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Fri, 07 Aug 2020
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Attention

Disturbing! Drugging Kids: Backlash on bipolar diagnoses in children

No one has done more to convince Americans that even small children can suffer the dangerous mood swings of bipolar disorder than Dr. Joseph Biederman of Massachusetts General Hospital.

From his perch as one of the world's most influential child psychiatrists, Biederman has spread far and wide his conviction that the emotional roller coaster of bipolar disorder can start "from the moment the child opened his eyes" at birth. Psychiatrists used to regard bipolar disorder as a disease that begins in young adulthood, but now some diagnose it in children scarcely out of diapers, treating them with powerful antipsychotic medications based on Biederman's work.

"We need to treat these children. They are in a desperate state," Biederman said in an interview, producing a video clip of a tearful mother describing the way her preschool daughter assaulted her before the child began treatment for bipolar disorder. The chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Mass. General, he compares his work to scientific break throughs of the past such as the first vaccinations against disease.

Health

U.S. polygamist community faces rare genetic disorder

In a dusty neighbourhood under sheer sandstone cliffs studded with juniper on the Arizona-Utah border, a rare genetic disorder is spreading through polygamous families on a wave of inbreeding.

The twin border communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, have the world's highest known prevalence of fumarase deficiency, an enzyme irregularity that causes severe mental retardation brought on by cousin marriage, doctors say.

"Arizona has about half the world's population of known fumarase deficiency patients," said Dr. Theodore Tarby, a paediatric neurologist who has treated many of the children at Arizona clinics under contracts with the state.

Arrow Down

Pureed food 'isn't natural for babies'

Feeding babies on pureed food is unnatural and unnecessary, according to one of Unicef's leading child care experts, who says they should be fed exclusively with breast milk and formula milk for the first six months, then weaned immediately on to solids.

Bomb

Why Is the Pet Food Industry Killing Our Pets?

Many were shocked by the thousands of pet deaths that prompted the recent pet food recall, but the truth is that the pet food industry has a long history causing the deaths of many more.

Health

Fake ingredients put consumers' health at risk

American consumers are being ripped off and their health possibly put at risk because of bogus ingredients slipped into imports ranging from toothpaste to dietary supplements.

Suppliers who substitute cheaper ingredients for the real thing seldom get busted because the government and private labs review few of the products flooding in.

Red Flag

Brain gets a thrill from charity: study

CHICAGO - Knowing your money is going to a good cause can activate some of the same pleasure centers in your brain as food and sex, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

People who participated in a study got a charge knowing that their money went to a charity -- even when the contribution was mandatory, like a tax. They felt even better when they voluntarily made a donation, researchers found.

Magic Wand

Scientific research on sense of humour sheds light on psychological profiles

Is it possible to scientifically measure someone's sense of humour? Are there universally good or bad jokes that make people laugh no matter their gender, profession or cultural background? These are some of the questions answered by the doctoral thesis Sentido del Humor: Construcción de la Escala de Apreciación del Humor (Sense of humour: building of the appreciation of humour scale), carried out by Hugo Carretero Dios, researcher in the Department of Social Psychology and Methodology of Behavioural Science at the University of Granada.

This study, directed by researchers Cristino Pérez Meléndez and Gualberto Buela Casal, is the first work in Spain stemming from Psychology aimed at measuring people's sense of humour to analyse the psychological variables related to humour. Carretero Dios analysed more than 1,500 people between the ages of 18 and 80 and a similar number of men and women.

This study focused on the following types of humour: sexual humour, black humour, humour degrading to men, humour degrading to women, simple humour and complex humour. The study provided the first scientifically approved evaluation instrument in Spain to evaluate humour appreciation. Moreover, it helped to improve other instruments used in other countries.

Ambulance

Evidence Grows: Tamiflu Induces psychosis, hallucinations and suicide in young people

JAPANESE health authorities are investigating a flu medication also available in Australia after a teenager who took it jumped 11 storeys to his death - at least the 18th juvenile fatality linked to the drug in 17 months.

Attention

Doctor advises caution over flu drug

In this week's BMJ, a senior doctor advises caution over the use of the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

His concern follows advice by the Japanese authorities in March 2007 against prescribing oseltamivir to adolescents after the separate suicides of two 14 year olds who jumped to their deaths while taking the drug.

So far, oseltamivir has been thought to be well tolerated and safe, but the recent events in Japan have prompted a reappraisal, writes Simon Maxwell from the University of Edinburgh.

Before 2007, there had already been more than 100 reports of neuropsychiatric events (including delirium, convulsions, and encephalitis) with oseltamivir in children, almost entirely from Japan, which has the highest usage of oseltamivir worldwide. But a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review concluded that these events were not clearly drug related.

Coffee

Army food is 'cheaper than a dog's dinner'

The Army spends more feeding its dogs than its soldiers, it has been claimed.

Figures obtained by a Tory MP show that £1.51 a day goes on meals for troops, compared with £2.63 for military dogs.

Even prisoners - who cost £1.87 a day to feed - fare better than servicemen. Schoolchildren get £1.55 for lunch alone.