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The remarkable case of the shrinking brain

Last week, we took a broad look at the relationship between chronic back pain (CBP) and depression. While you don’t need to be Einstein to deduce a potential relationship between the two, what might be less obvious is the significant extent to which such chronic pain can affect the structure and chemistry of the brain….

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The link between depression and back pain

When it comes to depression, we seem to spend a lot of time, collectively, trying to figure out the cause. But there is a group of patients for whom the cause might readily be identified – those with chronic back pain. Depression is easily the most common emotion associated with back pain. In fact, research…

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Exercise is good for your brain

We all know the benefits of physical exercise, such as sustaining and improving muscle tone, increasing circulation, keeping tissues well oxygenated and a myriad of positive long-term effects. But do we know the impact of exercise on the brain? A recent study, published in Neurology, found that exercise has a very distinct neurological benefit which…

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When is depression not depression?

No one can dispute that depression is now a major public health issue, with incidences skyrocketing all over the Western world. A new piece of research by Fried et al., published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, seems to offer a glimmer of hope by suggesting that depression is being over-diagnosed among the bereaved. In…

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Concerning children’s mental health

A recent government task-force review sheds some rather disturbing light on the state of child mental health services in England. The review focuses on concerns highlighted by a survey of Clinical Psychologists working across 43 separate specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2014. According to the Psychologists, in the last three years…

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Bedlam now on open display

This week, I heard the story of a mother whose son had been conscripted to Afghanistan with the Territorial Army. One of her anecdotes which particularly touched me was that of her son asking her to send, along with protein bars and practical sundries, a colouring-in book. She told of how, in a quiet moment,…

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Valentine’s Day Special

  I’ve been trying to figure out the connection between the original St Valentine, a Roman priest who was beheaded under Claudius II on 14 February in the year 270 AD, and the restaurant-and-rose-fest we practice every year in his name. Maybe it has something to do with him sheltering Christians from persecution and, in…

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Getting up close and personalised

You may not have noticed it, but personalised medicine is about to be all the rage. It’s one of the biggest trends in modern medicine and what it may mean to the average punter is fewer side effects on medication. The idea is that the drug you will be prescribed will be tailored to your…

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