Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Federal government launches marketing campaign for psychiatric industry

Online Journal
Federal government launches marketing campaign for psychiatric industry
By Richard A. Warner
Nov 29, 2006

Under the guise of combating the stigma of mental illness, the U.S. government will soon begin a massive campaign of psychiatric indoctrination, designed to increase the acceptance of psychiatric chemical imbalance theories and labeling, and to pave the way for national psychiatric screening, driving more Americans into seeking psychiatric drug treatment.

Regional meetings in support of the National Anti-Stigma Campaign (NASC), a nationwide television, radio and print public service advertising program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), were held this past summer in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. According to a senior technical assistance specialist at the SAMHSA Resource Center to Address Discrimination and Stigma Associated with Mental Illness (ADS Center), the ad campaign, which will target 18-25-year olds, will be launched today. A campaign directed at older adults and ethnic and racial minorities will follow.

On its surface, the campaign’s message may seem perfectly appropriate, even compassionate. Its stated objective is to “encourage, educate and inspire 18-25-year olds to step up and support friends they know are experiencing a mental health problem.” One ad, for example, shows a man with his hand over his eyes. “Sometimes I find myself turning away from or just ignoring someone with a mental illness, avoiding eye contact,” he says. “I know it is not their fault but sometimes I don’t know how to communicate with them.”

But there can be no doubt about the real purpose of the campaign’s emotional appeal: to create customers for the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry. This is clearly evident at SAMHSA’s website and in its literature. It is no accident that 18-25-year olds were chosen as the first target. A SAMHSA “Fact Sheet” states, “Among 18-25-year olds, the prevalence of serious mental health conditions is high . . . yet this age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking behaviors [emphasis added].” “Help-seeking behavior” is, of course, a euphemism for being psychiatrically diagnosed and drugged. The 18-25-year old demographic represents a huge untapped market for psychiatric drugs and services. According to SAMHSA’s website, the anti-stigma media blitz “has been designed to establish a ‘new norm,’ in which individuals, without hesitation, will seek out the mental health services they need and deserve.”

The drug industry seeds NASC

Further evidence of SAMHSA’s marketing agenda is found in the origins of the National Anti-Stigma Campaign. The program was first recommended by a federal commission that had extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry. In its 2003 report, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America, the President’s New Freedom Commission (NFC) on Mental Health called for the government to “undertake a national campaign to reduce stigma.” The NFC proposed “national education initiatives” to “shatter the misconceptions about mental illnesses, thus helping more Americans understand the facts and making them more willing to seek help for mental health problems” and advocated “actions of reducing stigma, increasing awareness, and encouraging treatment . . . (emphasis added).”

Several members of the NFC had extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry, principally by way of an industry marketing scheme that was developed in Texas in the 1990s. Known as the Texas Medication Algorithm Project, or TMAP, it was designed to make the newest and most expensive psychiatric drugs the first (and virtually only) treatment option for mental health care. The project was nurtured at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, a major research center that conducts drug trials for pharmaceutical companies, with significant funding coming from the drug companies themselves. Pharmaceutical company gifts to the Texas Department of State Health Services totaled $1.3 million from 1997 to 2004, with at least $834,000 earmarked for TMAP.

Backed by drug industry funding, TMAP was then exported to other states via the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD).

The chair of the NFC, Michael Hogan, was the Mental Health Program Director in Ohio when the Ohio Medication Algorithm Project (OMAP), was adopted there. A 2004 Janssen (makers of the atypical antispsychotic, Risperdal) publication, “Mental Health Issues Today,” lists Hogan as a member of their Advisory Board. In 2005, Eli Lilly (makers of the atypical antipsychotic, Zyprexa and the antidepressant, Prozac) gave Hogan its Lifetime Achievement Award. Hogan was president of the NASMHPD from 2003-2004 and president of the NASMHPD Research Institute, which is heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry, from 1989-2000.

Another NFC member, Stephen Mayberg, was the California State Mental Health Program Director when TMAP was adopted in that state. Mayberg is also a past president of NASMHPD and the NASMHPD Research Institute.

NFC member Charles Curie, who recently stepped down as the administrator of SAMHSA, was the Deputy Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in Pennsylvania when PENNMAP was enacted. According Allen Jones, an investigator in the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General and a whistleblower, Curie is reported to have set up a slush fund from which state employees could solicit grants from the pharmaceutical industry.

NFC member psychiatrist Rodolfo Arredondo served on the board of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation during TMAP’s development, while another NFC commissioner, Robert Postlethwait, has had a long career with Eli Lilly and Company.

According to Jones, at least 14 of the 22 NFC members have drug industry ties. Not surprisingly, the NFC selected TMAP as a model program and stated that the “biggest challenge” was to ensure that TMAP was “implemented in other states and localities.”

The psychiatric industry is well on its way to meeting that challenge -- with disastrous results for our youth. A similar pattern emerges in states which have adopted TMAP. In Texas, 19,404 teenagers were prescribed an antipsychotic in July or August of 2004. Ninety-eight percent received the newer atypical antipsychotics. In April of 2004, the Texas Comptroller, Carole Strayhorn, released a report, Forgotten Children, that was highly critical of the psychiatric drugging of foster children in Texas.

In 2005, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch ran a two-part story, “Drugged Into Submission,” on the psychiatric drugging of children, including 700 babies and toddlers, under state care. Part one was titled, “Forced Medication Straitjackets Kids.”

In 1998, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Children under state protection in California group and foster homes are being drugged with potent, dangerous psychiatric medications, at times just to keep them obedient and docile for their overburdened caretakers.”

In Pennsylvania, Dr. Stephan Kruszewski, a Harvard trained psychiatrist working for the Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare, complained that children were being heavily drugged with antipsychotics and anticonvulsants (mainly Neurontin). He was fired.

In Washington State, atypical antipsychotics ranked 1, 3, and 5 on the Medical Assistance Administration’s list of top 100 drugs by money paid in 2004, with nearly $78 million spent on those three drugs: Zyprexa ($36 million), Risperdal ($21 million), Seroquel ($20.8 million). Neurontin was #4, at $20.8 million. Antidepressants Zoloft, Effexor and Paxil came in at #7, #11 and #12, with nearly $31 million spent on those three drugs. A 1997 Seattle Post-Intelligencer series charged that an “unmonitored stream of mood drugs imperils children entrusted to state.”

Additional confirmation of the drug industry’s control of SAMHSA comes in the form of an email sent to me by the previously mentioned senior technical assistance specialist at SAMHSA. The email was a response to my inquiry about the anti-stigma campaign. The assistance specialist sent a copy of her response and my original inquiry, to the NASC liaison at NAMI. NAMI, of course, is the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, a well-known front group for the pharmaceutical industry. SAMHSA is obviously working hand in hand with NAMI -- even forwarding private communication from the public to NAMI’s offices. In 1999, Mother Jones magazine reported that 18 drug firms gave NAMI a total of $11.72 million between 1996 and 1999. NAMI continually promotes psychiatric chemical imbalance theories, minimizes the damaging effects of psychiatric drugs, and advocates for forced psychiatric drugging programs.

On May 28, 2006, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that NAMI “did not disclose that Lilly [Eli Lilly, makers of Zyprexa and Prozac] marketing manager Gerald Radke briefly ran its entire operation. Radke began in 1999 as a Lilly-paid ‘management consultant,’ then left Lilly and served as NAMI's paid ‘interim executive director’ until mid-2001. The group acknowledged this only after being shown Radke's resume listing the job.”

According to the Inquirer, Lilly gave NAMI $3 million between 2003 and 2005 and “called its executive loans mutually beneficial.” NAMI’s former executive director for 16 years was Laurie Flynn. Flynn is now the Director of Teenscreen, a psychiatric screening program developed by Columbia University’s Child Psychiatry Research Department and, not surprisingly, recommended by the NFC. TeenScreen’s goal is to screen all teenagers in the U.S. for psychiatric disorders.

NASC and screening: Educating Americans to be good customers

Since psychiatric drugging must, in most cases, be preceded by the assignment of a psychiatric label, psychiatric screening is an essential step in the industry’s plans to expand its market. That’s where the anti-stigma campaign and national psychiatric screening -- both recommended by the NFC -- come into play.

