Should medical, and mental health, professionals “prescribe” spending time in nature?

Should medical, and mental health, professionals “prescribe” spending time in nature?

Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood was broadcasted and posted online by NPR on 7-17-17.  The article begins by clarifying what the term “Forest Bathing,” which comes from Japanese culture, means; basically,  getting out into nature, slowing down, and immersing oneself in the experience by tuning in to the sounds, smells, sights and more.  There actually is an Association of Forest and Nature Therapy Guides and Programs.

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Not ready for prime time?  “Sleep biomarkers” and activity trackers to diagnose mental illness (Mayo Clinic is involved)

Not ready for prime time? “Sleep biomarkers” and activity trackers to diagnose mental illness (Mayo Clinic is involved)

StatNews.com posted This biotech aims to transform the diagnosis of mental illness. Michael Phelps backs it. Can it really work?  This article reports on an Australian company, Medibio, that claims to have developed an algorithm based on “hundreds” of sleep, hear rate and other biomarkers that can “reliably” be monitored using activity trackers – and that the resulting data can be used to diagnose mental illness. Remarkably , the Mayo Clinic has signed on to help Medibio review its diagnostic tools.

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Health psychology and weight loss: two new studies with important outcomes

Health psychology and weight loss: two new studies with important outcomes

Two studies provide guidance about lifestyle changes that health care psychologists can recommend to people trying to lose weight.  This information may help health care psychologists partner with primary medical providers and weight loss programs to help people who are struggling with excessive weight and need to make behavioral changes to promote weight loss and to improve their health behaviors.

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Ken Pope Ph.D. provides free access to book chapter on suicide

Ken Pope Ph.D. provides free access to book chapter on suicide

Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Practical Guide, 5th Edition” by Pope & Vasquez (2016) includes a very thorough chapter on suicide, “Recognizing, Assessing and Responding to Suicidal Risk.”  One of the authors, Ken Pope, Ph.D., has generously provided access to this chapter on his website.  It includes information about 22 risk factors, ten steps to reduce risk, and advice from 16 noted experts.

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Technology and Therapy: adding heart rate monitoring to video games helps kids with self regulation

Technology and Therapy: adding heart rate monitoring to video games helps kids with self regulation

“When Children Can Benefit From Playing Video Games” reports on the work by a group of researchers in Boston who have developed video games to help kids with anxiety, anger management problems and ADHD develop more effective self regulation.  Their games are similar to regular video games, but the child is hooked to a heart monitor, which increases the effectiveness of the training.

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Early ADHD Advocate Connors Dies; Concluded ADHD is Overdiagnosed to Sell Medication

Early ADHD Advocate Connors Dies; Concluded ADHD is Overdiagnosed to Sell Medication

The New York Times published “Keith Connors, Psychologist Who Set Standard For Diagnosing ADHD,” Dies at 84 on 7-18-17. The article reviews Dr. Connors’ distinguished career, including the development of the Connors Rating Scales and a major, government-funded 20 year research project which compared medication and behavioral therapy outcomes for ADHD.

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A Bariatric Medical Society Weighs In On Twitter – and Recommends It To Clinicians

A Bariatric Medical Society Weighs In On Twitter – and Recommends It To Clinicians

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery published “Doctoring” in the Age of Social Media in the June, 2017, issue of the Society’s online journal ASMBS Connect. This article focuses on use of social media, particularly Twitter, by bariatric specialists, but the discussion is relevant for other clinicians.  It acknowledges that people interested in learning more about medical issues, such as obesity and weight loss issues, may be exposed to inaccurate or otherwise unhelpful information via social media.  On the other hand, it is, the article advocates, time to accept the fact that consumers of health care information are turning to social media, and clinicians who participate on social media have the opportunity to participate in online conversations about medical issues, and to “engage and support your patients.”

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Excellent Website with Meditation Resources for Novices

Excellent Website with Meditation Resources for Novices

QuietKit.com provides “guided meditations for beginners,” ranging from 2 minutes to 10 minutes long.  mhconcierge.com has listened to many guided meditations, both online and using smartphone apps, and has found most of them to be, frankly, not that great – the voice may sound unprofessional and self-conscious, the timing may not be smooth, there may be a hiss in the background, and so on.  The QuiteKit meditations are much better – the voice sounds professional and relaxed, the pacing is good, and the quality of the recording is excellent, with no distractions.

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