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 Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Vitamins C And E May Protect Against Mental Decline And Some Dementias
"Supplementing diets with antioxidant vitamins C and E may boost mental ability in later life and could protect against vascular and some other forms of dementia, according to a study published in the March 28 issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology1s scientific journal." Take your vitamins!

(Posted at 11:48:39 AM EDT.)

Drugs Handed Out to Teens Without FDA Approval
"However, the study also found that some physicians are indeed using new antidepressants like Prozac for children and adolescents. Primary care physicians varied in their management: Depressed teenagers are more likely to receive Prozac or similar medications if they're being seen by a family physician, rather than a pediatrician. In general, the study finds that neither kind of primary care doctor hands out antidepressants like candy; less than 20 percent reported using them often. In fact, a quarter of pediatricians surveyed said they had never prescribed drugs like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. The drugs have not been specifically approved for use in depressed children and teens, but their use for this and other disorders is rising amid concerns." I emphasize this last part because I think it is the most important. How can we prescribe such medications to our children without the same rigorous testing we demand for drugs prescribed for adults? The hypocrasy is staggering.

(Posted at 11:41:32 AM EDT.)

Dissatisfaction With Body Parts May Predict Eating Disorders
"Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia are marked by an extreme fear of gaining weight and a disturbed perception of body shape and size. New research suggests that patients with these disorders also tend to be unhappy with other features of their body that have nothing to do with weight."

(Posted at 11:36:48 AM EDT.)

 Tuesday, April 4, 2000

Homicidal thoughts are common for teens, study says
"April 20 marks the anniversary of the fateful day when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire at Columbine High School -- the deadliest school-shooting spree in the history of the United States. While their actions were extreme, a new study indicates that their murderous thoughts may not be. Dr. Peter Crabb, associate professor of psychology at Penn State's Abington Campus near Philadelphia, recently conducted a study, "The Material Culture of Homicidal Fantasies," in which he examined the thoughts of approximately 300 undergraduate students. During his research, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Aggressive Behavior, Crabb learned that nearly half of the participants, most of whom were 18-19 years of age, had fantasized recently about committing homicide."

(Posted at 11:35:38 PM EDT.)

 Monday, April 3, 2000 ailing from audit, 41% stock drop
The Austin-American Statesman wrote an excellent article about's financial woes. So now all the speculation is about who's going to buy them? I have some ideas, but I'll have to wait to see if there's anything to them.

(Posted at 02:36:15 PM EDT.)

Advocates for mentally ill find ABC show disturbing
"Wonderland affirms the most damaging public myths about mental illness, and ABC shouldn't run the show without careful disclaimers, a leading advocacy group says. The show, which premiered on Thursday, ''offers us mentally ill people as killers, crazies and freaks,'' says Laurie Flynn, president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)." I watched the episode and yes, it was violent, but things must be taken within context. A place like Bellevue, which this show is modeled after, sees a lot of violent people every year in its NYC location. Also, condemning a whole series based upon viewing only 2 episodes would suggest a bit of jumping the gun. Let's give the series some time to mature before we condemn a series which could give a voice to showing mental illness in the U.S.

(Posted at 12:30:17 PM EDT.)

 Friday, March 31, 2000
I hate to hit 'em when they're down, but bad news just flows all in one day, doesn't it? This article on C| says, "Consumer health Web site's future is uncertain, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, making it one of an increasing number of Internet companies running low on cash." Drkoop's shares dropped $2.69, or 43 percent, falling to $3.56 in trading late this morning. That's 1/3 of their IPO price, for those of you who are keeping track of those sorts of things.

(Posted at 12:58:24 PM EST.)

Online Therapy? Not Yet
Here's another article by CBS News which describes the benefits and drawbacks of online therapy as it exists today. A good overview, if you're interested in this sort of thing, but I think it's a bit overly critical about what can be done online in helping people with life issues. Quite a bit can be done. And is being and has been done for the past 3+ years.

(Posted at 12:29:03 PM EST.)

Surfing for Peace of Mind
This article on CBS News describes some of the problems with the burgeoning commercial, for-profit mental health sites run by the big corporations. Yes, I'm quoted in it, critical of one of the silliest mental health ventures to date, In the article, a lifescape representative makes the absurd statement,

"All of our content is peer-reviewed. We have the absolute best-credentialed list of universities and organizations contributing to our content, which is proprietary to us."

"There is a strict separation of church and state with respect to our content. There is no connection between our investors and what we do."

So if Nicorette's content is "peer-reviewed" by a committee of people who are hand-picked by the company to represent the company's view, that makes it okay? No, it doesn't. An advisory board doesn't, in itself, make everything okay. It can certainly help, but it is often nothing more than a corporate placebo to keep up appearances. If their content was peer-reviewed by blind reviewers, I'd certainly be more comfortable.

If their relationships with these people were more fully disclosed, that would also help. You have to dig to find that lifescape is funded, in part, by ValueOptions, a large behavioral managed care company.

Trust me, if there was no connection between an Internet company's content and its investors' interests, investors would have little reason to give the company millions of dollars, now would they? How stupid do they think people are?

(Posted at 12:26:40 PM EST.)

 Thursday, March 30, 2000

About My New Directory
The new resource directory which is on the site now has been in the making for the past 2 years now. I admit, it's still a little rough around the edges, but it was necessary. Here's why...

(Posted at 01:26:22 PM EST.)

 Wednesday, March 29, 2000

Sports massage of little physical benefit
"Massage, widely used by athletes to speed up muscle recovery after sporting performance, confers little physical advantage, although it may be of some psychological benefit, says research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine."

(Posted at 01:00:24 AM EST.)

The geography of cyberspace: Bandwidth key to 'distance'
"The feeling of distance in cyberspace - how near or far away a site is - depends on bandwidth because it controls communication speed, says a Penn State information scientist and geographer. Dr. Guoray Cai, assistant professor of information science and technology and assistant professor of geography, says, "Spatial relations of virtual communities in cyberspace do not correspond to geographical relations in a simple way. Variations in the access bandwidth generate feelings of distance because the higher the bandwidth, the shorter the time to wait in large transactions." I alluded to this in a book chapter I wrote about the psychology of online spaces. Glad to see other researchers talking about this issue.

(Posted at 12:57:52 AM EST.)

 Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Sperm counts unchanged over 50 years
"Although many American men have at least one type of abnormality in their sperm, they are just as virile as their grandfathers, researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California have found. In fact, their sperm densities were no different from samples collected in major studies in the 1950s." FYI, if this sort of thing concerned you...

(Posted at 08:03:03 PM EST.)

How Many Ways Don't They Get It?
A commercial, for-profit mental health site financed by one of the top 5 managed behavioral healthcare companies in the U.S. (who shall remain nameless, because I certainly don't want to promote them!) is promoting a chat on their site with Miss America 1999, who will discuss diabetes. Nothing wrong with that, except that diabetes isn't really known as a behavioral health disorder! It's a medical condition. Does this make any sense? I can imagine their marketing team now, "Hey, we need a big name to draw in the crowds! I know, how about Miss America!??!" So pitiful.

They have so little traffic, they're not even showing up in PC Data or Media Metrix reports, even though they've been online for 6+ months and have thrown millions of dollars into marketing.
(Posted at 11:45:16 AM EST.)

 Saturday, March 25, 2000

Depression linked to low cholesterol
"Results of a study conducted by Dutch researchers provide additional evidence for a link between low cholesterol levels and an increased risk of depression in men." How very odd. Die of depression or die of a heart attack. How nicely Faustian.

(Posted at 07:47:33 PM EST.)


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