December News & Views

Firstly this month, a qualitative study published this month by the Violence Prevention Research Unit (of Queen Mary University London) in the British Journal of Psychiatry argues that young British Muslim men with poor mental health may experience protection from depression via their Islamic identity, but that this may determine targets of violence following any radicalisation.

The study investigated the associations between participants’ attitudes to three main variables (cultural identity, support for/opposition to the war in Afghanistan, and fighting for/against the British Army) and participants’ demography, ethnicity, religion, psychiatric morbidity, and violent/criminal behaviour.

While the study found that ‘anti-British extremism’ (opposition to war, not identifying as British, belief in fighting against the British Army) was positively associated with poor socioeconomic status and Black and Minority Ethnic men, and that depression was more prevalent among Pakistani and Black men than UK-born White men, it also found that holding these anti-British extremist views allowed for protection against depression.

Read “Extremism, religion and psychiatric morbidity in a population-based sample of young menhere
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While Ramadan may be months away, a study examining initiation and communication of medication regiment adjustment (MRA) to patients by pharmacists in Egypt found that communication gaps exist between pharmacists and their Muslim patients.

The study, published this month in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, found that while ‘more than three quarters of pharmacists reported 60% or more of their patients with chronic conditions decided to fast in Ramadan’, only 16% of pharmacists surveyed initiated communication of MRA, and only 3% initiated this conversation 8 days or more before the start of Ramadan.

While this study was conducted in a Muslim-majority country (with surprising results), certain lessons can be learnt and applied here in Britain. For example, endocrine diseases like diabetes were the most frequently discussed between patients and pharmacists in the study, and with a notable incidence of these diseases in the British Muslim population, British pharmacists, both Muslim and non-Muslim, would do well to initiate conversations on MRA early enough to help their patients get through Ramadan safely, which would include pharmacists learning more about Islamic teachings with regards to illness and medication while fasting.

Read “Pharmacist–patient communication about medication regimen adjustment during Ramadanhere
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And finally this month, an article recently published online in the journal Human Fertility studied the extent of support and guidance received by Muslim (and Christian) patients with reproductive health issues.

Some of the patients studied felt they did not have an opportunity to raise questions about conditions like infertility because they felt that religion did not belong in the clinic. The authors argue that healthcare professionals working in reproductive health are encouraged to actively explore their patients’ faith issues, particularly in light of recent advances in reproductive technologies.

Read “Experiences of faith group members using new reproductive and genetic technologieshere
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We are always looking for relevant articles and news to include in our monthly newsletter. Please send any items to [email protected]

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