzi Goldman and the late Neil Lawrence, and aired on the ABC for the first time earlier this year, the documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation aims to raise awareness of how pokie machines are programmed to be addictive. Classified as the highly regarded, advertising ‘mastermind’ Neil Lawrence’s “passion project” (Goldman, 2o16), the motivation for the making of Ka-Ching! was driven by Lawrence’s long standing concern and curiosity into pokie machines and how they have come to destroy so many Australian’s lives and well being.
The Pokies. They’re rigged, they’re addictive and they’re everywhere. They’ve got almost half a million Australians hooked – and that’s just what they’re designed to do.
The documentary is grounded in extensive research and explores stories of personal experience with pokie addiction, expert knowledge of how pokie machines work and also anecdotes from those profiting from pokie machine addiction like that of pubs and clubs. This holistic approach implemented by the documentary exemplifies the team behind its determination to “reframe the way we view “problem gambling”, shifting the focus off the “problematic” individuals and onto the predatory machine design.” (Documentary Australia Foundation | Film | Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation).
The documentary has been considered ‘groundbreaking’ in this way as it exposes a much needed change in attitude towards those suffering from addiction in our communities. Whilst the majority of society understands that pokie machines can be addictive, there is little sympathy for those who become addicted, with society quick to blame the individual rather than the establishments housing the machines and the machines themselves. I believe Ka-Ching! is a refreshing and honest exposure of an industry fostering the continuation of addiction as a mental illness in our societies and in this manner am thankful for the documentary’s creation and stance on the issue.
Through an in depth analysis of these five articles, I was able to trace the common theme of a desire to engage the wider Australian community in open conversation about mental health issues. Whilst we are improving, as Allan Fels concludes in his article, as a nation we currently lack the ability to sustain rich, researched conversation about mental health. A lack of education and an ingrained societal perception of those mentally ill being ‘weak’ is restricting us from engaging in this conversation and so it is through articles, podcasts, documentaries and other secondary sources that media outlets and individuals can encourage Australians to be informed citizens concerned for their nation’s collective well being.
The five articles each respective subject matters were of interest to me from the outset of this task however having now explored them more thoroughly I have identified three areas worthy of further investigation. These areas of further investigation include the discussion of stigma and it’s role in preventing conversation, the role of the media in disarming sensitivities surrounding mental health and lastly the ethical considerations of designing for addiction.
Is it too late to transform the role of augmented reality in changing it’s ways for our future generations? (eNCA 2014)
Post two by Marie Good
The analysis’ below are of two scholarly articles that take a further scientific and researched based leap into the world of healthy living. I have decided to focus on two areas; healthy living blogs and how healthy they really are for their audiences and the role augmented reality could have in changing our education system to incorporate physical activity as a compulsory standard aspect of education curriculums.
‘A content analysis of Healthy living blogs: evidence on content thematically consistent with dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviours’, is a journal article published by the International Journal of Eating Disorders in 2014 and written by Leah Boepple and Joel Kevin Thompson (Boeple & Thompson 2014). Boeple at the Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, holds a B.A and Thompson a PhD of the department also. This article is a content analysis and evaluation of various healthy living blogs. A sample of 21 blogs that had either won an award or had a large number of followers, was evaluated. It was discovered that more than half had shown signs of advertising or publishing content pro problematic eating or body image views. Boeple has written about issues such as this before, particularly focusing on body image, eating disorders and educational programs to combat these issues more effectively. Thompson has a very similar background also. I found this article very interesting as it supports the views I have had on this topic for a long time. Coming from a background where healthy living blogs have been an area of interest for myself and people I know closely, I have often realised the blogs are not always consistent with healthy lifestyle thinking.
Kuei-Fang Hsiao and Nian-Shing Chen (Hsiao & Chen 2011) from the Department of Information Management, Taiwan wrote a journal report in 2011 titled, ‘The development of the AR-Fitness System in Education.’ Hsiao has written about augmented reality several times previously, as well as wireless technologies and Chen has focused particularly on ubiquitous learning, technology and education. This article views the recent emergence of technology and healthcare to create interactions with the virtual and real world and expands it into information used to create AR technology for students which they call ‘edutainment technologies,’ based on the five physical indicators of BMI (body mass index), cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. Hsiao and Chen designed a prototyped AR technology that aims to have the children moving and interacting with a screen in order to answer questions and proceed through their learning curriculum. Hsiao and Chen propose this technology might be more beneficial to subjects such as PE and sports as the children realise movement is incorporated into the curriculum, which I agree with. The struggle still seems to be convincing children of this revolutionary change in education that they currently understand as a sedentary activity so they can view it as a physical one instead.
