Mental Illness the Facts Behind the Global Trends

Mental illness is something we all talk about and put forward in public policy recommendations.  We complain about ‘big pharma’ and the way prescription drugs are handed out like candy by your GP.   We blog about how being bipolar can impact your life or create medical risks when you become pregnant through lithium reactions.

I recently came across an article in ‘The Guardian by Mark Rice-Oxley  that seems to address all these issues in a logical and informed way so i am reprinting it here for our readers.  It is well written and makes sound arguments for all sides of the debate.

What is mental illness?

There are dozens of different kinds of mental illness, from common disorders that affect tens of millions of people such as depression and anxiety, to rarer afflictions like paraphilia (sexual compulsion) and trichotillomania (a compulsion to remove hair).

The “bible” of mental illness, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (its fifth iteration, DSM-5, was published in 2013), groups them under about 20 subheadings* (see below).

Mental illness is not sadness, insanity or rage (though it can involve these in some of its forms); it is not binary or exclusive, but complex and universal.

Another way to think of it is as a spectrum, a continuum that we all sit on. At one end is mental health, where we are thriving, fulfilled and at ease. In the middle reaches, people can be described as coping, surviving or struggling. At the far end sit the range of mental illnesses. Most us move back and forth along this line our entire lives.

How widespread is it?

First, to bust some myths: there is no global epidemic. It is not growing exponentially. It is not a disease of western capitalism.

Second, a warning. Data is remarkably patchy. It relies on people self-reporting their feelings, never the best foundation for accurate information.

But insofar as data exists, the most reliable time series curated by the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation (IHME) appears to show that in 2017, just under 300 million people worldwide suffered from anxiety, about 160 million from major depressive disorder, another 100 million from the milder form of depression known as dysthymia.

Totting up a global figure is not easy, as many people may suffer from more than one condition. According to data from the IHME’s Global Burden of Disease, about 13% of the global population – some 971 million people – suffer from some kind of mental disorder. Dementia is the fastest-growing mental illness.

The British charity Mind refers to a statistic that one in four people will experience some form of mental illness in any given year.

Is it getting worse?

The short answer is not really. The increases in the above graphic are only slightly higher than the rise in global population since 1990.

“All the modelling we’ve done in high-income countries where there is survey data which has tracked over time shows that the prevalence hasn’t changed – it’s flatlined,” says Harvey Whiteford, professor of population mental health at the University of Queensland.

But there have been two big changes in the past 20 years. The first is that recognition and destigmatisation has resulted in a huge surge of people seeking help. The second is that surveys repeatedly show that more young people are reporting mental distress.

“There is much more talk about it and more people being treated,” Whiteford adds. “The treatment rates have gone up. In Australia, they have gone up from about one third of the diagnose population getting treatment to about a half.”

Where is it worst in the world?

No country is immune. No country really stands out as a hellscape either – though mental health data collectors say that countries that have been at war naturally suffer from large numbers of trauma-related mental illness.

One measure of mental illness that has become a gold standard over the past 30 years is the disability adjusted life year (DALY) – a sum of all the years of healthy, productive life lost to illness, be it through early death or through disability.

The DALY metric as compiled by the IHME for all countries of the world shows an interesting top 10:

What causes mental illness?

How long have you got? Myriad volumes have been written on this and yet it remains unresolved. Because it is rarely just one single thing.

Psychiatrists speak of a combination of risk factors that might, repeat might, add up to trouble. Start with the genes.

“What you inherit is a certain vulnerability or predisposition, and if things happen on top of that then people would then be more likely to suffer from a mental problem,” says Ricardo Araya, director of the Centre for Global Mental Health at King’s College. “It’s polygenic, there are lots of genes involved, we know you may have inherited certain genes but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will suffer.”

For example, last year scientists pinpointed 44 gene variants that raise the risk of depression.

Then there are life experiences that compound the risk factor, such as abuse, trauma, stress, domestic violence, adverse childhood experience, bullying, conflict, social isolation or substance abuse (which can be cause and consequence). But it’s not a precise science, says Ann John, professor in public health and psychiatry at Swansea University Medical School.

“One of the things with mental illness is that one risk factor plus a second doesn’t automatically equal a mental illness,” she says.

