Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


NHS Choices helps improve brain health and science literacy by reporting findings in context — as seen in this brain training & schizophrenia example


Video game-based ‘brain train­ing’ may help peo­ple with schiz­o­phre­nia (NHS Choic­es):

Peo­ple with schiz­o­phre­nia can be trained by play­ing a video game to con­trol the part of the brain linked to ver­bal hal­lu­ci­na­tions,” BBC News reports Read the rest of this entry »

Brain training (cognitive behavioural therapy) seen as most cost-effective treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome

Pac­ing ‘not cost-effec­tive’ for CFS (NHS Choic­es):

Brain train­ing is most cost-effec­tive treat­ment for chron­ic fatigue syn­drome,” BBC News reports, while pac­ing ther­a­pies (learn­ing to live with­in lim­its) “offer lit­tle val­ue”.

This news is based on research that aimed to deter­mine how cost-effec­tive four treat­ment options were for peo­ple with CFS. These were: Read the rest of this entry »

Does cognitive therapy work; should the NHS provide more of it for depression?

Excel­lent arti­cle in the UK’s news­pa­per The Inde­pen­dent on the grow­ing adop­tion of cog­ni­tive-behav­iour­al ther­a­py (CBT) by the Nation­al Health Ser­vice (NHS). Very rel­e­vant to the US too, giv­en that a grow­ing num­ber of insur­ers are offer­ing com­put­er­ized CBT. Quotes:

Why are we ask­ing this now?42-15315934

There is grow­ing frus­tra­tion among GPs at the dif­fi­cul­ty they face in pro­vid­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal ther­a­py for patients with men­tal prob­lems includ­ing depres­sion. A sur­vey by the Roy­al Col­lege of Gen­er­al Prac­ti­tion­ers (RCGP) pub­lished at the week­end found almost two-thirds of respon­dents said they were “rarely” able to obtain treat­ment for patients with­in two months. Get­ting help for chil­dren who had suf­fered abuse or trau­ma was even more dif­fi­cult. Pro­fes­sor Steve Field, the pres­i­dent of the RCGP, said: “Peo­ple should have access to approved treat­ments, and this has to be a wake-up call.”

What does this mean for patients?

Where­as in the past, GPs might have pre­scribed Prozac or oth­er anti­de­pres­sants, cog­ni­tive-behav­iour­al ther­a­py (CBT) is now the treat­ment of first choice – where it is avail­able – for the mil­lions who turn up com­plain­ing they can­not cope. In 2007, the Gov­ern­ment ear­marked £173m to train 3,600 extra ther­a­pists by 2010.

So why the short­age of ther­a­pists?

The cash is no longer ring-fenced and has alleged­ly been siphoned away to pay for oth­er projects. The RCGP and Mind, the men­tal-health char­i­ty, are cam­paign­ing for a com­mit­ment from all three main polit­i­cal par­ties to ring-fence cash for talk­ing ther­a­pies. The Nation­al Insti­tute for Health and Clin­i­cal Excel­lence (Nice) says CBT should be the first-line treat­ment for mild to mod­er­ate depres­sion, fol­lowed by drugs only if it proves unsuc­cess­ful.”

Keep read­ing  The Big Ques­tion: Does cog­ni­tive ther­a­py work – and should the NHS pro­vide more of it for depres­sion? (The Inde­pen­dent)

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