Happy New Year and welcome to my January 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
10 key global health moments from 2021
It has been a year of colossal efforts in global health. Countries battled COVID-19, which claimed more lives in 2021 than in 2020, while struggling to keep other health services running. Health and care workers have borne the lion’s share of these efforts but often received little recognition or reward. Life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments were rolled out, but overwhelmingly in the richest countries, leaving many populations unprotected, especially in lower-income countries. Across other health areas, from diabetes to dementia, there have been both setbacks and hard-won successes.
Stop Ecocide International
‘Ecocide’ is a word to describe what is happening to our planet; the mass damage and destruction of the natural living world. It literally means “killing one’s home”. And right now, in most of the world, no-one is held responsible. It’s time to change the rules. It’s time to protect our home. We are working, together with a growing global network of lawyers, diplomats, and across all sectors of civil society, towards making ecocide an international crime.
Contact with nature in cities reduces loneliness, study shows
Loneliness is significant mental health concern and can raise risk of death by 45%, say scientists. Contact with nature in cities significantly reduces feelings of loneliness, according to a team of scientists. Loneliness is a major public health concern, their research shows, and can raise a person’s risk of death by 45% – more than air pollution, obesity or alcohol abuse. The study is the first to assess how the environment can affect loneliness. It used real-time data, collected via a smartphone app, rather than relying on people’s memory of how they were feeling. The research found that feelings of overcrowding increased loneliness by an average of 39%. But when people were able to see trees or the sky, or hear birds, feelings of loneliness fell by 28%. Feelings of social inclusion also cut loneliness by 21%, and when these feelings coincided with contact with nature the beneficial effect was boosted by a further 18%.
Beyond Science and Religion
Harald Walach on the Conversations Beyond Science and Religion podcast
As the case against materialism builds, the credentials of the opponents to this pessimistic view of the world continue to increase. This show’s guest, Dr. Harald Walach, holds a double Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, and History and Theory of Science. He is currently a professor with Poznan Medical University in Poznan, Poland, and author of more than 170 peer reviewed papers, 14 books, and 100 book chapters. He is also the main author of a special report issued by the Galileo Commission, entitled, Beyond a Materialistic Worldview: Towards an Expanded Science.
Distraction disaster! Notifications are ruining our concentration – here’s how to escape them
Whether socialising with friends or completing a difficult task, a ping on your phone can destroy the moment. It is time to address the constant stream of interruptions. Joanie (not her real name), a clinical psychologist who lives in London, has three work laptops. This is not uncommon when you’re spread across different NHS services. Sometimes, she feels like the 1980s synth supremo Paul Hardcastle, who used to dart between keyboards when performing on Top of the Pops. Except that he wasn’t always rudely interrupted by random notifications. “When I log on to one laptop,” she says, “this automatic thing comes on called Netpresenter player. It’s a ticker tape, like one of those bus-stop ads that keeps moving.”
The food group that promotes healthy bones in adults – and it’s not dairy
A new dietary study has found a non-dairy food to improve bone health. Eating vegetables doesn’t just provide short term health benefits, according to a new study. Eating an extra 270g per day of vegetables for eight weeks has been linked to improved bone health and lower biomarkers for poor bone health. The exact mechanism is not known although there are several possible reasons proposed by the researchers. The results of the 102-person study were published in the Journal of Nutrition. Blood biomarkers for healthy bones were improved in the vegetable eating group. The researchers identified an increase in bone resorption, the breakdown of bone tissue to release the stored calcium into the blood.
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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