Monthly Archives: March 2010

Thalidomide effect mystery solved

The mechanism by which thalidomide causes birth defects including malformed limbs is revealed by scientists.

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It has been many years since Dr. McBride in breakthrough research showed that thalidomide was responsible for birth defects, but he did not know what caused the actual defects.

Thalidomide was used as a morning sickness drug (and I am glad it was not around when I was pregnant and sick every day with my three sons). As a result of this use of thalidomide hundreds of children were born without limbs. It was Dr. McBride who determined that thalidomide was the cause of the defect. Of course years later, when he tried to do the same with another morning sickness drug, Debendox ( this is the one that I used and my children did not have any defects), he ended up being disgraced because of his desire to find in favour of the parents. By perjuring himself that there was a link, he did himself irreparable harm.

Now, however, researchers have taken the next step and they have discovered what causes the birth defects, and by making that discovery they now have the opportunity to find a safer alternative to thalidamide which is apparently useful in fighting some cancers.

As a woman though, I still see all of these drugs as dangerous to the unborn.

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Warning – Bullying is a health hazard

Schoolgirl Poppy Bracey found hanged amid claims she was bullied for being pretty | Mail Online

First of all my condolences to Poppy’s parents because they are the ones who have lost something very precious as a result of what seems to be the bullying of a very beautiful girl.

The Mail online reports that Poppy’s left the following messages online after Poppy could not take any more of the bullying and hanged herself:

Friends at 1,000-pupil Lowton High School, in Leigh, posted a series of messages on internet sites claiming Poppy was being picked on.

One, at the specialist sports college where former pupils include Ting Tings singer Katie White, said: ‘This poor girl was apparently being bullied at Lowton High School and has sadly ended her own life by hanging herself.’

Another said: ‘Why would someone want to bully her?? Apart from jealousy.’

Hannah Manley wrote ‘It’s so sad to see what caused your death a bunch of pathetic low lifes who had bullied you to make themselves feel better. You are soo pretty and I pray you’re so much happier up in heaven Poppy.

Kayleigh Midgley said: ‘You were stunning what a shame. Hope the b******s feel so guilty.’

Sue Higson said: ‘Poppy you are an angel, hope you are resting in peace, and smiling down to your family and friends, who are missing you everyday.

‘God only takes the best young, you are in Heaven, and this must be hell for your family without you, Someday you will all be together.’ 

Poppy was in foster care and living in Leigh, at the time of her death.

Nick Hudson, council executive director for Children and Young People’s Services, said: ‘Poppy’s untimely and tragic death has shocked and saddened many people.

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Those of us who went through bullying at school know that it is so hard to remove all of the scars. Being bullied for being pretty is really just the tip of the iceberg. It can happen to those of us who are highly intelligent. I should add here that it is not just the “classmates” who indulge in the bullying. Teachers, even form teachers can also be participants in that form of bullying.

I know what it is like because I used to cry a lot as a result of the constant bullying and it was at home, not just at school where I was being constantly bullied by other family members. However, it is the teacher who was my form mistress when I was Poppy’s age that caused a lot of psychological damage with her particular form of bullying. I am not ashamed to admit that I hated that woman. I do not need to go into detail about what she did to me, but instead I will write about another situation, that was the culmination of jealous actions. It is true that I was very bright, and in primary school I was at the top of my class. I was never very happy at school, and in fact I was a very sensitive person. This in itself led to bullying by both boys and girls at the primary school. Well, as it turned out I got ahead of two girls who had been in my class when I started school – one of them was kept down a year, and I had been put up a year. The incident happened in my second year of high school. I was never very good at sewing and it transpired that the girls in my class wanted to make fun of my sewing attempts and they grabbed my stuff and ran off with it. I chased after them, and as I did so, a girl, the one who had been kept down a year was on the stairs as I went to head down them, she put out her foot and tripped me up. As a result of that incident I ended up with a sprained ankle…. in fact I ended up with a long history of sprains to my ankle… and now I have arthritis in my feet. That year and in short succession I sprained that same ankle 3 times. As a result the ligaments of my ankle remained weak and in those days we did not get physiotherapy for sprains. It caused a lifetime of damage, and it is because of the actions of a school bully that I suffered those sprains.

Of course bullying happens in other environments as well. It happens in the workplace, and it is often used as a means to force people to resign. This is precisely what happened when I worked in the Australian Public Service. The difference is that the bullying was more subtle, but it was targeted. I was a witness to the bullying that took place. In one case a man was being ostracized by his superiors because they wanted him to resign. I was told it was because he was too rigid in his ways. I was not allowed to talk to him, and got into trouble for talking to this man. Truly such actions are disgraceful and I believe that the woman behind the campaign should have been disciplined and removed from the Public Service because of what she was doing to staff members. In another case the victim of the bullying was a woman who was deaf. The whole episode was really sick, but the bullies were due to get a promotion. Instead of being punished for their actions… they were promoted!!  I should point out that other members of staff who were targeted by this manager did say things behind her back. I do not blame them for what they implied.

Young Poppy is not alone when it comes to bullying. I just wish someone had been able to talk to her about what was happening and in recent months there has been a spate of these suicides brought on because of the actions of bullies. Poppy was indeed a very beautiful girl. What a shame that this beautiful child was in foster care because it must have made her feel even more alone than if she had the comfort and security of being able to talk to her parents about what the bullies were doing to her.

It is time to take a stand against those who act cruelly towards others because of jealousy. Let’s see an end to all forms of bullying, and especially school bullies. It is time that teachers got off their butts and took positive action against the real bullies – instead of against the victims.

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