Boepple, L. & Thompson, J., K. 2014, ‘A content analysis of healthy living blogs: evidence on content thematically consistent with dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviors’, International Journal of Eating Disorders, pp 362-367.
Hsiao, K. & Chen, N. 2011, ‘The development of the AR-fitness system in education’, Edutainment Technologies. Educational gmes and virtual reality/augumented reality applications, pp. 2–11
eNCA. 2014, unknown, E News Chanel Africa, date viewed 15 August 2016, < https://www.enca.com/10-facts-about-obesity >.
A look at adolescence and the trends that transition into adulthood
Childhood Obesity Varvel, G. 2006
Post 2 : Mitchell Soames
Being an advocate for health and fitness I chose to research further into exercise and its effects on the physical and psychological, sharing the therapeutic impacts on ones livelihood.
Particularly interested in our youth, I saw to identify the patterns of laziness and lack of physical activity in early years compared to adulthood to reveal the relationship it has to health. This brought me to my first article written by a number of experts in health and nutrition ‘Physical activity and obesity in children’ published in 2011.
This article shares that,
“Physical activity and a healthy diet are the cornerstones of obesity prevention and management.” – Andrew P. Hills
Early lifestyle choices have the tendency to be maintained through to adulthood forming a strong link between physical, mental and social aspects of growth and development, helping to set a pattern of participation in physical activity across a lifetime. I acknowledge the link as I personally lived an active lifestyle and have friends that did during our adolescent years, have managed to continue heading into our adult life (for the majority).
Understanding that our younger years are quite crucial, I turned my interest into the educational systems (specifically elementary and secondary) I found a current article including Professor Andrew P Hills (who contributed to the first article) and other experts ‘Supporting Public Health Priorities: Recommendations for Physical Education and Physical Activity Promotion in Schools’, 2015.
This was a very informative source, which included the Comprehensive school physical activity program recommendations (CSPAPR) as shown.
It is discouraging to see many of these recommendations aren’t followed or included in schools (speaking from past experience). A survey is referenced ‘Barriers to providing physical education and physical activity in Victorian state secondary schools’ 2010 which included 115 Australian secondary school PE teachers.
The crowded school curriculum and lack of facilities are the two most commonly cited barriers to student participation in Physical Education and Physical activity.
I found this to be so true from my experience, attending secondary school and studying PE, I remember the curriculum was so extensive that our PA classes were often cut short or left out due to time restraints. It always amazed me that there was so little time allocated to PA given the benefits far more important than most of the things taught at school.
For instance PA promotes cardiometabolic wellness, improves cognitive performance, and effectively aids in the prevention and treatment of a variety of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other disorders of metabolism, neurological diseases, sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and cancer (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008,Bouchard et al., 1990, Garber et al., 2011, Pate et al., 1995 and Stranahan and Mattson, 2012). I believe it is key to develop PA interests and skills from a young age to ensure a better chance at a richer healthier life both physically and mentally.
Impact of the environment and/or an individuals surroundings
FitnessFirstAUS, #HowFitFeels – First check in, 2016
Post 1 : Mitchell Soames
Researching the trending topic of obesity I found an eclectic range of different opinions and point of views from numerous sources. One that I found most interesting was the impact of ones environment. The majority of the time ones surroundings cannot be change due to circumstances such as social/ economical ect.
I also found exercise as an interesting focal point helping not only obesity but benefitting an individual’s health in relation to physical, social and emotional strength. I see first hand the perception of what it mean to ‘exercise’, hours in the gym, running for long durations of time at interval speeds, the list goes on. As it turns out exercise has been misinterpreted by so many, exercise is explored in some of these sources sharing how it isn’t such a daunting task.
1. The Surprising Benefits of exercise on the brain – Fitness First
The article is written by Mahsa Fratantoni (a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist) highlighting her research relating to connections between the brain and body sharing the benefits of exercise.
