The interview on time Banking begins at 16:00 min.
The interview on time Banking begins at 16:00 min.
Frome in Somerset has seen a dramatic fall in emergency hospital admissions since it began a collective project to combat isolation. There are lessons for the rest of the country
It could, if the results stand up, be one of the most dramatic medical breakthroughs of recent decades. It could transform treatment regimes, save lives, and save health services a fortune. Is it a drug? A device? A surgical procedure? No, it’s a newfangled intervention called community. This week the results from a trial in the Somerset town of Frome are published informally, in the magazine Resurgence & Ecologist. (A scientific paper has been submitted to a medical journal and is awaiting peer review). We should be cautious about embracing data before it is published in the academic press, and must always avoid treating correlation as causation. But this shouldn’t stop us feeling a shiver of excitement about the implications, if the figures turn out to be robust and the experiment can be replicated.
What this provisional data appears to show is that when isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly. While across the whole of Somerset emergency hospital admissions rose by 29% during the three years of the study, in Frome they fell by 17%. Julian Abel, a consultant physician in palliative care and lead author of the draft paper, remarks: “No other interventions on record have reduced emergency admissions across a population.”
Frome is a remarkable place, run by an independent town council famous for its democratic innovation. There’s a buzz of sociability, a sense of common purpose and a creative, exciting atmosphere that make it feel quite different from many English market towns, and for that matter, quite different from the buttoned-down, dreary place I found when I first visited, 30 years ago.
The Compassionate Frome project was launched in 2013 by Helen Kingston, a GP there. She kept encountering patients who seemed defeated by the medicalisation of their lives: treated as if they were a cluster of symptoms rather than a human being who happened to have health problems. Staff at her practice were stressed and dejected by what she calls “silo working”.
So, with the help of the NHS group Health Connections Mendip and the town council, her practice set up a directory of agencies and community groups. This let them see where the gaps were, which they then filled with new groups for people with particular conditions. They employed “health connectors” to help people plan their care, and most interestingly trained voluntary “community connectors” to help their patients find the support they needed.
Sometimes this meant handling debt or housing problems, sometimes joining choirs or lunch clubs or exercise groups or writing workshops or men’s sheds (where men make and mend things together). The point was to break a familiar cycle of misery: illness reduces people’s ability to socialise, which leads in turn to isolation and loneliness, which then exacerbates illness.
This cycle is explained by some fascinating science, summarised in a recent paper in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. Chemicals called cytokines, which function as messengers in the immune system and cause inflammation, also change our behaviour, encouraging us to withdraw from general social contact. This, the paper argues, is because sickness, during the more dangerous times in which our ancestral species evolved, made us vulnerable to attack. Inflammation is now believed to contribute to depression. People who are depressed tend to have higher cytokine levels.
Who says there are no more geniuses these days? Now and then we meet an extraordinary person who can succeed in incredibly hard tasks at a very young age.
Sept 6, 2017
South Korean civil engineer and also a former child prodigy, Kim Ung-Yong, is such a person. He displayed unbelievable feats of intelligence not long after his birth. Actually, the Guinness Book of World Records listed him under “Highest IQ”. Nevertheless, Kim now wants to let the world know that a high IQ doesn’t bring happiness, but there other things that really matter in life.
Born March 8, 1962, Kim began speaking at the age of six months and understood algebra at eight months old! By the time he was two years old, he was fluent in four languages: Japanese, Korean, English, and German. When he was three, he mastered more languages.
He started attending university at four and graduated at fifteen. His IQ was 210 when he was just two years old!
Kim Ung-Yong mastered algebra at a very early age.
When he was still a teenager, NASA scouted him. He served there for 4 years as a researcher. However, after a long time of pushing himself to the limit, he began having a feeling of emptiness and void in life. In 1978, when he was 16, he decided to return to South Korea. His people back home were calling him “a defective genius.” After he received much criticism from the public, he chose to pursue his education at a local university.
In 2007, he served as adjunct faculty at Chungbuk National University. Seven years later, in 2014, he becomes an associate professor in Shinhan University, and then vice president of North Kyeong-gi Development Research Center.
IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, is a term that describes a score on a test that rates the person’s cognitive ability in comparison with the general population. IQ tests usually use a standardized scale with 100 as the median score.
In most tests, a score between around 90 and 110 indicates average intelligence. A score above 130 proves exceptional intelligence and a score below 70 might indicate mental retardation. Modern tests take in to account the age of a person when determining an IQ score.
A high IQ isn’t always a gift. Kim Ung-Yong missed many things ordinary kids experience. His entire childhood was lost. He insisted that life without human relationships is a life without a purpose.
Kim Ung-Yong believes the way to happiness is living an ordinary life.