The NFC report recommended “early detection of mental health problems in children and adults -- through routine and comprehensive testing and screening . . ." and while NFC chair Hogan has denied that the NFC intended universal screening, in a January 20, 2005 story in the Christian Science Monitor, Hogan said that the commission decided that recommending universal screening would be "a little premature and probably controversial, even though we thought, in the long run, it probably might be the right thing to do.”

In other words, the only barrier to screening everyone in America, as the NFC sees it, is the controversy it would generate. It’s “premature.” Americans have to be prepared to accept mass psychiatric interventions. SAMHSA’s NFC-recommended NASC program is their answer -- a three-year, “long run” program to prepare the population for universal screening, followed, of course, by psychiatric labeling and drugging.

The NASC campaign will advertise that mental illness has reached epidemic levels in the population -- a theme that has been repeated in psychiatric marketing campaigns dating back to the 1940s. The psychiatric industry wants Americans to see mental illness everywhere -- to associate any problem in life with a possible psychiatric disorder that can be treated with a psychiatric drug.

A PowerPoint presentation available at the NASC website warns that “22% of Americans have a diagnosable mental health problem” but “the majority . . . do not seek help.” SAMHSA has produced three brochures that focus on the workplace (Mental Health: It’s Part of Our Lives at Work), the elderly (Mental Health: It’s Part of Aging) and college students (Mental Health: It’s Part of College Life). All state that one in five adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness each year. All stress that not enough people are seeking treatment due to stigma.

At the same time SAMHSA’s Eliminating Barriers Initiative (EBI) is currently being pushed into secondary schools via school administrators' associations. EBI is being piloted in eight states, (Mass., Ohio, Fla., NC, Calif., Texas, Wisc. Pa.). EBI training presentations promoting psychiatric chemical imbalance theories, stating, “Mental illnesses are brain disorders.”

In Massachusetts, the commissioner of Mental Health was brought to one conference and read a student’s suicide note to the assembled school administrators. Suicide is a favorite theme, even though 1) child suicides are extremely rare (4.6 per 100,000 in 2001, according to the Center for Disease Control) and declining; 2) In 2004, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found “no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality” and "insufficient evidence that treatment of those at high risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality;” and 3) psychiatric drug treatment has been found to increase suicidal thinking and behavior in children under 18.

The goal of such programs is clear. SAMHSA, acting as a tool of the psychiatric and drug industries, wants Americans to view the world through psychiatric lenses -- to find mental illness in their children, their colleagues, their family and friends. The purpose of the NASC campaign is not to educate Americans about psychiatric theories and treatments but to instill acceptance of psychiatric dogma and psychiatric labeling and thus prepare the way for psychiatric screening and drugging. Always the appeal is heavily weighted to the emotions. The elderly brochure, for example, advises, “If you feel shame because you have a mental illness remember: You are not alone.” SAMHSA will tell us that fear of the mentally ill is part of the stigma, while, at the same time, they will be sowing a subliminal fear that mental illness is lurking around every corner.

The NASC campaign will spread the gospel of chemical imbalances and suggest that the stigma of mental illness is the result of public ignorance and fear. This is a key element of NASC. Americans must be taught to locate the source of the stigma in their own personal failure, not the rampant disease mongering and fear tactics of the psychiatric industry.

The real source of the stigma

The real source of the stigma of mental illness lies in the definition of stigma itself. The dictionary says a stigma is “A mark or token of infamy, disgrace or reproach. A small mark; a scar or birthmark.” The word derives from the ancient word for the mark or tattoo that was carved or burned into the flesh of a slave or prisoner to inform everyone of their shameful status.

The definition of stigma suggests at once the source of the stigma -- psychiatric “marking” -- and how it could be eliminated: Don’t place the mark. The most direct way to end the stigmatization of the mentally ill would be to stop calling them mentally ill and labeling them with specious disorders. After all, there’s no proof they’re ill. There is no lab test that can verify the presence of any psychiatric disorder. We could just get rid of the Attention Deficits, the Major Depressives, the Social Anxieties, the Bipolars and the 370 other labels psychiatrists have invented to alienate and marginalize those who are suffering and convince those who are well that they are ill. We could tell the psychiatric prisoners that their diagnostic cells are a thin illusion, that their experience is part of the infinite variety of human experience. We could tell them they are not other than us, they are not sick, they don’t have bad brains. Life is tough, for a thousand different reasons, and most of us struggle.

If we just put an end to psychiatry’s fraudulent pathologizing of life, the stigma of mental illness would disappear.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of campaign SAMHSA has planned. There’s too much money at stake. For several decades now psychiatrists have been manufacturing stigmas at a ridiculous rate. Psychiatry’s book of stigmas, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, has expanded from 112 stigmas in 1952 to its current 374, under the guiding hand, the New York Times and others recently (April 20) reported, of “experts” with financial ties to drug companies.

According to the Times, a study in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that “56 percent of 170 experts who worked on the 1994 edition of the manual, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or D.S.M, had at least one monetary relationship with a drug maker in the years from 1989 to 2004.” A report on the study in the Chicago Tribune noted that, “100 percent of the experts on DSM-IV panels overseeing mood disorders and schizophrenia/psychotic disorders were financially involved with the drug industry. These are the largest categories of psychiatric drugs in the world, racking up 2004 sales of $20.3 billion and $14.4 billion, respectively. Depression is the leading mood disorder.”

It’s a particularly profitable symbiosis. Psychiatrists invent the diseases; the pharmaceutical industry makes the snake oil to treat them. And as we have seen, the purpose of the NASC campaign is to help the experts and drug companies cash in on their cozy relationship, to ensure that Americans accept psychiatric branding and become good customers for the psychiatric/pharmaceutical complex.

The last thing the psychiatric industry wants is for people to have the facts about psychiatry’s invented illnesses and ineffective, damaging drugs. SAMHSA’s campaign will follow a different script, one with more of a “slaves are people too” theme, one which ensures that psychiatric branding is broadly accepted.

A brochure from the ADS center asks that we “remember” that people with mental illnesses “do recover and lead productive lives,” they have the “same needs as everyone else,” they “make valuable contributions to society,” and discrimination “keeps them from seeking help” and “violates their rights.”

In other words, we will be educated about how people become slaves (mentally ill); that it’s not their fault (it’s genetic); that slavery touches all of us, and that, while slaves are different, they should be treated with dignity. Slaves can lead productive lives, they have the same needs as everyone, they make valuable contributions, and you shouldn’t discriminate against them. We’ll be told that psychiatric prisoners are fortunate to have kind wardens who treat them with respect and though the whip is occasionally needed, it’s all in their best interests. Just don’t start thinking that they are normal human beings -- they are slaves, i.e., mentally disordered with damaged brains.

SAMHSA’s campaign will justify and expand the stigmatization that supports the current mental health system, while chiding us to be nice to those who are thereby victimized. It won’t tell us how psychiatrists invent their diagnoses. It won’t tell that psychiatry’s own diagnostic manual admits that psychiatry can’t distinguish one disorder from another or mental illness from mental health. It won’t tell us that psychiatric diagnostic reliability is low. We won’t be informed that, as Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen wrote in Prozac Backlash, “We do not yet have proof either of the cause or the physiology for any psychiatric diagnosis. . . . In recent decades, we have had no shortage of alleged biochemical imbalances for psychiatric conditions. Diligent though these attempts have been, not one has been proven.”

The ineffectiveness of psychiatric drugs won’t be mentioned -- nor the stream of warnings that have issued from the FDA and international agencies over the past several years concerning the dangerous and often lethal side effects of antidepressants, antipsychotics and stimulants.

We won’t hear about last year’s study of antipsychotics, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found the newer antipsychotics to be no more effective than the older drugs. In the study 74 percent of patients quit the drugs and “[T]he majority of patients in each group discontinued their assigned treatment owing to inefficacy or intolerable side effects or for other reasons.” (Note: They didn’t quit because they “decompensated,” “lacked insight,” or were “in denial.” The drugs were ineffective and intolerable.)

Instead, our government will tell us of the terrible consequence of failing to seek treatment. We’ll be told to get branded -- and encourage our friends and family to do the same - as soon as possible. We’ll be assured that life on the pill plantation is a wonderful thing.

The pitch will touching and benevolent, the unspoken message crystal clear: psychiatric stigmatization is a good thing. Only the ignorant and uncaring fail to embrace it. You’ll be hearing a lot about the stigma of mental illness in the coming months and with good reason. A trillion dollar industry depends on it.

