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Some current research evidence for therapeutic uses of reading & writing (1st post)

I was asked by a friend to write a short piece on research evidence backing up therapeutic uses of reading & writing to be used in a local initiative supporting health workers in a diverse range of settings.  Today's and tomorrow's post give the piece with hyperlinks to the various research studies that I mention.  A combination of the two posts is downloadable as a Word doc or as a PDF file.

C25K - couch to 5 km: NHS web resources for getting "just about anyone off the couch and running 5 km in 9 weeks"

Well here's a good example of being taught by our patients.  I've had two or three people, who come to see me, singing the praises of the C25K NHS website.  The site states that "Our C25K plan is designed to get just about anyone off the couch and running 5km in nine weeks."  That looks good ... and both my patients and the numerous appreciative comments on the C25K website underline how helpful people have found the written advice and more especially the downloadable MP3 podcasts that are to be used when running.  

Update on website traffic: nearly a quarter of a million page views last year

This blog went live on 8th October 2008.  In the nearly three & a half years from then up until today, the blog & website (particularly the Good Knowledge section) have had 155,178 hits and 579,356 page views from 171 countries.  The average visitor views about 4 pages on the site.  The chart below illustrates the growth in traffic over the first three years (to 7th October 2011):

chart of website traffic

As I'd expect, most visitors come from the UK and, to some extent from the US:

uk & us visits 

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.

Getting help for depression in Scotland – support groups, online & face-to-face courses, newsletter, telephone service, and more

The e-newsletter from Depression Alliance Scotland (DAS)  popped into my inbox last week.  What good work they do.  The new information that particularly caught my eye was access to an online facilitated self-help course.  The description runs: "We have a new service offering support for people to use Living Life to the Full Interactive, a computerised online self-help programme based on cognitive behaviour therapy.  You will work through a six session course and a DAS staff member will be there to offer 4 - 6 short telephone contacts on an individual basis over 6 weeks to help you get the most out of it.  Interested? Email info@dascot.org or call 0845 123 23 20"

Two good psychology websites: BPS & handouts galore!

Here are a couple of good psychology websites that I've come across recently.  One is the British Psychological Society's Research Digest Blog with its tag line "Bringing you reports on the latest psychology research."  The site provides an almost daily, brief description of a particularly interesting recent psychology research paper.  Examples in November include "Performing horizontal eye movement exercises can boost your creativity", "How to increase altruism in toddlers", and "Facial emotional expressions are universal and culturally specific".  The site also provides "taster pages" from the monthly magazine "The Psychologist", a list advertising jobs for psychologists, links to a variety of other psychology websites, a whole variety of learning resources, and a bunch of other fun things like "What is the mos

Updated NICE guidelines on treating depression

NICE - the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - recently published guidance on "Depression in adults (update)" and on "Depression with a chronic physical health problem".  The "Depression in adults (update)"  replaces guidance originally published in 2004 and amended in 2007.  The 28 page Quick reference guide provides a helpful overview.  Interestingly NICE here use the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for depression rather than the ICD-10 criteria (used in their earlier publications).  A four step approach is charted - each step is described both by who the intervention is for (e.g.

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