Seals of the May

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

Friday 29th December comments: To end the year on the Isle of May NNR blog we’ve published a video above of our breeding Grey Seals superbly captured by wildlife cameraman Sam Oakes.

The short film (4 mins long) shows the start of the Grey Seal breeding season on the May and captures the relationship between a mum and pup in the early days of life. It is well worth a watch…

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Back in the driving seat: Industry

Hole Ousia

Historical backdrop (the last decade):

UK Key Opinion Leaders argued robustly and consistently for an early approach to the diagnosis of dementia without articulating uncertainties, risks and necessary ethical aspects of person-centred approaches to diagnosis.

When first published in the BMJ the authors gave no competing declarations of interest despite evidence (in the public domain) that this was incorrect. The BMJ and GMC took no action.

The history behind the following volte-face statement of the UK experts in dementia is recorded in the BMJ. The following statement was published on the 21st March 2013:

“The issue of the terminology of early or timely diagnosis of dementia is important. Most people ‎now agree that “timely” is a better way of describing what is trying to be achieved – it suggests a ‎person centred approach, does not tie the diagnosis to any particular disease stage . . . “

The ‘Dementia Tsar’, Professor Alistair Burns, made it clear

“by putting…

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Mental Health Cop

I wrote this post in June 2016 and simply forgot to publish it. Having had a bit of a BLOG clear-out over Christmas where I’ve binned about thirty part-written blogs where I found myself just banging on again and again about the same old thing.  However there were a couple I decided to keep and this is one of them, just for personal reasons.

I was thrilled to receive a letter in May, indicating that the Prime Minister wished to put forward my name to Her Majesty the Queen, recommending that I be appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to policing and mental health. Since the announcement, I have been smiling broadly and have laughed out loud a few times, overwhelmed by messages of support from frontline police officers as well as mental health professionals and members of the public. I was delighted…

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When the dead speak

Race Reflections

When my eldest son was about 6; he wrote a poem at school he entitled sadness; which eventually got published. I am reproducing it here, with his permission.


It feels like pain
And it sounds like rain
And it reminds me of my mum’s dad who died
It smells like blood
And it tastes like blood
The colour is red

When he returned home on the day he wrote Sadness; elated and proud it had been selected for publication; I had to contain tears and shock. I instantly felt something significant was making itself manifest. I was not sure how to formulate. I can’t remember wether I cried or not in front of him but I know I cried, away from him.

My son was happy. Pretty much had always been. The sadness was not his. The connection between the imagery of violence, my father and loss clearly evaded…

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The Edinburgh Consensus: a useful opportunity for self-reflection

Shibley's blog

The “Edinburgh Consensus” published today makes some important points of considerable importance to the identity of the dementia within services and research. I’m left wondering what further has been achieved since the Scottish Declaration of 2014, when I attended the International conference hosted by Alzheimer’s Europe.

But in the words of the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, nothing has actually changed. The string of failures in finding reliable biomarkers continues to get longer, and even the Alzheimer’s Association this year had immense difficulty in promoting the latest phase III success story – because there wasn’t one. It was left up to the Lancet Commission on dementia to demonstrate that progress was being made.

Nonetheless, the paper, although it could have been written without much difference a few years ago, I thought, raised some questions which are as important now as they ever have been.

In my personal life, much…

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Winter Waders

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

Purple Sandpiper Purple Sandpipers wintering on the island

Oyster 1 Oystercatcher

Turnstone Turnstone at high tide

Monday 18th December comments: We all know that the Isle of May NNR is an important reserve for its nesting seabirds and breeding Grey Seals but its also important for other wildlife, even in the depths of winter.

During the winter months the island is uninhabited and therefore undisturbed which is ideal for a number of wading birds which utilise the island during this period. Breeding birds from the high arctic such as Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper winter in small numbers, feeding along the rocky shorelines and roosting at high tide in the relative safety of the island.

These small wading birds will eventually head back north in the spring but until then will take full advantage of the Isle of May. Other birds such as Oystercatchers and Curlew are also present during the winter, showing you just how the island is used by wildlife…

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