2013年1月31日星期四

Why Nigella Lawson could offer the perfect shoulder to cry on: Women in their 50s have have the most empathy, study claims



  • No-one else has as much empathy as women of the baby-boomer generation, research claims

  • Growing up in the Sixties and Seventies opened their eyes to the struggles and experiences of others, it is argued

  • Research looked at three U.S. studies in which 75,000 adults were questioned over lifestyles, attitudes and other aspects of their lives


By Damien Gayle


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Want a shoulder to cry on? Then find a woman in her 50s, like Nigella Lawson or Jennifer Saunders, psychologists reckon.


For no one else, male or female, has as much empathy as women of this generation, according to a study of more than 75,000 adults.


They will listen more other people's problems and also react better to their needs, showing sympathy, concern and emotion, the research claims.


The perfect shoulder to cry on... Nigella Lawson and 50-something female peers have the most empathy of any particular demographic, according to a study of more than 75,000 adults

The perfect shoulder to cry on... Nigella Lawson, 53, and her 50-something female peers have the most empathy of any particular demographic, according to a study of more than 75,000 adults



Women are widely considered better listeners than men and those in their 50s are best of all because of both their stage of life and the period in which they were born, it added.


Researchers argued that growing up in the Sixties and Seventies may have opened the eyes of these women to the struggles and experiences of others, from apartheid and gay rights to women's lib and anti-war protests.


Older adults born earlier are more likely to be grumpy and cynical as their emotional functions fade with age, said study by U.S. universities of Michigan and North Carolina.


They also grew up in periods of greater hardship, such as during the war or post-war austerity, which could affect their attitudes to the seemingly minor problems of others.


And younger generations are from more materialistic times, the researchers wrote in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological and Social Sciences.


This could make them more self obsessed and so wrapped up in their own problems that it makes it harder for them to be concerned about that of others.


But the baby boomer generation who are now in their 50s grew up in a more enlightened and media-driven age, with a greater knowledge of the world around them.


This pair could cheer you up with a joke, too: Dawn French, 56, and Jennifer Saunders, 53. Researchers claim growing up in the Sixties and Seventies opened the eyes of these women to the struggles of others

This pair could cheer you up with a joke, too: Dawn French, 56, and Jennifer Saunders, 53. Researchers claim growing up in the Sixties and Seventies opened the eyes of these women to the struggles of others



Famous women in their 50s include TV chef Nigella, 53, as well as Dawn French, 56, and her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders, 54, and TV presenter Fern Britton, 55.


Lorraine Kelly is 53, just one year younger than Hollywood sirens Sharon Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer.


The researchers looked at three nationwide U.S. studies in which 75,000 adults of all ages were questioned over lifestyles, attitudes and other aspects of their daily lives.



Actress Michelle Pfeiffer


Sharon Stone


And who wouldn't mind crying on these shoulders? Michelle Pfeiffer, left, and Sharon Stone, right, both 54. The baby boomer generation grew up in a more enlightened and media-driven age, it is claimed



It found that over a lifetime, levels of empathy started and ended low but peaked in middle age and particularly among the so-called post-war baby boomer generation.


Report co-author Sara Konrath of the University of Michigan, said: 'Overall, late middle-aged adults were higher in both of the aspects of empathy that we measured.


'They reported that they were more likely to react emotionally to the experiences of others, and they were also more likely to try to understand how things looked from the perspective of others.'


The study added: 'Those born in the 1950s and '60s - the middle-aged people in our samples - were raised during historic social movements, from civil rights to various antiwar countercultures.


'It may be that today's middle-aged adults report higher empathy than others because they grew up during periods of important societal changes that emphasized the feelings and perspectives of other groups.'


Empathy is not just about being a good listener though, said the authors of the report, it can also play a major role in society from involvement in community work to charity contributions.







Older mothers drive surge in forceps births: Use at highest level for 20 years despite attempts to increase natural deliveries



  • One in 15 births, almost 120 a day, are carried out using forceps

  • Last year, 6.5 per cent of babies were born using forceps, compared to 3.8 per cent in 2000

  • Campaigners say the rise reflects a shortage of midwives


By Jenny Hope


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Medical intervention: Despite attempts to increase the number of women giving birth naturally, the use of forceps is at its highest level for almost 20 years

Medical intervention: Despite attempts to increase the number of women giving birth naturally, the use of forceps is at its highest level for almost 20 years



The use of forceps during childbirth is at its highest level for almost 20 years, despite attempts to increase the number of women giving birth naturally.


One in 15 births – almost 120 a day – are carried out using surgical forceps, which help pull the baby out during a difficult delivery.


