July’s Kaleidoscope column from the British Journal of Psychiatry

This month's Kaleidoscope mental health and neuroscience update, written by SLaM and IoPPN staff, is available from the British Journal of Psychiatry at: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/209/1/90

Mindfulness seems to be everywhere these days: it’s very fashionable, but then again so were David Cassidy and MC Hammer, and look where that got us. The question is whether or not it’s effective. A large analysis has now shown a modified version of this, mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), had positive outcomes on relapse prevention in depression. Of course, a critical question is whether it is as good as prophylactic antidepressants….Well what would you expect a Psychiatrist writing in the British Journal of Psychiatry to say? Read the first paragraph.

One of the more novel treatments I’ve seen proposed for depression is so-called ‘whole body hyperthermia’, which involves heating an individual up to a toasty 38.5⁰C, like having a hot bath. A trial in a (very reputable) journal supports this fantastical sounding intervention. In my Home Treatment Team one of our roles is watching people take their treatments at home; I feel somewhat hesitant about us supervising bath time – probably not conducive to a good patient experience, and medicolegally slippery when wet, one imagines. More news on novel treatments as evidence mounts that those ‘good’ and ‘bad’ intestinal bacteria that preoccupy yogurt manufacturers might actually impact on your thinking and behaviour, adding a new dimension to an old phrase…

Finally, continuing to fast-hand musical tropes, an editorial in The Lancet on electronic patient records affords me an opportunity to fulfil a lifelong ambition* of getting a quote from Simon LeBon into the BJPsych. The authors of the piece ask what our electronic records are for, and note the burnout they can cause in staff if they’re not used appropriately. In particular they note the general lack of patient-relevant outcome measures – not that I’ve any horse in that particular race. An interesting question is whether or not patients should be allowed open access to at least some of their own records, and whether they might be able to add to them. I think both of these suggestions have lots of positive possibilities.

*Nah, not really. I was always more of a John Taylor fan.

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