News Round-Up: November 2009 4th Edition



Using data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, an american study involving data on 43,000 people, older adults (over the age of 60 in this study) with alcohol dependence consumed an average of 40 alcoholic drinks per week compared to ‘between 25 and 35 drinks a week’ in the younger group. An american study is looking at whether PTSD can be predicted by incorporating a number of biological markers. The Lean Healthcare Academy recently had an awards ceremony and a hospital which implemented the Productive Ward was the recipient of an award. The Productive Ward and related Productive Series involve a systematic process to enable improvements in outcome measures such as efficiency (see review here). It is interesting to see how American and Japanese culture and technology is being used to improve care for patients in the NHS in an ever more connected world. The Productive Ward series is covered at the National Institute for Technology here. The series also includes approaches to improve outcomes in community care as well as other types of service.

News Round-Ups

Over at the Clinical Cases and Images blog there is a summary of recent news tweets. Alz Forum have got coverage of the recent Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease conference in Las Vegas here. They look at the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention study, the Memory Capacity Test and research on the CogState test amongst others. The Schizophrenia Research Forum have coverage of a recent murine study showing an association between mutations in the dysregulin gene (which has been associated with schizophrenia in genome wide association studies) and the function of fast-spiking interneurons.  Mind Hacks has coverage of a number of studies including one in which sounds presented during sleep were associated with improved learning on spatial tasks.

Psychiatry 2.0

The Google Wave tool which has been recently rolled out enables live collaboration using a number of tools and in this article Leah Betancourt discusses some of the ways this is being used in the creation, dissemination and discussion of news. Conventional methods for disseminating scientific/clinical information including conferences, journals and books are now in the process of being transformed by such tools. Another development which has the potential to have a profound impact on society, Government 2.0 was discussed at a recent conference. The idea here is that citizens can both engage with and contribute to the decision-making process of government. As an example this may impact on the way in which different segments of society are represented and this in turn could impact on health and illness on a number of levels. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has set up an expert lab to help government engage with citizens using technology and enabling them to tap into ‘crowd expertise’. There is a video on the expert lab here. In an american survey by Manhattan Research, 39% of doctors stated that they had communicated with patients online although the insurance-based nature of the healthcare system may influence such relationships. An article here looks at how doctors are using technologies such as twitter and the iPhone in their practice.  Meanwhile the Danish Government is intending to go paperless by 2010.

It is a privilege for the TAWOP blog to have been included in a list of 100 blogs for psychology students and there are many interesting blogs included in this list.


Researchers at the Universities of Warwick and Manchester compared a course of therapy costing £800 with the effects of an increase in salary or lottery winnings. Their findings apparently showed that the £800 course of therapy produced an increase in a measure of well-being that was  equivalent to that produced by a pay rise or winnings of £25,000 causing the researchers to conclude that therapy was ’32 times more cost-effective at increasing happiness than money’ (quote from news report).  However I wasn’t able to find the study (perhaps its preprint) and wasn’t clear on what the outcome measures were and the details of the therapy. In a press release from the company producing the devices a study (n=7) provided preliminary evidence that Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation could improve scoreson measures of auditory hallucinations and psychosis. However these were described as interim results and from the limited information in the press release it looks as though a further 13 patients are to be included and so it will be interesting to further review these results when the study has been completed and submitted for publication.



You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link


You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast).

TAWOP Channel

You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link


If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


  1. Very good writing. I am glad your posting that. I hope you can accept my apology for my less good English Skills, I am from France and English is sort of new to me. I will bookmark your blog and keep reading.


    • Thanks very much! Let me know what you like in particular – feedback of this type will help me to write better posts. Regards Justin


  2. Nice post! You truly have a wonderful way of writing which I find captivating! I will definitely be bookmarking you and returning to your blog. In fact, your post reminded me about a strange thing that happened to me the other day. I’ll tell you about that later…


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