Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Gratitude is good for mental health

We’ve all heard about the importance of gratitude, here’s a study that shows its good for you! Scientific studies as this one with a control group and experimental group are good because only one variable is being tested.
However, it is only one study, and conclusions are best drawn by different researchers which are then compared.
Links to Web sites on evaluating health information and health news below**

From the May 25, 2020 University of Twente news release

Research shows that people who live their lives with a sense of gratitude are happier and less likely to suffer from psychological issues. A study by the University of Twente shows that training yourself to be more thankful can help people to feel better and increase mental resilience. This is the first time that this has been demonstrated convincingly. Professor of Positive Mental Health Ernst Bohlmeijer explains: ‘Previously, research into exercises  to train people’s sense of gratitude had not been able to discern much effect. So we decided to study the effect of a six-week training. The results of the study were published today in the Journal of Happiness Studies.’ “

“The participants in the gratitude group were given a different exercise to develop their sense of gratitude every week. These included actively focusing on feeling appreciative, keeping a gratitude journal, expressing gratitude to others, writing positively about their own lives and reflecting on the positive effects of adversity. The participants were asked to do these exercises for about 10 to 15 minutes every day. ‘It is important to say that the idea is not to ignore negative experiences. Acknowledging difficulties and psychological distress, while also appreciating the good things in life, is possible. In fact, that’s the essence of psychological resilience,’ says Professor Bohlmeijer. “

“In September 2020, the intervention will become available as an app. It will be a free app that anyone can use”

**Some resources on how to read health news and evaluate health information

How to read health news (UK National Health Service blog item, 12/23/2014)
8 questions to ask

–How to read health news (PubMedHealth via the Wayback Machine, 07/12/2012)
Similar to above

Evaluating medical research and clinical trials (Family Caregiver Alliance)
Tips on evaluating health news as well as research

Evaluating health information (Univ of California San Francisco)
Includes red flags

How to spot fake news (Infographic from International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions )

— A few more at How to evaluate health information on the Internet (University of Toledo Libraries)

I was looking for a Web page that explained levels of evidence for “all of us”. So far, this was the best I could do.
Evidence-Based Medicine Resource Guide (Georgetown University)
Two points from the pyramid below
Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) are better than observations.
RCTs study two groups of people. One group receives the intervention, the
other does not. People are assigned to the groups randomly.
Systematic Reviews are better than RCTs. They summarize all the
literature on the topic and draw conclusions about the intervention.

More about this pyramid at

May 26, 2020 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Very Interesting!

    Comment by Carlton Surtman | May 26, 2020 | Reply

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