For the past 20 years, Richard A. Warner has been the president of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Seattle. He's written several pieces for the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer over the years, been a guest on dozens of local and national radio shows, and testifies regularly at the Washington State capital in Olympia on issues related to mental health. His recent paper on shock treatment can be found at ect.org.

 

Climbing Out of Hell---Getting misdiagnosed with having a mental disorder

 

Climbing Out of Hell---Getting misdiagnosed with having a mental disorder press release

Michelle Oberne did not know she was experiencing stress related to her academic and social life. Michelle was given Zoloft by a primary provider. Upon learning the side effects, she went off the medication without the appropriate interventions. Unaware of the withdrawal effects, Michelle convinced herself she had bipolar disorder and was placed on another prescriptive drug. When she began to hear voices caused by mix-up with the medication, Michelle panicked and so did her family.

It was a daily struggle for Michelle and her family. Fortunately, Michelle's mother, Sharon Oberne, was able to aid her daughter through the use of natural methods and climb out of hell.

The book, "From Hell to Heaven: Is It Bipolar Disorder or Something Else?" provides the true account of someone facing their darkest demons created by withdrawal effects from prescriptive drugs and be able to rebuild one's life.

FDA Safety Changes: Paxil and Paxil CR CME/CE

(Check out the definition of younger adults 18-30)

"Although all cases of suicidal behavior in adult patients with MDD involved nonfatal suicide attempts, the majority of these events (8/11) occurred in younger adults aged 18 to 30 years, suggesting that the risk for suicidality across psychiatric disorders in younger adults may extend beyond the age of 24 years."

 
FDA Safety Changes: Paxil and Paxil CR  CME/CE

News Author: Yael Waknine
CME Author: Yael Waknine


Disclosures

To earn CME credit, read the news brief along with the CME information that follows and answer the test questions.

Release Date: November 22, 2006Valid for credit through November 22, 2007


This activity is part of an ongoing CME/CE initiative to provide information on label changes reported by the FDA. Activities of this nature will be posted by Medscape on a weekly basis.

November 22, 2006 — On August 22, the FDA approved safety labeling revisions for paroxetine HCl tablets/oral suspension and controlled-release tablets (Paxil and Paxil CR, made by GlaxoSmithKline). Paroxetine is approved only for use in adults. The tablet and oral solution formulations are indicated for the treatment of major depressive, obsessive-compulsive, panic, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorders. Paroxetine extended-release tablets may be used in the treatment of major depressive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Use of Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR) in Late Pregnancy Linked to Risk for PPHN in Newborns

The FDA has approved safety labeling changes to warn of potential risks associated with both continuation and discontinuation of paroxetine HCl therapy during pregnancy.

Data from a retrospective case-control study of 1213 women suggests that continued use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) past the 20th week of pregnancy is linked to a 6-fold increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) in newborns. PPHN normally occurs in 1 or 2 per 1000 births and often involves severe respiratory tract failure requiring immediate treatment.

The FDA notes that although the study was too small to compare individual drugs and the risk has thus far not been investigated by other studies, the potential risk for PPHN adds to growing concerns regarding use of SSRIs during pregnancy.

Newborn adverse events previously reported in association with prenatal exposure include irritability, difficulty feeding, and rare cases of difficulty breathing. In addition, use of paroxetine during the first trimester has been epidemiologically linked to an increased risk for cardiac birth defects.

Women receiving antidepressant therapy who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare professional prior to discontinuing or continuing antidepressant therapy. Such a decision should be made only after careful consideration of individual treatment-related risks and benefits.

The FDA notes that patients who elect to discontinue SSRI therapy should be closely monitored for depression relapse. According to results from a prospective longitudinal study of 201 women, those who discontinue antidepressant therapy are 5 times more likely to have a relapse during pregnancy compared with those who continue treatment.

Concomitant Use of Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR) and Triptans Linked to Risk for Serotonin Syndrome

The FDA has approved safety labeling changes to advise that concomitant use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as paroxetine HCl, with serotonergic drugs (including 5-hydroxytryptamine-receptor agonists [triptans]) or drugs that impair serotonin metabolism (including monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs]), yields an additive effect on serotonin levels that can lead to potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome.

Concurrent treatment with paroxetine and MAOIs is therefore contraindicated. Concomitant use of other SSRIs, serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or the serotonin precursor tryptophan is not recommended. Caution is advised when using paroxetine in combination with other drugs or agents that can affect serotonergic neurotransmitter systems, such as the antibiotic linezolid (a reversible nonselective MAOI), lithium, tramadol, St. John's Wort, and triptans.

According to the FDA, rare postmarketing cases of serotonin syndrome have been reported with use of SSRIs and triptans. Potential symptoms include changes in mental status (eg, agitation, hallucinations, and coma), autonomic instability (eg, tachycardia, labile blood pressure, and hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (eg, hyperreflexia and incoordination), and/or gastrointestinal tract symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Careful monitoring is advised for paroxetine-treated patients for whom concomitant triptan therapy is clinically warranted, particularly during initiation of therapy, dose increases, or the addition of another serotonergic drug.

Triptans are used to treat migraines. The drug class includes naratriptan HCl (Amerge, made by GlaxoSmithKline), almotriptan malate (Axert, made by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc), frovatriptan succinate (Frova, made by Endo Pharmaceuticals), sumatriptan/sumatriptan succinate (Imitrex, made by GlaxoSmithKline), rizatriptan benzoate (Maxalt and Maxalt-MLT, made by Merck and Co, Inc), eletriptan HBr (Relpax, made by Pfizer, Inc), and zolmitriptan (Zomig and Zomig ZMT, made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP).

Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR) Linked to Increased Risk for Suicidality in Young Adults

The FDA has approved safety labeling changes to warn of the potential increased risk for suicidal behavior in paroxetine-treated patients. Careful monitoring is warranted for all patients regardless of the disorder being treated and may be of particular importance for young adults and those with improving depression.

The warning was based on data from a recent meta-analysis of suicidal behavior and ideation in placebo-controlled clinical trials of paroxetine in adults with psychiatric disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MDD), as well as other depression and nondepression disorders. The trials included 8958 paroxetine-treated patients and 5953 patients who received placebo.

Study results showed that paroxetine therapy was linked to an increased frequency of suicidal behavior in young adults aged 18 to 24 years (2.19% vs placebo, 0.92%). Although not statistically significant, the increase occurred in patients with depressive and nondepressive conditions alike. The FDA notes that no such increase was observed among adults aged 25 years and older.

Paroxetine therapy was also linked to a significantly increased frequency of suicidal behavior among adults of all ages with MDD (0.32% vs placebo, 0.05%). Despite the statistical significance of the finding, the FDA advises that it be interpreted with caution because of the small absolute number and incidence of events.

Although all cases of suicidal behavior in adult patients with MDD involved nonfatal suicide attempts, the majority of these events (8/11) occurred in younger adults aged 18 to 30 years, suggesting that the risk for suicidality across psychiatric disorders in younger adults may extend beyond the age of 24 years.

The FDA notes that the potential increased risk for suicidal behavior in MDD patients was observed despite substantial evidence for efficacy in those receiving paroxetine, as determined using standardized disease-specific instruments, such as the Hamilton Depression and Montgomery-Asberg Depression rating scales. Most patients had an identified social stressor at the time of the event.


Paxil-induced Birth Defects: Amer College of Ob-Gyn Warn abou tPaxil during pregnancy

ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP) Promoting Openness, Full
Disclosure, and Accountability http://www.ahrp.org


FYI
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is
recommending that women avoid the antidepressant Paxil if they are or
are planning to become pregnant.

The recommendation comes one year after the FDA issued a warning about
birth defects associated with Paxil.

Other SSRIs have also been implicated in withdrawal symptoms in newborns
whose mothers took an antidepressant during pregnancy.

On the same subject, tonight on CNN News with Paula Zahn, there will be
a segment on Paxil-related birth defects in which Karen Barth Menzes,
partner in the lawfirm, Baum Hedlund will be featured.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
212-595-8974
Veracare(at)ahrp.org

http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/health/feeds/hscout/2006/11/29/hscout53
6339.html
Ob/Gyn Group Urges Pregnant Women to Shun Paxil 11.29.06, 12:00 AM ET

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A group representing America's
obstetricians is recommending that women avoid the antidepressant Paxil
if they are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, due to a
potential heightened risk for birth defects.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also
cautioned that treatment with other antidepressants should be considered
on a case-by-case basis.

