I’m sad that a New York judge struck down the 16-ounce size limit for sodas and some other sweet drinks. I think Mayor Bloomberg had the right idea. I get that whole personal freedom argument (although the court just said that it was arbitrary and out of Bloomberg’s purview), that this was a “nanny state” idea. But honestly, when it comes to obesity, we may need nannies to save ourselves—from ourselves.
Think of it like seatbelts. Car manufacturers make them to keep us safe, but theoretically it’s our choice whether to use them or not, right? I mean, whose business is it if we want to take the risk of flying through the windshield if someone runs a light and rear-ends us? It’s our life (or death), isn’t it?
Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. suffers from a mental disorder, and this number has been rising for more than a decade.
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 20 percent of American children are suffering from mental disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and autism.
The CDC’s first study of mental disorders among children aged 3 to 17 also found that the cost of medical bills for treatment of such disorders is up to $247 billion each year.
New research today from the Department of Oh My God Why Does This Study Have To Exist — turns out, vaccinating teenage girls against HPV won’t cause them to go from innocent children drawing pictures of flowers with crayons to unstoppable sexzillas. Sort of like how wearing seatbelts doesn’t cause car accidents, or how wearing sunscreen doesn’t cause skin cancer. But will the study convince reticent parents to abandon their ass-backwards logic and actually acknowledge that their daughters’ sexuality will someday exist?
The study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, showed that there was no evidence that girls who are given the Gardasil vaccine against HPV respond by going out and hopping on the nearest guy. Instead, girls who receive the vaccine have similar sexual trajectories to their unvaccinated peers — except the girls who are vaccinated get the bonus of being protected from a deadly and preventable form of cancer when they do have sex.
I currently have a patient who’s father is doing everything possible to avoid his children from being vaccinated? The father has never allowed the children to have ANY vaccinations of any kind, and claims to have legal documents stating his children are exempt due to religious reasons, as well as so he can avoid them from “being shot up with mercury and synthetic garbage only to be brain damaged” — I kind of felt insulted when the patients father said this, as he did not believe in me, or the healthcare industry.
A few months ago, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal, that stated 20 to 30% of physicians have reported kicking out patients from their practices because of vaccine refusal — I don’t think that this is the correct way to deal with things. I mean sure, I understand bringing an unvaccinated child to a pediatricians office can spread diseases to other children, and even be fatal to some — but we can’t just fire our patients. We have to show the strong evidence for vaccine safety, and educate them about the frightening consequences of infection with meningitis, hepatitis, measles, polio, and other vaccine preventable diseases.
As a physician-in-training — the only thing I can do is try to explain why I believe the children should be vaccinated, and educate the patients families on why vaccines are important, not just to them — but to the rest of population as well.
First off — vaccines have been so successful at eliminating childhood infections that parents no longer see these infections as a threat. Ironically, the very success of vaccines has allowed the anti-vaccine movement to sway so many people.
Now, let’s get down to the facts — vaccines do not cause autism, nor do the ingredients in vaccines — scientific studies involving hundreds of thousands of patients support these conclusions.
Anti-vaccinations claims on the internet started when Andrew Wakefield published one small study of 12 patients, now retracted, which claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Investigations later revealed that he was paid a large sum of money to recruit patients for a lawsuit against vaccine makers, and that he did not reveal these payments to his co-authors or patients, and that he manipulated the data itself.
Ever since then the anti-vaccine movement has exploded and we have experienced multiple outbreaks of measles, mumps, and other illnesses linked directly to unvaccinated children.
If we’re going to avoid a return to the era when children routinely died from infections, we have to keep trying..
“To drug or not to drug our kids, that is the question we need to be asking — ourselves, our political leaders, and our medical establishment.” So wrote Arianna Huffington on April 2, 2007 in her insightful review of Lisa Loomer’s play Distracted. Now, almost four years later, even more parents have clearly landed on the side of “to drug.” As for our political leaders and the medical establishment, they have been lulled into trancelike compliance by the billions spent by drug companies on lobbying, campaign donations, perks, and research funding.
Psychotropic drug use in children is sharply up in this country for several reasons: biological psychiatry is still the mainstream treatment choice for our troubled kids; robust marketing by drug companies entices doctors and parents into thinking there are “quick-fix” capsule solutions for every childhood woe; and we are becoming an increasingly distracted and distractible society, where cell phones, smart phones, laptops, ipads and iPods compete 24/7 with parents for their kid’s attention. The contemporary American home is coming to resemble a video arcade. And what child can focus on his algebra homework when there is the lure of a dazzling dose of eye candy?
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that a study of prescription patterns in 2009, conducted by IMS Health, showed that 25 percent of children in the U.S. were on regular medication.
IMS Health is a firm that provides marketing intelligence to pharmaceutical companies. The firm’s job is to keep the $800 billion per year global pharmaceutical industry on a continued pattern of growth. Hopefully these consultants accomplished something quite different this week. Hopefully they provided our citizens with an overdue wake-up call.
One in four children in the U.S. are on chronic prescription medications. This doesn’t even include all the prescriptions we write to treat acute illness, or the use of over-the-counter products. It is an astounding number. We either have the sickest pediatric population in the world, or there is something very wrong with the way therapies are driven in our health care system.
The WSJ article goes on to discuss some very significant concerns about the situation — like how difficult it is to run clinical studies on children, and how much of our pharmaceutical data — including dosing and side effects — is drawn from adult populations and applied to children (fingers crossed!) These are serious concerns to be sure, but it’s a modern version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Those of us on the sideline are worrying if the emperor’s hat clashes with his shoes, when what we should really be paying attention to — and shouting about — is the fact that good lord, he’s naked!
One in four children in the U.S. are on chronic medications!
Roughly 1 in 10 children who play video games are at risk of becoming pathologically addicted to them, found a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.
That means for every classroom of 30 kids, three of them could develop a hardcore digital addiction that boosts the risk of depression, social phobia and poor school performance, the study found.
Over a two-year span, researchers from the U.S., Hong Kong and Singapore studied the video game habits of 3,000 Singaporean children from grades 3, 4, 7 and 8.
Kids who averaged 31 or more hours of gameplay a week were classified as pathological or “obsessive” gamers and were determined more likely to develop serious mental health issues.
Inclined to believe video game addiction is just a passing phase? WebMD reports that fully 84 percent students who considered addicts when the study began were still addicted two years later.
Still, such findings are preliminary. U.S. News reports:
Although pathological video gaming appears to share a number of characteristics with other addictive behaviors, such as pathological gambling, the researchers noted that “pathological gaming” is not yet an established psychological disorder.