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Published on MSD Connect: October 2020

Source: Western Mail

PEOPLE with eating disorders could be at risk of suffering longterm consequences from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers have warned. The fallout from routines being disrupted in lockdown, a focus on food and exercise which came to dominate the public conversation, and healthcare moving online, could all have lasting effects, academics from Northumbria University in Newcastle said.

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Published on MSD Connect: September 2020

Source: BPS Research Digest

Music and humans go back a very long way. The earliest accepted instruments, made from bones, appeared on the European scene about 40,000 years ago.

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2020

Source: PharmaTimes

NHS England has launched a new drive to put staff wellbeing at the heart of NHS recovery, with measures designed to address new pandemic challenges and improve physical and mental health support for staff.

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2020

Source: PharmaTimes

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced new funding for nursing apprenticeships in England.

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2020

Source: Pa Taz from Press Association

Working conditions for nurses and midwives pose a significant threat to their mental health, which could worsen due to the pandemic, a review has found.

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2020

Source: The Guardian

Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned.

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2020

Source: Qatar Tribune

Maintaining a hopeful attitude, developing personal resilience, consciously practising self-care, surrounding oneself with optimistic people, and taking part in activities help relieve stress and encourage social engagement with others, said Dr Javaid Sheikh, professor of Psychiatry and dean of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2020

Source: The Guardian

People who have recovered from Covid-19 may lose their immunity to the disease within months, according to research suggesting the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds.

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Published on MSD Connect: July 2020

Source: The Guardian

Cancer is going undiagnosed for approximately 1,900 people a week due to Covid-19 concerns in hospitals and GP surgeries, with a charity warning the UK now faces a “ticking time bomb".

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Published on MSD Connect: July 2020

Source: The Telegraph

New research finds repetitive negative thinking was linked to the deposit of harmful proteins in the brain. Having constant negative thoughts over a long period of time may increase the risk of developing dementia, scientists believe.

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Published on MSD Connect: July 2020

Source: Medgadget

Manufacturing artificial red blood cells may turn out to be significant in treating a number of diseases and conditions. This has been tried in the past by a number of teams, but some important functions were missing in every design.

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Published on MSD Connect: June 2020

Source: M2 PressWIRE

NHS volunteer responders will be carrying out socially-distanced tasks including helping with delivering food shopping and dropping off personal medication to frontline staff at their homes.

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Published on MSD Connect: May 2020

PharmaTimes

Researchers have created a mobile phone application, dubbed “QUiPP v2”, that allows doctors to quickly calculate a woman's individual risk of preterm birth and identify women who need special treatments.

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Published on MSD Connect: May 2020

Nicola Davis from The Guardian

Hopes of developing a new treatment for ulcerative colitis have been raised by research suggesting the condition may be linked to low levels of certain bacteria in the gut.

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Published on MSD Connect: April 2020

Nicola Davis from The Guardian

An electronic device that “sniffs” breath may offer a new way to identify people with a condition that can lead to cancer of the oesophagus, researchers have revealed.

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Published on MSD Connect: April 2020

Ian Sample Science editor from The Guardian

A powerful antibiotic that kills some of the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria in the world has been discovered using artificial intelligence.

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Published on MSD Connect: April 2020

Pa Media from The Guardian

A record number of people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, increasing their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke, the NHS has said. A “growing obesity crisis” has led to nearly 2 million people in England being exposed to the condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high.

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Published on MSD Connect: April 2020

Hannah Devlin from The Guardian

Early signs of cancer can appear years or even decades before diagnosis, according to the most comprehensive investigation to date of the genetic mutations that cause healthy cells to turn malignant.

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Published on MSD Connect: April 2020

Nicola Davis from The Guardian

Human livers from organ donors can now be preserved for a week, researchers have revealed, a dramatic improvement on previous techniques, which could only keep the organs usable for a matter of hours.

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Published on MSD Connect: March 2020

Tony Aern Shaw from Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Advances in artificial intelligence could be the key to identifying people at risk of suicide.

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Published on MSD Connect: March 2020

Agence France-Presse from The Guardian

Smokers can turn back time in their lungs by kicking the habit, with healthy cells emerging to replace some of their tobacco-damaged and cancer-prone ones, a study shows.

