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Kidney donation: the operation & first few postoperative days

I've already written a series of blog posts leading up to my recent kidney surgery - starting with "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering" to the most recent "Kidney donation: preoperative preparation ... aspects of self-compassion".  Writing this now, I'm happily & successfully over the waterfall of the operation and into the phase of managing the bumping & scraping against a variety of post-operative boulders.

Strength training exercises improve both physical & psychological health

Poor muscle strength predicts increased vulnerability to both physical & psychological health problems and earlier death, in addition to the contribution of poor aerobic, heart-lung fitness.  This is true for both men & women and for all assessed age ranges.  Mechanisms underlying these effects are probably multifactorial, including metabolic/biochemical, neurological & psychological factors.  Research studies have assessed overall muscular strength in a variety of ways including grip strength, push-ups, chair-stands, and squat weight-lifts.  Happily, muscle strengthening interventions can yield major benefits across multiple health domains.  Here are a dozen interesting papers addressing these areas published in the last few years:

Psychedelics and end of life distress

I've been asked to write a short book section on "Psychedelics and dying" and that has nudged me into looking at this territory here on the blog.  It's a fascinating subject in all kinds of ways.  With the limited space I have, I'd like to comment briefly on four overlapping areas.  One is the growing body of research showing that psychedelic-assisted therapy can dramatically ease severe existential distress associated with terminal illness.  A second, less well studied area, is the observation that psychedelic experience reduces death anxiety in the general population.  Thirdly, it's interesting to note the similarities between some descriptions of psychedelic states and reports of near death experiences.  And lastly I'd like to talk about how psychedelics might produce these effects.

Recent research: articles from winter/spring 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 well over 27,000 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 ...

Recent psychedelic research: lessons from current personal experience - introduction

Gosh, 'nerves' have come in a bit sooner than I would have expected.  Lying in bed this morning, early, I felt that hard-to-describe collection of sensations ... quite a full, slightly aching feeling in my chest, and in my belly also a background sense of fullness ... and unease, caution ... and almost like a distant, silent firework display intermittently lighting up the horizon ... a play of slight sensations in my gut that quieten as I internally turn to look at them.  I recognise this feeling.  It's what I experienced at times in the lead-up to my kidney donation operation a bit over two years ago.  OK, in three weeks today I'm due to take my first psychedelic trip for nearly 50 years (I took a dozen or so LSD trips between the ages of 19 and around 24) ...

Psychotherapy with couples & other close relationships

Over the next two days I'm due to run a two day training workshop in Glasgow on "Psychotherapy with couples & other close relationships".  Here are the downloadable slides for the first day on "Working with couples(sadly with the cartoons removed for copyright reasons) and here the slides for the second day on "Close relationships".  There are lots of relevant handouts - here are the details.

Recent psychedelic research: further exploration

 

  "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."    Marcel Proust

"There isn't any formula or method.  You learn to love by loving - by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done."    Aldous Huxley

Recent psychedelic research: re-mining personal experience

 

"Qualitative research has a rich tradition in the study of human social behaviour and cultures. Its general aim is to develop concepts which help us to understand social phenomena ... Qualitative approaches have particular potential in psychiatry research, singularly and in combination with quantitative methods."  Stephen Agius

"The brains of human beings seem built to process stories better than other forms of input"   Thomas Newman, Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics

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