Posts Tagged ‘Medicine’

Very Concerning Vaccination Trends

January 17, 2020

I am completely pro-vaccination. I believe the anti-vax view risks young lives and must, therefore, be refuted.

My side seems to be losing. Below are some very disturbing trends published by Gallop:

 

Percentage of Americans who believe it’s important parents vaccinate their children.

2001: 94%

2015: 84%

2019: 84%

 

46% unsure whether vaccines cause autism

45% say no

10% say yes

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Does ADHD Exist?

June 22, 2014

 

ritalin

I am not qualified to make a clinical assessment about ADHD. All I know is that a startlingly high number of children are being diagnosed with the condition.

It is interesting to note that within the medical field, as prescriptions for Ritalin are skyrocketing, specialists are now more than ever, starting to speak out against the condition:

 

Paediatric neurologist Dr Richard Saul, based in Chicago, believes that ADHD simply ‘doesn’t exist’ and is being used as a mask for less serious problems.

Dr Saul argues that children are being misdiagnosed.

‘ADHD makes a great excuse,’ Dr Saul said in his book, ‘ADHD does not exist: The truth about Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.’

‘The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults – it can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.’

Echoing Dr Saul’s views, a group of researchers from Australia and the Netherlands said in November that the diagnosis of ADHD may have become too broad.

A wider classification of symptoms for ADHD in the psychiatric ‘bible’ used by the profession has led to a steep rise in diagnosis and prescriptions for medication, the study warned.

The group of researchers said there was now a risk of over diagnosis which could fuel scepticism about the disorder.

In addition, stretched resources may mean some seriously affected children do not get medical help, or they are undertreated.

Click on the link to read my post on Why Prescribe 1 Medication for ADHD When You Can Prescribe 2?

Click on the link to read my post on An ADHD Epidemic or an Over-Diagnosis Epidemic?

Click on the link to read my post on More than 1 in 10 U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD!

Click on the link to read my post on Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

 

 

Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

November 12, 2013

ritalin

So doctors are now warning that ADHD is being over diagnosed. Over diagnosed by whom?

By dentists?

Vets?

Beauticians?

Doctors have been savagely over prescribing medication (Ritalin prescriptions have risen by 72% in Australia from 2000-2011), often for as little as concentration issues in class. This is not a reason to give children medication!

Why is it that we focus on the child that is not concentrating rather than the teacher that isn’t sufficiently engaging his/her class? How can we blame the student when the teacher has often invested nothing more than a trip to the photocopier machine in planning for their lesson.

Remember, the very same teachers that complain about the lack of concentration in their class can often be seen dozing off during a staff meeting or professional development seminar. If poor concentration is all it takes to earn a prescription, then teachers at staff meetings make for great Ritalin candidates!

For too long we have been allowing our children to be the guinea pigs for our obsession with the quick fix solution. I would have thought that one cannot make a proper determination about a child’s ADHD status until they have ruled out social issues, home life issues, dietary habits and sleeping patterns. But this due process often goes out the window, because those matters take time, patience and sensitivity. Who has got time for that when there’s a wonder drug that turns a daydreamer into a concentration machine?

So the doctors think too many children are diagnosed with ADHD. I wonder who they have to blame for that.

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

Click on the link to read my post on Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

Click on the link to read School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

Click on the link to read The Rampant Misuse of ADHD Pills

Click on the link to read Is There Any Student Left Without a Disorder?

We Should be Promoting Health Instead of Focusing on Obesity

June 21, 2012

It seems that we have given up on promoting healthy lifestyles and educating our students about nutrition. It’s now all about avoiding obesity:

The American Medical Association on Wednesday put its weight behind requiring yearly instruction aimed at preventing obesity for public schoolchildren and teens.

The nation’s largest physicians group agreed to support legislation that would require classes in causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for first through 12th graders. Doctors will be encouraged to volunteer their time to help with that under the new policy adopted on the final day of the AMA’s annual policymaking meeting.

101 Ways to Misdiagnose ADHD

March 20, 2012

I am not sure if ADHD exists or not. Since I am not a doctor or medical professional, I will decide to err on the side of caution and give ADHD the benefit of the doubt. But whether or not it exists doesn’t seem to be the pressing issue. The issue seems more to do with the poor children misdiagnosed with ADHD in what seems to be a completely haphazard fashion:

A STUDY of almost a million Canadian children has found those born in December, the last month of the school year intake, are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and medicated for it than those born in January.

