Link between reduced sleep and childhood obesity

From Science Daily on 05/20/14:

One of the most comprehensive studies of the potential link between reduced sleep and childhood obesity finds compelling evidence that children who consistently received less than the recommended hours of sleep during infancy and early childhood had increases in both obesity and in adiposity or overall body fat at age 7.

Editor's note: 

Fat person sleeping
I have found this research on the link between obesity and sleep deprivation interesting because most of my adult life I was sleep deprived due to my work schedule. I noticed over those years I gained almost 100 lbs going from 180 to 280 over a period of 30 years. Now that I am retired and sleeping much more, I have found it much easier to lose weight.


Copycat suicides

From Science Daily 

Heightened newspaper coverage after a suicide might have a significant impact on the initiation of some teenage suicide clusters, according to new research published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. The study reveals that the content of media reports is also important, with more prominent stories (ie, published on the front page) and those that describe the suicide in considerable detail more likely to be associated with so-called copycat suicides.

"Our findings indicate that the more sensational the coverage of the suicides, and the more details the story provides, then the more likely there are to be more suicides," explains lead author Dr Madelyn Gould from the New York State Psychiatric Institute in the USA.

Editor's note: When I do a risk assessment on a client who is suicidal I always ask if they know someone, or is there someone in their family who has committed suicide. If the answer is "yes" this increases the risk.

 


12% of United States troops in Iraq and 17% of troops in Afghanistan are on anti-depressants

On June 5, 2008, Time Magazine ran a story entitled, "America's Medicated Army". Here is a snippet from the article:

The medicines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resource: soldiers on the front lines. Data contained in the Army's fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that, according to an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, about 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope. Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials say.

It seems that fighting pre-emptive and immoral wars is not good for one's mental health. I wonder when we as a nation will realize the error of our ways and demand that our government do something about it?

I don't know of any other occupation that has this high a rate of mental illness. Would you want your loved one to enter such a career?

Prozac: The Military's Secret Weapon, MSNBC with Joe Scarborough. Video lasts 3:25

This is article #4 on militarism.

Pediatric drug samples unsafe practice

Drug pushing Free drug samples pose risk to children's health according to a study in the October, 2008 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, as reported by Reuter's HealthDay on October 6, 2008. Here is a snippet from the Reuters HealthDay article:

 Free prescription drug samples distributed to pediatric patients may be unsafe, research suggests.

The study, published in the October 2008 issue of Pediatrics, examined data on 10,295 children and adolescents from the 2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

The researchers found that one in 20 American children received free drug samples in 2004. And among those who took at least one prescription drug that year, nearly one in 10 received free samples.

This in concerning, since the researchers also found that some of the most frequently distributed samples may be unsafe.

Four of the 15 most frequently distributed samples in 2004 were identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as having significant new safety concerns, including new black box warnings or significant revisions to existing warnings.

The top 15 samples included (among others) Strattera (atomoxetine) and Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Both of those medications are Schedule II controlled substances, meaning they are controlled and monitored by the Drug Enforcement Agency due to high potential for abuse.

Some physicians welcome the use of free sample medications as a way to get medications to needy patients. But this study's findings showed that few free samples actually go to the children who most need them.

Only 16 percent of the children who received free samples were uninsured for all or part of 2004, and less than one-third had low family incomes, defined as less than $38,000 for a family of four.

This is article #2 in a series on medications.


1/4 - 1/3 of females in the United States military are raped by their fellow soldiers

I was reading at article recently which said that 1/3 of female soldiers in the United States military report being raped. I thought, "How can that be? That can't be right," and so I did a little research and it not only is right, but 1/3 may be low. Here is a snippet from an article in the Los Angeles Times from March 31, 2008. Here is a snippet:

The stories are shocking in their simplicity and brutality: A female military recruit is pinned down at knifepoint and raped repeatedly in her own barracks. Her attackers hid their faces but she identified them by their uniforms; they were her fellow soldiers. During a routine gynecological exam, a female soldier is attacked and raped by her military physician. Yet another young soldier, still adapting to life in a war zone, is raped by her commanding officer. Afraid for her standing in her unit, she feels she has nowhere to turn.

