Rehabilitation After Stroke: They do it with Mirrors

Recent research by Michielsen and colleagues has demonstrated that “mirror therapy”, which can be given at home, results in significant, albeit modest, improvement in arm, wrist and hand movement abilities of stroke patients [1]. Mirror therapy is where the arm with impaired movement is placed behind a mirror and the unimpaired arm is reflected in the mirror, giving the appearance to the patient that when the unimpaired arm is moved, the impaired arm is also moving.

Mirror therapy for stroke rehabilitation

Grey Weather, Grey Mood: Cortisol Levels May Underlie Seasonal Affective Disorder

The relationship between season and psychological health in terms of mood has been greatly researched. A recent study shows the cortisol function differs over season in people reporting “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD [1]. This may finally help us to understand any biological mechanism underlying of SAD.

Seasonal affective disorder

Will You Win or Lose? Getting People Tested for Diabetes

Do you respond better to scary messages or those telling you what you’ll gain? This question has concerned health promoters and researchers for many years. A recent study in the UK has shown that the response is related to gender [1]. Men responded better to messages that focus on the negatives or “losses”.

The Link Between Positive Psychology and Cancer Survival

Have you ever heard a person in poor health being told “Well, you’ve got to stay positive, that will help”? This seemingly common idea is currently under significant scientific investigation. Indeed, the debate about the degree to which psychological processes can directly influence physical health has received special attention recently. A special supplement of the Annals of Behavioural Medicine directly addressed this topic in February this year and a recent article in the Lancet explored this issue, cautioning us that the relationship between a positive psychological orientation and cancer survival remains unclear [1].

How Your Head Can Influence Your Heart

How you think about your health can have powerful impacts on how you experience your health. In a recent study with a group of cardiac patients, how people thought about their illness (termed “illness cognitions”) was found to have a direct impact on how people experience health and emotional wellbeing [1]. These illness cognitions also affected health indirectly by influencing the types of behaviours people were engaged in to cope with cardiac problems. This study brings to our attention the relevance of psychology in relation to medical illnesses.