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Excellent free information & advice on over 180 common medical conditions

Good stuff!  The British Medical Journal Group have just launched their Evidence Centre.  It's a fine evidence-based resource providing excellent information for doctors, patients and organizations.  Most of the services however seem to cost money to access.  The Best Health resource for patients, for example, costs £9.99 plus VAT for a 30 day subscription (or £3.00 plus VAT to look at information on a single condition).  The good news for searches to the Best Health resource from the UK and Republic of Ireland is that Boots have linked with the BMJ Group to give access to this service free of charge.  Visit Ask Boots to see how helpful this can be.  Key features include:

  • In-depth information on more than 180 common conditions
  • Evaluation of over 1500 treatments
  • Assessment of 23 common operations and tests
  • Decision-support guidelines to help patients assess their options
  • Search tips to help them navigate to the right information
  • Regular updates to include new evidence and drug guidelines

 

Agoraphobia

“ A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. ” - Anonymous

The US DSM IV diagnostic system describes the "essential features" of agoraphobia in the following way: "There is intense fear of, or discomfort in, settings from which escape is difficult or embarrassing, or in which help (e.g. to alleviate a panic attack) is not available."  It then adds the following three criteria:

Agoraphobia

I'm gradually adding content to the 'Good Knowledge' database.  I've just put in some information on agoraphobia.  It reads: 

Savouring, mindfulness & flow

In a post on 27 January I wrote about "savouring" - the appreciation of positive experiences. Savouring is, as it's name suggests, a sort of running the positive experience around in one's mouth, really tasting, valuing and enjoying it - a bit like slow, careful appreciation of a good wine. Bryant and Veroff, authors of the key current text on savouring (see below), draw parallels between the importance of being good at coping with negative life experiences and the importance of being good at savouring positive life experiences. Savouring well increases one's happiness, wellbeing and appreciation of being alive. On the fine Authentic Happiness website, Seligman and colleagues discuss three entwining roads to happiness and what they call "the full life". One of these three roads is maximising and appreciating positive emotions - very much the territory of savouring.

Eat 5 to 9 portions of fruit & veg daily

There's a helpful editorial in last month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) - "Fruit and vegetables: think variety, go ahead, eat!" As with many journals, one doesn't have to pay anything to look at the full text of AJCN editorials. It's a good read. It comments on a paper in the journal by Myint et al showing a 42% reduction in stroke for those in the highest quartile - the top 25% - of plasma vitamin C compared with those in the lowest quartile (independently of other risk factors such as smoking, exercise, age, weight and so on).

Savouring – initial thoughts

Back in my post of January 5, I mentioned that I was looking at Sonja Lyubomirsky's book "The How of Happiness". On pages 73 to 77 of the book she describes a ‘person-fit' exercise to help readers decide which happiness-boosting activities to work with initially. I came up with a whole load that appealed to me, and that mostly I was somewhat familiar with. There are a couple of activities that focus particularly on being present - on ‘flow' and on ‘savouring' (spelt ‘savoring' in this American book).

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