After reaching a record low in 2000 in England, their use has almost doubled at a time when the Government is promoting less medical intervention.


Campaigners say the figures show a ‘conveyor belt’ system of childbirth in NHS hospitals, driven by midwife shortages.


The Royal College of Midwives says at least 5,000 more midwives are needed.


An increase in the use of forceps highlights the growing trend for women to have babies at older ages, and to be more obese, which leads to more instrumental deliveries and caesareans.


Last year, 6.5 per cent of babies – 42,647 – were born using forceps, the highest figure since the mid-1990s.


This compares to 3.8 per cent in 2000, which accounted for just 20,885 births.


At the same time, large compensation payments have been made by the NHS for bungled forceps deliveries which have left the child or mother with permanent injuries, including four of more than £3million.


Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, said the rise in forceps deliveries could be because of pressures on maternity units, some of which have blamed a ‘conveyor belt’ system for letting down mothers.


She said: ‘On occasions there may be the need to deliver a baby quickly if it is in distress, in which case forceps are appropriate, but forceps cannot be used as an option just because we think a woman’s labour is delayed. There are not enough midwives and there is undoubtedly pressure in maternity units to get people in and out quickly.’


Elizabeth Duff, of the National Childbirth Trust, added: ‘The use of forceps during childbirth is associated with higher rates of complications for the mother, as well as posing risks of injury to the baby, so it is essential that this approach is only adopted when absolutely necessary.’


Resources: Campaigners say the figures show a 'conveyor belt' system of childbirth in NHS hospitals, driven by midwife shortages

Resources: Campaigners say the figures show a 'conveyor belt' system of childbirth in NHS hospitals, driven by midwife shortages








DePuy 'sold toxic hip implants despite knowing they could be dangerous for THREE YEARS'



  • DePuy marketed metal-on-metal implants 'despite surgeon's warnings'

  • Hips failed after 2.5 yrs far more regularly than other models, tests found

  • They were suspected of causing potentially toxic metal to get into blood

  • Revelations on warnings come in Los Angeles compensation court case


By Mark Duell


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Toxic hip implants used in thousands of operations in Britain were sold by a company which knew for at least three years that they could be dangerous, it was claimed today.


Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy advertised ‘metal-on-metal’ hip implants despite a top surgeon allegedly telling one of the manufacturer’s executives in an email that they were causing problems.


Tests found the hips failed after two and a half years far more regularly than other models - but they were continually marketed to British patients, despite them being suspected of poisoning the blood.


Dangerous: An online warning by a U.S. law firm investigating the early failure of the hip implant. More than 10,000 patients in Britain were fitted with the implants, which are thought to wear down and cause issues

Dangerous: An online warning by a U.S. law firm investigating the early failure of the hip implant. More than 10,000 patients in Britain were fitted with the implants, which are thought to wear down and cause issues



Hundreds of patients are now having replacements for the hips, which are intended to last for life, despite DePuy allegedly being continually warned about their impact, reported the Daily Telegraph.


More than 10,000 patients in Britain were fitted with the implants, which are thought to wear down and cause potentially toxic metal to get into the bloodstream. They were taken out of use in 2010.


Revelations over the warnings appeared in a court case in Los Angeles, looking at the compensation of patients, in which Loren Kransky, 65, is suing DePuy for failing to warm him the hip could be faulty.


In metal-on-metal implants, the ball and socket of the hip are replaced with metal instead of one or both being another material, like plastic or ceramic. It is deemed a failure if it has to be taken out.


Pain: Company figures showed in June 2007 that the implants had a 90 per cent survival rate after two and a half years - which was relatively low in relation to other models (file picture)

Pain: Company figures showed in June 2007 that the implants had a 90 per cent survival rate after two and a half years - which was relatively low in relation to other models (file picture)



The faulty implant, known as an ASR device, was introduced to the UK in July 2003. It was one of a new generation of hip implants made from metal alone, rather than metal and plastic.


The hip was supposed to last longer and prevent patients from losing too much tissue and bone when it was inserted. It was thought surgeons began reporting problems with the implant in 2007.


But new documents alleged that Belfast orthopaedic surgeon David Beverland had been reporting problems earlier, and wrote to DePuy engineer Graham Isaac in May 2006 to discuss the problems.


The next year Dr Beverland chose to discontinue use of the implants, reported the Daily Telegraph.


Company logo: Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy advertised 'metal on metal' hip implants despite a top surgeon allegedly telling one of the manufacturer's executives in an email that patients were suffering

Company logo: Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy advertised 'metal on metal' hip implants despite a top surgeon allegedly telling one of the manufacturer's executives in an email that patients were suffering



Company figures showed in June 2007 that the implants had a 90 per cent survival rate after two and a half years - which was relatively low in relation to other models.


