Welcome to my March news update with the pick of the most interesting stories in health and wellbeing over the last month. Please explore these new findings and be sure to share them with your friends, families and colleagues.
With warmest good wishes, – Dr Rosy Daniel
NIH networks to advance emotional well-being research
Five new research networks totaling $3.13 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health will allow investigators to refine and test key concepts that advance the study of emotional well-being. Emotional well-being has been defined as an overall positive state of one’s emotions, life satisfaction, sense of meaning and purpose, and ability to pursue self-defined goals. The opportunity to research emotional well-being and its core components—a sense of balance in emotion, thoughts, social relationships, and pursuits—aligns with NIH’s broader objectives of fostering health promotion and disease prevention. For example, having a sense of purpose in life has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
What Are the Benefits of Fish Oil for Depression?
More than 17 million adults had an episode of depression in 2017 (the most recent data available), according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Right now, the strain on mental health is only getting worse, according to a study published in September 2020 in JAMA Network Open; people reported symptoms of depression at three times the rate they did before the pandemic. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach guaranteed to ease depression, the good news is that researchers know a lot about what works to help with symptoms (including sadness, hopelessness, and an inability to enjoy the things you once did).
Breast Cancer World Health Organization Update
Breast cancer now most common form of cancer: WHO taking action
The global cancer landscape is changing, according to WHO experts, on the eve of World Cancer Day 2021. Breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s mostly commonly-diagnosed cancer, according to statistics released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in December 2020. So on World Cancer Day, WHO will host the first of a series of consultations in order to establish a new global breast cancer initiative, which will launch later in 2021.
Magnets, vacuums and tiny nets: the new fight against microplastics
When it comes to microplastics, there’s rarely good news. Researchers continue to find the tiny plastic fragments everywhere they look. Microplastics have been found in rain, Arctic ice cores, inside the fish we eat, as well as in fruit and vegetables. New research suggests 136,000 tons of microplastics are ejected from the ocean each year, ending up in the air we breathe. They are in human placentas, our wastewater, and our drinking water.
Meeting climate goals ‘would save millions of lives every year’ through shift to healthier and greener diets
Taking tougher action to meet the world’s climate goals could save millions of lives each year, a new study finds. This is because more stringent action on greenhouse gases would come with knock-on benefits for human health, researchers said. For example, stronger climate policies would see the wider adoption of greener and healthier diets and drive reductions in harmful air pollution. Shifts towards climate-friendly diets, including less meat and dairy and more fruit and vegetables, would by far provide the largest co-benefits for health, the study suggests.
The value of biodiversity
The recently launched Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity is a landmark report detailing the financial implications of the degradation of our biodiversity all over the world, due almost entirely to our pursuit for economic growth, with no regard for its impact on the health of our natural ecosystems. The review highlights the central role that biodiversity plays, not only in providing ecosystem services – the benefits provided to humans by healthy natural environments, which have been valued globally at approximately $125 trillion p.a. (significantly higher than current global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of roughly $80 trillion) – but also as a key part of the climate change solution.
To see lots more exciting news and evidence go to www.health-e-learning.org.uk and see the health-e-information platform.
Researcher – Sophie Daniel, Health and Wellbeing Trust
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