Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

How’s life? 2013 Measuring well-being [in OECD countries]

From the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development]**

Every person aspires to a good life. But what does “a good or a better life” mean? The second edition of How’s Life? paints a comprehensive picture of well-being in OECD countries and other major economies, by looking at people’s material living conditions and quality of life across the population. In addition, the report contains in-depth studies of four key cross-cutting issues in well-being that are particularly relevant: how has well-being evolved during the global economic and financial crisis?; how big are gender differences in well-being?; how can we assess well-being in the workplace?; and how to define and measure the sustainability of well-being over time?

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Read the book by chapter

1. The OECD Better Life Initiative: Concepts and indicators

What drives people’s and nations’ well-being and where do countries need to improve to achieve greater progress for all? The OECD Better Life Initiative launched in 2011 addresses these questions by measuring well-being outcomesin 11 dimensions.

2. How’s Life? at a glance

This chapter shows that OECD countries have made considerable progress in many well-being areas over the past 20 years or so, although progress has been uneven across the 11 dimensions included in the OECD well-being framework. Similarly, there is great diversity in patterns amongst different countries as well as disparity in well-being achievements of different groups of the population within a country.

3. Well-being and the global financial crisis

This chapter analyses how well-being has changed during the global economic and financial crisis. Even though some effects of the crisis may become visible only in the long-term, the report finds that the crisis has had large implications for some economic and non-economic aspects of people’s well-being. Clear negative trends have emerged in subjective well-being and civic engagement, with increasing levels of stress, lower life satisfaction and decreasing trust in national governments.

4. Gender differences in well-being: Can women and men have it all?

The chapter looks at gender differences in well-being, showing that the traditional gender gap in favour of men has narrowed but has not disappeared. It also finds that women and men do well in different areas of well-being and that they are increasingly sharing tasks and roles.

5. Well-being in the workplace: Measuring job quality

This chapter looks at the quality of employment and well-being in the workplace. The report presents evidence on the main factors that drive people’s commitment at work and are key to strengthening their capacity to cope with demanding jobs.

6. Measuring the sustainability of well-being over time

The last chapter of the report studies the links between current and future well-being. It looks at ways to define and measure sustainability of well-being over time. This chapter focuses on four types of resources (or “capital”) that can be measured today, and that matter for future well-being: economic, natural, human, and social capital.

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** From the About Page

Our origins date back to 1960, when 18 European countries plus the United States and Canada joined forces to create an organisation dedicated to global development. Today, our 34 member countries span the globe, from North and South America to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. They include many of the world’s most advanced countries but also emerging countries like Mexico, Chile and Turkey. We also work closely with emerging giants like China, India and Brazil and developing economies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, our goal continues to be to build a stronger, cleaner, fairer world.

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Pain significantly reduced, quality of life improved by integrative medicine interventions

English: graph of age-adjusted percent of adul...

English: graph of age-adjusted percent of adults who have used complementary and alternative medicine: United States, 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


From the 24 July 2013 article at Medical News Today


An integrative approach to treating chronic pain significantly reduces pain severity while improving mood and quality of life, according to a new study from the Bravewell Practice-Based Research Network (BraveNet) published last month in BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal. Researchers found a reduction in pain severity of more than 20 percent and a drop in pain interference of nearly 30 percent in patients after 24 weeks of integrative care. Significant improvements in mood, stress, quality of life, fatigue, sleep and well-being were also observed.

In keeping with the integrative medicine philosophy of individualized, patient-centered care, no standardized pre-specified clinical intervention for chronic pain was prescribed for all study participants. Instead, practitioners at each of the network sites devised integrative treatment plans for participating chronic pain patients. All BraveNet sites include integrative physicians, acupuncturists, mindfulness instructors, and yoga instructors; some also incorporate massage therapists, manual medicine therapists, fitness/movement specialists, dietician/nutritionists, psychologists, healing touch therapists, and other energy practitioners.



July 24, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Surprising connections between our well-being and giving, getting, and gratitude

From the 19 January 2013 EurekAlert

January 19, 2013 – New Orleans – We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is good for our general health and well-being. But new research is highlighting a more surprising benefit of good sleep: more feelings of gratitude for relationships.

“A plethora of research highlights the importance of getting a good night’s sleep for physical and psychological well-being, yet in our society, people still seem to take pride in needing, and getting, little sleep,” says Amie Gordon of the University of California, Berkeley. “And in the past, research has shown that gratitude promotes good sleep, but our research looks at the link in the other direction and, to our knowledge, is the first to show that everyday experiences of poor sleep are negatively associated with gratitude toward others – an important emotion that helps form and maintain close social bonds.”

