Post Of The Week – Sunday 19th July, 2015

1) Tax Sugary Drinks

A tax on sugary drinks is now being backed by the British Medical Association. Part of the proposal is to use the money to subsidise more healthy food.

I first used a BBC World Service report on the proposal for sugar tax in New York City in early 2010. It has taken five years for this proposal to cross the Atlantic.

2) Preventing Mental Illness In Schools

Data has rolled in this week on the attitudes to mental illness. One group had a look at how experience of mental illness education was related to attitude to mental illness. The correlation was very weak. It looks as if people receive little education about mental illness unless they opt to study Psychology.

This study looked at attempts to prevent depression through education. It focuses on children at the end of primary school. The authors are cautiously optimistic. That caution comes from the fact that such programmes are rare, the quality of content and delivery are variable and the outcomes are not yet well researched. That ties in with what these students found.

3) Amnesia

Here is a podcast about an extreme case of memory loss.

Here’s a second case, with reference to both episodic and procedural memory.

4) A New Way Into Treating Depression

Anti-depressants work by boosting the action of serotonin and dopamine. They do not work well for many people. A new approach would be to reduce the effect of chemicals in the brain which dampen responses.

This article suggests that this new approach is bringing promising results.

5) Quality Of Psychological Therapy

Drugs are assessed on three criteria: safety, efficacy and quality. “Quality” refers to whether a drug company can reliably produce pills and medicines with exactly the right ingredients. Assessing the quality of psychological therapy is hard because the quality of delivery varies. Thomas Insel explains the problem here.

He argues that we need to focus on both the quantity and quality of health care.

6) The Social Aspects Of Autism

This article from the BPS explains differing views of the correct way to talk about autism.

This link looks at how autism and Asperger’s Syndrome leave people vulnerable to “mate crime”.

7) Your Phone Knows When You Are Depressed

Behavioural Activation as part of a treatment programme for depression involves identifying pleasurable experiences which the depressed person might have stopped doing and finding a way of doing them again. This article explains how mobile phone technology can be used to identify when someone is limiting their activity. This information can be passed to them or their clinicians in order to identify what behaviour to activate.

8) A Couple Of TED-ED Videos

These are designed for younger students but are still interesting for what we do.

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