“People always try to be somebody special by neglecting their ordinary happiness. But they should know happiness means ordinary things that we take for granted, such as nourishing friendships, sharing memorable moments with friends at school and so on…I couldn’t have these things even if I wanted to. This is why I know that what I’m saying is important.”
His message is simple and clear:
“Being special is not as important as living an ordinary life.”
Wow, that’s 65,000 people singing in unison. That is quite a feat.
Hiware Bazar, once a dying drought-stricken village in India, has become the nations most prosperous village, with over 60 families of millionaires.
The residents of Hiware Bazar, a remote village in the Ahmednagar district of the state of Maharashtra, India have managed to turn their fortune around in the span of just a few years – they’ve gone from being a drought-stricken populace in the mid-1990s to the richest village in the nation today. Their story is a truly inspiring one.
Hiware Bazar currently boasts of having the highest GDP among all the villages in India. Its 1,250-strong population enjoys an average income of INR 30,000 ($450) per month, also highest in the nation, up from a paltry INR 830 in 1995. 60 of the 235 families in the village are millionaires. Every year, their fields yield bountiful crops of millets, onions, and potatoes that make it hard to imagine that only a few years ago they were barren stretches of land that no one cared about.
Yet, up until the mid 90’s, Hiware Bazar was indeed a poverty-stricken village reeling in the aftermath of a severe drought in 1972. “The peace was shattered,” recalls Raosaheb Rauji Panwar, an 82-year-old villager. “People became irritable and restless as the struggle to stay alive became severe. Petty reasons were enough to trigger-off bitter quarrels, as there was so much despair and frustration. Villagers started consuming liquor and it added to our ruin.”
Photo: The Alternative
Frustrated with the situation, lots of villagers moved to nearby towns and cities in search of odd jobs as laborers, despite owning several acres of land back home. About 90 percent of the population moved out, and those remaining had no prospects. The village sarpanch (leader) at the time was just an elderly figurehead with no vision and the youth of the village soon realized they lacked a strong leader to look to for guidance and support.
So they got together in 1989 and decided to approach a young man named Popatrao Pawar, the only villager with a graduate degree. Pawar was all set to leave the village too, in search of a white-collar job, but the villagers had different plans for him – they requested he run in the local elections and become their next sarpanch. Pawar wasn’t interested at first, but the villagers’ persistence finally wore him down. When he was unanimously elected sarpanch, he decided that the time had come for Hiware Bazar to shine.
Photo: Appurva Shah/Tehelka
One of the first things Pawar did as sarpanch was to convince the villagers to close down about 22 liquor shops. Giving up one of the only things that brought them comfort, or at least an illusion of it, was not easy, but they eventually agreed.
The new leader then arranged for loans to poor farmers from the Bank of Maharashtra, and used some of the funds to start projects that would eventually improve the water supply in the region. Pawar started rainwater harvesting and water conservations schemes, and got the villagers to build 52 earthen bunds, 32 stone bunds, two percolation tanks and nine check dams.
Photo: Hiware Bazar
“Water management requires strong community participation,” Pawar explained. “Our village used to suffer from a lot of problems. Villagers realised how the scarcity of water was the source of all our problems. I told them that it is possible to get enough water for our needs, but only if we start saving all the rainwater we get.”
The projects worked. Although Hiware Bazar only received 15 inches of annual rainfall, the ponds and trenches they built saved every single drop water, preventing it from flowing out of the village. After just one monsoon, the irrigation area increased from 50 acres to 170 hectares. As the groundwater level began to rise, so did the villagers’ morale.
Photo: YouTube caption
With the water shortage resolved, many people who had left the village began to return. The number of families slowly went up from 90 to 235. The people were happier, collaborated more often, and solved problems together. Pawar set up systems so that two to three families could help each other on their farms, fostering a sense of community and avoiding the cost of hiring laborers. Today, they are able to harvest multiple crops, even taming and ploughing stubborn, rocky land for farming.
“I left for Mumbai in 1965 and worked there for 35 years,” said Yadav Dada Thange, a local farmer. “I heard about how the people in my village were successfully fighting drought by recharging rainwater. I decided to quit my job and come back to my village, Hiware Bazar. The empty wells I had left, now had plenty of water for my crops. Because of collective community participation, what has happened in my village is nothing short of a miracle.”
Photo: The Song of Life
“In 2010, the village got 190 mm of rain, but we managed well because of water management,” said Habib Sayyed, who deals with water planning in the village. Thanks to these water conservation techniques, Hiware Bazar had another great harvest that year, and even had water to spare for a special patch of land where they preserve 100 different species of plants.
Hiware Bazar is now a model village, with a growing sense of discipline and order. The roads are clean and well-planned, cement houses have long replaced the derelict huts of old, liquor and tobacco have been banned, as have open defecation and urination. Every single house has a toilet, a fact that cannot be said about most villages in India, and people are genuinely happy and proud of their achievements.