Too Much Medication?

Are we overmedicating children for ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder characterized by hyperactivity, inattention and impulsiveness. A recent study reveals that 60 percent of American children are treated with stimulant medication, whereas Finnish children are rarely treated with medication at all. The study concludes that many children mature out of the disorder, which begs the question: Are we overmedicating our children? Dr. Sears urges parents to exhaust other methods such as adequate sleep and proper nutrition before resorting to medication.



Dangerous footwear

Could your shoes be harming your feet? Studies show that women who wear high heels regularly are at risk for joint disease, bunions and other potential foot problems. 


Measles make a comeback

Next, measles make a nationwide comeback. Are the parents who refuse to vaccinate their children contributing to the problem? Or, are the vaccinations more dangerous than the disease itself? Measles is a highly contagious respiratory viral infection that results in flu-like symptoms, fever and skin rash, and in severe cases, can be fatal.


Vaccinations employ an innocuous form of a disease agent, such as a dead or weakened bacteria or virus, to stimulate antibody production in the body.  


Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, shares the devastating toll a vaccination allegedly took on her son Chris. At age 2 1/2 he was vaccinated with a DPT shot and immediately suffered a convulsion, went into shock and lost consciousness. He was later diagnosed with brain damage and attention-deficit disorder. Barbara insists that the vaccination and successive events were not a coincidence and cites there have been almost two billion dollars awarded to families of vaccinated children under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.


Julia’s son Baxter was vaccinated when he was 12 months old and Julia believes that he developed autism because of it. She cautions against the one-size-fits-all vaccination approach. Instead, Julia encourages parents to view a vaccination as a medical procedure and ask that the vaccine be individualized for their child. Dr. Tanya Altman from the American Academy of Academics advocates the use of vaccines and warns that without vaccines, disease spreads.


Germ Smarts

Next, with school back in session, Dr. Sears has some Germ Smarts for kids and parents. He drops in on a preschool classroom and shows the kids how to keep germs at bay. “If you have to cough, then make sure to cough into your elbow, not your hand,” he says.


But the best way to fend off germs is to make sure to wash hands with good old-fashioned soap and water for at least 20 seconds. “A great way to have kids wash them for that long is to have them sing their ABC’s while they scrub,” Dr. Sears suggests, “Or maybe two rounds of the ABC’s if they sing fast!”  



Men’s Edition of Ask Our Doctors

Chip, 48, calls in to ask what he can do to fend off balding. Dr. Ordon suggests medications such as Propecia, Rogaine, or a surgical procedure that entails micrografting hair follicles and subsequently reducing parts of the hairless scalp.


Jeff wants to know how he can help his wife get pregnant. Dr. Lisa gives Jeff an action plan and suggests early morning intercourse, since sperm count is higher in the morning.


Next, Melonie, 30, has three beautiful daughters, but is desperate to have a fourth child. But because she had a tubal ligation, she is unable to get pregnant. However, she shows signs of pregnancy such as lactation, missed periods, nausea and a heightened sense of smell. How is this possible? Dr. Lisa says that all of these symptoms can be explained by increases in hormones and by a psychological symptom called pseudocyesis, which is the medical term for a false pregnancy. She explains the tubal ligation procedure and adds that the likelihood of a successful reversal depends upon how much viable fallopian tube remains.


Melonie says tearfully that if it weren’t for financial reasons, she would have the tubal ligation reversed and have another baby. Dr. Sharon Freeman notes that heavily charged emotions such as grief factor into having a sterilization procedure performed as well as reversed. She adds that it is critical to address and resolve these issues before moving forward with surgery.


Dr. Freeman advocates psychotherapy for Melonie and offers to treat her as a first step. Melonie smiles and agrees, “That would be wonderful.”



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OAD 10/28/08