June’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/208/6/599 . The authors' summary is below:

There is a lot of concern and debate about childhood obesity, and rightly so. Most studies have been what are known as “cross-sectional”: go out and have a look at how many children are normal weight, over-weight, and obese. But that doesn’t tell us about change with time; do children move between weight classes? A sobering study from the US (which might not map directly onto life in the UK) found that for those in the ‘normal’ and ‘obese’ categories, one’s future weight is fixed by the age of…three years old

A group of scientists happened to be evaluating social cohesion in a community of elderly Japanese individuals coincidentally just before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami (the ‘Fukushima’ one). This allowed them to return a couple of years after the disaster to see how people were doing. We already knew that individual temperament and personality are big factors in the likelihood of whether or not one develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a significant event, but what about broader social networks? The researchers found that strong links with those around us is an enormous help in managing the most traumatic of distress; it’s a heartening finding, but reminds us of how many people lack such support.

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