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Published on MSD Connect: March 2020

Denis Campbell Health policy editor from The Guardian

People with glaucoma are going blind because NHS eyesight services have “inadequate capacity” to follow up such patients properly after diagnosis, an investigation has revealed.

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Published on MSD Connect: March 2020

Executive Appointments Worldwide

More than 100,000 patients have had appointments with expert pharmacists in the last 10 weeks, relieving pressure on GPs and A&E departments.

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Published on MSD Connect: February 2020

Lauren Donnelly Health Editor from The Telegraph

Cancer helplines are facing a surge in calls from patients because overstretched NHS doctors and nurses do not have time to care for them, a charity has warned.

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Published on MSD Connect: February 2020

Pa Media from The Guardian

Healthy habits such as drinking in moderation, staying slim and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day could extend people’s disease-free life by up to a decade, research suggests.

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Published on MSD Connect: January 2020

Jemma Crew, Pa Health, 6 November 2019

Mental health patients sent away from home for treatment have travelled the equivalent of 22 times around the world in a year.

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Published on MSD Connect: January 2020

Liz Connor, Carmarthen Journal, 20 November 2019

Get into the habit of trying something new each week. It’s a scenario that many of us are familiar with.

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Published on MSD Connect: January 2020

Jamie Harris, Press Association, 11 November 2019

A “smart needle” has been developed by scientists in the UK which could speed up cancer detection and diagnosis times.

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Published on MSD Connect: December 2019

Rebecca Ratcliffe, The Guardian, 15 November 2019

Researchers have discovered a way to stop rabies from shutting down critical responses in the immune system.

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Published on MSD Connect: November 2019

AFP Relax News, 4 November 2019

An at-home, non-invasive screening for cervical pre-cancer could increase compliance with recommended follow-up tests...

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Published on MSD Connect: November 2019

Nina Massey, Press Association, 5 November 2019

A new wearable bike helmet-style brain scanner system could make scans easier and more reliable in children, researchers say.

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Published on MSD Connect: November 2019

Denis Campbell, The Guardian, 15 October 2019

People could be offered cancer screenings in their lunch breaks in a bid to reverse the alarming fall in those attending appointments, under plans being considered by NHS bosses.

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Published on MSD Connect: November 2019

M2 PressWIRE, 21 October 2019

All NHS doctors and dentists in England now have access to a comprehensive mental health service, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced today.

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Published on MSD Connect: October 2019

PR Script Managers, Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercurcy, 3 October 2019

GPs across Weston are being encouraged to reduce their reliance on medications and consider prescribing lifestyle changes.

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Published on MSD Connect: October 2019

AFP Relax News, 25 July 2019

According to a British study, women likely to develop diabetes during their pregnancy can reduce the risk by adopting a diet rich in nuts, fruit and olive oil…

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2019

HIT Consultant, 19 June 2019

A lot of discussion about healthcare AI is vague and visionary in nature. Most of us know that these technologies have a very promising future, but until recently it hasn't been clear just when practical applications will emerge.

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Published on MSD Connect: September 2019

Jemma Crew, Pa Health, 15 August 2019

A new NHS initiative will aim to ensure faster diagnosis for people with brain and nerve conditions...

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Published on MSD Connect: September 2019

Harron Siddique, The Guardian, 11 August 2019

Thousands of people in England at risk of contracting type 2 diabetes will receive wearable tech to help monitor their exercise level, the NHS has said.

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2019

Healthline, 3 July 2019

People under 35 years old are ignoring warnings about sun exposure and skin cancer because they believe tanning makes people more attractive.

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2019

PharmaTimes, 6 June 2019

NHS England has announced that nearly three quarters of a million patients are set to benefit from new world-leading innovations on the...

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Published on MSD Connect: December 2019

Simon Neville, Press Association, 7 July 2019

More than a dozen NHS Trusts are taking the Government to court to argue that they should have an 80% reduction in business rates – the same discount given to private hospitals and fee-paying...

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2019

M2 PressWIRE, 1 July 2019

Screening programmes will be overhauled and diagnosis made faster and more accurate with...

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2019

Letters, The Guardian, 16 July 2019

The NHS Confederation report Chairs and Non-Executive Directors in the NHS did not give a fair picture of what is actually going on in the health service today...