These are true stories, and, sadly, not isolated incidents. Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.

The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, where I met with female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41% of female veterans seen at the clinic say they were victims of sexual assault while in the military, and 29% report being raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and the downward spirals many of their lives have since taken.

Numbers reported by the Department of Defense show a sickening pattern. In 2006, 2,947 sexual assaults were reported -- 73% more than in 2004. The DOD's newest report, released this month, indicates that 2,688 reports were made in 2007, but a recent shift from calendar-year reporting to fiscal-year reporting makes comparisons with data from previous years much more difficult.
To read the whole LA Times article click here.
 
My wife and I had 9 children: 3 sons and 6 daughters. We have 12 grandchildren: 8 granddaughters and 4 grandsons. I would be opposed to their being in a situation where they were that likely to be raped. Using the 1/3 rape rate that would mean that 2 of my daughters and almost 3 of my granddaughters would be raped if they were in military service. It is a terrifying thought which leaves me with the conclusion that the greatest threat of terrorist attack to my loved ones would be in the United States military, not for Al Queda or whoever it is we are supposed to be afraid of.

NOW on PBS covers rape story.

Video lasts 3:45 CNN - Recruiter rape - Video lasts 6:20

This is article #3 in a series on militarism.

Longer term psychotherapy works according to a study published in JAMA

Reuters Healthday reported on 09/30/08 on a study which appeared in the October 1, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that long term psychodynamic psychotherapy works. Here is a snippet from the article:

People with complex mental disorders or personality disorders would benefit from long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy that lasts at least a year or longer, according to new research.

Published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the German study found that compared to the more commonly used short-term therapy, long-term psychotherapy left people better off. In fact, the number of therapy sessions the patients had was directly correlated to improvements in symptoms.

"Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy was significantly superior to shorter forms of psychotherapy applied in the control groups. This was true with regard to overall effectiveness, target problems, and personality functioning," said the study's lead author, Falk Leichsenring, a professor of psychotherapy research in the department of psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy at the University of Giessen in Germany.

"With regard to overall effectiveness, on average, patients with complex mental disorders were better off after treatment with long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy than 96 percent of the patients in the comparison groups. Thus, this meta-analysis provides evidence that long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy is an effective treatment for complex mental disorders," said Leichsenring.

"This study provides a great value for doctors and for patients, and one would hope could have an influence on policy decisions," added Dr. Charles Goodstein, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and Langone Medical Center in New York City.


Counter recruiting of Army of None

I work with adolescents as part of my general practice and in the last couple of months I have had 3 or 4 young people say that they are thinking about joining the military. As a therapist I am ethically bound not to let my personal values interfere with my client's right to self determination, but I want to tell them about the high rates of PTSD, substance abuse, rape, and suicide among the military.

The military trains people to kill often civilian populations which goes against our human instinct to preserve life. The United States government has been involved in my lifetime in immoral wars that the Popes and other religious leaders have declared immoral. The moral and ethical conflicts which participating in the military places young people in can be soul damaging.

I wish young people were better informed. I wish they were not so naive and innocent. I wish they were not so gullible and susceptible to recruiting propaganda. In my professional role it is not appropriate for me to do counter recruiting, but in my private life I share my thought and values where appropriate.

Is it mentally healthy for 17, 18, 19 year old kids to sign up for the military to be trained to kill? I have my doubts. That's why so many of our soldiers are on anti-depressants and wind up with life long psychiatric disabilities. I watched my generation go through this and now a whole new generation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

This article is the first in a series of articles I will  be posting on this blog categorized as "militarism".

Army of None, Counter Recruitment, Olympia Washington. Video lasts 4:29


Purpose of marriage video 1

I am planning on doing a series of videos on marriage. I have been a licensed clinical social worker for 40 years and have accumulated a lifetime of experience which I think may be of benefit to people. Here is the first video in the series which I have entitled, "The purpose of marriage." Please leave your comments.

Purpose of marriage video 1, part 1 of 2. Video lasts 4:18.

Part 2 of 2. Video lasts 8:31