Mental health experts beware- or beware of mental health experts

Courtesy of the Research Digest of the British Psychological Society, the article “Feeling like you’re an expert can make you close minded,” published online on 11-12-15. This brief article summarizes recent research on how we accrue knowledge and experience, and found a common pattern which higher levels of expertise are associated with a lack of open-mindedness. A few potential takeaways:  if you find yourself thinking of yourself as “an expert” (such as in some area of mental health), be sure to do at least an occasional check on your openness to other ideas.  Or, when dealing with colleagues who view

Stress Trackers – Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Stress Trackers – Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

The New York Times published “Taking the (Often Imprecise) Measure of Stress” in 11-16-15.  This is a fairly long and detailed article that several new, and pretty expensive, devices that claim to track the wearer’s stress level and to provide data to help reduce the stress.  To cut to the chase, the article finds that most of the devices are not very sophisticated.  There may be the potential for more sophisticated devices to provide more accurate data and to help with more effective interventions (perhaps recommending a mental health consultation for high or persistent levels of stress is one possibility

Study Finds Robust Association Between Leg Fitness and Brain Health

The New York Times published “Brawn and Brains” in the 11-18-15 issue.   This is a fairly long and detailed article reviewing fascinating research comparing the fitness level of twins and assessing their cognitive functioning. The study builds on previous research which finds a clear association between fitness and brain health, with clear implications for population health as our population ages.  The previous research had some limitations, as some of the findings could have been, at least theoretically, due to good genes.  The twins study found, however, that the results hold even for identical twins.  The authors theorize that working leg

Study Finds Benefits to Addding Tai Chi to CBT for Treatment of Insomnia

The New York Times published “Tai Chi and Psychotherapy for Better Sleep and More” in the 11-18-15 edition.  This brief article reviews research about the association of inflammation, among many problems, with insomnia, and reports on a study that found that CBT and Tai Chi resulted in improved sleep and reduced inflammation, in comparison to only CBT.  The original study is available in Biological Psychiatry, which is interesting as it clearly is assessing a set of behavioral interventions for insomnia. The study hypothesizes that the outcomes may have implications for behavioral interventions to reduce inflammatory disease risk.

The risks of excessive TV watching, a “discretionary,” and treatable behavioral risk factor

Courtesy of the ever-prolific Ken Pope’s mental health posting service, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published “Mortality Risk for 2-Hour/Day Increase in TV Viewing is Significantly Higher for Following Causes of Death:  Suicide, Cancer, Heart Disease, Cdp, Diabetes, Influenza/Pneumonia, Parkinson’s, Liver Disease” in the December, 2015 issue.  This research study included over 220,000 individuals and tracked their health outcomes for 16 years, “or until death.  The results expanded on previous research about the risk factors associated with excessive TV watching, and found new associations with the serious diseases listed in the title, and also found, “each 2-hour increase in