Post Of The Week -Saturday 19th December 2015

1) Plain Packaging For Cigarettes

This link takes you to the breakfast show on BBC Radio Bristol.

If you wind to 2 hrs 12 mins on the programme, you can hear Olivia Maynard from the University Of Bristol explain some research into plain packaging. Essentially, the lack of visual cues on the packaging forces people to look at the health warning. There is some broader discussion here about other factors leading to addiction.


2) Drug Czar

This is a news report about Michael Botticelli who works for the federal government in the US on reducing addiction. Here, he talks about his experience of addiction and what he plans to do about it.

Botticelli’s strategy is based on defining addiction as a disease. Here is an article which challenges this definition.

It includes reference to the research into American service personnel who returned from Vietnam addicted to heroin but who then quickly recovered.



3) CBT vs Drug Treatment For Depression

It is standard practice in the NHS at the moment to recommend CBT for milder cases of depression and drug treatment for more serious cases.

This study challenges this practice, using Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. That means that rather than taking the summary data for each study quoted in the meta-analysis, it goes back to the data of each patient. That seems like a good idea. The results suggest that any differences in effectiveness of each treatment do not depend on the severity of the condition at the start of treatment. The article makes two telling points at the end. Firstly, it suggests that one of the as yet undetermined factors on the success of treatment might be which the patient would choose. This suggests that people don’t often get the choice. Secondly, it assumes that therapy is either one or the other. Other evidence suggests it is a question of both/and.


4) Bill’s Story

This video tells the story about an ex-footballer suffering with dementia who manages to access some of his old memories again through being presented with cues in the form of old pictures, news reports and programmes. If you know anything about football, you’ll be surprised by two of the names here.


5) Depression – An Unlikely Guest Star

I don’t watch much television so the references here don’t mean much to me.

This article explains changes in the way in which mental health is presented in comedy and drama. Mental health issues have become more prominent but over-diagnosis can be as unhelpful as not recognising the existence of such issues at all. It suggests at the end that one programme has got the balance about right.


6) Slow Science

Here is Uta Frith on why science needs to slow down.


7) BPS Digest

The last one of 2016 and some good links as usual.

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