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2019

CEO, Innovaccer Inc & Abhinav Shashank, HIT Consultant, 19 June 2019

The world of healthcare is changing and with it our approach to understanding the concept of patients and doctors, ways of delivering care and building a better relationship between those...

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Published on MSD Connect: December 2019

Manas Mishra, Reuters, 28 June 2019

Family background can matter for the health of diabetic children, according to researchers in...

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Published on MSD Connect: August 2019

Fulcoe, Cleveland Clinic, 13 July 2019

If your patients have diabetes, you know how easy it is for them to injure their feet — without even realising...

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Musings on music: seven insights from psychology

BPS Research Digest | Published on MSD Connect: September 2020

Music and humans go back a very long way. The earliest accepted instruments, made from bones, appeared on the European scene about 40,000 years ago. But for perhaps at least a million years before that, our ancestors had the throat architecture that in theory would have allowed them to sing.

All kinds of ideas have been put forward for why and how music came to matter so much to us. But what's abundantly clear is that it does matter; there isn't a society out there that doesn't make and listen to music. And new research is now revealing all manner of psychological and neurological effects…

But what about people who don't like music?

Music is a human universal, but it's true — not everyone enjoys music. In fact, as a 2014 paper published in Current Biology revealed, some perfectly healthy people can perceive music just like anybody else, but their reward-related neural circuits don't respond to it (these circuits do still respond to food or money, for example, so it's not that they're generally defective).

In fact, an estimated 3–5% of people experience 'musical anhedonia' and get no pleasure from music. Last year, a team that included some of the same researchers published a follow-up study1 in the Journal of Neuroscience. They found a neurobiological basis for their earlier observations: differences in the white matter 'wiring' that connects the auditory cortex and the ventral striatum, a key part of the reward system. What causes these differences is not yet clear.

For the rest of us, what is it about a piece of music that gives us pleasure?

Last year, a team led by Vincent Cheung at the Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany published an analysis of responses to 745 US Billboard pop songs. They found that expectancy is key. When listeners were pretty certain about which chord to expect next (based on what had come before), they found it pleasurable to be surprised. When they weren't sure what to expect, though, more predictable subsequent chords were pleasing.

Popular songs strike a good balance between both subverting expectation and reassuring listeners, the team concluded. 'It is fascinating that humans can derive pleasure from a piece of music just by how sounds are ordered over time,' Cheung commented. It is also important for understanding how music influences our emotional state…

Why do we like listening to sad music?

The first point to stress is that we don't all necessarily like it. In 2016, a team led by Tuomas Eerola at the University of Durham reported on the emotional experiences connected with sad music of 2,436 people in the UK and Finland. The majority said they enjoyed sad music, and that this pleasure boosted their mood. 'However, there are people who absolutely hate sad-sounding music and avoid listening to it,' notes Eerola. The study2 revealed that for these people, sad music was associated with painful personal experiences, such as loss.

Still, the reports of mood-boosting effects from the majority is important. In 2015, a paper titled 'Sad as a Matter of Choice?' reported that people with depression were more likely to listen to sad songs — which the team controversially took to imply that they were maintaining or even worsening their own low mood. Last year, however, a study2 published in Emotion found that depressed people prefer sad music because it is calming and even uplifting. As some participants in another recent study2 commented, when you're feeling low, sad music can seem like a supportive friend.

Extreme emotions

Some pieces of music have dramatic effects on us. 'Peak emotional states' involve powerful physical responses, such as tears, or feeling 'the chills', and often extreme sadness or joy. They can be triggered by something inherently deeply meaningful — such as childbirth — but also by a beautiful view, or piece of music. A 2017 study3 published in Scientific Reports explored these reactions and found that song-induced tears were associated with subsequent calming — they seem, then, to have a cathartic, relieving function.

Some people, though, are more prone than others to feeling goosebumps or a shiver down the spine in response to a piece of music. And as a paper recently published in Social Cognitive and Effective Neuroscience has revealed, such people have stronger connectivity between auditory processing and social and emotional processing areas of the brain. These same connectivity differences have also been linked to greater empathy. As the researchers write in their paper: 'Perhaps one of the reasons why music is a cross-culturally indispensable artifact is that it appeals directly through an auditory channel to emotional and social processing centers of the human brain.' Only, it does this more for some of us than others.

