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BABCP spring meeting: the conference - an overview (fourth post)

Friday was the "conference" day.  A real old fruit salad of presentations.  Nearly always I find it hard to stay awake and focused during this kind of "educational event".  It does however allow a lot of speakers to throw a lot of information at the audience!  The 2007 Marinopoulos et al review on the "Effectiveness of Continuing Medical Education" commented that " ...

Recent research: 3 studies on internet-delivered therapy, 2 on speed of antidepressant response, and 1 on therapy effectiveness

Here are three studies (for all abstracts & links see below) highlighting the increasingly encouraging results being reported for internet-delivered psychological interventions.  Van't Hof, Cuijpers et al report on " ... a systematic review of meta-analyses on the efficacy of self-help interventions, including internet-guided therapy, for depression and anxiety disorders". They conclude that the 13 meta-analyses indicate "self-help methods are effective in a range of different disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders. Most meta-analyses found relatively large effect sizes for self-help treatments, independent of the type of self-help, and comparable to effect sizes for face-to-face treatments" (see below for abstracts and links to the six research papers mentioned).  Riper, Kramer et al describe how an experimental internet-delivered self-help alcohol reduction intervention transferred well to being made more generally available.  The authors conclude that " ...

Recent research: five papers on adolescent psychological difficulties

Here are five papers on difficulties experienced by adolescents.  A couple of the papers are follow-up studies.  Colman et al looked at the multiple negative personal & relationship outcomes in a UK national cohort of adolescents with conduct problems followed over 40 years.  Wentz et al studied the somewhat more encouraging 18 year outcomes of a group of adolescents suffering from anorexia. 

A couple of the papers are about depression.  Kennard and colleagues report again on the well-known Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) comparing antidepressants, cognitive-behavioural therapy and combined treatment.  By about six months there was little difference between the three forms of treatment.  At nine months the remission rate for intent-to-treat cases was 60% overall.  Primack et al investigated the association between electronic media use in adolescence and subsequent depression in young adulthood.  They reported "Controlling for all covariates including baseline Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale score, those reporting more television use had significantly greater odds of developing depression."

Recent research: prevention & treatment of overweight with changed eating behaviours, energy density & breastfeeding

Here are six studies on eating and weight.  The first, by Maruyama and colleagues, demonstrates a strong association between both "eating until full" and "eating quickly" and the chances of being overweight.  The linked BMJ editorial by Denney-Wilson & Campbell discusses these findings further, including suggesting that "Clinicians should encourage parents to adopt a child led feeding strategy that acknowledges a child's desire to stop eating that begins from birth. Reassure parents that well children don't starve."  Unfortunately Llewellyn et al show that eating rate seems to be partly genetically determined - an even stronger reason to work hard to go against any tendency to gobble food.  The Denney-Wilson editorial gives other ways to encourage weight loss, and Leahy and colleagues underlines the value of one such approach - reducing the energy density (ED) of diets " ...  by decreasing fat and sugar and by increasing fruit and vegetables."  Children whose diet was changed in this way " ...

Diagnosis of psychological disorders

“ We camouflage our true being before others to protect ourselves against criticism or rejection. This protection comes at a steep price. When we are not truly known by the other people in our lives, we are misunderstood. When we are misunderstood, especially by family and friends, we join the "lonely crowd." Worse, when we succeed in hiding our being from others, we tend to lose touch with our real selves. This loss of self contributes to illness in its myriad forms. ” - Sidney Jourard

Making a formal psychological diagnosis can be a mixed blessing. It has several potential advantages. If many of my symptoms can be accurately grouped under a specific psychological diagnosis, it may well help to understand what is happening, to clarify the likely time course of my symptoms, and to choose treatments that have the best chance of being effective. It's worth noting that often people suffer from more than one psychological disorder at the same time - this is called comorbidity and it is common.

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