Fratantoni’s article is reinforced by Professor Anthony Hannan (head of the Neural Plasticity Laboratory at the Institute Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne). He states,
“Physical activity has the ability to strengthen the connection between neurons, which helps transmit messages around the body.” – Mahsa Fratantoni
Although some of the article ties in several ‘studies’ that can’t be fully considered legitimate because they are not referenced, Professor Hannan is featured throughout to support most statements and research.
This article was quite intriguing to me, I have seen first hand how physical activity impacts a person. When comparing my grandparents from different side of my family, my Grandmother is in her mid 80s always living an active lifestyle, never been limited or restricted from doing anything. Compared to my grandfather who does not live an active lifestyle is now on the verge of a wheelchair with bad blood circulation and muscular decay in his legs.
2. Why you should exercise (no, not to lose weight)
Written by Aaron E. Carroll, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine I acknowledge that the article is creditable.
Carroll takes a different approach after understanding the requirements of exercise according to research. He expresses the ease and necessity of light exercise in day to day life stating,
“Walking briskly, at 3 to 4 mph or so, qualifies. So does bicycling slower than 10 mph. Anything that gets your heart rate somewhere between 110 and 140 beats per minute is enough.” – Aaron E. Carroll
It is my understanding that not all people have the time or will to exercise regularly but after review of this article I can see that encouraging the idea of swamping small tasks such as walking to the local shops (mentioned in the article) or even vacuuming, mowing the lawn or actively walking your dog might qualify. Healthy exercise can be achieved with minimal effort.
3. Australia is one of the most obese nations in the world, a report has found – Daily Telegraph
No Author was published to this article found on the Daily Telegraph which immediately made me question its authenticity. Yet most of the statistical information is referenced from Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) at Victoria University.
There was a statement made later on in the article saying, “Australians on average are smoking less, and are more proactive with regular health check-ups for bowel and breast cancer.” This made me curious to see if that is true or an assumption because no reference or support was provided.
A report is also mentioned stating 50 public health organisations are signatories setting an individual target for each listed health factor by 2025. This involves a 5 per cent reduction in the overall mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and common cancers; at least 10 per cent relative reduction in the harmful use of alcohol; and to cut the increasing rate of obesity in half.
But again there is no concrete evidence or references. I have noticed that more is being done to raise awareness and with the improvements in technology and lifestyle I do agree that some of these objectives could be achieved but I can’t say I completely believe all are genuine.
4. Diets and drugs are not enough to tackle obesity – ABC
Anna Salleh is the author of this article. She has a PhD on the role of the media in debates over the risk of new technologies and is a research associate with the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at the University of Technology Sydney.
It appears as though her motivation for this article is to expose the cause of obesity referencing Professor Stephen Simpson head of Obesity Australia to justify her argument that
“Obesity is a direct reflection of the environment we live in.” – Anna Salleh
Salleh targets the availability of processed food with low nutritional value and political system that encourage unhealthy food supply systems.
I do agree with Salleh, advertisements and Supermarkets, always promote the ‘easy choice’ as cheaper and feasible (for example the frozen food options which are always going to have less nutritional value than fresh produce.)
5. Fathers can pass obesity onto children before birth – ABC
This article was posted by Will Ockenden, a reporter with radio current affairs, and is based in the Sydney newsroom. The facts have been investigated by Sydney’s Victor Chang Institute and Garvan Institute of Medical Research together finding obesity in fathers can be passed down to not only their children, but also future generations.
Lead author of the study Dr Jennifer Cropley, said “The findings could help explain the rise in diabetes, heart disease and obesity in humans.” Using mice as test to discover that genes were passed from father to son I still don’t fully support the statement justifying the rise in diabetes, heart disease and obesity in humans. With the awareness and support of health systems people are more educated of the effects and causes of these issues. I believe it is still an individuals choice to become obese, weight can be controlled with will power and discipline.
Inspired by the research that led me into the world of Diabetes and what constitutes ‘healthy’, I was driven to probe further into these areas. I came across ‘The National Diabetes Strategy and Action Plan’, published in 2013 previous to the Federal Election and written by a number of experts in the field of Health and Diabetes. All authors of the article belong to a credible organisations such as ‘The Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute’ or hold a prominent position such as President of the Australian Diabetes Society, making this publication extremely credible. The purpose of this article is to provide the incoming Australian Government with a ‘clear framework for a new national strategy for diabetes and a five year action plan’. Whilst all authors have been published in medical journals previously this is the first article of its kind written by this particular collection of experts.