So which are the most common illnesses?

Clinical depression (which is not the same a feeling a bit down or a bit depressed – that is called being human) is sometimes best described as a series of things lost: loss of joy, concentration, love, hope, enthusiasm, equilibrium, appetite and sleep (though it can also come with overcorrections on both of these).

Depressive disorders, which may affect as many as 300 million people worldwide, account for about one third of mental illness DALYs. There are myriad online diagnostics for self-assessment, though if you feel what might be clinical depression, you should see a doctor.

It is usually treated with a mixture of medication and talking therapy, the former for mood stabilisation, the latter to discover whence it came and how to change ways of thinking to send it on its way.

Anxiety is a close cousin of clinical depression – and again, it is not the same as feeling a bit anxious. It is an uncontrollable, and often inexplicable, surfeit of worry, often experienced as much in the body as in the mind. Acute anxiety can lead to panic attacks and numerous phobias. Anxiety disorders account for about one in seven mental illness DALYs, according to the World Health Organization.

It is usually treated via medication and psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Bipolar disorder, which affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, is a disorder that involves extreme mood disturbance. There are two main types: bipolar I involves episodes of severe mania and depression; bipolar II is characterised by more frequent periods of depression with fewer – and less intense – manic episodes.

Schizophrenia is characterised by “delusions, hallucinations, disorganised speech and behaviour, and other symptoms that cause social or occupational dysfunction,” according to DSM-5. It affects an estimated 20 million people worldwide.

Substance abuse. “Substance use disorder” is considered a mental illness and gets its own chapter in DSM-5. Not every user of intoxicating substances will qualify – only those struggling with control, compulsion and withdrawal when not using. But that is still estimated to be more than 150 million people worldwide.

Some substance abuse may trigger other mental illnesses listed here and elsewhere; some other mental illnesses may lead to substance abuse, because of self-medication.

Alcohol and illicit drugs are included; tobacco is not. Alcohol- and drug-use disorders account for almost one fifth of mental illness DALYs. Of major countries, Russia and the US have the highest per capita rates.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of a number of trauma- and stress-related disorders, and is usually caused by experiencing a stressful event that is then relived, sometimes many years after it happened. It can result in a series of symptoms common to depression such as loss of concentration, sleep, mood, temper, control and energy.

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa account for about 1% of mental illness DALYs. About 3 million people worldwide are thought to suffer from anorexia.

Dementia is a neurocognitive disorder that results in a decline in brain function and concomitant impairments in thinking, remembering and reasoning. It affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, up from about 20 million in 1990.

Who is best at treating mental illness?

Mental illnesses services are inadequate pretty much everywhere. But some countries are more inadequate than others.

According to WHO data, Turkey and Belgium are the only countries that have more than 100 mental health nurses for every 100,000 people. Ninety countries have fewer than 10.

The situation is even worse with psychiatrists. Thirty nations, almost all of them developed and most of them in Europe, have more than 10 psychiatrists per 100,000 people (Norway is top of the list with 48). Seventy countries have fewer than one.

Japan tops the list for mental health beds in mental health facilities (196 per 100,000), and is third behind Hungary and Germany for mental health beds in general hospitals. Britain is 50th for mental health beds per capita, behind China, Uzbekistan and Lebanon.

What about medication?

It’s a highly contested area, for three reasons. Firstly, mental health drugs are big business – worth an estimated $80bn (£63bn) a year worldwide.

Secondly, they are no panaceas. Some people respond better to drugs than others.

Thirdly, the prescription of drugs has surged in recent years, particularly antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – drugs such as Prozac that have become hugely popular since the 1990s. In several countries, there has been concern that they are prescribed too readily, to people with only mild symptoms.

That said, they also work. A metastudy published last year found that they worked better than placebos.

A range of new treatments is promising to move psychopharmacology beyond SSRIs. From ketamine to psilobycin, new psychotropic compounds offer both the promise of remedy – and the worry of self-medication.

So are mental illnesses still taboo?

Less than they used to be. It could be said that the subject has moved from being invisible to being taboo to being openly discussed in the space of 30 years.

But mental illnesses are still not universally accepted. People with mental illnesses still complain of discrimination; 300,000 people with long term mental health problems lose their jobs every year – and that’s just in the UK.

