Reducing Stress During the Flu Season0

This article first appeared on the PBS Website This Emotional Life.

“In order to learn the most important lessons of life, one must each day surmount a fear.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson, American lecturer, essayist, and poet

The flu – Suddenly it is everywhere. We read about it in the paper and see it on the news. We listen in fear to reports on how it invades our hospitals and schools, contaminating drinking fountains, public bathrooms, and restaurants. Each winter this invisible little bug returns with seemingly greater authority to disrupt our daily lives and spread paranoia throughout the community.

The fear and anxiety that accompanies seasonal influenza can also infect hospitals, chipping away at the mission for which they stand by causing patients to question a health care facility’s very ability to treat the infirm in times like these. As hospitals in Britain are forced to cancel operations and leave beds empty in preparation for anticipated flu cases, one can only hope that this patient surge in the United States does not escalate to needless panic over possible pandemic. … Read more →

76% of Toddlers’ Grabbing Hands Grab All They Can0

“The grabbing hands, grab all they can.” Click Here

In a recent study presented Sunday, October 3, 2010, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco, investigators and parents tested how many toddlers could and would reach for an item on a countertop.

The study, “How Far Toddlers Can Reach onto a Standard Kitchen Countertop,” urged children, ages 12 to 23 months, to reach for an object — in this particular instance a toy phone — resting on a 36-inch countertop.  The 54 children who participated varied in weight and height (with and without shoes).

The results? 76% of children could reach and grab the object. According to lead study author David Allasio, MSW, LMSW, Children’s Hospital of Michigan: “Findings from the research are important as it will help us reduce pain, financial costs and parental distress associated with scald-related burns to children, and the information can be used to better educate parents.”

Alternative Paths Toward an Autism Cure0

In the October 2010 issue of Scientific American, Nancy Shute writes about the rising number of autism cases and the frustration many parents are finding in the search for treatment. The article contents that parents often turn to unproved therapies and off-label use of medications. The following are some examples Ms. Shute calls “dubious”:

  • Immunoglobulin — injected antibodies approved for leukemia and AIDS, this treatment can cost as much as $10,000 for one infusion.
  • Stem Cells — injected over several days, this treatment must be done out of the United States as it is still highly controversial.
  • Lupron — injected drug normally used for prostate cancer, this can cost as much as $5,000 a month.
  • Sensory Integration Therapy — pressure applied to the body with blankets or machines, this treatment can cost up to $6,000 a year.
  • Chelation — injected drug used to purge lead and mercury, this can cost as much as $3,000 for six months.
  • Secretin — injected hormone that costs about $90 a week.

According to the article, many alternative treatments come with a host of additional risks and complications.  The complete article, entitled “Desperation Drives Parents to Dubious Autism Treatments” can be found here.

A New and Improved (definition of) Depression0

“My baby’s got the lonesome lows, don’t quite go away overnight / Doctor Blind, just prescribe the blue ones. / If the dizzying highs don’t subside overnight / Doctor Blind, just prescribe the red ones.” Click Here

Ten years since the last update and five years in the making, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has updated the practice guidelines for treating patients with major depressive disorder.  Published this month, the APA’s Third Edition includes recommended therapies for both body and mind. With information about electro-convulsive therapy, medications, psychotherapies and even new “evidence based” treatments, the new guidelines even include complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) options.

According the the APA’s publication Psychiatric News: “The process began in 2005 with the appointment of a work group of APA members that included some of our most experienced researchers in the field of depression treatment. The work group, chaired by Alan Gelenberg, M.D., reviewed more than 10,000 studies published since the 2000 edition of the guideline.” … Read more →