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Exercise 1: checking it's safe to start

I've talked a lot on this blog about the tremendously worthwhile gains we can make for our physical health by exercising regularly.  See for example the posts "Does healthy lifestyle really make a difference?" and "Common sense isn't common".  Now the recent national depression guidelines "Updated NICE guidelines on treating depression" and "SIGN guidance on non-pharmaceutical management of depression" underline the importance of exercise for psychological health too.

Updated NICE guidelines on treating depression

NICE - the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - recently published guidance on "Depression in adults (update)" and on "Depression with a chronic physical health problem".  The "Depression in adults (update)"  replaces guidance originally published in 2004 and amended in 2007.  The 28 page Quick reference guide provides a helpful overview.  Interestingly NICE here use the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for depression rather than the ICD-10 criteria (used in their earlier publications).  A four step approach is charted - each step is described both by who the intervention is for (e.g.

Recent research: six studies on eating habits, obesity, vitamin D, lifestyle & dementia

Here are half a dozen studies on weight, bite size, vitamin D, dietary supplements, and ways of avoiding dementia.  Andrew et al report on the "Incident cancer burden attributable to excess body mass index in 30 European countries" estimating that about 6% of cancers could be avoided if we could maintain healthier weights (abstracts & links for all six articles mentioned appear further down this page).  Zijlstra and colleagues suggest a possible response!  They randomized subjects to eating with different bite (mouthful) sizes and different chewing times.  They found that " ... greater oral sensory exposure to a product, by eating with small bite sizes rather than with large bite sizes and increasing OPT (oral processing time), significantly decreases food intake."  As Mum might put it "Don't wolf your food!"

NICE guidelines – early management of persistent non-specific low back pain

I'm a bit slow on reporting this, but at the end of May the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a guideline on "Early management of persistent non-specific low back pain".   I've blogged before about NICE.  They publish very widely with, for example, 82 guidelines on musculoskeletal disorders generally.  They have also recently launched NHS evidence which aims " ... to provide easy access to a comprehensive evidence base for everyone in health and social care who takes decisions about treatments or the use of resources - including clinicians, public health professionals, commissioners and service managers - thus improving health and patient care. It will build on NICE's significant international reputation for developing high quality evidence-based guidance.

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