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Blog for 25/03/12

So, this week I decided to do my blog on something that happened recently. When watching the football with my boyfriend over the weekend (something I usually find a chore!) I was shocked to see a player suddenly collapse on the pitch, after several minutes it became apparent that his heart had stopped beating and medical staff were doing there best to revive him. I’m currently writing this a day after the incident took place, and at this moment in time, the player is still critically ill in intensive care, fingers crossed he pulls through! After witnessing such a devastating moment and seeing the reactions of players and spectators, I began to wonder how common this could be in young healthy people. Speaking from personal experiences, I was unfortunate enough to lose my brother to sudden death syndrome over 2 years ago, an illness I had no knowledge about until experiencing it myself, and conducting some research into it.

The question I am raising within this blog is… can more research into areas of SDS and heart attacks in young people prevent such tragedies from occurring more often?

I’m probably biased, but I really do think that more research could be done into these areas, which could further more prevent these incidents from happening again. Autopsies have shown that young adults dying from SDS, die from a deficiency in the heart, the blood flow becomes irregular, which then causes the heart to become overwhelmed and stop beating.

There are up to 450,000 sudden cardiac arrests in the USA in young adults every year, many of these during physical activity (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sudden-death/HB00092)

Researchersfrom the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research identified 160 non-traumatic athlete deaths in high school and college organized sports between July 1983 and June 1993 (http://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0601/p2763.html)

Research into SDS has shown that doctors do not take the condition seriously, with 4 to 8 young adults dying of the condition in the UK every week. Many of them attending doctors appointments to complain of chest pain when exercising or dizziness being turned away being told they are simply run down or stressed.

Not that I’m trying to startle any readers, but if those 4 to 8 people had been taken seriously when they visited the doctor’s, half of the cases could have been prevented. Tests into the strength of the heart can be conducted to show if there are any abnormalities, which can then be treated through drugs. Once SDS takes place, the heart stops within 20 seconds to 2 minutes, in this time, the electro pulses which have startled the heart and caused it to stop, disappear, making the complete cause of the illness undetectable.

On the other side of this argument, many people could point out that if the illness is somewhat undetectable then people will not be completely certain of the cause until it is to late.

I am simply arguing, that if there are certain symptoms matching those of heart problems, they can be detected and then treated, reducing the number of victims to this illness from rising.

For more information on the illness, I found this site really useful:








Should animals be used in research… the ethics!

Animals have been used for many aspects of human life including education, breeding and defense research. They are more commonly known for being used in scientific research, whether this is a psychological theory to be tested or a new type of medication that needs to be tested on animals before reaching humans.

Personally, I do not believe that animals should be used in any type of research that could cause them harm or even death. According to Animal Liberation Front (www.animalliberationfront.com) animals are sentient beings, meaning that they are capable of being aware of sensations and emotions, of feeling pain and suffering and of experiencing a state of well-being. Linking this to some types of studies animals have been subjected too… this means that they feel everything they are undergoing, they feel the pain of the drugs working through their systems and of the electrical shocks they may be subjected to.

In terms of the ethical guidelines, it can be argued that little or none of the guidelines in place are met when animals are used in research. The animals can not inform consent as they are incapable of speech or signing a form, they are not debriefed after the study as they would not understand what they are being told, they are not given information before the study, they are deceived as they do not know what they are being subjected to and they have no input as to whether or not their details are kept confidential and finally they do not have the right to withdraw, the experimenter would not know if the animal wished to withdraw unless it can be seen that they are in considerable pain through sounds. All of these may seem a little obvious, but in terms of an animal being sentient, they feel the pain of the research they may have undergone, yet do not have the ethical guidelines behind them to keep them safe.

There have been studies into animals and whether or not they have personalities. Dr Samuel Gosling conducted research into whether dogs had personalities or not… to put it briefly, he asked humans who knew the dogs and knew specified humans to rate their personalities in aspects of things like extroversion, openness and neuroticism, he compared these scores to participants who did not know the dogs or the humans and found that the scores were closely fitted, concluding that the participants believed the humans and dogs to have the same personalities.

