Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy

Medicine is rapidly changing in the United States from a cottage industry to one dominated by large hospital groups and corporations, but the new efficiencies can be accompanied by a telling loss of intimacy between doctors and patients. And no specialty has suffered this loss more profoundly than psychiatry.

New York Times 3/5/11 Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy,  Gardiner Harris gets into some of the reasons for this sea shift from talk therapy to drugs. While studies reveal that those suffering from depression may be better treated with talk therapy than drugs, far fewer patients receive talk therapy than did 20 years ago. Part of the change has to do with psychologists and social workers who do not attend medical school and can charge less than a psychiatrist. The result is more and more psychiatrist see their patients less often and when they do, it is for adjustment to their medication. This became clear recently when a colleague told of a therapist who suggested he was suffering from adult attention deficit disorder ADD. While there are drugs available that can help this disorder, the therapist needed to refer him to a psychiatrist to prescribe one. When asked the cost, the therapist asked if my friend was sitting? $600 was the price she told him. I don’t know if he chose that route, but this tells volumes of where things have changed.

 

Docs warn about teens and ‘Facebook depression

Add “Facebook depression” to potential harms linked with social media, an influential doctors’ group warns, referring to a condition it says may affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42298789/ns/health-mental_health?GT1=43001

Cellphone Radiation May Alter Your Brain. Let’s Talk.

In a culture where people cradle their cellphones next to their heads with the same constancy and affection that toddlers hold their security blankets, it was unsettling last month when a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that doing so could alter brain activity. New York Times 3/30/11

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/technology/personaltech/31basics.html?ref=health

A Giant Pain in the Wallet

Until January, colchicine was sold by many companies and cost as little as 10 cents a pill. Now it’s available only under the trade name Colcrys, sold by a Philadelphia company called URL Pharma—for five dollars per pill.* The colchicine story, and a few others like it, have provoked ire among some patients and doctors about an otherwise praiseworthy effort by the FDA to get rid of old, untested, potentially harmful drugs. Slate 3/29/11
http://www.slate.com/id/2289616/

When Optimism Is Unrealistic

When Optimism Is Unrealistic
But despite clearly understanding the purpose, and limits, of early-phase trials, the patients were also blinded by what researchers called an “unrealistic optimism,” or an optimistic bias, when it came to applying that knowledge to their own particular situations. A majority of patients assumed that the experimental drugs would control their cancer and that they would experience benefits but not complications.
In essence, they believed they would fare better than the average patient enrolled in the same trial.
NY Times 3/3/11

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Can Exercise Keep You Young?

Can Exercise Keep You Young?
Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, was startled to discover that exercise kept a strain of mice from becoming gray prematurely.
…. heartening new research published last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exercise reduced or eliminated almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice that had been genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.
NY Times – March 2, 2011

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Strides Made Toward Early Diagnosing of Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers have made significant progress in understanding the biology of pancreatic tumors, suggesting that there may be ways of identifying the usually fatal cancer at a much earlier and more treatable stage.

A principal finding is that pancreatic tumors are not aggressive cancers. To the contrary, they grow slowly, taking an average of 21 years to become fatal.
Strides Made Toward Early Diagnosing of Pancreatic Cancer

Medical Marijuana Raises Tough Questions for Nursing Homes

When states began embracing medical marijuana, few anticipated this inevitable scenario: patients using it would grow older, and many would need to enter assisted living and nursing homes. The prospect has just begun to raise difficult questions for administrators and state regulators.

Medical Marijuana Raises Tough Questions for Nursing Homes

Red-yeast cholesterol fighters can be worthless

A little more than a decade ago, a federal court ruled that over-the-counter red-yeast rice products were not drugs — despite the fact that these products contained naturally occurring chemicals that were functionally indistinguishable from lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering prescription drug. And so a major dietary supplement industry was born. By 2008, Americans were spending $20 million a year on red-yeast rice products, many on their doctor’s recommendation (and perhaps even via their doctor’s offices).

But a new study warns that not all red-yeast rice products contain pharmacologically active concentrations of the fungal products. As such, its authors caution: “Buyer Beware!”

Red-yeast cholesterol fighters can be worthless

Fish Oil Supplements Good For Heart, Maybe Not For Depression

Fish Oil Supplements Good For Heart, Maybe Not For DepressionThere’s oodles of evidence linking fish oil to heart health. Studies have shown Omega-3s can help lower triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), improve heart rhythm problems, and protect against a range of cardiovascular diseases. But evidence that fish oils may help with post-partum depression? Not so much.
10/19/10

Fish Oil Supplements Good For Heart, Maybe Not For Depression

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