This factual, evidence-based article outlines the previous actions taken by The Australian Government, both successful and non-successful. I was shocked by the number of failed attempts and false promises made by the Australian Government in relation to Diabetes; our nation has never seen a successful National Diabetes strategy and action plan.
NSW’s lack of progress is put to shame in contrast to Victoria’s ‘Life! Program’ that helps prevent Diabetes, Heart attacks and Stroke. It has seen in it’s time a phenomenal 30% reduction in risk. If Victoria can have such success in implementing such a strategy, why can’t we expand this nationally? It is fantastic to see this article not only outline the issues present but also propose solutions. Five overarching goals are detailed, the most promising of which being to ‘Strengthen prevention, care and cure through knowledge and evidence’, something I believe is at the core of allowing Diabetes and those living with Type 1 Diabetes to be better understood.
There is little biased present in this article with all claims backed by research and statistics from previous and current studies. Opinion is present in statements such as, ‘The seriousness of Diabetes is often underestimated. There is no such thing as “mild” Diabetes’. Statements such as these whilst opinion based are still important, revealing the prejudices and misunderstanding throughout society. This article gives me hope that after all the failed attempts made by the Australian Government that there are still people out there who push for this epidemic and disease to be recognised and understood.
Now comes the really honest part…
Critically analysing articles about a disease I myself live with day in and day out I guess it was inevitable that I’d end up critically analysing my own views and having to be honest with myself. A research paper published by the Stento Diabetes Centre in Denmark sought to ‘explore the functions of peer support from the perspectives of adults with Type 1 Diabetes’. The study was undertaken and recorder by three experts in the field of Diabetes from the institute, resulting in a soundly researched, quantified and revolutionary study. As one of the first studies to explore patient perspectives on the function of peer support for people living with Type 1 Diabetes, it’s the first time I have come across a discussion of many of the issues and experiences talked about in this paper.
The article is extremely factual whilst also referencing the responses of participants, a diverse group of individual all living with Type 1 Diabetes. As I read this article I became more and more aware of just how much of what was being said I could empathise with. Statements made by individuals articulate the many internal struggles people living with disease have, from social exclusion to misunderstanding, all ringing true. A statement made by a participant about having to ‘make your own experiments on how to live well with Diabetes’ was particularly thought provoking. This is something I really do struggle with, the constant and tiring mental dialogue of trying to balance the unbalanceable, trying to do right not wrong and with you, the only listener.
“If there was more recognition in our society, that there is also a lot going on in your head when you get the disease, it would be a lot easier to talk about. I mean the majority of people seem to be of the opinion that as long as you get your injection you’ll be fine…but it’s not quite like that” – Anonymous Participant
This study concludes the importance for Type 1 Diabetics to be able to talk about their chronic disease, not in a medical way but in a social, every-day manner. Diabetes has its own language and to be able to communicate with other Diabetics is a relief and comfort. This article has changed the way I think by enlightening me to the experiences of other Diabetics and reporting on the findings of this important study.
I don’t write this for you to feel sorry for me or to make you feel as if you need to suddenly research all there is to know about Diabetes. I write this because it is now so much more than just a research and blog task. I know this post is very much over the word limit but it is providing me with the drive and passion to know more, to research further, to advocate for change and to get to know myself and my relationship with Diabetes a little better. It’s daunting but I’m jumping in feet first.
Joensen, L., Filges, T., Willaing, I., 2016, ‘Patient Perspectives on Peer Support or Adults with Type 1 Diabetes”: A Need for Diabetic-specific Social Capital’, Health Promotions Research, Stento Diabetes Centre. vol. 10, pp. 1443 – 1451.
Obesity and Healthy Living. Where on earth do you begin. Much like the topic itself, my collection of articles for this topic started quite broadly but managed to slowly focus in on a particular and quite personal area of interest, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
I’ve always found the misconceptions of ‘health’ and what constitutes health very interesting.