ACOG's Committee on Obstetric Practice "recommends that treatment with
all SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors] or selective
norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or both during pregnancy be
individualized and paroxetine [Paxil] use among pregnant women or women
planning to become pregnant be avoided, if possible," read the
statement, which is in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The guidelines come a full year after the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) issued a warning about possible birth defects
associated with Paxil when the drug is taken during the first trimester
of pregnancy.

This warning was based on two studies. The first found about a 2 percent
risk of heart defects in babies born to mothers who took Paxil early in
their pregnancy, compared with a 1 percent risk in the general
population.

The second study found that the risk of heart defects was 1.5 percent in
babies whose mothers took Paxil in the first three months of pregnancy,
compared with 1 percent in babies whose mothers took other
antidepressants in the first trimester. The most common defects were
cardiovascular.

"Since the FDA warnings a year ago, most ob/gyns have been trying to
avoid Paxil during pregnancy," noted Dr. Jennifer Wu, an
obstetrician/gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "This
is just a formal statement by ACOG."

Monday, November 27, 2006

NAUGHTY KIDS NEED DISCIPLINE NOT DRUGS

 
17 November 2006
NAUGHTY KIDS NEED DISCIPLINE NOT DRUGS
Paul Routledge

I SEEM to have stirred up a hornet's nest by doubting the existence of so-called Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

One reader, who claims two children with ADHD, accuses me of "hurtful, unhelpful comments".

Another points out that children today sorely lack discipline.

And I hear from South Wales of a family whose "very modest" demand is for a three bedroom council house because one of their two sons might have the disorder. This is obviously a very divisive issue. It is also a hidden scandal.

Let's look at the facts. ADHD was first described by a Dr Friedrich Hoffman in 1845, in his book of poems about "Fidgety Philip". The symptoms were inattention, fidgeting, restlessness - and noisily tapping pencils.

This sounds like most children in my experience. They can't sit still, and their attention span is shorter than a politician's.

Over a century later, doctors in the US - who get paid in proportion to the treatment they say is necessary - realised this syndrome is a goldmine. ADHD was unknown in my childhood, but like so many Yankee ideas it soon crossed the Atlantic. And if we are to believe the medical profession, there are now 366,000 sufferers under the age of 18 in the UK.

Official figures from the Department of Health show that more than 1,000 prescriptions for powerful drugs are doled out every day to treat behavioural disorders in children. GPs prescribed drugs such as Ritalin, known as the "chemical cosh", on 384,000 occasions last year - a fourfold increase since 1997. An estimated 32,000 children are being drugged every day, at a cost to the NHS of £13.5million a year.

A whole generation is in danger of becoming drug-dependent because parents and doctors want to "medicalise" bad behaviour, rather than control it through diet, discipline and parental devotion. Consultant child psychiatrist Dr Sami Timimi argues that medicalisation of childhood problems is due to a search for "an easy cure that fits in with our fast lifestyles and gives us a quick answer".

Real-life TV programmes also glorify misbehaved children, and pander to the hand-wringing inadequacy of parents. Stroppy Johnny makes good telly, but it also encourages imitative behaviour.

So far, so bad. But I also learn that drug companies secretly fund support groups for parents of kids diagnosed with behavioural problems. In other words, they are fuelling this Ritalin bonanza - despite evidence linking their very profitable drugs to sudden deaths and heart problems.

Even Health minister Andy Burnham accepts that there is "limited information" about the long-term effects of these drugs.

I am not a doctor, and do not pretend to medical knowledge. But my sense of smell is unimpaired, and this business stinks.


Drug Your Fetus - Big Pharma Hits on Pregnant Women

http://www.counterpunch.org/pringle11212006.html

Drug Your Fetus

Big Pharma Hits on Pregnant Women

By EVELYN PRINGLE

Excerpt:

If Big Pharma cared one iota about the unborn fetus, at a bare minimum, it would call off its hired-guns traveling around the country peddling SSRI antidepressants to pregnant women by convincing doctors to prescribed the drugs and ignore the studies and FDA warnings that say SSRIs are associated with serious birth defects.

Less than a month ago, on October 16, 2006, the first lawsuit in the nation was filed against GlaxoSmithKline in which an infant charges that his life-threatening lung disorder was caused by exposure to the SSRI Paxil in the womb during his mother's pregnancy.

 

Excerpt:

The fact that Glaxo has not ordered its hired-guns to stop promoting the sale of Paxil to pregnant women, proves that the company plans to go on sacrificing the lives of babies in the name of profits and that should be a fairly easy point to get across to a jury.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wisconsin Educator: TeenScreen survey raises troubling questions

 
 
Kenosha News
November 22, 2006
 
TeenScreen survey raises troubling questions
 
   Life and liberty are gifts of God, the Creator. Suicide, abortion and euthanasia as alternatives to life have serious moral and eternal consequences.  
 
   A new fad/survey, TeenScreen, to identify possible teenage suicide intentions regarding schoolchildren, has gone national and local. The Kenosha Unified School District has had early plans to implement the controversial suicide survey developed at Columbia University using the schools/students in the data experiment. 

   The 150-question suicide/data and survey has not been seen nor approved by parents, but vigilant friends of freedom have much research and discovered troubling information concerning the funding, marketing, privacyparental-pupil concerns and more. 

   Please use the Internet and other sources to learn more about: TeenScreen and the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health sites for information you have not been given. 

   The right to privacy does not end on entering places called schools. Any personal information regarding mental, physical, spiritual behavior is the ownership of the student and first-parent, the family. Any personal data on a student should have the review and approval of the parent, first and finally. Medical, mental, spiritual review or remediation should be done with the full knowledge and approval of the student and parent, always. 

   Schools should educate and leave behavior, mental manipulation to the voluntary sector, if needed, by trusted professionals. 

   The genius, Albert Einstein, was labeled “addled” by his school, and his mother removed him to homeschool. Give your child time, love, regard for moral rightness, hope; but exert caution when one seeks to do “good” without your knowledge or permission. 

   Maxim: “You know it is true when it happens to you or your child.” 
  
 Gene Malone
 
Note: Mr. Malone has a Masters Degree in Education and began his teaching career in 1959. He retired from the Kenosha public school district in 1990 after teaching American History for 30 years. He is a prolific writer and founder of Freedom 2000/USA. 

 
Stop TeenScreen's Unscientific and Experimental "Mental Health Screening" of American School Children http://www.petitiononline.com/TScreen/petition.html
 

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Eagle Forum of California - Sentinel

Newsletter here:
http://www.eagleforumofcalifornia.com/sentinel/200604xx.pdf page 5.

Eagle Forum of California - Sentinel
TeenScreen Hoover High School
Statement before Fresno Unified School District Board September 20, 2006

My name is Sharon Kientz and I am here to voice my opposition to the
implementation of TeenScreen at Hoover High School. I am a retired teacher,
a board member of Ablechild: [Parents for Label & Drug Free Education] and
of California Eagle Forum. I am also a trustee for Sierra Unified School
District and while I cannot speak officially for Sierra I believe it is my
duty as a board member to protect students in my district from the threat of
TeenScreen which is real considering our districts are in the same county.

[I am familiar with the pernicious effect of psychiatry in the public
schools having witnessed 12 years of biopsychiatric mistreatment (that means
drugs) of my grandson initiated by his first grade teacher. 21 years in a
kindergarten classroom and eight years as a school board member have
reinforced that conviction.]

[According to Ron Paul, Texas Congressman who is also a physician, the goal
of TeenScreen is to promote the patently false idea that we have a nation of
children with undiagnosed mental disorders crying out for treatment.]
TeenScreen is touted as a suicide prevention tool but it seems to be a
marketing scheme to label thousands of children with dubious psychiatric
disorders and drug them. It is controversial for many reasons including
violation of student privacy and parental rights, vague subjective labeling,
common referrals for dangerous and ineffective psychotropic drugs, and the
unethical connections of TeenScreen personnel with drug manufacturers [that
stand to make billions off of TeenScreen's success.] For 16 years Laurie
Flynn, the director of Teen-Screen, was head of the National Alliance for
the Mentally Ill which is a front group for the pharmaceutical companies
receiving millions of dollars annually from them.

