Home' InDaily : March 25th 2010 Contents Vol21No2March2010|7
Media images of looting contribute to
the myth that disasters bring out the
worst side of human nature, but the
goodwill and support that arise from
catastrophic events often demonstrate
the best of the human spirit, according to
Professor Paul Arbon.
Professor Arbon is the Director of the
Flinders University Research Centre for
Disaster Resilience and Health, launched
"There is an urgent need
for more evidence-based
solutions to the health
problems associated with
and disaster and to assist
in building the resilience
and preparedness of
communities at risk."
The launch also marked the launch of
the Flinders University Research
Program for Disaster Nursing.
"With its partners such as the
International Council of Nurses and
the World Association for Disaster and
Emergency Medicine, the Centre has
the potential to make a significant
contribution to disaster health
research internationally," Professor
Research dispels disaster myths
More effective than counting sheep
Research encourages better sleep
sleepiness. By increasing their sleepiness,
we help to override their anxiety," he said.
The initial trial treated 42 children and
tracked their subsequent sleeping habits.
"It's been good to see that our
treatments do work. And we have
learned that these problems do not
necessarily get better over time if left
untreated," Dr Gradisar said.
"The combination of techniques is unique
in school-aged kids, and seems
to fast-track the effects."
To take part in the program, see:
Child and Adolescent Sleep Clinic
Most parents expect to lose some of their
own sleep in the course of coaxing their
very young children off, or back, to sleep.
But psychologists at Flinders University's
sleep clinic have found that some
children who experience difficulties
getting to sleep or who wake during the
night still demand extended parental
presence well into their school-age years.
Using a six-session approach that
combines cognitive therapy with
techniques that draw on insomnia
treatments for adults, Dr Michael
Gradisar and his research team are
gaining good results in achieving better
sleeping habits in children and reducing
disruption for their families.
"Getting children off to sleep, or getting
them back to sleep in the small hours,
often requires a parent to lie down with
the child in its bed, or the child to sleep in
the parents' bed, or for the child's
mattress to be dragged into the parents'
bedroom," Dr Gradisar said.
"If this cycle continues it can obviously be
very disruptive to the parents," he said.
The University's Child and Adolescent
Sleep Clinic treats problem sleepers
between the ages of eight and 18, and
attracts two major groups of clients:
"There are the teenagers with delayed
sleep phase, and these primary
by SA's Health Minister John Hill at a
ceremony on March 12.
"Despite the relative frequency of
disasters, our understanding is
influenced by a pervasive set of myths
that can impair response and relief
efforts by leading, for example, to
overestimation of the risk of disease or
the provision of inappropriate types of
aid," Professor Arbon said.
He said research has a key role to play
in dispelling myths and improving the
science of disaster relief.
Professor Arbon said planning and
preparedness to confront identified
hazards in the environment is vital in
assisting health-care organisations to
provide an effective immediate response
and also in aiding a community's
"The Centre is working to improve our
understanding of how disasters develop
and the impact on communities of the
health effects of disaster, and how we
can respond more effectively.
school-aged kids who really depend on
their mum and dad to get to sleep or to
fall back to sleep," Dr Gradisar said.
He said many sleep problems among
younger children seem to be the result of
a separation anxiety confined to the
hours of darkness.
The clinic's treatment for these children
marries techniques from the anxiety
field -- such as teaching the children to
identify and rationalise their fears -- with
those used to treat adult insomnia,
including the manipulation of bedtimes
to increase sleepiness.
"The night-time seems to trigger their
fears, they get all hyper-aroused and
anxious, and that competes with their
Flinders University Research Centre for Disaster Resilience and Health
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