The article ‘Skinny and 54 Kilograms, but with the Health Hallmarks of Obesity’ is written by Gina Kolata, an author at The NewYork Times. As a graduate molecular biologist from M.I.T as well as having a masters degree in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, Kolata has won many awards for her work in the medical profession. Having written numerous amounts of times about Obesity, weight, health and wellbeing with most of these published in the NewYork Times Kolata’s article is a reliable and trustworthy source.
This factual article follows the story of Claire Walker Johnson, telling her story and challenging the assumption that skinny people are healthy. Backed up by statistics and commentary from doctors and other professionals on the issue, this article is persuasive and evocative, making us reassess this common misconception. The argument is not particularly marginal yet not commonly known to many people, presenting a new point of view and in doing so challenging societies own views and opinions.
The idea that thin isn’t always healthy is realised tragically in the prevalence of eating disorders in our society. Rania Spooner a Health Reporter at The Age explores this in her article, ‘Orthorexia Nervosa: Do You Have an Unhealthy Obsession with Health?’. The article discusses how obsession with being healthy can often lead to an ‘unhealthy obsession with eating healthy’. The disease sees sufferers restricting their food intake to dangerous levels. They often undertaking strict diets such as paleo, organic and in some cases the FODMAP diet, developed for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Having written many articles on Health throughout her time as a reporter alongside the research used to back up her claim this article provides and informative and trusted read.
Orthorexia refers to a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods that they believe to be harmful.
This unbiased articles cites the findings and research of many professionals such as Dr Simon Knowles, a researcher at Swinburne University. Knowles blames the ‘fitspo’ and ‘fitsporation’ obsession that has taken over society, highlighting it as a key link in the increase of sufferers of orthorexia. Whilst ‘orthorexia’ isn’t a recoginsed term and diagnosed eating disorder as yet, Spooner writes that is only a matter of time before it is, a position held by many professionals in relation to Orthorexia Nervosa. This is an example of an extremely informative, well researched and concise article that also offers practical advice on symptoms and treatment of the disease.
Another eating disorder that seems to be less recognised is ‘Diabulimia’. The disease sees Diabetics purposely restrict their insulin and bingeing on food. This results in high blood sugar levels and eventual weight loss. Much like Orthorexia this disorder isn’t yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a diagnosis despite effecting many people worldwide. The article ‘Diabulimia Signals Trouble in Type 1 Diabetes’ is written by Lorraine Platka-Bird, a writer for Medscape and qualified dietitian and nutritionist. The issue of ‘Diabulimia’ is approached by Platka-Bird from a non-biased yet emotive position, using the story of an individual to illustrate the damage the disorder can have.
Diabulimia refers to an eating disorder in which people with Type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need, for the purpose of weight loss.
As a regular contributor for Medscape and having studied, taught and published research into nutrition Platka-Bird was granted one of the most prestigious teaching awards offered in the State university system. Her expertise is present throughout the article in the clearly articulated breakdown of how this eating disorder materialises, treatment options and effects it can have both physically and mentally on the sufferer. As a type 1 Diabetic I find this article quite distressing to read, understanding the ways in which these individuals abuse their bodies and health in the name of weight loss. It is encouraging however to come across such a well researched and knowlegable article around the subject of Type 1 Diabetes.
Being a Type 1 Diabetic from the age of nine I’ve grown up with the disease, allowing me to take control from the very beginning and live an independent life. I try not to let Diabetes rule my day to day life and I particularly love chatting to people about it, to educate them in the disease. A common question I get is, ‘So did you get Diabetes because you ate to much sugar?’ or ‘What really? But you’re not fat?’. Common misconceptions around Type 1 Diabetes come down to a lack of understanding between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
Madeline Milzark, a fellow Type 1 Diabetic recently took to Facebook to share what it’s like living with Type 1 Diabetes, revealing many of the realities that come with this. Caroline Parkinson’s BBC article ‘Diabetes is no Laughing Matter, Say Young Sufferers’ is written based on Madeline’s post, calling for a better understanding of Type 1 Diabetes. Whilst not suffering from the disease herself, Parkinson’s article highlights some of the greatest misconceptions and lack of understanding in the difference between Type 1 and Type 2, going into detail differentiating the two diseases and resonating with me deeply. She calls for an end to the trivialisation of the disease, quoting Madeleine in her statement that ‘Diabetes isn’t your piece of cake, or that super-sized McDonald’s meal with extra fries or anything you see coated with sugar’.