[Modern psychiatry is based on a fraudulent theory that mental illnesses are
neurological impairments or chemical imbalances. The latest one to debunk
this theory is Steven Sharfstein, president of the American Psychiatric
Association, who admitted in a May 20, 2006, article on TeenScreen in the
National Journal, that "medical science has no biological or chemical tests
that can determine whether a person is depressed, suicidal, schizophrenic,
or afflicted with another mental problem. There is no laboratory test that
establishes a specific diagnosis."]

The TeenScreen (TS) questionnaire is based on the American Psychiatric
Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which is totally subjective
and unscientific. [Diagnostic categories are made up by small committees in
a conference room, not in a scientific laboratory. The manual has grown from
112 mental disorders/ illnesses in its initial
1952 edition to 374 in the 1994 version.] TS employs a 10 minute
computerized selfadministered questionnaire which, [as the TS website
states,] can be "administered and scored by trained nonprofessionals."
This test purports to indicate a number of mental disorders including
suicide ideation, social phobia, generalized anxiety, depression, panic
disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The test is loaded for positive responses which means kids are labeled with
mental disorders for answering "yes" to questions that reflect normal
teenage feelings, thought and behaviors. [see attached list of questionnaire
samples] David Shaffer, the psychiatrist [with financial ties to Big Pharma
branching out in all directions,] who developed TS, admits that TS "does
identify a whole bunch of kids who aren't suicidal, so you get a lot of
false positives." About 84%.

Once a student is flagged, the next step is referral to a mental health
professional. [In a survey of recently trained psychiatrists reported in the
journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry 2002,] 9 out
of 10 children walk out of a psychiatrist's office with a psychotropic drug
prescription. All of the antidepressants and antipsychotics carry FDA "Black
Box" warnings about suicidality. [Other adverse events are agitation,
hostility, mania and violence.] The psychostimulants also have heightened
FDA warnings, including Black Box, about suicidality, violence,
hallucinations and cardio-vascular problems. [ I testified before the FDA
ADHD Drug Hearing in March so I heard first-hand from FDA Safety Office
physicians. It is outrageous to give a depressed, suicidal child an
antidepressant which is known to cause suicidal thoughts and behavior. On
July 21, 2004, the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported
that children who were first starting treatment were 4 times more likely to
think about suicide and
38 times more likely to commit suicide and that children as young as five
had committed suicide while taking these drugs.]

[The SSRIs (antidepressants) have also been identified as playing a major
role in the previously unheard of acts of violence by school-age children
all over the country in recent years. Medical experts in the field say most
of the gun-related massacres over the past 15 years have one thing in
common, they were committed by children taking SSRIs.]

[Suicide is always an overwhelming tragedy for the family involved, my
family has been touched twice, but] it is a myth that there is an epidemic
of childhood suicides. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control the
suicide rate among children, including teens, fell about 25 percent in the
last decade.

There is no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide
attempts or mortality. This was the conclusion of a [May 2004,] U.S.
Preventive Services Task Force report. The report also stated that there is
limited evidence on the accuracy of screening tools to identify suicide risk
and there is insufficient evidence that treatment of those at high risk
reduces suicide attempts or mortality.

I have looked at the screening results for the 265 Hoover High School 10th
graders who were screened last year and was incredulous at the figures. The
percentage of students with "positive diagnostic impressions" adds up to
100%! [(81% mental disorders & 19% drug and alcohol problems) which probably
indicates that many students were diagnosed with multiple disorders. Either
way the figure is appalling.] To what agency were those students who
survived the debriefing and interviewing process referred? How many of them
have been sucked into the psychiatric drug market?

I have given you a copy of the Stop TeenScreen Petition which has collected
11,000 signatures nationally. This petition was written as a result of the
screening of an Indiana student, (name redacteded), whose parents were not
notified of the screening. This normal, [high-achieving] student was falsely
"diagnosed" as having two mental disorders. Her parents were outraged and
with the counsel of the Rutherford Institute have filed federal lawsuits
against the school district and the psychiatric facility partner of the
district.

Fresno Unified School District families deserve to know about this
controversial, dangerous program. We tell our children to just say "no"
to drugs and then turn around and give them an endless supply of
psychiatric, mind-altering, braindamaging drugs that are just as toxic.
I hope you will take another look at this very harmful program and stop it
dead in its tracks.

Respectfully submitted by,

Sharon Steele Kientz
Retired Teacher
1995 Teacher of the Year National Right to Read Foundation
1999 Panel Member AB 2519 California Department of Education 2000 & 2001
Panel Member Performance Level Setting Language Arts California Department
of Education Trustee Sierra Unified School District Board Member Ablechild:
Parents for Label and Drug Free Education Board Member California Eagle
Forum

Auberry, CA

Friday, November 17, 2006

An immense number of patients get worse from new antidepressant drugs, says Vice President of The Swedish Psychiatric Association

 
An immense number of patients get worse from new antidepressant drugs, says Vice President of The Swedish Psychiatric Association
Speaking on antidepressants the Vice President of The Swedish Psychiatric Association, Dr. Christina Spjut, said Sunday that "an immense number of persons get worse from this". She said that many persons take these drugs for years "where the antidepressant drugs make them continue to be depressed".
 
/24-7PressRelease/ - HAGERSTEN, SWEDEN, November 16, 2006 - This announcement on Swedish national television, coming from one of the top psychiatric authorities in the country, is sensational.
 
Millions and millions of persons take new antidepressant drugs - in the belief that they are "safe and effective" - as psychiatrists, pharmaceutical companies and medical agencies, like the FDA, have told them.
 
But now a top psychiatric authority tells them that they in an immense number of cases "get worse from this" and that the antidepressant drugs themselves in many cases "make them continue to be depressed". The VP of The Swedish Psychiatric Association - the national member organisation of the World Federation of Mental Health - further said about the harmful effects of antidepressant drugs and the fact that doctors don't believe what the patients tell them, that there is "a considerable lack of knowledge about these side effects" and that the patients must tell their doctors "that this exists, and then this doctor has to find out about it".
 
It is a little known fact that pharmaceutical companies have had to work hard to show any positive effect of new antidepressants (SSRIs and SNRIs) to get approval of the drugs. Even if they are experts in asking the right questions and getting the answers they want from their clinical trials, it has been almost impossible to complete two studies where the drug is more "effective" than placebo (which is the requirement for approval of the drug from a medical agency, like the FDA). From deep within the archives of clinical trials the hidden harmful effects of antidepressant drugs have emerged the last two years. But the fact that these drugs cause suicidality and violence is not what psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies have told the public.
 
Instead the public and doctors have for many years heard that these drugs are "safe and effective" and if some bad effect showed up it was explained away with the "underlying disease". The problem was said to be compliance - the patients had to continue to take the drugs long enough for the depression to go away.
 
But the Vice President of The Swedish Psychiatric Association has now announced that this was false: For many persons "the antidepressant drugs make them continue to be depressed".
 
Patients should repeat the words of this psychiatric authority when speaking to their doctors: Tell the doctors about the harmful effects of antidepressants, "that this exists, and then this doctor has to find out about it". They should tell the doctors that the cause of their bad feelings very likely is that "the antidepressant drugs make them continue to be depressed". They should get their doctors to gradually reduce the antidepressant drug under careful supervision.
 
Patients should also be aware of the new deceitful campaign of biological psychiatry. As with all earlier psychiatric drugs the catastrophic effects can be announced first when a campaign for a new drug or drug cocktail is about to start. The coming campaign, (well-known for the VP Dr. Spjut), in Sweden and the rest of the Western world is the sale of "Bipolar Disorder" (Manic-Depression). Patients are to be told their "old" diagnosis of depression was a bit wrong and that the "correct" diagnosis was "Bipolar" (both these diagnoses are of course completely subjective, there is no objective confirmable evidence for any form of "chemical imbalance" in the brain). And then the treating doctor is supposed to add even more toxic substances - antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa and Risperdal - to the antidepressants.
 
The antidepressant era is about to end - it should be replaced by real solutions to personal problems, not by more false diagnoses and more toxic psychiatric drugs.
 

Janne Larsson
writer from Sweden - investigating psychiatry
 
 

Wisconson Parents Group Opposes TeenScreen

 
Kenosha News
Unified parents form own union
Many in group of about 100 have issues with KUSD
By Chris Barncard

   Tired of feeling left out of their children’s education, a group of parents are banding together.

   The Kenosha Parents Union has about 100 members, a Web site
http://kenoshaparentsunion.org  
and a toll free number after one month of activity, and the group is open to any area adult who values public education and parental involvement therein.

