Jenny Brockie talks to a group of people whose parents have gone to prison, and what this means for them.
Jenny Brockie speaks to people who got more than they bargained for from a DNA test.
Jenny Brockie takes a look at chronic fatigue syndrome, what symptoms it has, and how people with the condition have managed it. At 20 years old, Adele Clydesdale had just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro; she was starting her second year of university and playing in the Victorian Netball League. So when she got glandular fever, she didn’t think much of it. She knew plenty of people who’d had it in high school and they always recovered quickly. But even when tests results revealed the glandular fever was out of her system, Adele was still unwell and her symptoms were getting worse. She was increasingly fatigued, couldn’t string sentences together and had extreme body pain. At six months, it was confirmed Adele had chronic fatigue syndrome, a diagnosis she found quite confronting. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is estimated to affect between 0.2-2 per cent of the population in Australia yet very little is known about this condition. Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME, it is an illness characterised by profound fatigue, not relieved by sleep or rest and worsened with activity. Patients will commonly experience muscle and joint pain, impaired memory and concentration and gastrointestinal disorders. However, the most defining indicator of CFS is Post Exertional Malaise (PEM) - when a certain level of cognitive or physical exertion will exacerbate a patient’s symptoms. There are currently no proven treatments for CFS which means many are left without answers. Ketra Wooding has been unwell for eight years and with such severe symptoms, she has been living in a nursing home for five of those years.
Jenny Brockie takes a look at what it's like to date when you're over 60. Corporate speaker and theatre critic, Ron Lee, is in his sixties and busy dating six different women several nights a week. Recently retired scientist, Mariane Merati, 61, loves romance and has found she’s in hot demand with younger men on dating app Tinder. She likes to explore the world by dating men of different cultures. And 74-year-old widow, Beverley Rilatt-Richardson, entered the dating scene in her seventies and was surprised to discover she still had ‘pulling power’. She reawakened herself sexually and was thrilled to fall in lust at 73. The stereotypes of older people being ‘past it’ or no longer interested in dating or sex are smashed in this episode of Insight called Dating After 60. In fact, according to online dating website, RSVP, older adults are the fastest growing demographic on online dating websites. RSVPs over sixties members are on the increase and now account for 14.5 per cent of all members, up from 11.4 per cent just a year ago. With more and more single people over 60 looking for love, there’s been a rapid proliferation of dating sites popping up especially for the baby boomer market. Seventy-nine year old Jim Peters hasn’t been on the dating scene since he was 20. He was married for 50 years and when his wife died five years ago he thought he’d stay single forever. But a few years later their dogs died, the house was quiet and he discovered that the life of a grey nomad wasn’t for him so he bravely put himself out there on an online dating site. He’s looking for a well-travelled, intelligent lady between the age of 65 and 75. He says he's not dead yet so why not get out there and live a bit! This humorous and surprising episode examines what it’s like to look for love and companionship after the age of 60.
Jenny Brockie takes a look at what the next generation thinks about the future of farming in Australia.
When Fidan Shevket started dating her boyfriend, she wouldn’t let him leave a toothbrush at her Sydney apartment. She was worried it could be used as evidence of a de facto relationship, which could give him claim to part of her home if they ever broke up. “If we're ever going to move in together, if we're ever going to get married, if we're ever going to do anything to make this relationship go to the next level - then I absolutely want a [prenup],” Fidan tells Insight’s Jenny Brockie. Fidan has been a family lawyer for 15 years and has seen how bitter break-ups can get, especially when it comes to the division of assets. So, after two and a half years with her boyfriend, she is writing up what she calls “the greatest [prenup] ever drafted.” When Kathy Robinson met her now husband, Cam Robinson, money was tight. She had four children and had just come out of a difficult break-up. She was left with the family home, a big mortgage and a little in the way of savings. Cam, who was single with no children and owned multiple properties, had far more in assets than Kathy – so a discussion about getting a prenup arose early in the relationship. But the couple quickly decided it wasn’t for them. “Going into a relationship you have to have trust,” Kathy says. “If you can’t trust your partner, then who can you trust really?” Family lawyer, Jodylee Bartal, writes prenups for her clients and says they are no longer just the domain of the rich and famous. But often certain clauses she gets asked to include in a prenup aren’t legally binding, and putting too much detail into prenups can increase the risk of the Family Court voiding the agreement. Family lawyer, Kasey Fox, recently signed a prenup with her fiancé, Travis Goode. They decided against putting this kind of detail into their agreement. “I actually think it can be dangerous to put too much of that detail in about what's going to happen during the relationship, because the whole idea of one of these agreements is that they only come into effect if you separate,” she says. For all of Fidan’s efforts, her boyfriend has not yet signed the prenup. “If he doesn't sign, I've been very clear on this: if he doesn't sign it there's big trouble, meaning the relationship will probably come to an end – almost definitely, it will come to an end.”