So, do you suffer from mental illness or have you dated someone who does suffer?  If so, how difficult has it made your partnership and what advice would you give to other people in this situation.

 

 

This content was originally published here.

Advances in Parkinson’s Research Holds Hope For the Future.

 

Parkinson’s is a condition that is quite common amongst disabilitymatch members so we felt that this article that we came across on the Neurology website would be of general interest to you.   The evidence presented in this Swedish research is compelling and backs up stuff I have read elsewhere in recent months.

Scientists have found mounting evidence that Parkinson’s could start in the gut before spreading to the brain, with one study in 2017 observing lower rates of the disease in patients who had undergone a procedure called a truncal vagotomy.

The operation removes sections of the vagus nerve – which links the digestive tract with the brain – and over the course of a five-year study, patients who had this link completely removed were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who hadn’t.

According to the team led by Bojing Liu from the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden, that’s a significant difference, and it backs up earlier work linking the development of the brain disease to something happening inside our bellies.

If we can understand more about how this link operates, we might be better able to stop it.

“These results provide preliminary evidence that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut,” said Liu.

“Other evidence for this hypothesis is that people with Parkinson’s disease often have gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, that can start decades before they develop the disease.”

The vagus nerve helps control various unconscious processes like heart rate and digestion, and resecting parts of it in a vagotomy is usually done to remove an ulcer if the stomach is producing a dangerous level of acid.

For this study, the researchers looked at 40 years of data from Swedish national registers, to compare 9,430 people who had a vagotomy against 377,200 people from the general population who hadn’t.

The likelihood of people in these two groups to develop Parkinson’s was statistically similar at first – until the researchers looked at the type of vagotomy that had been carried out on the smaller group.

In total, 19 people (just 0.78 percent of the sample) developed Parkinson’s more than five years after a truncal (complete) vagotomy, compared to 60 people (1.08 percent) who had a selective vagotomy.

Compare that to the 3,932 (1.15 percent) of people who had no surgery and developed Parkinson’s after being monitored for at least five years, and it seems clear that the vagus nerve is playing some kind of role here.

So what’s going on here? One hypothesis the scientists put forward is that gut proteins start folding in the wrong way, and that genetic ‘mistake’ gets carried up to the brain somehow, with the mistake being spread from cell to cell.

Parkinson’s develops as neurons in the brain get killed off, leading to tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with movement – but scientists aren’t sure how it’s caused in the first place. The new study gives them a helpful tip about where to look.

The Swedish research isn’t alone in its conclusions. In 2016, tests on mice showed links between certain mixes of gut bacteria and a greater likelihood of developing Parkinson’s.

What’s more, earlier in 2017 a study in the US identified differences between the gut bacteria of those with Parkinson’s compared with those who didn’t have the condition.

All of this is useful for scientists looking to prevent Parkinson’s, because if we know where it starts, we can block off the source.

But we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves – as the researchers behind the new study point out, Parkinson’s is complex condition, and they weren’t able to include controls for all potential factors, including caffeine intake and smoking.

It’s also worth noting that Parkinson’s is classed as a syndrome: a collection of different but related symptoms that may have multiple causes.

“Much more research is needed to test this theory and to help us understand the role this may play in the development of Parkinson’s,” said Lui.

If you suffer from Parkinson’s then do please comment on this article as we love to get feedback from our community.

 

 

Do You Have Sciatica? What Causes It? What Can You Do About It?

 

Sciatica is a term used to describe radiating pain that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve, running from your lower spine through the buttock and down the back of the leg. It flares when the sciatic nerve is irritated or pinched by any of a range of problems in your lower back.

Many people are completely disabled by sciatica and unable to function normally, yet sciatica is not that well understood as a disability.  In this informative post based on material from spine-health.com we look at the symptoms and the possible treatment options.

Sciatica is nerve pain

There are a series of nerve roots that exit from your lower spine; when any of these nerve roots on either side of your lower spine becomes irritated or pinched, pain may radiate from the nerve root to the sciatic nerve. The pain may travel down the sciatic nerve – through the buttock and down the back of the leg and into your foot and/or toes. It typically occurs only on one side of the body.