Connecting brains

One proposed adaptive function for music is that it unites individuals. With music, we can march together, dance together, and express emotions as one. And there's now growing evidence that this unity can occur right down at the neural level.

Back in 2009, Ulman Lindenberger at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and colleagues reported that when two guitarists play the same piece of music together, their brainwaves synchronise. Big deal, you might think: they're processing and playing identical notes, so why shouldn't there be similarities in their brain activity? However, in 2012, the team reported a follow-up involving duets with different guitar parts. When these pairs had to actively coordinate their playing, there was a synchronisation in activity in some regions between the two. This, the team concluded, was evidence of 'inter-brain networks'. 'When people coordinate actions with one another, small networks within the brain and, remarkably, between the brains are formed,' noted Johanna Sänger, lead author of this study.4

Since then, more evidence of inter-brain synchronisation during musical experiences has emerged. It's known that when audience members are enjoying a piece of live music, their brainwaves tend to synchronise. And, earlier this year, a team led by Yingying Hou at East China Normal University revealed that when a musician is playing a piece, and the audience is enjoying it, a synchronisation in brain activity develops. The team were even able to use the strength of this 'inter-brain coherence' to predict how much the audience reported enjoying a piece.

Use the beat

Humans are unique as a species in being able to perceive beat. And there's all kinds of evidence that the tempo of a piece of music affects our behaviour. A classic study,5 published back in 1986, found that diners in a Dallas restaurant ate significantly faster when faster tempo (more beats per minute) music was played, compared with slow tempo music. These findings went on to influence the choice of soundtracks in restaurants the world over. But there's also recent evidence that listening to high-tempo music while exercising can increase heart rate more than slow-tempo music and also make the exercise feel less difficult. 'This means that the exercise seemed like less effort but it was more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness,' commented researcher Luca P. Ardigò of the University of Verona in Italy.

Background effects

If you're the kind of person who likes to have background music playing while you work, there are a couple of studies worth bearing in mind.

Listening even to music that you enjoy can interfere with working memory, which could impair mental arithmetic, a study6 published in Applied Cognitive Psychology has found. And though it has been suggested that music can encourage creativity, in fact it 'significantly impairs' it, according to a 2019 paper published in the same journal. The researchers, from the UK and Sweden, gave participants verbal insight problems, which are meant to tap into creativity (for example, they were given the words 'dress', 'dial', and 'flower', and asked to identify a single word that could be combined with each — 'sun'). Background music with foreign lyrics, instrumental music without lyrics and music with familiar lyrics all made the participants worse at this. Again, the researchers think that this is because music disrupts working memory; in this case, verbal working memory. 'To conclude, the findings here challenge the popular view that music enhances creativity, and instead demonstrate that music, regardless of the presence of semantic content, consistently disrupts creative performance in insight problem solving,' they write.

It's worth noting that the negative impact of familiar music was observed even when a participant said it boosted their mood, reported liking the song, or said that they typically studied with background music playing. So if you do typically work with music, and think it helps, surely it's worth at least trying to go without.

This article was originally published by BPS Research Digest, 18 August 2020.

References

  1. Martinez-Molina N, Mas-Herrero E, Rodríguez-Fornells A, et al. White Matter Microstructure Reflects Individual Differences in Music Reward Sensitivity. Journal of Neuroscience. 2019;39(25):5018–5027.
  2. Yoon S, Verona E, Schlauch R, et al. Why do depressed people prefer sad music? Emotion. 2020;20(4):613–624.
  3. Hasselmann H. Psychologists have studied what’s happening when music gives us chills or makes us cry. Research Digest. 2017.
  4. Sänger J, Müller V, Lindenberger U, Intra- and interbrain synchronization and network properties when playing guitar in duets. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2012.
  5. Milliman RE. The Influence of Background Music on the Behaviour of Restaurant Patrons. Journal of Consumer Research. 1986;13(2):286–289.
  6. Threadgold E, Marsh J, McLatchie N, et al. Background music stints creativity: Evidence from compound remote associate tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 2019;33(5):873–888.

This article was written by BPS Research Digest from British Psychological Society's Research Digest and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Minor grammatical and translational editorial changes may have been made to this article by MSD, which has no impact on the content of the article. This is to ensure all articles remain as relevant as possible to UK Healthcare Professionals.

GB-NON-03170 | Date of Preparation: September 2020