Madeline’s original Facebook post, written to bring awareness to Type 1 Diabetes. (Milzark, 2016)
This article is populated with the opinions of other Type 1 Diabetics on the matter, all supporting Madeline’s post and promoting a better understanding and acceptance. The article is very factual, listing symptoms and facts about the prevalence of Type 1 Diabetes as well as some general information. I feel strongly about the message of this article through Parkinson’s writing as she educates, informs and humanises a disease that is often so misunderstood. It is clear that the key to greater understanding is through better education, “People think you have to be overweight and over 50, but that’s simply not the case. There needs to be more public education”.
Despite my personal desire and that of others to better understand and further distinguish Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, a recent study done by researchers at the University at Buffalo, New York has actually found that Type 1 Diabetics may benefit from some of the drugs used to treat Type 2 Diabetics. The article ‘Drug Developed for Type 2 Diabetes Helps Control Type 1 Diabetes‘ is written by Ellen Goldbaum, News content manager of Medicine for the University at Buffalo with a BA in political science from Barnard college. The article is based upon findings of a study printed in the Journal of Clinical Endocronology and Metabolism that reports that ‘patients with Type 1 diabetes saw improved blood glucose control with a “triple therapy” that included insulin, Liraglutide and Dapagliflozin’.
Motivated by this new-found evidence, this factual article delves into the process and finding of this study, even highlighting problematic areas such as the development of ketoacidosis in two test subjects. Despite some negative reactions, Goldbaum states that this response sheds potential light on future treatment of ketoacidocis. It is clear that the author views this quite marginal finding as a positive discovery, despite the negative experience of some test subjects. Whilst I agree that the potential impact using these treatments could have on Type 1 Diabetics I believe more research needs to be undertaken to convince me fully of it’s longevity.
As my journey into health became more personal I am increasingly motivated to know more. I’d like to explore the assumptions surrounding Type 1 and 2 Diabetes and what it means to be ‘healthy’ further. With new findings and researching being published almost daily I see great potential in persuing these points of interest.
P.s Just in case you were wondering, eating too much sugar as a kid didn’t give me Type 1 Diabetes…nobody knows what did #spooky
I decided to focus my research on the topic of obesity and healthy living. I currently work in the health food industry and have always had an interest in healthy living and the consequences our ways of living have on the body and broader areas such as our social settings. To begin with I focused my research on secondary sources such as online newspaper; decided also that instead of isolating one particular area of healthy living and obesity, I would tackle a range of topics under this umbrella and work on analysing them at my current knowledge level.
The first article researched, ‘Tim Spector and the genetic epidemiologists view of nutrition and health,’ (Parnell 2016) was written by well-known health editor, Sean Parnell, for The Australian in May of 2016. This article covers opinions related to the increased amount of nutrition information readily available to the public, yet the paralleled confusion and therefore rejection of this information in response. Parnell argues this may be due to the corruption of big player food corporations funding advertising campaigns in deceptive ways to constitute and encourage their share growth in our competitive food market. His inclusion of research conducted by reputable sources, such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Professor of genetic epidemiology, Tim Spector, assists the audience to believe his article is scientifically factual to a degree, however from those facts he creates arguments and conclusions of his own presumptions. The article refers quite heavily to Professor Spector and almost seems to entice the reader to purchase his latest book, making us think that his new information can broaden and assist our understanding of topics deeper than the basics, such as the role of microbiome in gut related functions. He goes as far to say this is the type of education that needs to be spread in schools. I do agree with some of the arguments proposed yet disagree with the use of one dominant source for information.
The second article (Williams 2016) by Tim Williams, chief executor of the Committee for Sydney, prominent United Kingdom political commentator and writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, discusses the restriction of walkable spaces in Sydney and blames this for the increase of obesity. Based mostly on opinion with little reference to research sources except two, Christopher Leinberg (land use strategist, developer and researcher) and SmartGrowth America (advocacy coalition for sustainable working and living communities), he argues that the price of real-estate developments and the demand for market share is downsizing the walkability of cities and creating what we know as city sprawl. He correlates a connection between economic and educational wealth of cities and their ability to retain walkable spaces, saying access to employment through transport costs offsets accommodation costs and that in order to increase walking in cities there needs to be a drop in real estate prices. He argues that those who live in expensive urban places can and will afford to walk or cycle for convenience of distance on their daily commute and are already of a higher socioeconomic status than those outside the city, who are forced to use transport as a way of access, thus widening the gap between socioeconomic status’ in Australia further. There is a lot of speculation in this article however William draws some interesting ideas about socioeconomic classes and the affordability of health and fitness.
