Friday, July 22, 2011

An unprecedented 1 in 66 Americans is a diagnosed psychotic

In the usual Leftist way the story below blames drug companies for decisions made by doctors -- showing the usual Leftist contempt for everyone but themselves. The power of intellectual fashions is ignored.

In a related matter, my GP says that he often tries to talk parents out of a referral to a psychiatrist for their child -- telling them that their son is just a perfectly normal lively little boy. But the parents believe teachers who in turn want a more docile class and so insist on a referral

So blame lazy Leftist teachers for all the kids on Ritalin

In the matter below note that is often nursing home managers who demand antipsychotic medications as a "chemical cosh" for difficult inmates. It's their own self-intertest, not drug salesmen, who motivate their demands

For whatever reason, however, there is clearly a huge amount of overmedication

Outselling even common drugs to treat high blood pressure and acid reflux, antipsychotic medications are the single top-selling prescription drug in the United States.

Once reserved for hard-core, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest type of mental illnesses to treat hallucinations, delusions or major thought disorders; today, the drugs are handed out to unruly kids and absent minded elderly.

A recent story in Al Jazeera by James Ridgeway of Mother Jones illuminates the efforts by major pharmaceutical companies to get doctors prescribing medicines like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify to patients for whom the drugs were never intended.

Focusing on psychiatrists because they rely on subjective diagnoses, the drug reps have been so successful that they've changed the criteria for mental illness and disability payments. Ridgeway quotes former New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell.

"[T]he tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 - from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling - a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children."

Particularly vulnerable because medication decisions are often out of their hands the old and the young suffer most.

For kids: the number diagnosed with bi-polar disorder rose 40-fold between 1994 and 2003 and one in five comes away from a psychiatrist with a prescription for an antipsychotic.

Dosing the elderly at nursing homes has become so common that sales reps have coined the term "five at five" -- meaning 5 milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 pm to sedate difficult residents.

For all their nefarious wrangling, in 2009, Lily agreed to pay $1.4 billion, including a $515 million criminal fine. The largest ever in a health care case and the largest criminal fine on any corporation in the U.S. That year, Lilly sold $1.8 billion of Zyprexa alone.


More evidence that high IQ is just one aspect of general biological good functioning

Since the studies by Terman & Oden in the 1920s it has been known that, although not all high IQ people are healthy, most are. They have fewer health problems and live longer. And IQ is the main determinant of educational success, so the findings below are as expected. Kids born with indications of poor health have lower IQs so do less well at school

A health test given to babies minutes after they are born could reveal how well they will do in secondary school, it has been claimed. A study of 877,000 Swedish teenagers compared school exam results with their Apgar scores after birth.

The Apgar is a test which rates the newborn's health on a scale of one to ten and how much medical attention the child needs.

Researchers found a link between an Apgar score of below seven and lower intelligence in later life.

Dr. Andrea Stuart, an obstetrician at Central Hospital in Helsingborg, Sweden, told Msnbc: 'It is not the Apgar score in itself that leads to lower cognitive abilities. 'It is the reasons leading to a low Apgar score (including asphyxiation, preterm delivery, maternal drug use, infections) that might have an impact on future brain function.'

The study appears in next month's issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The Apgar test is given between one and five minutes after birth. It evaluates an infant's heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, skin colour and reflex irritability (sneezing or coughing) on a scale of one to ten. Scores of eight and above are considered to be signs of good health. The test was developed by Dr Virginia Apgar in 1952 and has been a simple and effective way of testing a baby's health since.

Researchers also made the point that only one in 44 newborns with a low Apgar score went on to need special education, so mothers of babies who had low scores did not have cause for concern.

Dr Richard Polin, director of neonatology at Columbia University Medical Center and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn, said: 'Most babies who have Apgar scores of seven or less do perfectly fine.'


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