Jenny Brockie takes a look at what it takes to turn your life around after a catastrophic injury. Life can change in an instant. And in that instant, many hopes and dreams can be cruelly snatched away. When we’re hit with catastrophic injuries, how and where do we even begin to move forward and rebuild our lives? Jaimen Hudson was a sporty 17-year-old with the world at his feet when an off-road motorbike accident in 2008 left him a quadriplegic. “I lived for the outdoors,” Jaimen tells Insight’s Jenny Brockie. “And to have that all taken away from you in one foul swoop is quite a wake-up call.” With a similar passion for the outdoors, Sam Bloom loved mountain biking, running, surfing and playing soccer. It was a lifestyle she enjoyed with her three active sons – but one that was turned upside during a family holiday in Thailand. “I just pulled a sheet over my head and burst into tears … I didn’t react very well at all,” recalls Sam, when told by doctors she’d never walk again. But Sam’s turning point and road to recovery would come from the most unlikely of sources: a baby magpie chick called Penguin. At 21, Louise Ellery suffered a serious brain injury, smashed pelvis and broken ribs after a car accident. The former model and ballroom dancer was on life support for a week and lost her spleen. She also had to learn to walk, talk and eat again. “I loved ballroom dancing and I thought if I couldn’t dance, what’s the point in living?” Louise says. It took 10 years for Louise to accept her disability. Like Louise, Nick has achieved more than he could have hoped. He was seven years old when he became blind from an injury. His last memory of sight was the vision of his mum’s face. In the 50 years since, Nick has reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, trekked the Simpson Desert, climbed to Everest base camp, ran the New York Marathon three times and also represented Australian at the Paralympics.
Jenny Brockie takes a look at how people stay composed during a life-threatening event.
From Fortnite to Candy Crush, for many people video games are a source of entertainment, relaxation, a chance to build friendships, or a career. But for a minority, games can be a problem. With 67 per cent of Australians playing video games, and 97 per cent of households with children having video games, Insight asks, “how much is too much? When does video gaming stop being fun?” Laurie Darby represents the fastest growing segment of the population new to games - the over 65s. Retired and living alone, she tells Jenny Brockie that she checks in daily with her family and friends by playing word games on her mobile. Zion, 11, loves playing Fortnite with his friends, and his mother, Rosie, works hard to set boundaries around his gaming. “He has other responsibilities he has to do first, like his homework, and walking and picking up after the dog,” she explains. For Taei Aluni and Maddelin Walster, video games are a source of tension. Taei would keep playing if he was allowed to, but Maddelin says he’s “like a vacant partner” when he’s on the games, and it’s affecting their family. In the wake of the World Health Organisation including “gaming disorder” in its latest International Classification of Diseases, Insight considers whether or not it’s the personality of the gamer, or features built into the games themselves, which sees some people become hooked, while others manage to keep it just for fun.
Tara Westover grew up with radical, survivalist parents in rural Idaho who didn’t believe in doctors, hospitals and mainstream education. At 17, Westover decided to educate herself as a means of escape. She got into university but academically she missed out on learning about events in history including the holocaust and the civil rights movement. She also struggled socially. Ben Shenton was raised in a notorious Australian cult called The Family. At 18 months of age his mother handed him over to a woman called Anne Hamilton-Byrne whose followers of the cult believed was Jesus Christ reincarnated. Shenton lived on an isolated property two hours from Melbourne. There was physical abuse and at times the children were deprived of food. Ben was 15 when police raided the property and he began a new chapter in his life. Emma Gingerich was raised in an Amish family in Ohio and Missouri. They had no electricity or running water and had very little contact with the outside world. Gingerich was only allowed to be educated to grade eight and there was no science or geography, only reading, writing and maths. At 18 she left her family and the Amish community. Her transition to the outside world wasn’t easy and she says she was raped soon after leaving. The Atchley family live in a remote part of Alaska, four hours from the nearest town. They only got the Internet this year and admit they struggle to keep up with current events and popular culture. Their 14-year-old son, Sky, lives with them and is home-schooled. Since discovering the Internet Sky wants to become an online gaming commentator and says this might involve him one day leaving his family home and moving to the city.
