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Image for The Future of Mental Health Care - Left Handedness - Colour and Dyslexia

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The Future of Mental Health Care - Left Handedness - Colour and Dyslexia

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 25 May 2010

Claudia Hammond gathers together users of mental health services as well as key professionals in the field, to discuss the future of mental health care. With a new government installed, how will ministers weigh demands for improved access to mental health services with demands for budget cuts to balance the books ?

She's joined by Dinesh Bhugra, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Janey Antoniou, writer and consultant in mental health issues and Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of MIND.

Around ten per cent of the population is left handed, but why did the numbers plummet around 1900 ? Newly discovered raw data - in the form of 6000 postcards - have recently helped to answer this question. Chris McManus, Professor of Psychology and Medical Education at University College, London, reveals the mystery of the missing poscards. Back in 1953 Dr Jacob Bronowski, of Ascent of Man fame, hosted a BBC TV programme which asked listeners to take part in a huge survey of left handedness. Six thousand answers on postcards duly arrived and Sir Cyril Burt from UCL was supposed to analyse them. But the postcards languished for more than half a century in shoe boxes in a dusty cupboard in the University archives...until recently. 57 years later the fascinating data has finally been analysed. And Professor McManus tells Claudia Hammond what it tells us.

The Dyslexia Research Trust has sponsored a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show about the impact of colour on dyslexia. Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford University, John Stein, and garden designer Tim Fowler, show Claudia around the garden and discuss the theory, which Professor Stein himself acknowledges is controversial, that colours can help with the processing of words on a page.



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