Social psychologists are increasingly finding that “prosocial” behavior – including expressing gratitude and giving to others – is key to our psychological well-being. Even how we choose to spend our money on purchases affects our health and happiness. And children develop specific ways to help others from a very young age. Gordon and other researchers will be presenting some of these latest findings at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual meeting today in New Orleans.

Sleeping to feel grateful…

[Article continues to summarize other findings as

  • giving away money to feel wealthy
  • buying experiences to feel wealthy
  • knowing what is best to help others]


Read the entire article here



January 22, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Social Medicines’ Do Benefit Health and Wellbeing

Seems to be a mix of personal responsibility and government/social policy

From the 6 November 2012 article at Science Daily

‘Social medicines’ are beneficial to the health and wellbeing of individuals and the population. By combining social and biological information from UK Longitudinal studies (life-course studies) researchers have identified that the more ‘social medicines’ you have, the better your physical and mental health. These include a stable family life, stress-free childhood, alcohol-free culture for young people, secure and rewarding employment, positive relationships with friends and neighbours, and a socially active old age…


The booklet is available to download free of charge from the ICLS website at Hardcopies are also available on request…

Researchers from the International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health (ICLS) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are releasing a plain English guide to their research demonstrating how ‘Life gets under your skin’ as part of the Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Social Science in November.

A stable family life where children have secure routines, including being read to and taken on outings by their parents, is more likely to result in them being ready to take in what will be offered at school (school-readiness). Getting a flying start at school is one of the most important pathways towards wellbeing later in life.

An environment free of constant bombardment with cigarette and alcohol advertisements helps adolescents avoid the first steps towards addiction. People with more friends have higher levels of health and wellbeing — and researchers have found this to be almost as important as avoiding smoking over the longer term. A supportive social network can make all the difference as people confront the problems of aging, helping them to maintain a high quality of life for many years.

The booklet demonstrates how social policy related to family life, education, employment and welfare can have beneficial effects for the health of individuals. It also shows how multi disciplinary, longitudinal research can deliver findings valuable to the individual, society and the economy.




November 6, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring The Healing Powers Of Singing


choir-130 (Photo credit: Family Photo Archives)

While I don’t have cancer, I have many fond memories of marching/concert band in high school and college. It definitely made a difference in my sense of well being and sense of achievement.

From the 13 July 2012 article at Medical News Today

The Welsh cancer charity Tenovus and Cardiff University, both based in the UK, have reported that participation in a choir improves a number of quality of life factors for cancer survivors and their carers.

In an effort to create a community for cancer survivors and their carers, Tenovus established the choir, Sing for Life, in 2010. More than just a support group, the aim of the choir was to improve quality of life and emotional well-being in a more social setting.

…Analysis of the questionnaires revealed an improvement in factors ranging from vitality tomental health and reduced anxiety and depression after the three month period. There was no change in the level of fatigue or change in lung capacity, but there was a trend of increased maximal expiratory static mouth pressure (MEP), a test of the strength of respiratory muscles.

The perceived benefit of the choir was quite clear based on data from the interviewed participants. They commented on the benefits of having a common goal and looking forward to the performances. Overall, participation in the choir lifted the mood of many of the participants and gave them a sense of achievement.

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , | 2 Comments

Nation’s First Ever National Prevention Strategy.

From the 17 June 2011 Health Literate Chick posting

Yesterday, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin hosted a press conference to announce the nation’s first EVERNational Prevention Strategy.

This is huge Public Health news..HUGE. The Obama administration continues to be an administration that places the focus on public health and disease prevention.

The purpose of the meeting was to talk about how America needs to refocus its perspective to one of building a healthier nation through the prevention of disease and improvement of wellness rather than focussing on disease treatment.

AKA..shifting the focus from medicine to public health.

The plan comes as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Makes sense to me–if you’re going to be the one paying the bill for healthcare wouldn’t you rather just make the nation healthier to start through inexpensive prevention rather than paying for expensive surgeries and medications later?

The plan includes four basic strategies:

  1. Create, sustain, and recognize communities that promote health and wellness through prevention.
  2. Clinical and Community Preventive Services: Ensure that prevention-focused health care and community prevention efforts are available, integrated, and mutually reinforcing.
  3. Empowered People: Support people in making healthy choices
  4. Elimination of Health Disparities: Eliminate disparities, improving the quality of life for all Americans.
Within the above framework of Four (4) strategies are seven (7) priorities which make up the bulk of the report.

• Tobacco Free Living

• Preventing Drug Abuse and Excessive Alcohol Use

• Healthy Eating

• Active Living

• Injury and Violence Free Living

• Reproductive and Sexual Health

• Mental and Emotional Well-Being

June 25, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment


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