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This week : A rare syndrome in Sweden

Text by Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2009-06-29

Children of asylum seekers in Sweden develop a rare psychiatric disorder and scientists discover a darker side to the longer days of summer

For a long time Sweden welcomed large numbers of asylum seekers , this is starting to change but in this edition HEALTH looks at how men and women adapt to life in the Nordic country. In particular HEALTH focuses on a little known condition that affects many of the children in these families. It is called pervasive refusal syndrome, a severe form of depression in which the child refuses to eat drink or interact and puts their life in serious danger.


HEALTH visits one family who are hiding out near Stockholm; they have had their demand for asylum rejected. The 19-year-old son has not got out of bed for two years and is kept alive with food that he receives intravenously. His twin siblings are also starting to withdraw from society. 


Next HEALTH travels to Upsaala and visits the university where scientists have made a recent discover that could help in the fight against tuberculosis or TB. Around since the 1800s TB still kills between two and three million people around the world every year, this new research could help medical experts understand why the bacteria is so resistant and thus work towards a more effective treatment. 


HEALTH also takes a general look at the Swedish health care system to find out why it tops international surveys and where its weak point ly.


And finally an early morning rise for something ‘Strange but True’. This week  HEALTH looks at new research that shows a darker side to the longer days of summer. Researchers in Greenland have seen that suicide rates there peak in June, when days are longest and dip in December. Serotonin, often called the ‘happy hormone’ can increase impulsiveness and in already depressed people act as a trigger getting them to carry out suicidal tendencies.


Date created : 2009-06-29