However, some people believe that animals do not have personalities, are not sentient and should be used in scientific research, they believe that humans are ranked higher than animals and therefore we should be able to used them to discover new things that could change the way medication is taken or theories are written. York (2009) conducted a study where he asked children to rank in order humans, animals and plants. All of the children ranked humans as the most important in the list, but did add that all living organisms are important and that they should not be labeled as unimportant.

In conclusion, I do not believe that animals should be used in scientific research where they could get hurt as it has been shown that animals are sentient and can feel emotions and pain, therefore conducting the experiments on them would be harming a living creature, and its not as if they have the ethical guidelines to fall back on should they feel mistreated at the end of the experiment.

The top 5 shocking animal experimental facts:

  1. More than 100 million animals are poisoned, burned, crippled, and abused in other ways in U.S. labs each year.
  2. No experiment is illegal, no matter how cruel, irrelevant to human health, redundant, or painful.
  3. Ninety five percent of animals used for experiments are excluded from the only federal law offering any sort of protection.
  4. Even when valid alternatives to animals are available, the law doesn’t require that they be used.

5. Ninety two percent of experimental drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials because they don’t work or are dangerous.

Research found from: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/animal-facts/do-animals-have-personalities1.htm








Milgram’s study is rated as the 8th most unethical experiment according to the American Government and if often spoken about as a study, which damaged people to a point that questioned the scientific reputation of psychology, however, when Milgram’s study is broken down, it is actually one of the few studies that maintained ethical guidelines. Therefore I am arguing the point that Milgram’s study should of taken place.

The psychological impact that Milgram’s study as had, has provided psychology with many long lasting theories into obedience and the effect of an authoritative figure. Further studies have also taken place which have supported Milgram’s findings, Hoffling (1966) conducted research into the obedience levels of nurses given instructions over the phone, they were told that they were speaking to a doctor and ordered to give a dangerous dosage of medicine to a sick patient, nurses are told never to carry out instructions given out over the phone. However, 21 out of the 22 nurses carried out the order, even though previously, 22 had filled out a questionnaire stating they would never carry out phone instructions. This study supports Milgram’s findings that obedience levels often increase when an authoritative figure is present.

Milgram’s study did actually meet all ethical guidelines:

Consent– all participants consented to the study and filled out a form before taking part.

Right to withdraw– participants were told that they could withdraw at any time and would still be paid for their participation, although they were encouraged to carry on throughout the study, if they requested to leave 3 times then they were allowed to do so, it is important to take note that only 60% continued to the end.

Debrief– participants were fully debriefed after the experiment and nobody left believing that they had actually harmed anyone. Milgram’s debriefing process actually extended and the participants were looked after beyond the ending of the experiment.

Protection– participants were protected throughout the study and afterwards by the debriefing process

Deception– deception had to take place in this experiment, like in many other experiments for the outcome to be true. If the participants knew they weren’t really shocking anyone, then they would have carried on until the end knowing they weren’t causing harm.

Confidentiality– the confidentiality of the participants was kept at all times during the experiment and even after, when Milgram wanted to release the video footage, he contacted each participant separately to get their approval, anyone who did not wish to be shown was blanked out.

It is also worth a note that Milgram presented his experiment in front of a team of psychologists and psychiatrists who all agreed that his experiment should take part and would not harm anyone indefinitely (also worth a note that they originally said this as they believed his experiment would have no significant findings) even after the experiment they believed that it should of taken place and did not cause any harm to any participants, it was agreed that Milgram took care of all participants to the best of his ability.

So in conclusion although Milgram’s study has been marked as unethical and when taught in A level psychology, it taught as the most horrific experiment that has taken place, when we compare this to studies such as ‘the Monster Study’ and the ‘Zimbardo Prison Experiment’ Milgram’s study did not break any ethical guideline rules and also has enabled psychology to work on his theories of obedience even more so.



Comments for TA- 08/02/12





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