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29/05/2012

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 29 May 2012

At the 2000 Sydney Paralympics ten members of the Spanish basketball team were stripped of their gold for pretending to have a learning disability. For the first time since that scandal athletes with learning disabilities can compete again in this year's games. British psychologist, Professor Jan Burns is the Head of Eligibility for the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability. She tells Claudia which sports and which athletes will be eligible.

In 2007 the Harvard political scientist, Robert Putnam published a paper stating that ethnic diversity in a community is associated with more mistrust. His paper was influential with governments, both in the UK and the US. Claudia is joined by one of Britain's leading social psychologists, Professor Miles Hewstone from Oxford University, about his new research which finds Putnam's bleak conclusions about society are wrong.

Clinical microbiologist, Graham Rook from University College London is hopeful that one day there might be a vaccination against depression. He's basing his ideas on two things: the finding that some people with depression are found to have higher levels of inflammation in the body and the idea that inflammation could be controlled by our exposure to contact with certain worms and bacteria - the so-called hygiene hypothesis. Professor Rook tells Claudia why he thinks with more research there could one day be a vaccine. The link between depression and inflammation in a proportion of people with depression is established, but is a vaccine for all really possible and would it be a useful avenue to explore for preventing the condition? Nick Craddock is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Cardiff and explains why he is critical of the idea.

Producer: Pam Rutherford.

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