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New study highlights potential value of dietary change in depression treatment

At the end of last month, a fascinating new research study was published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.  The article is "A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial)" and its abstract reads "Background The possible therapeutic impact of dietary changes on existing mental illness is largely unknown. Using a randomised controlled trial design, we aimed to investigate the efficacy of a dietary improvement program for the treatment of major depressive episodes.  Methods ‘SMILES’ was a 12-week, parallel-group, single blind, randomised controlled trial of an adjunctive dietary intervention in the treatment of moderate to severe depression.

B: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 2

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

So it was the second session of the group yesterday.  I blogged about the first session last week.  Sadly a couple of people couldn't get to this second meeting - due to a pre-planned holiday and to an unexpected crisis.  It's quite common for participants to miss one or two evenings across a twelve session course like this, but I want to be careful when people miss such an early meeting.  It's important that they don't lose their way and get left behind.  They will get copies of the handouts and the Autogenic CD, but I also make a note to contact them myself.   

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, second session

So it was the second session of the group yesterday.  I blogged about the first session last week.  Sadly a couple of people couldn't get to this second meeting - due to a pre-planned holiday and to an unexpected crisis.  It's quite common for participants to miss one or two evenings across a twelve session course like this, but I want to be careful when people miss such an early meeting.  It's important that they don't lose their way and get left behind.  They will get copies of the handouts and the Autogenic CD, but I also make a note to contact them myself.   

New research shows diet’s importance for preventing depression

You know how it is - no buses in sight, then two come along at once.  It's been a bit similar for good research on diet and depression.  There have been plenty of studies on individual components of diet and mood (e.g. fish, folate, other B vitamins), but very little on the possible psychological effects of diet as a whole.  Then in October's edition of Archives of General Psychiatry, along came:

Preventing cancer through life style choices

In 2001 the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) WCRF/AICR set themselves the task of systematically assessing all good research on diet, physical activity and cancer and publishing a report that would be the largest study of its kind with conclusions that would be best the evidence could demonstrate.  Over 100 scientists from 30 countries were involved.  An expert panel of 21 of these scientists worked for 5 years to produce the report "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective."  The follow-up companion Policy Report "Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention"  was published a little over a month ago and has recommendations for a series of different groups and organizations including government, industry, the media, schools, and work places

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 " ...

Vegged out & fruitless: lifestyle & health

Last month's BMJ published another in the long line of research articles that highlight the huge importance of lifestyle choices for our health:

Dam, R. M. v., T. Li, et al. (2008). "Combined impact of lifestyle factors on mortality: prospective cohort study in US women." BMJ 337(sep16_2): a1440-  [Free Full Text]

Would you like to be 14 years younger – it’s largely a matter of choice!

Back in January I wrote a blog post entitle "Does a healthy lifestyle really make a difference? "   I highlighted that it makes a hell of a lot of a difference.  At around that time another major study was published that hammered this point home even more thoroughly and I've been meaning to mention it in a post ever since.  The recent publicity on poor fruit and veg intake in the UK population triggered me into looking the earlier study out. 

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