The pain is unique – often described as a shooting, searing pain that is felt deep in the buttock and radiates down the back of the leg. Sometimes, numbness, tingling, or burning is felt along the nerve. Some people describe the nerve pain as electric-like. Conversely, sciatica symptoms may be experienced as more of a constant, dull pain.

The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy.

The most common causes of sciatica in younger adults tend to be a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or isthmic spondylolisthesis.

In adults over age 60, the most common causes tend to be degenerative changes in the spine, such as lumbar spinal stenosis or degenerative spondylolisthesis.

The term sciatica is often misused, and people may be tempted to self-diagnose and self-treat the wrong cause of their sciatica. However, knowing the underlying cause of your sciatica symptoms is important in order to get the right treatment.

Many people refer to any type of leg pain as sciatica, but in fact, there are many causes of leg pain that are not medically classified as sciatica and need to be treated differently.

Piriformis syndrome syndrome also causes symptoms similar to sciatica. It occurs when the piriformis muscle in the buttocks irritates the sciatic nerve, which can cause pain to radiate along the path of the nerve into your leg. This type of pain is technically not sciatica, because the nerve irritation does not originate in the lower back. Treatment for piriformis syndrome usually includes anti-inflammatory medication and specific physical therapy.

Self-diagnosis of sciatica is not a good idea

As many underlying conditions can cause sciatic pain, it is important to consult a doctor for a clinical diagnosis. While rare, sciatica-like pain may be caused by medical conditions that need immediate treatment, such as:

While the vast majority of causes of sciatica symptoms are not serious, it is always advisable to see a doctor for any troubling symptoms.

If you feel symptoms of pain in your buttocks or leg, or numbness, tingling, or other neurological symptoms in your leg, it is important to see a doctor for clinical diagnosis that identifies the cause of your symptoms.

Like any disability, sciatica can limit your ability to enjoy life and work and play effectively.  If you suffer from sciatica and wish to share your experiences then please visit our facebook page and post your thoughts.

A Glimmer of Hope For IBD Sufferers

 

Crohn’s and IBD are terribly upsetting conditions for many of our disability community.  This recent article in Science Daily shines a beacon of hope into an effective treatment for this condition.

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a compound that may treat IBD without directly targeting inflammation. The compound tamps down the activity of a gene linked to blood clotting. They discovered that the gene was turned on at sites of intestinal inflammation and damage, and blocking its activity reduces IBD symptoms in mice.

Notably, the gene is especially active in people with severe disease and in those who don’t respond to potent biologic drugs known as TNF blockers that are prescribed to treat severe IBD.

The findings, published March 6 in Science Translational Medicine, may be a path to new therapeutic options for people whose IBD can’t be controlled effectively with current treatments.

“There’s a lot of interest in novel therapeutic approaches for IBD because inhibiting inflammatory molecules doesn’t work for all patients,” said senior author Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, the Conan Professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine. “We found a unique target that’s not an inflammatory molecule, and yet blocking it reduces inflammation and signs of disease, at least in mice. If further research bears out our findings, we think this target could be helpful to a greater number of patients.”

More than 1 million people in the United States have IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both conditions are marked by out-of-control inflammation but in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. They typically are treated first with general anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids. In more severe cases, people are given more potent immune suppressors such as TNF inhibitors, which neutralize an important immune protein. TNF inhibitors are sold under brand names such as Humira and Remicade. Immunosuppressants can be very effective, but they do have side effects such as increased risk of infection and cancer.

While researchers have focused countless hours on finding drugs to dampen IBD patients’ unruly immune systems, there are other untapped sources for therapies of the disease — such as the behavior of the epithelial cells that line the gut. Stappenbeck and first author Gerard Kaiko, PhD, a former postdoctoral researcher in Stappenbeck’s lab who is now at the University of Newcastle in Australia, realized that overlooked aspects of IBD might be a rich source of new drug targets.

To find genes that play a role in IBD through noninflammatory pathways, Kaiko, Stappenbeck and colleagues analyzed 1,800 intestinal biopsies from 14 independent, publicly available IBD datasets. The biopsies came from different studies, variously comparing people with IBD to healthy people; samples taken from inflamed and unaffected parts of the intestine; or people with mild, moderate and severe cases of IBD.