But the firm looked at a new method for marketing the product with different data in March 2008 that gave a 99 per cent rate of success. One marketing manager called it a ‘game changer’.


Patients had started returning to hospitals in pain in 2007. A research team in Newcastle found that the metal surfaces wore away, releasing tiny particles of chromium and cobalt into the body.


These were absorbed into the bloodstream and surrounding tissues, causing inflammation, bone and tissue damage around the pelvis and, in severe cases, blood poisoning and benign tumours.


A DePuy spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that evidence will show it acted ‘appropriately and responsibly’ and was always ‘looking out for patient interests by analysing data’.







More than 200 police a year quit to avoid complaints: Misconduct allegations are not being properly investigated



  • Damning assessment of Independent Police Complaints Commission published by Home Affairs Select Committee

  • Nearly one in every four officers subject to complaints in England and Wales last year - a total of 31,771

  • Watchdog 'woefully under-equipped' to get to the truth, report says


By Jack Doyle


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Lacking resources: Keith Vaz said the Independent Police Complaints Commission is 'woefully under-equipped' to do its job

Lacking resources: Keith Vaz said the Independent Police Complaints Commission is 'woefully under-equipped' to do its job



Serious corruption and misconduct allegations against police officers are not being properly investigated, according to a damning assessment of the complaints watchdog published today.


More than 200 officers a year are escaping disciplinary charges by retiring or resigning, a report by MPs warned.


Staggeringly, last year nearly one in every four officers was subject of a complaint, amounting to a total of 31,771 in England and Wales.


But in a scathing report, the Home Affairs Select Committee warns of a public suspicion that ‘police are getting away with misconduct and criminality’.


It says the Independent Police Complaints Commission is ‘woefully under-equipped and hamstrung’ and lacks the resources to get to the truth.


Serious cases of police corruption are ‘under-investigated’ the report says, as the IPCC concentrates on less serious accusations.


Committee chairman Keith Vaz said the IPCC was insulting victims by just ‘scratching the surface’ of serious alleged abuses.


He warned of a ‘complaints roundabout’ where cases are first investigated internally by the accused force, but are then appealed to the IPCC because the complainant is unhappy.


The report revealed that one in three such cases is overturned by the IPCC because of failures in the initial investigation. As a result, the IPCC was ‘overloaded’ with appeal cases, MPs said.


Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: ‘When public trust in the police is tested by complaints of negligence, misconduct and corruption, a strong watchdog is vital to get to the truth - but the IPCC leaves the public frustrated and faithless.’


He added: ‘Nearly a quarter of officers were subject to a complaint last year. Many were trivial, but some were extremely serious, involving deaths in custody or corruption -it is an insult to all concerned to do no more than scratch the surface of these alleged abuses.


‘The IPCC investigated just a handful and often arrived at the scene late, when the trail had gone cold. The Commission is on the brink of letting grave misconduct go uninvestigated.’


The IPCC is currently investigating the Hillsborough disaster in what investigators say is the biggest ever inquiry into police misconduct, during which it will be given new powers and additional funding.



Doreen Lawrence


PC Simon Harwood


Evidence: The committee made their conclusions after hearing from witnesses such as Doreen Lawrence, left, who said she had 'no confidence' in the IPCC and examining the case of PC Simon Harwood, who 'retired' before he was disciplined for attacking newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson



MPs took evidence from victims of police misconduct, their lawyers, police representatives and ministers. Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, told the committee she had ‘no confidence in [the commission] whatsoever’.


The committee recommended that IPCC investigators should take ‘immediate control’ of an investigation of serious injury or death involving police officers.


Serious corruption cases - including evidence tampering - should automatically land with the IPCC instead of a force’s internal complaints department.


They also concluded that the IPCC needed a legal power to require a force to implement its recommendations after something goes wrong.


During the investigation of the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson, it emerged that the police officer who attacked him, PC Simon Harwood, had ducked ten complaints by switching forces, including a road-rage attack, racial abuse and a series of heavy-handed arrests.


He ‘retired’ from the Met on medical grounds on the eve of a disciplinary hearing, only to rejoin within days on its civilian staff. After transferring to a separate force, Surrey, he then returned to the Met in 2005 as a police officer.


IPCC chairman Dame Anne Owers backed the call for more resources and powers.


She said: ‘This report recognises that we do not yet have the resources or powers to do all that the public rightly expects and needs from us. That is what we have been saying for a long time.


‘Without that, we will continue to struggle to meet the legitimate expectations of complainants and of families who have lost someone in tragic circumstances.’