Relative immaturity may result in the inappropriate diagnosis of ADHD, the University of British Columbia researchers suggest.

They raise “concerns about the potential harms of overdiagnosis and overprescribing” for the condition. Children given medication for ADHD may suffer adverse effects on sleep, appetite and growth and face increased risk of cardiovascular events, the paper says.

Inappropriate diagnosis may lead teachers and parents to treat the child differently and change self-perceptions.

The study in this month’s Canadian Medical Association Journal, found boys born in December were 30 per cent more likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD than boys born in January and 41 per cent more likely to be given medication for ADHD.

The medical fraternity has let themselves down with ADHD. It seems from this untrained eye that too many kids are being diagnosed with this condition and therefore, too many kids are needlessly medicated. What this does is bunch real sufferers of ADHD with kids who have come down with a bout of, for example, immaturity.

13-Year-Old Girls Given Contraceptive Implants at School Without Consent of Parents

February 8, 2012

There may exist a rule of patient-child confidentiality, but it just doesn’t seem right that such important information would be withheld from the parents. What makes it even tougher to comprehend is that this service is all done at school.

Girls as young as 13 are being given contraceptive implants at school without their parents’ knowledge.

Nurses insert devices into their arms which temporarily prevent pregnancy by releasing hormones into the blood.

Last year 1,700 girls aged 13 and 14 were fitted with implants, while 800 had injections which have the same effect.

The 2010/11 NHS figures also show that 3,200 15-year-old girls were fitted with implants, and 1,700 had injections.

But under strict ‘patient confidentiality’ rules, staff are banned from seeking the permission of parents beforehand – or even informing them afterwards.

Both forms of contraception can bring on unpleasant side-effects including weight gain, depression, acne and irregular periods.

The jabs have also been linked to bone-thinning, although experts say fractures are unlikely if they are used only for a short time.

The implants and injections are being offered to girls in nine secondary schools and three sixth form colleges in Southampton under a scheme run by NHS Solent. The sexual health clinics also offer other forms of contraception, advice and tests for infections.

I think the patient/child confidentiality should have loopholes and shouldn’t include children under the age of 16. As parents, we have the right to be informed and the right to overrule. People might say that this is a very important service against unwanted pregnancies. That may be so. But in my opinion, the best way for 13 year-olds to avoid unwanted pregnancies is to allow the parents to do their job. The best remedy against teenage pregnancy is vigilant parenting.

Healthy Eating May Help ADHD Kids: Don’t Tell the Doctors

January 10, 2012

I find the ADHD trends highly frustrating. I am not a doctor or medical professional of any kind so it’s not for me to speculate whether or not ADHD exists. What bothers me, is the rapid increases in children being diagnosed (and more importantly, medicated) with the syndrome. To me Ritalin and other types of ADHD medication must be the last resort. It’s side-effects are often quite pronounced and sometimes quite sad to experience. Kids with larger than life personalities and great bursts of creativity can often be left following their own shadows (I have personally witnessed this!)

When I first entered into the profession I was given medical forms to fill out about a particular student. A previous teacher must have recommended that this student be assessed due to the belief that she may have some ADHD symptoms. In my view she was just a child with poor self-esteem who lacked concentration. In my assessment of her I made it clear that I felt that beyond her concentration being poor there was no other reason to suspect that she may have ADHD.

It didn’t help. Unfortunately, within weeks of being presented with this patient, the doctor prescribed her with Ritalin. No suggestions of a change of diet, no therapy to examine if there is any cause for her low self-esteem and no evidence that she was sent to have her language skills tested. Just the “go to” method, the “one pill fits all” strategy – the blasted pill!

I am proud to say that this child is now off the medication. Her parents decided it was not something they wanted her to be on permanently so they eased her off it. Doctors would be shaking their heads right now and accusing the parents of being irresponsible. But the parents were right. She is now a happy, focussed, non-medicated young teenager.

Doctors can be far too quick to diagnose and prescribe. In my view, they do this out of self-interest. If they were more considerate they would seriously look at diet before prescribing Ritalin.