This analysis revealed that a group of genes related to blood clotting are turned on in IBD. The finding fits with the longstanding observation that people with IBD are two to three times as likely as the general population to develop problems with blood clots, with the risk especially high during a flare-up.

With the help of co-author Jacqueline Perrigoue, PhD, and colleagues at Janssen Research & Development, the researchers whittled down the list of genes to a few that played a role in both inflammatory and epithelial cells. One in particular stood out: a gene called SERPINE-1. This gene and its corresponding protein were found at high levels in inflamed parts of the gut in IBD patients. Both also are involved in an early step in the blood-clotting process but hadn’t been linked to inflammation previously.

To verify the role of the gene and its protein in gut inflammation, the researchers gave mice a chemical that causes gut inflammation similar to IBD, or a harmless chemical for comparison. The mice that received the damaging chemical lost weight, their intestines had signs of injury with many inflammatory cells and proteins, and the SERPINE-1 gene was expressed six times higher than in mice that received the harmless chemical.

When the mice with IBD-like symptoms were treated with a compound called MDI-2268 that blocked the activity of the protein, they fared much better. They lost less weight, and their intestines showed less destruction and inflammation than mice that were treated with a placebo. The compound was developed by Daniel A. Lawrence, PhD, of the University of Michigan.

“What’s most exciting here is that SERPINE-1 and its protein seems to be most highly expressed in people with the most severe disease and those who don’t respond to immunosuppressive biologics,” Stappenbeck said. “No one’s ever thought of targeting something like this. But here we’ve found something that might help lots of people with IBD, especially the ones who aren’t benefiting much from current therapies.”

We will keep our readers up to date on any further developments in the field of IBD and related disabilities.

The Nightmare of Fibromyalgia – Is It affecting You?

Do you hurt all over, frequently feel exhausted, can’t seem to ever feel “rested” after a night’s sleep, don’t respond to any of the recommended medications from your family physician, and no test seems to uncover anything specific? If this sounds like you, it is possible that you are suffering from fibromyalgia (FM). FM is a chronic/long-term condition including generalized pain in the muscles and joints, usually on both sides of the body above and below the waist, with associated “tender points” where moderate to firm pressure causes pain classically in the following locations (but anywhere is possible):

In fact, a generalized hypersensitivity is common and it seems like you just can’t turn off your brain. It can begin with a physical or an emotional event but doesn’t have to, as it can also seem to come out of nowhere. In the United States, about 2% of the population, mostly women and especially with increasing age, are affected by FM.  The statistics are similar in the UK. One common underlying clinical finding is non-restoring sleep with frequent interruptions during the night. Sleep disorders that are associated with FM include restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.

One study including 168 FM patients associated fibromyalgia with a disturbance in the central nervous system (CNS). Researcher performed various tests, including an auditory brainstem response (ABR) which tests the cranial nerve that is responsible for our hearing and balance; a test that measures for eye movements primarily when sleeping; and a third test that measures balance functions. The following is a list of the results from the study:

Some studies also report that similar symptoms associated with whiplash associated disorders (WAD).

Fibromyalgia and Vitamins – What’s the Connection… Fibromyagia is a debilitating disease that affects millions of English and Americans, with most sufferers being female. Research has explored a lot of different possibilities, but fibromyalgia remains a poorly understood disorder with no known single cause. Fibromyalgia can be more thought of as a global disease with likely many different factors coming tog…

Vaccination Does Not Cause Autism – New Study Shows.

A study looking at more than 650,000 kids is further debunking any link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

Researchers in Denmark conducted a nationwide study of all children born to Danish mothers between 1999 and 2010. Using a population registry, they tracked 657,461 children for a decade finding that 6,517 of the kids were ultimately diagnosed with autism.

Children who received the MMR vaccine were no more likely to have autism than those who did not get the immunization, according to findings published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Similarly, the study found no evidence that the vaccine triggered autism in kids that were at higher risk for the developmental disorder due to environmental risk factors or family history. And, the results showed that there was no clustering of autism cases following vaccination.

“Autism occurred just as frequently among the children who had been MMR-vaccinated as it did among the 31,619 children who had not been vaccinated. Therefore we can conclude that the MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of developing autism,” said Anders Hviid of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen who worked on the study.