   Lisa Loring and John Nordquist began tinkering with the idea some time ago, and promoted the idea on their community Web site, The Daily Kenoshan.

   Loring and Daily Kenoshan regular Amy Grimley grew frustrated with their contact with Kenosha Unified School District staff, and the union picked up momentum when parents rallied against proposed school attendance boundary changes.

   “I’m very concerned about communication between the district and parents,”said Grimley, a mother of four who will serve as union president until members meet and pick one on their own. “It can be very hard to get a straight answer.”
 
Amy Grimley  

   Many parents have an issue with Unified, said Loring, mother of three and the group’s vice president.

   “They just don’t know where to go with it,” she said. “We can help them with that.”

   The union can work as an amplifier, too.

   “If parents speak as a group it’s easier for them to be heard,” Grimley said.

   So far Kenosha Parents Union has spoken out against school boundary changes and Columbia University TeenScreen, a suicide risk screening program being considered for Unified eighth-graders. The group has already been invited by Unified to look for an alternative to TeenScreen, according to Loring.

   Eventually the union’s activities will be driven by members, who have yet to really form any collective opinions.

   “We’re going to have to really brush up on the issues parents are concerned about,” said Loring,  who hopes to plan a meeting
sometime after Dec. 1 to help establish goals and an agenda.    Loring said the group is looking to affiliate with a national organization. While it would eventually be up to the membership, Loring is interested in Mississippi-based Parents for Public Schools.

   “Our mission and goals are similar to theirs,” she said. “That’s why I chose to make an inquiry to them first.”

   The union does already have a mission statement aiming for proactive support for effective schools. The group’s values trumpet the importance of public schools and a bridge between the schools and the community.

   Parental involvement — as owners of (not consumers in) the schools — is especially important, considering just how much of a child’s life is spent in a classroom.

   “During the school week my kids spend more waking hours at school than at home,” Grimley said.

   The union will help parents monitor school district activity. Neither Grimley nor Loring think parents really know what goes on in schools, a particular concern for them after Grimley stumbled onto TeenScreen — which she vehemently opposes — by accident.

   “I just don’t want something like this to happen again, where something is slipped by everyone,” she said. 
 

Sign and forward the Stop TeenScreen's Unscientific and Experimental "Mental Health Screening" of American School Children http://www.petitiononline.com/TScreen/petition.html 
 

 

"The guy who designed TeenScreen must have been high"

 
Daily Democrat
Fort Madison, Iowa
November 10, 2006
Parents need to check out this TeenScreen program

To the parents of students at Ft. Madison & Central Lee Schools:

I discovered recently that both of these schools participate in the TeenScreen program. It's a psychological evaluation given to middle school and high school students. Central Lee sends home a permission slip, but the permission slip gives the parent no idea of the content of the test or the repercussions. Below is an idea of some of the questions on the test.
Has there been a time when nothing was fun for you and you just weren't interested in anything?

Has there been a time when you felt you couldn't do anything well or that you weren't as good-looking or as smart as other people?

How often did your parents get annoyed or upset with you because of the way you were feeling or acting?

Have you often felt very nervous when you've had to do things in front of people?

Have you often worried a lot before you were going to play a sport or game or do some other activity?

Have you tried to kill yourself in the last year?

Are you still thinking of killing yourself?

Have you thought seriously about killing yourself?

I can't imagine any normal teenager that hasn't experienced the first five of these questions. This test is billed as a suicide prevention test. However, it goes much further than that. From the results of this test students are labeled with:

Social Phobia

Panic Disorder

Anxiety

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Active Suicide Ideation

Passive Suicide Ideation

Along with these so-called disorders goes the desire to put the teen on psychotropic drugs. According to the web sites I checked there is a 84-94% misdiagnosis rate with this test. I suggest all parents go to Google and type in ‘Teen Screen' and read through the various web sites. By typing in this web site, you can read the test in its entirety:
http://www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen_lawsuit/31_4.pdf  As you can see, you have to have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this site. If I had known what was in these tests I would never have allowed my children to take them.

I am blessed with children who have a lot of common sense and a healthy sense of self-esteem. My daughter said a teacher stopped her in the hall and wanted to discuss the results of her test. My daughter told her the test was stupid and she wasn't interested in discussing it: end of discussion. Her comment to me was that “the guy who designed this test must have been high.” My son said the test was ridiculously long and he didn't read it, just randomly answered the questions. His was kicked out by the computer as unreliable. He was quite pleased with himself.
 
In the interests of your children, please check it out.

Jeannie Hetzer

Ft. Madison 
 

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kenosha, Wisconsin: "loud critics around the country"

http://www.kenoshanews.com/articles/index.php?articleNum=8472

Kenosha News

Kenosha News
TeenScreen under fire in Unified suicide fight
Chris Barncard
Nov 15, 2006

Months before a depression/suicide screening could begin in Kenosha schools, debate on the efficacy and appropriateness of the program is in full swing.

Supporters and detractors of Columbia University’s TeenScreen addressed a Kenosha Unified School Board committee Tuesday, holding up the program — designed to identify suicide risk factors in children age 11-18 — as both a necessary opportunity for a group under-served by mental health care professionals and as lawsuit bait overreaching a school district’s place in the community.

John Kucak, Unified coordinator of student support, told the School Board’s Curriculum and Program Committee that TeenScreen — a computer-based questionnaire that would be administered to Unified eighth-graders as part of their health class unit on mental health issues — was a worthy response to Unfied’s seven confirmed teen suicides since September 2005.

“This is a tried-and-true method for identifying kids; otherwise, we would not consider it,” Kucak said.

TeenScreen requires consent from a parent and the assent of the student taking the 10- to 15-minute questionnaire which deals, in part, with moods, anxiety, substance abuse and physical health.

Students whose answers do not indicate risk factors for suicidal thoughts have a short meeting with a TeenScreen team member immediately following the screening.

Students identified as at risk by the screening meet with a volunteer mental health professional — also immediately after screening — who assesses the results and the child. If the professional finds the student to be at risk, parents are notified for a meeting and offered a referral to mental health care providers in the area.

“This is a screening program that has very successful results,” said Cindy Johnson, Kenosha County director of nursing and a TeenScreen proponent. “To receive access to care is really difficult given insurance situations and costs. TeenScreen is a very good way for children to get an assessment.”

But TeenScreen, which is being explored by Unified in association with Congregations United to Serve Humanity, has loud critics around the country. Amy Grimely, interim president of the newly formed Kenosha Parents Union, http://kenoshaparentsunion.org
 has examined that criticism and believes TeenScreen is not effective and questions its motives.

“I do believe the school district has a problem,” Grimely said. “I do not believe this is the answer.”

Grimely said there is no evidence the program prevents suicide and that it falsely labels a number of children as being suicidal. She also said the program was designed by drug companies with the intent of getting more children to take prescription drugs.

She was also disappointed to hear that Unified had been considering the program since 2004 without opening a dialogue with parents.

“They should have been blowing trumpets, saying, ‘This is what we are doing,’” said Grimsely, who pointed to a lawsuit in Indiana that challenges TeenScreen as a reason for Unified to be cautious.

John Nordquist, publisher of the Daily Kenoshan, a community Web site, said TeenScreen reaches too far into students’ lives.

“To be saying you need a psychiatrist or you are suicidal, that’s not for a school to say,” Nordquist said.

While representatives of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and CUSH supported the program and the Parents Union, Daily Kenoshan and a group called Freedom 2000 railed against it, Pierce said the School Board would not likely take up TeenScreen again in January and look for alternatives in the meantime.

Board members on the committee gave TeenScreen little chance.

“I don’t even know if this can pass,” board member Gilbert Ostman said. “I don’t know how you’re going to get by the controversy.”

“I’m not sure how much legwork was done in looking into TeenScreen, and where their funding comes from. From what I’ve seen, I don’t like the roots of this,” board member Pam Stevens said. “There is no chance I would allow this in this school district.”

Unified would be better off working on a program teaching students to identify the signs of suicide in each other that the district recently started using in its high schools, Grimely said.

“This is where I would focus our efforts, not on a program that is controversial around the country,” she said.


Let's find more "loud critics around the country", pass the word: http://www.petitiononline.com/TScreen/petition.html

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness - that's who.

NAMI is a nonprofit whose 'grassroots' are watered by pharmaceutical millions. More here: www.psychsearch.net/nami.html They are pushing TeenScreen across the country.

