Friday, March 27, 2009

health news this week

Turns out that the attentive parents were right: ADHD drugs don't work long-term. They seem to work for about a year, and then? The stunt the kids' growth and don't help the ADD.

Actually, I have adult relatives who have said their meds stopped working after a year, too, much to their consternation.

Of course, the behaviorists are saying that proves they were right--behavior training _of the parents_ will solve the ADHD problem. As a parent, quite frankly, I resent this. It implies that my child's physiological problem is my fault. Other than imparting bad genes to my children, I don't think this is my fault, and I absolutely am NOT interested in going through behavioral modification on me. Or the kids, for that matter.

It actually reminded of the studies that found a correlation between ADD and TV time in toddlers. So they all said, "Little ones should not watch TV--it can cause ADD." In other words, "See? It IS bad mothering that causes ADD." Hogwash. YES, there's a correlation between more TV time as toddlers and having ADD when the kids are old enough to test for it. Any mother of an ADD toddler will tell you in a heartbeat that they discovered that the kids calmed down and let them, say, shower or make dinner when the the kids watched TV, and that infants who later were diagnosed with ADD stopped crying and fussing so much when they got to watch TV. Yes, there's a correlation--it's because the poor kids are born with ADD, and TV is their first medication, which the moms feel guilty about using but get so desperate to survive that they throw their resolutions out the window and teach the one year old how to play the dvds themselves! The doctors can't see this because they've decided that nobody is BORN with ADD, only the propensity to develop it. But moms know better--we can see signs of ADD in some kids as early as one week after birth. You just have to know what to look for. They used to say that kids can't be born with bipolar disorder, too, and all the moms of bipolar kids knew better--and were eventually vindicated.

Anyway, back to the original topic: The behaviorists are wrong that nobody should ever use medication. People just need to re-evaluate how it's used, possibly taking cues from the people who use nutritional supplements to treat ADD in using the drugs less often or skipping days so it doesn't build up in the kids' systems. We don't take Tylenol every day just in case to help deal with aches and pains, and we don't take decongestants every day to keep our noses clear. We take them when we need them. Perhaps ritalin would work better that way, taken on an as-needed basis (and I know some ADD people need them all the time to avoid depression and stuff, but not everyone does). You take it when you need to think clearly. Or, like people who use l-tyrosine, you know you can only take it 5-6 days a week or it builds up in your system and stops working, so you think through the week and plan which day to skip, and then don't take it at all on vacations or break days so its efficacy doesn't wane.

The medicine not being a panacea does bring home one point though: You MUST be aware of the diet and exercise parts of treatment, too, so that even if the medicine stops working, you don't turn into a lump.

and, I guess, also the point that we haven't cured this one, so we need more research.

Other health news proved the Word of Wisdom once again. Hot coffee and tea lead to esophageal cancer. Apparently the wording in the scriptures is actually significant in this instance--it's the hotness of the tea that increases the cancer risks (the hotter the more the risk, so that people who drink it at 158 degrees or hotter are hugely more at risk than people who drink it less than 140 degrees).

I found this quote especially interesting: "Hot tea is not the only beverage linked to esophageal cancer. Drinking alcohol and using tobacco also ups the risk for cancer in the windpipe."

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