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La la la la…

I thought that the above was an interesting observation- and I also like the picture of the owl. Albert Einstein said that he never remembered stuff that he could look up – and clever as he was, he didn’t even invent the Internet.

Maybe we are heading to a point where no-one will ever learn anything- except maybe their name and where they live. They’ll just use a computer gizmo to find stuff out. Kids will start school at the age of five and finish the day after. A bit like those ‘greeters’ you see in big stores – ‘Hello’ (don’t forget to smile!!!). Can you imagine how intensive their training course is??

I like Ms Stein’s linkage between information and losing common sense. Over the years in my business life, I’ve met too many people who seem to have had their Common Sense Gland surgically removed at birth- but maybe it was all about the ready access to stonking volumes of information? So much pinging around that their processing system falls over they effectively seize up.

I guess the point I’m making is that although absolutely everything you’d ever need to know is only a few clicks of your mousey away, it doesn’t mean to say you (or me for that matter) know diddly squat.

Let’s talk about diabetes and awareness of just what can go wrong. A lot of studies have been carried out in the developing world on this topic, but I want to reference a study that was done in Ireland a few years ago. (1)

258 people were asked about their awareness of potential complications. 61% knew about cardiovascular risk and retinopathy. Not too bad methinks…

But when it came to peripheral vascular disease, stroke and amputation the figures were 16%, 17% and 12% respectively. Perhaps just as worryingly, less than half of the respondents felt that improvements in diet and exercise could potentially reduce their cardiovascular risk.

It’s all a bit weird. These are people that have been diagnosed with diabetes, and so have had contact with doctors and nurses and the like. There are literally thousands and thousands of internet pages dedicated to all things diabetes. But only 1 in 10 know that they are at risk of an amputation and less than half understand that eating better and getting mobile would help reduce risk of complications down the line. How does that work?

The world is awash with information but it isn’t being heard or understood. Is it that the Common Sense Gland is simply being overwhelmed or that the elephant in the room is one that no-one likes and no-one wants to talk about? Or is it a function of time? – medics et al have to get meds right first and hence the educational piece falls of the radar. But then there is tons of stuff on the Net??

Come what may, surely it can’t be right that so few people with the nasty, invidious condition can be blissfully unaware of the road that they have yet to travel?

Perhaps my title for this piece is a bit harsh- I can’t imagine that anyone would get into a taxi if the driver said that the brakes didn’t work but would happily ignore advice that may mean they get to keep both feet.

I do think there are loads of people out there with a great sense of social conscience. I’d be happy to sign up to some sort of mentoring register, and offer to be there for those who have been newly diagnosed. It might not be ‘The Answer’ but it might be a start?

It would be great to know what you think!

1. O’Sullivan, E.P., Bhargava, A., O’Callaghan, M. et al. Ir J Med Sci (2009) 178: 401

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