NOW PLAYING: Joe Vanable, President of the board of directors of NAMI Indiana, pushes screening at the Indiana Commission on Mental Health meeting held on October 25, 2006. The Commission plans to implement child screening, ages 0-22, on a broad scale.

See video here: www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html


Petition for INDIANA RESIDENTS only: http://www.jackiewalorski.com

Monday, November 13, 2006

VIDEO - Indiana Mother of Four - "Someone has to speak for these children"

NOW PLAYING: Monica Boyer, President of the Indiana Childcare Association, Licensed Home Daycare Provider and mother of four gave testimony to Indiana legislators regarding the plan to do mental screening of all Indiana children.  
 
 
 

Petition for INDIANA RESIDENTS only: http://www.jackiewalorski.com

Petition for everybody: http://www.petitiononline.com/TScreen/petition.html 

Maternal SSRI Use May Raise Risk of Congenital Malformation

 
Maternal SSRI Use May Raise Risk of Congenital Malformation


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 08 - The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) early in pregnancy seems to moderately raise the risk of congenital malformations in offspring, suggests the results of a Danish population-based cohort study.

"Human data on the teratogenicity of SSRIs are limited," note Dr. Pia Wogelius from Aarhus University Hospital and colleagues in the November issue of Epidemiology.]

During the study period, a reference cohort of 150,780 women who were not prescribed an SSRI gave birth to 5112 (3.4%) children with congenital malformations, whereas 1051 women who filled a prescription for SSRIs any time during early pregnancy gave birth to 51 (4.9%) children with congenital malformations.

The corresponding adjusted relative risk for congenital malformations with maternal SSRI use was 1.34.

The 453 women who filled SSRI prescriptions during the second or third month of pregnancy, when organogenesis mainly takes place, gave birth to 31 (6.8%) children with congenital deformities. The corresponding adjusted relative risk in these women was 1.84.

It's unclear, the authors note, whether the effects were causal or due to factors related to the underlying disease for which SSRIs were prescribed. However, the finding that the association between SSRI use and risk of congenital malformations was stronger during the second or third month of pregnancy is consistent with a causal effect.

"There was no evidence that the association was specific to particular malformations."

Further studies, the team concludes, are needed to confirm these findings and to clarify whether the risk is attributable to SSRIs, to underlying psychiatric disease, or to other confounding factors.

Epidemiol 2006;17:701-704.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

VIDEO: Grandfather speaks out against Mass Child Screening - INDIANA

Ed Sparks, an Indiana grandfather of a 6 year old 1st grader, is speaking out against Indiana's
plan for mass mental screening ochildren.
 
See 6 minute video here:  www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html 
 
Mr. Sparks had more to say.
 
You can find the rest of his speech here: http://www.edalert.com/edissues/TEENSCREEN/speech.php 
 
If any of your friends, family or associates live in Indiana, they need to be informed of what is going
on there .  FOR INDIANA RESIDENTS ONLY, please sign the Indiana petition which you can find here: http://www.jackiewalorski.com/
 
 

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Eli Lilly gets subpoena from Calif AG related to Zyprexa

 
 
Eli Lilly gets subpoena from Calif AG related to Zyprexa

 

Monday, November 06, 2006

VIDEO - Grandmother Speaks out against TeenScreen - CALIFORNIA

Now PlayingGrandmother Sharon Kientz, a retired teacher and board member of the Calfornia Eagle Forum  and AbleChild is speaking out against TeenScreen in Fresno, California.
 








4 minute video can be viewed here:
www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html

 

N.Y. sues GSK, Pharmacia for bribery - Chain Pharmacy Drug Store News - Find Articles

 

N.Y. sues GSK, Pharmacia for bribery - Chain Pharmacy

NEW YORK -- The New York Attorney General's office three weeks a go charged two leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, GlaxoSmithKline and Pharmacia, with bribing doctors through kickbacks, paid directly out of government health plans like Medicare and Medicaid, in order to gain marketshare for their respective medications.

Aventis has been sent a pre-litigation notice that it also may be named in the suit.

GlaxoSmithKline had responded that the state government made its bed and is now shifting blame for "public policy decisions and for budget shortfalls [onto] the pharmaceutical industry" so they don't have to lie in that bed.

"We are seeking restitution for consumers and the state and new reforms that will help maintain the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship by making sure that medical decisions are based on sound clinical guidelines, not on whether a manufacturer's drug delivers hi g her compensation to a provider," announced Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

New York contends that the three pharmaceutical companies gave discounts to doctors and pharmacies that bought their drugs. Those doctors and pharmacies then would turn a profit out of those discounts when they applied for reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid--for the full, non-discounted rates.

"The companies are alleged to have reported an inflated average wholesale price charged to doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers," the office of the New York State Attorney General stated. "The companies exploit this spread' to market their drugs, improperly inducing doctors to prescribe drugs and thereby increase companies' market share."

GlaxoSmithKline, on the other hand, countered that because states tie their reimbursements to average wholesale price calculations, a price tabulated and reported by third party vendors, they have "known for decades" that doctors and pharmacies are reimbursed a greater amount than what they've paid for on certain medications.

"The attorney general is trying to hold GSK and other pharmaceutical companies accountable for the state's own conscious decision to reimburse doctors and pharmacies more for drugs than they paid for them," the company stated.

Aventis, who has not yet been named a party in the lawsuit, answered nonetheless that it had ceased reporting AWP of its medications as of August 2001 because that reporting was the nexus for confusion throughout the industry. "We have always based our average wholesale price on the 'sticker' price to wholesalers," Aventis spokeswoman Patricia Munzer told Drug Store News. "To minimize confusion, we stopped reporting [AWP]," altogether she said.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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Friday, November 03, 2006

THE OVERLOOKED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND MENTAL SYMPTOMS

 

By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
September 13, 2004
NewsWithViews.com

Psychiatric disease should be diagnosed only after careful exclusion of medical conditions that could produce the patients symptoms. Unfortunately very few mental health care providers are aware of the multitude of circumstances in which mental symptoms are precipitated by an infectious illness. A valuable clue that a mental problem may be infectious rather than psychiatric is sudden onset in a previously stable individual.

Dr. Paul Fink, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, has acknowledged that every psychiatric disorder in the Psychiatric Diagnostic Symptoms Manual IV (DSM-!V) can be caused by Lyme Disease. This proves that every known psychiatric disorder can be caused by an infection (Borrelia burgdorfi Bb spirochete). So far all cases of Alzheimer's disease tested for the Borrelia burgdorfi Bb spirochete, which causes Lyme Disease, have tested positive.

Conventional medical practice in the United States largely ignores the possibility of parasitic disease. There are several reasons for this:

  • When a disease is never diagnosed it is easy to assume that it does not exist. Parasites are often overlooked in the U.S.
  • There is a shortage of technicians who are skilled in identifying parasitic organisms.
  • Spending one's day studying microscopic sample of stool specimens probably does not attract very many laboratory personnel.
  • There is a common misconception that parasitic problems are primarily found in tropical countries and are rare in countries like the U.S.A.

To illustrate how many health care practitioners can be fooled by parasitic disease consider the case of Carolyn Razor. Upbeat, healthy, energetic, psychologist Carolyn Raser returned from a vacation in Bhutun with severe depression, exhaustion, and such swelling in her joints she was unable to open a hotel room door. Her third M.D. diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis and started multiple drugs. Her depression, lethargy and exhaustion persisted after 100 treatments by assorted acupuncturists, chiropractors, and rehabilitation specialists. A call to the Research Institute for Infectious Mental Illness led to the discovery of three protozoan parasites and a compromised secretory IGA system. Three weeks after eliminating her infection she was no longer depressed, her exhaustion was gone and her zest for life had been restored.

To make the proper diagnosis of psychiatric symptoms even more complex it is now well established that the overgrowth of candida (yeast) organisms, fungi, mycoplasma, and dangerous anerobic organiasms in the intestinal tract after antibiotic therapy, high sugar intake, and illnesses which injure the lining of the intestine can cause impaired brain function (seizures, confusion, poor memory, depression, learning difficulties, headaches and short attention span). These brain symptoms are caused by absoption of neurotoxic substances produced by mycoplasma, fungi, borrelia, yeast and anerobic organisms. These neurotoxic substances also commonly cause injury to the hypothalamus which leads to impaired production of endocrine hormones. Therefore, patients with intestinal pathogen overgrowth often manifest impaired function of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and adrenal insufficiency (Addison's Disease). Another factor that may contribute to this hormonal failure is the consumption of cholesterol by mycoplasma in nervous tissue which decreases the building substance (cholesterol) needed to make estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, aldactone, and cortisone. Persons with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) often do not manifest fever when they have infections which may lead the clinician away from considering an infectious problem.

