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October 2010

Commissioner – The Apprentice

Medium shot. Sixteen business types strut across London’s Millennium Bridge to the accompaniment of a revved up version of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights. The business types are not ordinary business types – they are GP business types.

Voiceover: It’s the job interview from hell. From across the country, Britain’s brightest GP commissioning prospects head for London.

Cut to smug GP business type, large phallic buildings in background.

Smug GP: There’s absolutely nothing mediocre about me. I’m supremely intelligent, ambitious, I’m an all round gifted individual.

The Gene Genie

In an explosive display of attention deficit hyperbolicity disorder, the Mirror didn’t so much let the genie out of the bottle, as plaster it all over the ceiling. ‘Kids inherit ADHD from mum & dad’ screamed the recent headline, followed by:

‘Fizzy pop and bad parenting have been cleared of any blame for children being hyperactive and fidgety.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is an inherited brain disorder, scientists at Cardiff University found.’

Dr No does not expect the sharpest Fleet Street pencils in the Mirror box, but this is misreporting on an epic scale. On even the most cursory examination, the research, reported in the Lancet, clears neither pop nor parent from blame.

Make It Atomic For Me

Two old stories by a curious but telling coincidence made it into the top news last week. One re-ignited the ADHD isn’t bad parenting or poor diet, it’s an illness (and genetic to boot) debate; the other reminded us just how determined Big Pharma can be when it comes, as they say in financial circles, to helping us grow our GDP. The theme which unites these two stories is medicalisation – that tendency to transform the vagaries of human nature into ‘real’ illnesses.

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