SIMPLY eating healthier may improve the behaviour of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) if therapy and medication fail, says a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Nutritional interventions should therefore be considered an alternative or secondary approach to treating ADHD, not a first-line attack, said the review by doctors at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, published on Monday.

What they mean by that is first pop the pills and then consider your sugar intake. This is ridiculous. What is the big deal about investigating diet and other possible causes before, as a last resort, prescribing the medication?

Click on the link to read Who Needs Quality Teaching or Parenting When You Have Medications?

Click on the link to read Get Your Kids on Ritalin Before Their Grades Suffer

Click on the link to read It is Doctors Not Teachers Who Are Helping Children Get Good Grades

Mum Gives Her Son Coffee to Treat His ADHD

September 8, 2011

Whilst I don’t for a second advocate giving coffee to a child, I applaud Christie Haskel for trying to find an alternative to the drugs doctors prescribe.  As I was watching the abc report on this mother I felt like the reporter was trying to manipulate me into thinking that this woman acted irresponsibly and recklessly by treating her child without consulting a doctor.

But I didn’t fall for the manipulation.  Good on her for resisting Ritalin.  She has every right to find an alternative to a drug many parents are weary of.  Below are some issues I had with the reporting of this story.

1.  The story quotes that “experts say there is no proof it works.”

Well actually I am of the opinion that if it works for some people, as it has worked for this mother it “can” work.  No more proof required.

2.  The piece lists the “potentially dangerous side-effects of caffeine.”

What about the potential side-effects of Ritalin?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Akathisia
  • Alopecia
  • Angina
  • Appetite loss
  • Anxiety
  • Blood pressure and pulse changes (both up and down)
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Diaphoresis (sweating)
  • Dizziness
  • Dyskinesia
  • Dysphoria or Euphoria
  • Formication
  • Headaches
  • Hypersensitivity (including skin rash, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, necrotizing vasculitis, and thrombocytopenic purpura)
  • Lethargy
  • Libido increased or decreased
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Pupil dilation[45]
  • Psychosis
  • Short-term weight loss
  • Somnolence
  • Stunted growth
  • Tachycardia
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth aka cotton mouth)

3.  A Psychiatrist is presented warning parents not to become deluded into thinking coffee can cure ADHD:

Can drugs cure ADHD?

A meta analysis of the literature concluded that methylphenidate quickly and effectively reduces the signs and symptoms of ADHD in children under the age of 18 in the short term but found that this conclusion may be biased due to the high number of low quality clinical trials in the literature. There have been no placebo controlled trials investigating the long term effectiveness of methylphenidate beyond 4 weeks thus the long term effectiveness of methylphenidate has not been scientifically demonstrated. Serious concerns of publication bias regarding the use of methylphenidate for ADHD has also been noted. A diagnosis of ADHD must be confirmed and the benefits and risks and proper use of stimulants as well as alternative treatments should be discussed with the parent before stimulants are prescribed.

4.  The question is asked how does the mother know that by solving this one problem she isn’t creating several new ones:

I ask the same question about traditianal ADHD medication:

It was documented in 2000, by Zito “that at least 1.5% of children between the ages of two and four are medicated with stimulants, anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs, despite the paucity of controlled scientific trials confirming safety and long-term effects with preschool children.”

It is ludicrous to attack a mother for trying to find alternatives to a drug that comes with known side-effects, has stark similarities to cocaine and amphetamines and hasn’t convincingly proven the case against dependency or long-term side-effects.

Coffee isn’t something you’d want to be giving a child but neither is Ritalin.  I know which one I would rather give my child.

 

The Drug Companies Are Winning at Our Children’s Expense

February 17, 2011

I have a confession to make.  I hate drug companies.  No, worse, I despise drug companies.

I may not be a doctor, pharmacist or  expert, so you can discount my views as just ramblings from an ignorant blogger if you like, but that isn’t going to change my position.

It is my belief that the drug companies have a vision.  That vision is to see children being given medication as if it were candy.  Last month I wrote about the fact that more than a quarter of kids in the US are on medication, with almost 7% on two or more prescription drugs.  The drug companies probably see that figure as merely a good start, with plenty of room for improvement.

And as much as I wish we could see through what they are doing, I’m afraid, they continue to prevail.

I was really disappointed to hear that a lice drug called Natroba,  has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on children ages 4 and older.

