York Talks Session Three

1.45pm, Berrick Saul building

The illusion of choice  – Sociologist Karl Atkin is concerned that the NHS screening process for two key genetic diseases is leading to a hidden form of ‘weak eugenics.’ His qualitative research reveals that would-be parents have little idea, if any, of what they are consenting to, and are even less well equipped to deal with the consequences if the tests reveal problems. This is a powerful talk on a controversial topic that has big implications for the wider population as science and technology move us ever closer to being able to select ‘designer babies.’

Does wildlife need a drugs policy? - Ecologist Kathryn Arnold’s research into how the drugs we take are finding their way into the animal food chain and changing the behavior of one of our more instantly recognisable garden birds has gained international recognition and has been featured on Radio 4’s Today programme and the BBC1’s Autumn Watch. Here she tells us about the research and the implications it has for declining bird populations. 

Depression and the Third Agechanging demographics and shifts in attitudes to mental illness have led to a recent surge in interest in this often neglected but hugely important field of health care. Simon Gilbody and his team have been at the forefront of research into the area, and their findings are now providing policy-makers and practitioners with the evidence they need to make the best use of scarce resources. He also tells us about how a cost-effective, non-pharmacological therapy is helping older people deal with depression and enjoy better health.

Making up or breaking up? Euroscepticism and the making of the Union  A leading authority on the origins and spread of virulent Euroscepticism on the continent, Sofia Vasilopoulou argues that opposition to the European Union by groups such as UKIP could be just part of the process by which the Union evolves into a much more responsive and mature democracy.  She shows how Euroscepticism is not an isolated British disease but is found across the Union. She also shows that it is not a recent phenomenon – in fact, it has been around since the founding of the EU. Back then, however, it was largely the leaders that had their doubts – but today these attitudes have spread to the streets. 

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