Monday, August 21, 2017

12 Ways to Help Kids Cope With School Anxiety

In this piece for USA Today, Candy Grande offers 12 non-drug approaches for helping kids cope with school-related anxiety, such as having a discussion about...
child looking at smartphone

“Virtual Autism” May Explain Explosive Rise in ASD Diagnoses

New clinical case studies have found that many young children who spend too much screen time—on TV’s, video games, tablets and computers—have symptoms labeled as “autism.” When parents take away the screens for a few months the child’s symptoms disappear.

Over 16,000 Australian Children Prescribed Antipsychotics

From The Sydney Morning Herald: New data from Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme shows that a total of 16,570 Australian toddlers, children, and teens under 17 were...

Hidden Invaders

From Discover Magazine: Some children's symptoms of psychiatric disorders, including OCD, psychosis, and eating disorders, are caused by an autoimmune response to infections resulting in brain inflammation. "PANS...

‘A Little Bit of OCD’: The Downside of Mental Health Awareness

From The Guardian: People often claim to experience mental health problems only to excuse their unpleasant or hurtful behaviors. This can exacerbate prejudice toward those...

The Empathy Machine

From Aeon: We typically think of empathy as an emotions-based state that involves feeling another's distress or joy. However, cognitive, rationalist empathy involving reasoned perspective-taking may...

What the Fidget Spinners Fad Says About Disability Discrimination

From Thinking Person's Guide to Autism: For decades, autistic and developmentally disabled people have been conditioned and coerced into behaving like neurotypical people, including suppressing...

Our World: My Child, ECT and Me

A new episode of BBC's Our World investigates the increased usage of electroconvulsive therapy on children in America.

Therapists Are Using Dungeons & Dragons to Help Kids

From Kotaku: Therapists across the country are running Dungeons & Dragons therapy groups to help socially isolated kids open up by participating in role-playing games. "There...

Smash the Blue Lights: Autism Speaks is a ‘Danger to Self and Others’

There are few around Mad in America territory who would argue against the dangers of the National Alliance for Mental Illness. But as a movement, we often fail to recognize the dangers of their much younger sibling named ‘Autism Speaks’.

When Disability is Misdiagnosed as Bad Behavior

From Pacific Standard: People with hidden or invisible disabilities are often subjected to violence and verbal abuse, as well as denied accommodations and asked to...

Autism’s Drug Problem

From Scientific American: Many autistic children are prescribed multiple psychiatric medications, which can lead to serious adverse effects and are often ineffective. "Multiple diagnoses lead to...

ASAN Condemns White House Autism Proclamation

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has voiced opposition to the President's autism proclamation and participation in Autism Speaks' "Light it Up Blue" Campaign. The...

I Abused Children for a Living

From Diary of a Birdmad Girl: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a therapy considered by the mainstream healthcare system to be the only evidence-based treatment for...

Children with Autism may be Over-diagnosed with ‘ADHD’

A commonly used ADHD diagnostic measure may find overlapping symptoms in autism and ADHD, resulting in over-diagnosis.

New Study Finds Brain Changes in Newborns Exposed to Antidepressants

A fist of its kind neuroscience study, published this month in Cerebral Cortex, found changes in the brain electrical activity of infants exposed to SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy.

“MIT’s Misleading PR Headline on Autism”

Last week a headline from MIT news proclaimed “Neuroscientists reverse autism symptoms.” The Health News Review points out why this headline is misleading. Article →...

The Social Consequences of a Diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum

It’s time to change how we think about and relate to people whose makeup is or appears to be different from the norm. Currently, the dominant way in research, practice and the general public is to think of what’s different—let’s say a biological or neurological difference—as the source of disability and difficulty, and to relate to and treat (in various ways) that biological or neurological difference. But there’s another way to go, and more and more researchers and practitioners are taking it.

“Life, Animated: A Remarkable Story of How a Family Reached Their Autistic Son Through...

A new documentary “Life, Animated,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of a man with autism who learned to interact...

“Cortisol Levels in Children’s Hair May Reveal Future Mental Health Risk”

The Guardian covers research out of Australia that found that levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol in the hair of 70 nine-year-old children corresponded to the number of traumatic events experienced by the child. “Childhood is an imperative and sensitive period of development, and when things go wrong it can have lifelong consequences, not just on mental health, but also on general health.”

Experts Decry Dangerous Use of Antipsychotics in Children

In a featured article for Psychiatric Services, psychiatrists from Dartmouth raise the alarm on the increasing numbers of children prescribed dangerous antipsychotic drugs. Despite the fact that data on the safety of long-term use of these drugs in this vulnerable population “do not exist,” the rate of children and adolescents being prescribed antipsychotic drugs have continued to increase over the past fifteen years.

SCOTUS Declines Risperdal Appeal, J&J to Pay $124 M

On Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to hear Johnson and Johnson’s final appeal, forcing the company to pay $124 million for the deceptive marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal. In 2011, South Carolina ordered the company to pay $327 million for pursuing “profits-at-all-costs” in its efforts to persuade doctors to prescribe their drug, but the fine was lowered to $136 million last year. The company had hoped to argue that the remaining penalties constituted an “excessive fine” and was supported by PhRMA, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Chamber of Commerce.

Child Poverty Linked to Early Neurological Impairment

A new NIH-funded study suggests that children from low-income environments are more likely to have neurological impairments. The researchers claim that these neurodevelopmental issues are “distinct from the risk of cognitive and emotional delays known to accompany early-life poverty.”

Antidepressants, Pregnancy, and Autism: Why Wouldn’t Antidepressant Chemicals Affect a Developing Baby’s Brain?

This week another study was published showing that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased rates of autism in the children.  By my count, this is now the tenth study on this topic and it follows on the heels of previous studies – all of which found links between SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy and autism in the offspring.  Most of these studies were recently reviewed by Man, et al, who also concluded that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with autism in the children. So we now have numerous studies in different human populations all showing a link between SSRI use in pregnancy and autism in the children. Yet, much of the news and blogosphere focus on casting doubts about these findings. What is going on here?

“Psychiatric Drug—Not Antibiotic—Messes with Gut Microbes, Spurs Obesity”

In a series of experiments in mice, researchers found that the drug risperidone alters gut microbes, which in turn profoundly influence metabolism, weight, and overall health.

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