If you’ve ever wondered about how long (or short) your attention span is, or perhaps even worried that there’s something seriously wrong with your ability to pay attention – you’re not alone. Insight guest Leanne became concerned about her attention span when she caught up with an old friend over lunch, but couldn’t stop checking her phone and thinking about what else she could be doing – like scrolling through her Facebook. At home, she says she gets distracted by something as trivial as a bad smell, or the noise of someone mowing the lawn. It can take her off task and take up her attention for the entire day. This week on Insight, Leanne’s attention is tested and the findings surprise her. And guest host Janice Petersen asks the “5 billion dollar question,” as neuroscientist, Associate Professor Paul Dux puts it – can we train, and even increase our attention spans? And how do you do it? When the stakes are as high as a plane full of people, or a life on the operating table – how can that affect your ability to hold attention, and what can happen if you don’t? “The worst case is that two aircraft collide and a catastrophic failure in the system occurs,” air traffic controller Tom McRobert says. For neurosurgeon Nazih Asaad, the consequences can also be fatal and with the trust of the patient in his hands, the potential risks of the surgery can weigh on him in the lead up to the operation. AFL player for the GWS Giants Heath Shaw was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a teenager. He says some of the behaviours have followed him into adulthood and on the field. Insight asks – what is attention, and how can it impact your life? How do you know if your attention span is normal? And what makes some people better at paying attention than others?
Jenny Brockie takes a look at why people are suffering from more food insecurities. Once or twice a week, Sunita and her husband go without a meal so their two children can have something to eat. Other times, they turn to Weet-Bix for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A growing number of Australians are going hungry. CEO of Foodbank, Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation, Brianna Casey says 3.6 million Australians have been food insecure in the last 12 months – including one in five children. Renee and Grant’s lives changed overnight when Grant had an accident at work. The pair suddenly found themselves struggling to afford food for their family of six, while trying to keep up with mortgage repayments and other bills. Even with the help of a community food program that provides low cost groceries, they both say they still skip meals each week so their children can eat. Aunty Lena, a member of the Stolen Generations, has three adult children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren living under her roof. With only her aged pension for income, she struggles to feed her large family after paying the rent and electricity, but she’s resolved to keeping her household together. She mostly chooses the food her grandchildren want to eat from a local food relief program, and says meat is a luxury. Charities and food rescue organisations have stepped up to help provide nutritious food and hot meals for those who might otherwise go without. And thousands of schools across the country are now running breakfast clubs to make sure their students have a healthy meal to start the school day. But Brianna admits food relief programs are “a bandaid over a gaping wound,” and that while sourcing food for those in need is crucial, it doesn’t get to the root cause of food insecurity. This week, Insight asks – who’s going hungry in Australia, and why?
Jenny Brockie takes a look at how exercise is used to combat chronic health conditions.
How to Exercise Around 11 million Australians have one of eight major chronic conditions – that’s almost half the population. Conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental illness can develop in many ways but lack of physical activity is a primary risk factor. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has called chronic disease “the biggest health challenge that Australia faces” but is that message motivating us to make lifestyle changes and exercise more? Ian Davis was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes eight years ago and admits it was a shock, despite a strong family history. He tells Insight’s Jenny Brockie that at the time, he thought, “the medication’s going to fix this…” But Professor Rob Newton thinks exercise is the best medication. “If it was a pill … then possibly every general practitioner in the country would prescribe it to every patient who was at risk of a chronic disease.” So are Australian medical professionals prescribing it enough? After an injury at work, Helen Turner developed osteoarthritis. It took two years for her to find a physiotherapist who was able to treat her debilitating condition. Her physiotherapist, Christian Barton, tells Insight, “we needed to give her the right exercise program.”
Sizing up Steroids Casey, 29, started using steroids a couple of years ago when he found out he had low testosterone. He bought testosterone on the black market and then started taking other anabolic steroids. He found a YouTube channel that he says showed him how to use safely. He also got information through online forums where users talk about what to take and for how long. He says he’s had no side effects because he takes low doses. Anthony started using anabolic steroids when he was 16. He says the results he was getting naturally weren’t enough. He first started using testosterone and quickly moved onto stronger substances because he says progression was a drug in itself. Despite some side effects, he says he would look forward to injecting steroids because he knew each time he used, it would mean a better work out and bigger body. ‘Brian’ spent two years researching anabolic steroids before he started taking them. He got information from online forums where he says medically minded users discuss dosages and substances. He does what’s called ‘cruising’ and ‘blasting’ where he takes substances for 12 weeks and then comes off them. He says his side effects have included testicle shrinkage and delays in ejaculation when having sex. He disagrees with the laws in NSW and Queensland which classify steroids the same as heroin and amphetamines. He thinks they don’t match the reality of the situation. ‘Stan’ has seven convictions for importing, manufacturing and using steroids. At one point he was making anabolic steroids which he says are very easy to manufacture. He would make up to $4000 profit a week. He was also diagnosed with muscle dysmorphia when he was 18 and used it as a defence in court. He stopped using after his last arrest. Prof. Ann Conway is an Endocrinologist who specialises in male diseases and conditions. She says there is no safe level of using steroids when not prescribed by a doctor. She says using can cause suppression of reproductive system, effect fertility, damage the liver and cause cardiac issues. She doesn't think GPs should be helping people use steroids safely but instead telling them to stop using. Insight talks to users, former users, doctors and lawyers about who is using steroids, why they use and how that use is managed in Australia.