A lice drug?  So let me get this straight.  You give your child a drug that goes into the bloodstream to fight a problem which is external to the body.  How on earth does that work?

The product — which is applied to dry scalp and hair, then left on for 10 minutes — contains spinosad, a compound that excites the central nervous system of head lice. The bugs, which are most common in children ages 3 to 12, become paralyzed and die.

And what about the “known” side-effects?

Common side effects of Natroba include redness or irritation of the eyes and skin.Because it contains benzyl alcohol, which can be harmful to newborns and low-birth-weight infants, the drug should not be used on children younger than 6 months.

6 months?  Why would you give a prescription drug to a baby suffering from lice?

The sad part of this is that we live in the age of the quick fix.  The solution to every problem must come at the click of a finger.  No matter how many of these drugs get released, there will always be doctors happy to endorse and prescribe them and parents only too happy to avoid the time and energy used to treat their children in the traditional way.

If this keeps up, soon it will be rare to find a child not on medication.  What a tragedy!

There is Something Seriously Wrong Happening Here!

January 28, 2011

I am no expert and don’t pretend to be one, but I can’t help being quite disturbed by the incredible amount of young children being prescribed medication.  As a teacher and parent, it hurts to know that kids all over the world are being prescribed these drugs in vast numbers.

I realise that there are children that legitimately require medication – but surely we are prescribing these drugs far too easily and haphazardly.  This is not Aspirin!  These are powerful drugs.  Surely, a global body needs to be set up to review the practice of mass prescriptions and to further tighten the regulations.  I am scared for the next generations of children.  I never want to live in a society where prescribing powerful drugs to kids is seen as normal or standard practice.

In the past week alone I have read countless articles on this issue.  The article below from the UK claims drugs are being prescribed for ‘normal’ reasons, such as shyness:

Children are being prescribed mind-altering “chemical cosh” drugs for conditions such as shyness and mild social anxiety, behaviour experts have warned.

Young people are routinely being given medication to treat normal childhood conditions, it was claimed, despite fears over their long-term health.

The disclosure came as it emerged that the number of eight- to 13-year-olds on drugs such as Ritalin has soared seven-fold since 1997.

But Dave Traxson, a senior educational psychologist who works in schools in the West Midlands, warned that children were increasingly prescribed drugs for “normal” conditions.

“I feel very strongly that the time is right to challenge the growing practice of medicating our children for displaying behaviours and thought processes that until recently would have fallen within the normal range,” he said.

There was this article along the same lines from Australia:

THE use of stimulant drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is soaring, with data showing prescriptions for some medications grew by 300 per cent over seven years.

Prescription of the stimulant drugs rose by 87 per cent between 2002 and 2009, Australian researchers have found. Use of one drug commonly sold as Ritalin, methylphenidate, increased by 300 per cent.

Most studies of stimulant medication only tested its effects for between six and 12 weeks, and there was no evidence it improved educational or life outcomes, Associate Professor Jureidini said.

This description from the US site defending the use of Ritalin and other such drugs:

Stimulants are safe and effective for most children, helping them to focus their thoughts and control their behavior. In some children, these medications may cause mild side effects, such as decreased appetite, weight loss, stomachaches, sleep problems, headaches and jitteriness. Rarely, there may be more serious side effects, such as dizziness, stuttering, tics or increased blood pressure.

This article was printed in a Malaysian newspaper:

ALMOST one million children in the United States are potentially misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) because they were the youngest and least mature in their kindergarten classes, a US study found.

And finally, another damning article from the US:

While stimulant drugs have long been known to help children with ADHD alleviate symptoms, new studies have shown the opposite effects.

Many experts recommend prescription of a stimulant drug in severe cases, and often believe ADHD symptoms can be treated by using methods other than medication.

One dangerous possible side-effect of Ritalin is the potential alteration of personality. Some individuals have explained that when medication is stopped, the actions, thoughts, and feelings are vastly different than when taking the medication.

Whilst ADHD no doubt exists, and is often best treated with drugs, I am still of the opinion that we are drastically overprescribing these drugs.  I may not be an expert, but I still feel sufficiently concerned to speak up about it.

As teachers have a part in the decision as to whether or not a child is prescribed medication, I make the following request.  Please don’t take the decision lightly.  Don’t let an easier classroom experience ever taint your objectivity.


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