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Recent research: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on weight, sugared drinks, vitamin D, vegetarianism & climate change

I like the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN).  It comes out monthly and nearly always has an article or two that I find interesting and helpful.  The AJCN May edition produced a bumper crop.  Interesting articles included a report by Chen and colleagues (see below for all abstracts) on the effects of encouraging people to reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB).  In the 810 US adults they studied, 19% of total daily energy intake came from drinks.  They found "A reduction in liquid calorie intake had a stronger effect than did a reduction in solid calorie intake on weight loss. Of the individual beverages, only intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) was significantly associated with weight change. A reduction in SSB intake of 1 serving/d was associated with a weight loss of 0.49 kg ... at 6 mo and of 0.65 kg ...

Recent research: six papers relevant to psychotherapy

Here are six studies relevant to improving psychotherapy outcomes.  Brewin et al report on using imagery-based interventions to help people with depressioin.  Lydiard et al highlight the importance of sleep-related disturbances as a treatment target in PTSD.  McCrady and colleagues show that working with couples rather than just individuals seems more effective when using behavioural therapy to help women with alcohol use disorders.  Geerts et al describe rather amazing research investigating "The role of parental bonding and nonverbal communication in the short-term treatment response was investigated in 104 depressed outpatients. At baseline patients completed the Parental Bonding Instrument. We registered the nonverbal involvement behaviour of patients and interviewers from video recordings of baseline clinical interviews and calculated the convergence between patient-interviewer behaviour over the interview ... As hypothesized, low maternal care and high paternal overprotection predicted a poor response to an 8-week treatment.  Maternal care was positively correlated with nonverbal convergence. Moreover, convergence moderated the relationship between maternal care and the response to treatment: Lack of convergence between patients and interviewers turned out to annul the positive effects of maternal care on the treatment response.

Stanford psychophysiology lab research on emotion regulation

Last week I talked about coming across Srivastava and colleagues' paper (Srivastava, Tamir et al. 2009 - see below) on the social costs of emotional suppression.  This led me to Srivastava's lab at the University of Oregon.  It's then an easy jump to James Gross's Psychophysiology lab at Stanford University (see below).  The Stanford lab is a hive of activity with research projects in a whole series of fascinating areas  .  A key focus is work on emotion regulation - its neural basis, emotional & social consequences, and relationship with personality.  Their "process model of emotion regulation" suggests that " ...

Recent research: six papers on helping children & adolescents

Here are half a dozen papers on helping kids and adolescents.  The Fuligni et al paper found that adolescents experiencing frequent interpersonal stresses tended to have increased levels of C-reactive protein, " ... an inflammatory marker that is a key indicator of cardiovascular risk ... ".  Jackson et al showed that in preschool kids each extra hour of regular TV viewing is associated with an extra 1 kg of body fat.  This appeared to be due to increases in calorie intake rather than reduction in physical activity.  Decreased family accommodation is associated with improved outcome in paediatric OCD, Merlo et al found.  Naylor et al found that a six lesson teaching block on mental health benefitted young teenagers.  Proctor et al provide a free full text overview of teenage life satisfaction assessment measures, while Wilkinson and colleagues report on 28 week follow-up in a treatment trial for depressed adolescents.  The authors found "Depression at 28 weeks was predicted by the additive effects of severity, obsessive-compulsive disorder and suicidal ideation at entry together with presence of at least one disappointing life event over the follow-up period.

Oregon University research on emotional regulation, interpersonal perception & personality

I love it when I follow up ideas from a new research paper and then break through into a whole area of helpful knowledge that I haven't come across before.  This happened recently with the paper by Srivastava and colleagues (Srivastava, Tamir et al. 2009 - see below) on the social costs of emotional suppression.  This then linked me through to James Gross's work at Stanford, but more on that in next week's post.

Peer groups: Cumbria spring group – cathartic work from the outside

So I wrote yesterday about the cathartic, emotion-focussed work that I went through.  In their classic 1973 book "Encounter groups: first facts"  the authors, Lieberman, Yalom and Miles, describe their major research on the potential benefits of these kinds of groups.  One of their findings was that people who benefited most seemed both to get strongly emotionally engaged with the group and also took time to reflect and make sense of what they had experienced.  In the weekly-format groups I run in Edinburgh, I try to encourage this reviewing process by explaining its value and then askin