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Recent research: two studies on relationships, two on body to mind effects, and two on mindfulness

Here are details of half a dozen recent research papers - two on relationships, two on body to mind effects, and two on mindfulness.  Fuller details, links and abstracts of all the studies mentioned are given further down this post.

Recent research: diet associated depression, weight & violence, vitamin D fall prevention, IBS & anxiety, yoga & mindfulness

Here are a mixed bag of six recent research papers on diet, vitamin D, IBS and yoga (all details & abstracts to these studies are listed further down this blog post).  The first three papers highlight the toxic effects on psychological health, physical health, and society of our processed, high sugar diets.  Sanchez-Villegas et al map a bit more clearly the potential link between diet and depression.  They conclude "Our results suggest a potential protective role of the MDP (Mediterranean dietary pattern) with regard to the prevention of depressive disorders; additional longitudinal studies and trials are needed to confirm these findings."  Fiorito et al show that intake of sweetened drinks in 5 year old girls predicts overweight over subsequent childhood and adolescence, and - rather scarily - Moore & colleagues show a link between confectionary consumption at age 10 and subsequent violence in adulthood.  They concluded "Children who ate confectio

Autogenic training: sixth session

Here are the handouts, recordings, and reflection/record sheets for the sixth Autogenic training session.  There are four overlapping themes to this 'lesson'.  Obviously a key issue is the next Autogenic Training step - the focus on the abdominal area.  I usually initially get trainees to put a hand or both hands on their abdomen when they are learning this exercise.  The hand(s) are positioned a little below the belly button, unless the trainee has specific abdominal symptoms - when positioning the hand(s) over the troublesome area may be more appropriate.  The hand(s) don't have to be in direct contact with the skin.  A sense of gentle, warm contact through clothing is fine.  This typically helps one focus on the abdominal area and the hand contact also merges easily with the feeling of belly relaxation and warmth that one begins to allow. 

Autogenic training, session 6

Life is a sum of all your choices. - Albert Camus

Here are the handouts, recordings, and reflection/record sheets for the sixth Autogenic training session.  There are four overlapping themes to this 'lesson'.  Obviously a key issue is the next Autogenic Training step - the focus on the abdominal area.  I usually initially get trainees to put a hand or both hands on their abdomen when they are learning this exercise.  The hand(s) are positioned a little below the belly button, unless the trainee has specific abdominal symptoms - when positioning the hand(s) over the troublesome area may be more appropriate.  The hand(s) don't have to be in direct contact with the skin.  A sense of gentle, warm contact through clothing is fine.  This typically helps one focus on the abdominal area and the hand contact also merges easily with the feeling of belly relaxation and warmth that one begins to allow. 

Recent research: six studies on the long-term effects of abuse & deprivation

Here are half a dozen studies on the long-term effects of various forms of abuse & deprivation.  Paras et al systematically reviewed the association between a history of sexual abuse and a lifetime diagnosis of a somatic disorder.  They found significant links with functional gastrointestinal disorders, nonspecific chronic pain, psychogenic seizures, and chronic pelvic pain.  When analysis was restricted to studies where sexual abuse was defined as rape, they also found an association with fibromyalgia.  Abstracts and links, for this research paper and the further papers described, can be found lower down this page.   

Handouts & questionnaires for pain information & assessment (1st post)

For many years my work split fairly evenly between helping people with psychological difficulties and helping people with pain problems.  Quite a few people were troubled with both.  In the last several years I have done much less work with pain, although I still see some people for overall pain management.  This has been partly because I was trying to keep up-to-date with too many fields, so stepping back from pain work made sense.  It has also been partly because the flourishing of research into happiness & wellbeing has fascinated me and taken up time.  Here are a collection of pain-associated assessment and information sheets that I accumulated over the years.  They are obviously relevant for work with pain, and some (e.g. one year symptom diary) can be adapted for work with stress & psychological difficulties. 

IBS severity score & background - this is a scale that was used by Professor Whorwell and his research team in Manchester.

Recent research: a mixed bag of six papers on anxiety

Here are half a dozen papers with anxiety relevance.  The first couple are about the interaction between genetic vulnerability (or resilience) and childhood experience.  The Stevens et al paper is an update on the large body of research looking at psychological genetic vulnerability/resilience in macaque monkeys and how this interacts with parenting quality to lead, or not lead, to emotional and neurophysiological disturbances in adulthood.  The Battaglia paper particularises this gene/environment investigation by looking at the connections between early human childhood separation anxiety, loss of a parent, and panic disorder in adulthood.  

Recent research: three papers on vitamin D, two on weight loss & one on IBS

Here's a gutsy, nutritional, low sunlight kind of blog post to suit our post-holiday season.  First the gutsy bit.  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - with its characteristic symptoms of abdominal pain, altered bowel habit, and possibly bloating - is very common, affecting about 15% of the population.  Ford et al systematically reviewed all research on treating IBS with fibre, antispasmodics, or peppermint oil.  Fibre was some use, but only in the form of ispaghula (UK Fybogel, Isogel).  The antispasmodics otilonium and hysocine (UK Buscopan) seemed also to be of help.  But what attracted me to the study was the finding that most helpful of the three treatments seemed to be the old-fashioned remedy of taking peppermint oil. 

Pain assessment & information

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

For many years my work split fairly evenly between helping people with psychological difficulties and helping people with pain problems.  Quite a few people were troubled with both.  In the last several years I have done much less work with pain, although I still see some people for overall pain management.  This has been partly because I was trying to keep up-to-date with too many fields, so stepping back from pain work made sense.  It has also been partly because the flourishing of research into happiness & wellbeing has fascinated me and taken up time.  Here are a collection of pain-associated assessment and information sheets that I accumulated over the years.  They are obviously relevant for work with pain, and some (e.g. one year symptom diary) can be adapted for work with stress & psychological difficulties. 

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