Monday, August 24, 2009

Take our swine flu vaccine survey

Will you take the swine flu vaccine if it's offered to you? Tell us in the malehealth Snap Survey.

Ashes win and the flame of desire

Your team's sporting success can give you a shot in the arm of testosterone just as if you were playing yourself. Indeed, it's so effective, that it's one of malehealth's top ten health tips that any fool can do.

So English cricket fans - and, even more incredibly, Tottenham Hotspur supporters - should have a spring in their stride this morning. But while testosterone - like alcohol - might increase the desire, it won't make a lot of difference to performance which could result in disappointment for many blokes (and their partners).

If you want to celebrate with a roll in the sack but can't, what do you do? You might be tempted to ignore it but don't. Erection problems may be the sign of another more serious health problem such as heart disease or diabetes.

Phil Tufnell, the England spinner turned TV pundit has been fronting a drug-company website aimed at helping men with erectile dysfunction (ED). (This blog isn't just cobbled together, you know, one item leads on seamlessly to another!) But, of course, drugs aren't the only treatment for ED and self-diagnosing with drugs and self-prescribing could mean those more serious problems get missed.

Check out malehealth's advice on sorting out your sexual problems and talk to your GP. Unless he's an Australian, he'll understand.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We're not all Psychos

Good stuff this morning from Time For Change, an organisation trying to improve public understanding of and attitudes to mental health problems. Peter Byrne, a leading psychiatrist and film expert, says that characters with mental health problems are being depicted as ‘more demotic and crueler than at any time in movie history’.

Cinema is very sensitive these days to charges of racism or homophobia but when it comes to dealing with 'nutters' it's still a free for all. Byrne's report says that this affects public attitudes to mental health and it's hard to disagree. Male mental health is poorly understood in the media, in the medical profession and among men themselves. Simplistic screen misrepresentations can't help. Cinema is supposed to be about innovation - it would be great to see some here.

Byrne's report is mainly about schizophrenia which is particularly badly represented and particularly widely misunderstood. But what about more common mental health problems? Anyone know of any movies that portray male depression accurately? Garden State, perhaps, or Sideways?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm surprised more NHS staff aren't sick

As a regular user of the NHS, the news that NHS staff are 50% more likely to be off sick than those in private hospitals comes as no surprise - in fact, I'm amazed it's not higher.

Over the past 13 years, I've watched the cancer clinic I attend move hospital once and move location within each hospital at least half a dozen times. I've seen procedures and practices change and morph pretty much every other visit. I've seen umpteen health professionals and watched the doctors get younger even more quickly than I've got older. The one thing all these health professionals have had in common is a fantastic commitment to their work in the face of the swirling vortex.

If the NHS staff had done to health services what bankers have done to financial ones, we'd all be dead yet who gets the bonuses? Earlier this week, Alastair Darling rejected the call for a high pay commission to look at the obscene pay differentials in this country. That attitude in the face of a report such as this on the state of the health of the staff in Britain's best loved institution makes me feel quite ill really.