“How can I change?”: A South Asian carer’s story

Carer 2Over samosas and mithai, for a standard case study, an elderly South Asian woman narrated her experience as sole carer for her husband who had dementia. Her story was rife with cultural abuse that is mitigated under the guise of cultural sensitivity, while culture is ignored where it’s truly needed. I’ve spoken about culture and how it’s caused harm in previous clinical work but I still advocate for cultural sensitivity in healthcare, accommodating cultural beliefs even when they seem antiquated. Why should anyone endure shame, offense or distress to access services? Cultural sensitivity ensures they don’t and improves lives. But can it also hurt them? Continue reading

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The little boy with the knife

can-stock-photo_csp12353142Five years ago, in a colourful sunlit room with half a dozen tiny witnesses a young boy pulled a knife out on me. It was at my summer internship at a practice that treated children, where I was dedicated to Danial, a boy of nine who was built like a tank, dressed like a golfer and acted like a mafia boss. His diagnosis was ADHD and it had insidiously crept into his life until he was failing at school, misunderstood in a joint family and scraped and bruised from his antics. He came to us to deal with his symptoms and we were left with a hurricane torpedoing through our rooms, leaving us spent in the July heat. Continue reading

A story of oranges and dementia: Learning about living with it with ARUK

Hand orangeA month ago a video went viral, asking everyone to #ShareTheOrange. It was created by Alzheimer’s Research UK, UKs number one fundraising charity for dementia research. It manifested curiosity, begging the question “What does an orange have to do with dementia?” As the intricately crafted video states, dementia is most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s Disease which physically destroys brain cells. Put aptly, “the destruction of Alzheimer’s can leave a brain weighing 140g less than a healthy one- that’s about the weight of an orange. Continue reading

Insert fancy title: What I learnt from rejected manuscripts

cover-blog-e1519171490188.pngIt’s disheartening, going through the toils of writing your research into a paper and having fellow authors,  supervisors and journals demand major revisions. It can takes months to account for those corrections, and still end in rejection. It stirs up serious impostor syndrome. We’re told overcoming this leads to being a better writer, something every academic strives for when published papers are the knife to our bread and butter. Therefore, my latest failure felt like a requisite opportunity to list what I’ve learnt: Continue reading

A love affair with science writing: The Max Perutz Award

20171019_234000.jpgNobel Prize winning molecular biologist Dr. Max Perutz believed science makes “the impossible, possible”. He lived by this policy when he began his research on haemoglobin, which required a computer. At the time, the computer didn’t exist. Prof. Robin Perutz, his son, narrated this to us in a room at the Royal Institution in London, lined from ceiling to floor with grand hardbound academic journals, decades in the making. It was the 20th Max Perutz Science Writing Award ceremony and I was a shortlister. Continue reading