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Science
AM I NORMAL?
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PROGRAMME INFO
Tuesdays 31 July - 21 August 2007, 21.00-21.30
(Repeated Wednesdays at 16.30)

We expect doctors to tell us if we’re 'normal' or not, but how do they decide where to draw the line between someone who’s OK and someone who’s at risk? Vivienne Parry investigates. 

Cartoon with phrase "Are you normal? No!"

Programme 1 - Fitness

New research shows it’s better to be fat and fit, than thin and unfit.

How much exercise do you need to do to be fit, not for the Olympics or even a fun run, but simply fit for life?

Do you have get sweaty three times a week or is a brisk daily walk enough?

Vivienne Parry, who never steps inside a gym but walks everywhere, speaks to doctors and sports scientists and has her own fitness tested, to find out.  

Related links:

British Heart Foundation National Centre
Department of Health: At least five a week
BBC: Fitness

Listen again Listen again to programme 1

Programme 2 - ADHD

As more and more children in the UK are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Vivienne Parry explores how and where we draw the line between ADHD and 'normal'.

How far is it a medical decision, or how far is it based on how society and schools in particular expect children to behave? 
 
Related links:

Institute of Psychiatry: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Youthinmind
ADDISS
Royal College of Psychiatrists
BBC Health: ADHD

Listen again Listen again to programme 2

Programme 3 - Puberty

In Britain the average age for beginning adolescent development is eleven in girls and twelve in boys, but with indications that puberty may be starting earlier, this definition is currently under review.

The American Academy of Paediatrics has recently revised the lowest age for the start of normal puberty to seven in girls, while in developing countries children would be much older.

With such a wide spectrum of 'normality' is there a right age for the onset of puberty and what are the factors influencing it?

Vivienne Parry talks to academics and teenagers to find out what is normal puberty. 

Related links:

BBC Science & Nature: Puberty
BBC Slink: Am I a Freak?
BBC Parenting: Adolescence

Listen again Listen again to programme 3

Programme 4 - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

We all check that the cooker is switched off and the door locked before we leave the house, but what is the line between this normal checking and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Typically OCD sufferers are terrified of contamination or concerned with order and safety. The result is a compulsion to carry out repetitive rituals such as washing, tidying and checking that - in severe cases - becomes so obsessive people cannot leave their homes.

Vivienne Parry finds out when concern for order and safety become obsessive behaviour?

Related links:

OCD Action
OCD-UK
Maudsley Hospital: The Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma
BBC Mental Health: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Radio 4 Check Up: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Listen again Listen again to programme 4
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