Bringing harmony to the hospital: music as therapy

Music has the potential to make everything better, doesn’t it? Arguably, this is so in any and all situations. In difficult circumstances, it can help us endure. Music can take the edge off the pain, in both body and mind. No wonder there is a keen interest in exploring its potential to help us in various healthcare settings and this has been the subject of many Cochrane reviews.  Continue reading

An evidence advent calendar!

It turns out that Cochrane’s for Christmas, not just for life, with evidence in the Cochrane Library on all manner of festive things from gold, frankincense and myrrh to stockings! Ok, some of the links are a bit tenuous, but we hope you’ll enjoy our advent calendar.

Owing to some trouble with the technology elves, we couldn’t make it interactive (boo!) but each day we’ll post some Cochrane evidence related to the day’s picture, below the calendar. If you think of any others, do share them via the comments box.

advent calendar

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Talking treatments for problem drinking and gambling: two new Cochrane reviews

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies’ first annual report on the state of the nation’s health, published today, has highlighted the rising rates of liver disease, with deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the under 65s having increased by around 20% between 2000 and 2009, yet falling by around the same amount in other European countries. The three major causes of liver disease – harmful drinking, obesity and undiagnosed infection – are preventable. With around 70% of us having two or more habits or medical risk factors that are linked with serious diseases, the report recommends that health professionals should focus on tackling these together. This was also recommended in a recent report from The King’s Fund, which looked at clustering of unhealthy behaviours and called for a shift in focus in public health initiatives, to tackling multiple unhealthy behaviours rather than single ones. Continue reading

Taking a complex approach to depression and anxiety

If you’re making a trifle, you expect to put in lots of different ingredients, but opinion varies about what should go in. Are those vaguely stale-tasting sponge fingers vital for the optimal trifle or does Swiss roll provide a superior foundation? Some consider jelly trifleto be a vital element, while others wouldn’t consider it. Fruit – tinned or fresh, and what sort? Cream or custard? Chocolate shavings (for the aspirational trifle), sugar strands or good old silver balls? The truth is, we don’t know which elements and which combinations work best, though every trifle maker will have their own ideas about that. The process may be standardized but the form of the thing will be adapted. A key question then is did it hit the spot and leave your consumers feeling much better for it? Continue reading