The findings come amid heightened concerns about people forgoing vaccination with the World Health Organization recently naming vaccine hesitancy to its list of top 10 threats to global health in 2019.

Already this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported six measles outbreaks in New York, Texas, Illinois and Washington state. A U.S. Senate committee is expected to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

Also this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote to Facebook, Google and Pinterest calling for the companies to do more to prevent the spread of misinformation about vaccines on their platforms.

Fears about a link between autism and the MMR vaccine largely emerged out of a 1998 study that was retracted in 2010.

At Last! Emojis for the Disability World. I Give That a Smile and a Wink!

It is while since I have blogged on this site.  Most of my activity has been on Facebook/Twitter and youtube recently.  But now and then i like to add some posts here.  One of the things that has bought me great pleasure recently is the introduction of emojis for the disabled community.

The introduction of image-based characters such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs and guide dogs will help redress the underrepresentation of disabled people on the emoji keyboard, while there will also be a wider range of mixed-gender and ethnicity couples for users to choose from.

Disability rights campaigners welcomed the new accessibility-themed icons. “Love them or hate them – emojis have become part of our everyday digital lives,” said Phil Talbot, the head of communications at disability equality charity Scope. “Social media is hugely influential and it’s great to see these new disability-inclusive emojis. Up to now disability has been greatly underrepresented.”

 

I have chatted about these emojis with several friends in the disabled world and reactions have generally been positive. For me, personally, the hearing aid emoji is very handy as I have a hearing problem and sometimes wish to express it graphically from my phone.   Also I can easily reference wheelchairs and guide dogs from the emoji list which is very cool.

Remember you can always reach me on twitter @disabilitymatch or  facebook/disabilitymatch

 

Have a great day

 

David

 

 

 

We Make Following Us Really Easy

 

We are a very social site and just wanted to remind you all that we can be followed on Twitter and liked on Facebook.  You can even message us on Skype and set up a Skype conversation with me personally.

Indeed, our very sociability was mentioned in a recent article in datingnews website.  This is a wonderful article about disabilitymatch from the most important trade site for the dating industry.

Things of Interest at Disabilitymatch

Hi, this is a bit of a mish mash of a post but it is sunday I was looking back on things that have been happening recently.  Most importantly, I just released our latest podcast episode which features a single interview with Simon Mulholland from Pny Axes.

It is a relaxed chatty interview with Simon who is a crazy inventor based in Scotland.  He has invented a carriage to let wheelchair users experience pony trekking and really explore some wonderful landscapes.  With a Mulholland carriage wheelchair users can sea seals up-close on the shoreline.  If you go to our podcast page you can get all the contact details.

I was feeling a bit creative myself this week so I created a short video about dating with mental illness – I hope you find it interesting.

We know that disability can be visible and invisible so we are very keen to promote and champion our many members who have a non-visible challenges such as anxiety and depression and more clearly defined   problems as bipolar disorder.

 

 

Valentines Greetings and Disabilitymatch at NAIDEX 2018

I am very excited that NAIDEX have asked me to return again in April to give a seminar about disability dating.  This is really exciting for me and it gives me a great excuse to go up to Birmingham and meet up with all my friends and contacts in the uK disability sector.  I will be making a huge effort to present some great seminar material at the show so I do hope that some of you will attend.   We had a good turnout in 2017 and most of the participants had a great laugh.  The organisers of the NAIDEX show seem very keen to bring the social aspects of disability into the show which is a great improvement over the old system where everything seemed geared towards the latest equipment and nothing very human.

I will probably be based at the disability horizons stand with my great chum the amazing Martyn Sibley so if you are visiting the show you can leave a message for me with his team.

Just to bring you up to speed with disabilitymatch, we tend to chat to our community on Facebook and Twitter these days but now and then I like to keep this little blog going.  If you are not following us on facebook then you should, we post regularly and try to bring you lots of interesting disability news.   We tweet most days and I am just working on our Spring Podcast.  I hope to have the podcast out in the next few weeks.

So, this was just to alert you on NAIDEX and I do hope that you will attend my seminar and have a chat with me.

Love to all and a very happy Valentines