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Recent research: articles from winter 2015/16 journals

I read a lot of research.  When I find an article of particular interest I download it to my bibliographic database - Endnote - which currently contains nearly 23,000 abstracts.  I also regularly tweet about emerging research, so following me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ (click on the relevant icon at the top of this web page) will keep you up to speed with some of what I'm finding interesting.  Additionally you can view this highlighted research by visiting Scoop.it (click on the "it!" icon at the top of the page).  At Scoop.it, I stream publications into five overlapping topic areas: Cognitive & General Psychotherapy, Depression, Compassion & Mindfulness, Healthy Living & Healthy Aging, and Positive Psychology. Here you can scan through abstracts, follow hyperlinks to the original research papers, and search by keyword (click on the funnel icon or in the tag cloud on the relevant Scoop.it topic pages).

Every couple of months or so, I also provide overviews of this research - sign up for the newsletter to receive this information regularly (see the link at the bottom of this page).  Clicking on the topic heading Cognitive & General Psychotherapy downloads a hyperlinked PDF list of 36 good recent research articles (mostly from journals published over the autumn & winter).  There is so much of value here.  If you're a therapist do please look at these studies.  There are the encouraging results reported by Brent on continuing benefits from 8 weekly group preventive CBT sessions at 6 year follow-up in adolescents at high-risk of depression.  Bockting reports similar benefits at 10 year follow-up with adults.  Wouldn't it be interesting to run a comparative four arm study of preventive CBT, MBCT, an active control condition, and treatment as usual!?  Conklin reports that "Patient engagement (effort & completion) with homework assignments (in CBT for depression) appears to be an important predictor of early session-to-session symptom improvements".  There is Erekson's study on the importance of session frequency, Fernandez's meta-analysis of CBT dropouts, Guo's important work on the benefits of "measurement-based care", Kontunen's work on IPC v's IPT for primary care depression, Mansson's fascinating finding of anatomical brain changes following CBT, and Tajika's wake-up call on the poor replicability of highly cited psychiatric research papers.  Click on Depression for an overlapping list of 36 relevant studies (this covers medication too). These include Appleton's Cochrane review of the value of omega-3 fatty acids for depression; three papers - by Arabhadeh, Felger and Kiecolt-Glaser - on the importance of inflammation in depression; three papers - by Akoubad, Malm and Vazquez - on drug side-effects; Goddard's helpful work on the value of simple screening for personality disorder in IAPT treatment; Hallgren and Murri's papers on exercise for depression; Sanchez-Villegas's reminder that poor diet quality is associated with increased incidence of depression; and Weitz's challenge to the widely held view that medication is indicated over psychotherapy for severe depression.   The Compassion & Mindfulness link brings 36 recent abstracts. Both Bilderbeck and Gothe have papers exploring benefits linked with yoga practice.  Mindfulness has had such a positive press recently, it was predictable that more critical studies would start to emerge.  Huljbers research shows that adding MBCT to maintenance antidepressants sadly does not seem to produce increased relapse protection.  Michalak's work suggests that group CBASP is more effective than MBCT for chronic depression, and similarly Veehofab's meta-analysis indicates that ACT is preferable to MBSR or MBCT for anxious or depressed chronic pain sufferers. Possibly most challenging is Shallcross's research comparing MBCT to an active control condition (rather than the more standard, but less satisfactory, treatment as usual or waiting list comparisons).  There are also a series of interesting papers on compassion, self-criticism, and even emotional intelligence - see, for example, Duarte on imagery for self-criticism, Lim on personal suffering & compassion, Mikolajczak on emotional competence, and Robinson on touch. Clicking on Positive Psychology downloads abstracts and links to 30 papers including Coffey's longitudinal study on infant happiness & adult life satisfaction, Coulton's paper on the benefits (and cost effectiveness) of encouraging more community singing, Jetten's further underlining the importance of membership in groups, Mulse's intriguing work on sexual frequency & well-being, and Ye's very significant demonstration that social inequality & gender discrimination are major factors in decreasing well-being across different countries.  Finally, I have rather gone 'over the top' with 50 abstracts in the Healthy Living & Healthy Aging section - as Pascal wrote "I have made this letter longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter".  There is Appleby on mortality in vegetarians, Baker on ways of stopping smoking, Castelnovo on the commoness of post-bereavement hallucinations, Chen on the benefits of Tai Chi, Copen on sexual behavior in the US (probably not so different from many other countries), Richard on fruit/veg intake & lowered mental distress, Rowe on successful aging 2.0, Sani with more on the benefits of group membership, and Vachon's review paper on the harmful consequences of different kinds of child maltreatment with its call to pay more attention to emotional abuse. 

So much fascinating & helpful information here.  Remember you can always search these & earlier studies using keywords on James's Scoop.it pages.

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