Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of November 8, 2010
Mental Health in the Headlines offers summaries of the latest news and views in the mental health field. Coverage of news items in this publication does not represent Mental Health America’s support for or opposition to the stories summarized or the views they express.
DID YOU KNOW?
Older adults with mental illness are less likely to undergo chemotherapy after a cancer diagnosis than those without mental illness...more
Repeal of Health Reform Unlikely; Limits on Funding, Regulations Possible
Although leaders of the new GOP House majority pledge to hold a vote early next year to repeal the health care reform law, it is unlikely to go anywhere. Any vote in the House would be opposed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and vetoed by President Obama. Republicans would also have a difficult time altering the law because removing many provisions could increase the deficit and possibly derail political momentum for a full repeal after 2012. However, lawmakers could try to strip funding to implement the law and use spending bills to block regulations to which they object. And they could move to limit enforcement of provisions that require people to obtain insurance. In addition, GOP leaders may try to hold hearings to highlight unpopular aspects of the law. But that could also provide a platform for the administration to better communicate the benefits of health reform. (MHH Reporting, 11/08/10)
Mental Health Visits Increase for Young Children of Deployed Parent
Young children in military families are about 10 percent more likely to see a doctor for a mental health problem when a parent is deployed than when the parent is at home, researchers report. Visits for mental health problems were the only kind to rise during deployment. The study, which is reported in the journal Pediatrics, found that children saw a doctor or other health professional about six times a year and about once every two years for a mental health reason. But the rate of visits rose by 11 percent for mental health problems during the time a parent was deployed. (The New York Times, 11/08/10)
Depression Returns in Half of Teens
About half of teens who were treated for major depression suffered a relapse within five years, a new study finds. The recurrence is more likely in girls than boys, researchers report in Archives of General Psychiatry. Although the findings are not surprising, the researchers say the study may offer guidance on how better to treat teens. They suggest that the length of time that adolescents are treated for depression should be extended to make the therapies more effective. (Time, 11/01/10)
Scientists Discover Molecule That May Help Erase Painful Memories
Scientists report they may have discovered a way to remove a protein in the brain that is responsible for recalling fears that affect people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although the protein was discovered in mice, it’s part of a memory system that appears to be the same in people. The therapy involves “extinction training,” or easing the depth of the emotional response to the bad memories but not completely removing the memory. (The Baltimore Sun, 10/28/10)
Military Issues New Rules on Diagnosing Troops’ Concussions
The military has issued new rules that require combat troops to leave the battlefield for 24 hours after being exposed to a blast. Concussions among U.S. troops in Afghanistan increased from 62 diagnosed cases in June to 370 in July when the new rules were imposed. The military has set up rest centers where troops can recover, but scientists warn that it is unclear whether the brain has healed even if symptoms recede. (USA Today, 10/28/10)
Kansas Protects Voting Rights of People with Mental Illness
Voters in Kansas approved a ballot initiative last week to amend the state’s Constitution to remove language allowing the legislature to prohibit people with mental illness from voting. Although lawmakers had never used the authority, mental health advocates said it sent an important message about helping people understand mental illness. (Associated Press, 11/03/10)
IOM Urges Examination of Mental Health Impact of Oil Spill
The Institute of Medicine, an independent scientific body, is recommending that federal health investigations on the health effects of the BP oil spill target the mental health impact on residents. An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine said one positive outcome could be “the incorporation of mental health-related emergency response into the core competencies for disaster preparedness.” (The American Independent, 11/04/10)
The South Florida Sun Sentinel looks at the costs and impact of workplace bullying.
The Baltimore Sun interviews Dr. Meena Vimalananda, medical director of child and adolescent services at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore, on depression.
An op-ed in The Washington Post criticizes laws that mandate that women seeking abortions be told that it would expose them to mental health risks.
NPR reports on using neurofeedback to treat ADHD.
Certain Adverse Childhood Experiences Linked to Psychosis Risk: Certain adverse childhood experiences are associated with an increased risk for psychiatric disorders in later life, a new study asserts. British researchers studied 182 individuals, aged 16-65 years, who had a psychiatric disorder between 1997 and 2000, and 246 geographically-matched individuals who did not. All of the participants completed a questionnaire on exposure to different types of childhood adversity, such as neglect, antipathy, physical and sexual abuse, disrupted living arrangements, and lack of a supportive figure. The researchers found that after adjusting for gender, age, class and ethnicity, maternal physical abuse, maternal antipathy, and maternal neglect were significantly associated with an increased risk for psychiatric disorders in later life. (Medwire-news, 11/05/10)
Elderly with Mental Illness Less Likely to Receive Cancer Treatment: Older adults with mental illness are less likely to undergo chemotherapy after a cancer diagnosis than those without mental illness, according to a new study. Researchers reviewed records for the 19,045 individuals who participated in the year 2000 longitudinal Health and Retirement Study conducted by the National Institute on Aging. About 14 percent had a mental illness. They found men and women with a history of mental illness were as likely to receive clinical cancer screening within 2 years prior to the survey as the general population. But individuals with mental illness who had a recent cancer diagnosis were significantly less likely to receive chemotherapy. (Internal Medicine News, 11/03/10)
Childhood Sexual Abuse May Raise Risk of Psychosis: Childhood sexual abuse, especially where penetration occurs, may raise the risk of psychosis later in life, according to new research. Researchers studied mental health data on 2,759 individuals who had been sexually abused as children. The study, reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found rates for general psychosis, especially for schizophrenic disorders, significantly higher in the childhood sexual abuse subjects than in a control group. Compared to the control group, which had a rate of adult psychosis of 1.4 percent, the rate among children who experienced abuse was 2.8 percent. For cases where penetration occurred, the rate of psychosis was 3.4 percent. (Medpage Today, 11/01/10)
Bipolar, Substance Use Linked to Risk of Suicide in Veterans: Bipolar disorder and substance use are the most common psychiatric disorders linked to suicide in veterans, a new study finds. Researchers looked at the medical records of more than 7,000 vets who took their own lives. They found that male veterans with bipolar were almost three times more likely to complete suicide. Female vets with bipolar were six times more likely. (CNN, 11/01/10)
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Patient recovery and advocacy are major goals shared by two established national organizations, Mental Health America and the National Alliance for Mental Illness, which both exist to eradicate the stigma of mental illness and to provide support to those affected by mental health conditions. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, “Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness,” November 6, 2010
Stay Up to Date With More News, Views and Tools
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