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

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Cochrane evidence on managing depression, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders

Two more mental health reviews published in Issue 10 in The Cochrane Library are the subject of excellent blogs from The Mental Elf. These new reviews, from the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Group and the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group, look at the evidence on duloxetine compared with other drugs for depression, and on information and communication technology in patient education and support for people with schizophrenia. A third blog neatly summarises a new review from the Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group on the effectiveness of Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders, an approach which is widely used with the aim of improving functional behaviours and skills in these children. They’re well worth reading and you can find them from the links below. 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