The modern classroom is aglow with screens. Children as young as five are packing their own personal computers and tablets in their schoolbags along with their lunchboxes. But do laptops, tablets and phones in the classroom promote and enhance learning or do they bring with them a world of distraction for students and for teachers a battle for learner's attention? We hear from schools that are evangelical about the benefits of tech and others that are proceeding with caution. In a Royal Children's Hospital survey in 2015, Australian parents listed "excessive screen time" as their No.1 concern so we ask the experts what the effects on children of combined school and home use are.
Jenny Brockie takes a look at what happens when coal seam gas comes to town. Steven Jones, a Narrabri local of 35 years, lives on 800 acres near the NSW Pilliga Forest. Part of his property falls within the boundaries of a proposed coal seam gas drilling area. After living next door to exploration gas wells, he says he would be happy to have the wells on his property and doesn’t have any concerns with this type of resource being developed in the region. “As long as the government keeps an eye on it to make sure they don’t do wrong…I’m 100 per cent for them.” But some Narrabri locals are less certain. Jon-Maree wouldn’t be happy to have the wells on her land out of concern about the potential environmental effects, in particular the risk to the region’s water supply. “I think it's really important to understand that a rural property, without water, is nothing. Without water our communities don't function.” That’s a concern shared by many vocal opponents from Coonamble, a small rural town, almost 200km from the proposed project area. Adam and Rowena Macrae are farmers who have poured money into their almost 4,000 acre property. Part of a 461km pipeline, that will transport the gas from the project to the NSW market, is slated to be built under their land. They feel there is too much uncertainty around the project and its associated infrastructure. “I think that the risks are too high and we're not prepared to take those risks with our family.” Gas company Santos has overseen exploration in the area in recent years and says these wells could provide up to 50 per cent of NSW’s gas needs. Last year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urged the NSW Government to approve the Narrabri Gas Project. But local opinion about the project is divided. More than 23,000 submissions were received by the NSW Department of Planning, making it the most protested project in the history of the department. With a looming domestic gas shortage on the horizon and the region awaiting to hear whether the project gets given the green light by the NSW Government, a special edition of Insight travels to Narrabri to hear from those who may be affected by the project and its infrastructure.
Solo Parents More and more single women are making the choice to become solo parents. As fertility deadlines approach, a new generation of women aren’t prepared to wait forever for 'Mr Right' to come along and risk missing out on the opportunity to have a child if a partner doesn’t arrive in time. So Plan B is now a popular option: to go it alone with the help of a sperm donor. IVF clinics around the country are reporting the demand for donor sperm by single women is soaring as women are taking things into their own hands and fulfilling their dreams of being a mother. Forty-one year old Anita Fox is typical of a number of professional women who've decided in their late thirties to have a baby without a partner. After a divorce, Anita didn’t want another relationship - but did want a baby - and she’s now a proud mother of two year-old Grace. Amanda Hendren decided in her late thirties that she wanted to become a solo mum, and soon after gave birth to baby Elijha. But in the first few years she was hit with depression and discovered, much to her shock, that motherhood “didn’t give me any value”. It took her several years to really settle into the role. Stephanie Holt, at 26, decided she didn't want to wait to meet the right man to be the father of her children, and embarked on IVF treatment to become a solo mum. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy. We speak to a number of women like Anita, Stephanie and Amanda who’ve chosen the donor sperm path, about the joys and challenges of solo parenting. We also speak to those in the process of trying to become solo parents via IVF and the children of single mothers by choice to reflect on the long term implications of being brought into the world via donor conception. And it’s not only women choosing to solo parent. A growing number of men are also choosing pursue parenthood alone, like Anthony Stralow, a single dad of three children who used two overseas surrogates and an egg donor to create the family he’d always wanted. On Insight we examine the growing child-rearing trend of solo parenting by choice.
This feature is only available for subscribers. Please contact your EnhanceTV administrator or email firstname.lastname@example.org