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Food Additives & ADHD

Theories of what causes ADHD seem to grow with each day. There are a variety of biological and environmental theories that tend to get most of the press and truthfully have the most credibility. However, nutrition research has made a link between some food additives and ADHD. Specifically, some additives found in popular soft drinks may play a role.
One of the additives, sodium benzoate, has been linked to cell damage in a previous study, and to an increased for cancer. Sodium benzoate is...
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The Death of Bipolar Child Rebecca Riley on 60 Minutes

Tonight, Katie Couric interviewed both the mother of Rebecca Riley (the former is charged in the latter's death) and Dr. Joseph Biederman, the guy who basically helped "invent" childhood bipolar disorder (as we reported here and here, ). The mother is basically implicated in killing her child because she overmedicated the child. And yet, the child's psychiatrist diagnosed the child as "bipolar disorder" just before her 3rd birthday (according to the 60 minutes report). Bipolar disorder is only recognized as an...
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Childhood Abuse & Mirgraine Headaches

Recent research is showing that people who struggle with migraine headaches and depression often have a history of abuse from childhood. The idea is that somehow the abuse "primes" the brain for migraine, meaning that people are more susceptible to them later as adults.
Her recent study published in the journal Neurology, reported that women with migraine and major depression were twice as likely to report childhood abuse as migraineurs without depression. The study reviewed the survey responses of 949 patients in...
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Comedians for Suicide Prevention

If you're in the greater New York City area or northern New Jersey area, I'd encourage you to consider attending a comedy benefit for suicide prevention on Oct. 18 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Jim Florentine is organizing the benefit because he lost his girlfriend to suicide. All tickets are $43.

The comedy lineup for the night includes:

Jim Florentine
Artie Lange
Vinny Brand
Don Jamieson
Chuck Miganelli
Eric McMahon
Tom Cermack

This is...
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Bipolar Disorder Scapegoated on Oprah

We missed the discussion of bipolar disorder on Oprah that occurred on Monday of this week, but Furious Seasons caught it. He believes the program "paint[ed people with bipolar disorder] as inherently violent and dangerous."

After watching a recording of the program, I'd have to agree. I'm all for public education and the widespread information that a person like Oprah can bring to the world of mental health, and especially a serious disorder like bipolar. But it should be done in a sensitive...
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The New York Times New Health Blog & Our Sanity Score

You may have not noticed, but The New York Times started a new health blog this week, by the experienced health writer Tara Parker-Pope, whose last gig was at the Wall Street Journal. We're looking forward to adding this blog to our regular list of daily reads.

Now, I'd write that paragraph even if Tara hadn't called out Psych Central's free screening service, the Sanity Score. The Sanity Score, launched as a beta product earlier this year, is a short mental health assessment...
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Brain and Behavior

Men Happier Than Women?

According to today's New York Times, Americans are increasingly facing a happiness gap -- men are becoming more relaxed and happier than women. It's an article that describes how two recent studies appear to have come to similar conclusions. Yet the devil is always in the details.

The thesis is intriguing:

Since the 1960s, men have gradually cut back on activities they find unpleasant. They now work less and relax more.

Over the same span, women have replaced housework with paid work — and, as a...
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Provigil for Bipolar Depression

"Bipolar depression" refers to someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but is the midst of a depressive episode (one-half of what defines bipolar disorder). While a type of medication call a mood stabilizer helps people when they are feeling manic, antidepressants -- the typical treatment for depression -- don't seem to work as well in people with bipolar disorder (Sachs 2007).

So a bunch of researchers conducted a study last month to evaluate the efficacy and safety of adding the drug modafinil...
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On Virtual Friendships and Social Networking

What is all this online social networking stuff really about? Perhaps it just our modern version of portraits, of a modern narcissism that fits in with our oh-so-modern lifestyle.

That is Christine Rosen's thesis for her essay in The New Atlantis, Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism. She makes some interesting points:

As researchers at the Pew project have noted, the proto-social networking sites of a decade ago used metaphors of place to organize their members: people were linked through virtual cities, communities, and homepages....
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