Vanessa Brown, a Bachelor of Media graduate, Macquarie Radio and Nine Network producer, reports for News.com.au, on obesity as an issue more prominent in English-speaking, third world countries regardless of the diet from other areas, such as France, that are known for their craft of fine cheese, wine and chocolate making (Brown 2016). She uses statistics collected by The Lancet, a UK medical journal, who have compared BMI increases over the last forty years between countries, to fuel her opinions and also heavily publicise the text, ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat,’ by Mireille Guiliano. It almost reads like a book advertisement because of this heavy reference. She does conclude, like in Parnell’s article, that a revised healthy living curriculum needs to be placed into the early childhood education system to change the future of healthy living and place a pause on this trend.
The fourth article (Robinson 2016) analysed is actually written by a practicing Australian general practitioner, Ann Robinson, who does not use speculation and bias in her article but states proven findings in regards to the way modern living can unbalance microbiome in the digestive system. Robinson starts out with sharing her knowledge of what microbiome are and how they protect us from disease, as well as other unwanted conditions, including mood swings, metabolic speed and the immune system. She also refers to Professor Tim Spector in regards to this potentially being the cause of weight gain in some while not in others partaking on the same diet. She uses her own practical knowledge and remains quite unbiased towards the topic. The article is very informative and states what is known to be true while also stating areas that are needing further investigations while providing rough time expectations for that. No bias seems to be presented here and is an informative article of value.
Posted in The Guardian by Jorge Armanet and supported by IBM Watson Health, is the first article I have discovered in support of the latest portable phone application craze, Pokemon Go (Armanet 2016). It covers the idea that gamers, a portion of society known previously for their couch potato nature, are now swapping their slippers for joggers and hitting the pavement to play the game. Armanet refers to previous applications such as, Couch to 5k and NHS Weight Loss, who are seeing people take to their forum rooms about how successful Pokemon Go has been at getting them off the couch and moving. I agree with the fact that it is encouraging physical activity to some degree, yet feel that it is also negatively impacting society on a mental level, with a lack of personal connection becoming a broader issue due to technological intervention. I agree with Armanet as he goes on to say the technology presented in Pokemon Go is a prime example of greater things to come in using technology for societal and personal health/development matters instead of making us lazy, unhealthy and unhappy; which appears to be the trend of current technological interaction within our daily lives.
Through the analysis of these five articles and areas of insight they have uncovered, I would like to research more into the ideas presented by Professor Tim Spectorin regards to the influence and interactions of modern daily lifestyles towards our gut health and microbiome. I would also like to explore opinions regarding the emergence of traditionally unhealthy technology systems or augmented reality being altered through collaboration to change our way of interacting with healthy living attitudes and habits. Another area I am interested in exploring is the influence the cost of living has in the gap between sociology economic classes such as the convenience of access, through price and location of health food and healthy living activities.
Ahmed, B. 2012, unknown image, gagatrends.com, viewed 15 August 2016, < http://www.gagatrends.com/magical-ways-to-control-your-health-and-fitness/ >.
Parnell, S. 2016, ‘Tim Spector and the genetic epidemiologists view of nutrition and health’, The Australian, 13 May, date viewed 1 August 2016, < http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/health-wellbeing/tim-spector-and-the-genetic-epidemiologists-view-of-nutrition-and-health/news-story/a1bbedc041669732f72d617f7a67475f >.
Robinson, A. 2016, ‘Is your gut making you sick?’, The Guardian, 1 August, date viewed 2 August, < https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/01/is-your-gut-making-you-sick >.
Williams, T. 2016, ‘Sprawling Sydney makes it hard to walk and it’s bad for our health’, Sydney Morning Herald, < http://www.smh.com.au/comment/its-hard-to-walk-around-in-sydney-and-it-is-making-us-fat-20160721-gqahdl.html >.
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