The psychological treatment of chronic mental illness is often lengthy and of marginal value. Frank Strick, Clinical Research Director of the Research Institute for Infectious Mental Illness, has gathered a large amount of information about how commonly mental symptoms are not appreciated to be originating[1] from infectious problems.

Four types of infectious problems are capable of producing mental symptoms. These are infections well recognized for causing psychiatric problems (pneumonia, urinary tract infections, sepsis, malaria, Legionaires Disease, syphilis, chlamydia, typhoid fever, diphtheria, HIV, rheumatic fever and herpes). Research done at Johns Hokins Children's Center and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2001 disclosed that mothers with evidence of Herpes Simplex Type 2 infection during pregnancy were 6 times more likely to have a child who later developed schizophrenia than mothers without herpes infections.

Parasitic infections which invade the brain (neurocysticerccosis) manifest depression and psychosis in more than 65 % of cases. These tapeworms produce cysts, swelling, and encephalitis in brains of patients. Other parasitic infections can produce psychiatric symptoms without direct brain invasion (giardia, ascaris psychosis, trichinosis, Lyme Disease) which clear after effective therapy. Meningitis or encephalitis was found in 24 % of 1300 cases of trichinosis reported from Germany.

Acute infection with Toxoplasmosis Gondi can produce personality changes and psychosis including delusions and auditory hallucinations. T. Gondii can alter behavior, neurotransmitter function and accounts for approximately 25 % of chorioretinitis usually contracted congenitally. A large study of mentally handicapped persons revealed that the incidence of t.gondii infection in schizophrenic patients was twice that of control subjects. German research has revealed that first onset schizophrenia patients have a 42 % incidence of antibodies to toxoplasma compared to 11 % in control subjects. T. Gondi usually is spread to humans from cats. Two studies have revealed that exposure to cats in childhood was a risk factor for the development of schizophrenia.

Two of the drugs used to treat psychosis and bipolar disorder (Haldol and Valproic Acid) inhibit the growth of t. gondii in cerebrospinal fluid and blood at concentrations below that being treated with these therapies suggesting that improved mental status might actually be due to killing t. gondii not anti-psychotic effects. The antipsychotic drugs thorazine, haldol and clozapine inhibit viral replication. Patients with recent onset of schizophrenia have a 400 % increase in reverse transcripyase activity in their cerebrospinal fluid which is seen in patients with infectious retroviruses. Cerebrospinal fluid CSF from these recent onset schizophrenia patients inoculated into New World Monkey cell lines caused a ten fold increase in reverse transcriptase activity suggesting that this injected CSF contained a replicating virus. Dr. Darren Hart of Tulane Univ. Medical School found evidence of antibodies to retrovirus in the blood of half the patients he tested who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Malhotra has demonstrated that the absence of CCR5?32 homozygotes in more than 200 schizophrenic patients sharply increased the susceptibility to retroviral infection. These pieces of evidence have led Johns Hopkins virologist Robert Yolken and Psychiatry Professor Dr. E. Fuller Torrey to believe that toxoplasmosis is one of several infectious agents that cause most cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Dr. Torrey noted that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder went from rare diseases in the late 19th century to common as cat ownership became popular. Yolken designed studies that showed that mothers of children who later developed psychosis were 4.5 times more likely to have antibodies to toxoplasmosis than mothers of healthy children. Yolken also learned that patients with schizophrenia of average duration of more than 22 years who also tested positive for cytomegalovirus (21 patients) experienced significant improvement in psychiatric symptoms when treated with Valacyclovir[2] an antiviral drug for 8 weeks.

Streptococcal infections have been followed in some children by the abrupt onset of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder within a few weeks.

Use of the antiviral drug Amantadine has produced greatly shortened hospitalizations and rapid remission of psychiatric symptoms in Germany when given to patients testing positive for Borna Disease Virus BDV. Smaller studies in the U.S. disclosed that up to half of Bipolar and Schizophrenic patients test positive for BDV compared to none in healthy controls.

For obvious reasons toxoplasmosis has attracted the most attention. However, many other infectious agents particularly parasitic infections can disable normal mental function by depleting the host of essential nutrients, interfering with enzyme and neuroimmune function, and releasing massive amounts of waste products, enteric poisons, and toxins which disable brain metabolism. Mature tapeworms can lay a million eggs a day and roundworms, which afflict 25 % of the worlds population, can lay 200,000 eggs daily. The brain requires 25 % of the body's oxygen, nutrients, and glucose even though it makes up only 3 % of the body's weight. Mental patients were found to have a 53.8 % incidence of parasitic infection in a 2 year study conducted by the Univ. of Ancona involving 238 inpatient residents in 4 Italian psychiatric institutions.

Cognitive dysfunction and chronic emotional stress with symptoms of apathy, exhaustion, confusion, poor appetite, memory loss, nervous stomach, social withdrawal, loss of sex drive and motivation are often attributed to depression when they were actually caused by infection.

Many parasitic infections escape diagnosis because standard stool parasite studies pick up only 10 % of active infections. At times this is caused by inconsistent shedding patterns and other cases are missed because the parasites are outside the intestine. The World Health Organization states that 2 billion people have worms but these are rarely seen in stool exams. Many restaurants are staffed by persons from foreign lands where parasites are common so exposure to parasitic infection can occur in most U.S. restaurants.

To overcome these failures the Research Institute for Infectious Mental Illness suggests ova and parasite microscopy, multifluid antigen and antibody detection, stool cultures, enzyme immunoassays, imaging techniques, and extensive evaluation of the patients history and clinical information to discover chronic infections. Patients diagnosed as chronic candidiasis (yeast) may actually have more significant infections which are preventing long term cure. Curing hidden infections often results in return of normal brain metabolism. Fever and antibody elevation often disappear in patients with neurotoxin injury to the immune system and thyroid hypofunction caused by hypothalamic toxicity. Rebuilding the host's immune system and restoring integrity of the intestines will help prevent relapse. Care to not provide premature nutritional supplements that are growth factors for certain microorganisms is vital. Screening tests for heavy metal toxicity, environmental chemical exposure, molds, electromagnetic stressors, abnormal glucose metabolism, brain allergies, food sensitivities, hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, ph abnormalities, and dietary correction can improve cognitive function.

In my opinion the arguments about the failure to diagnose infections causing brain symptoms presented by Frank Strick are persuasive and sound. Most psychiatric consultations almost certainly are not concerned with exploring diagnostic considerations outside the psychiatric realm. This whole field of psychiatric diagnosis needs to be reconsidered in view of the strong evidence that toxoplasmosis, parasitic infections, borrelia burgdorfi, candida, borna disease virus, streptococcus, and other infectious agents are capable of producing impaired brain function with symptoms that will generate a psychiatric diagnosis in a conventional psychiatrist's office. There is a real possibility that many, perhaps most patients, have an infectious illness that is correctable not a permanent psychiatric impairment. This failure to discover infectious causes for psychiatric symptoms is tragic because many persons are vegetating in psychiatric facilities for the remainder of their lives, instead of recovering full health when their infection is cured. My suggestion to readers is to consider exploring a consultation with the Research Institute for Infectious Mental Illness before accepting a psychiatric diagnosis that is likely to lead to a lengthy and minimally effective therapy.

The Research Institute for Infectious Mental Illness is the first comprehensive institute of its kind in the U.S. They provide testing, clinical and consulting services to clients all over the world and help in educating professional persons. Phone consultations are offered. by calling 800-699-2466 then press pound (#) 831-425-5555 (patient scheduling only) or by e-mailing riimi@gawab.com. The director is Frank Strick and the institute is in Santa Cruz, Ca.

Footnotes:

1 Strick, Frank Townsend Letter for Doctors &Patients April 2004 pg. 123-125
2 Yolken, Robert American Journal of Psychiatry December 2003


© 2004 Dr. James Howenstine - All Rights Reserved


Dr. James A. Howenstine is a board certified specialist in internal medicine who spent 34 years caring for office and hospital patients. After 4 years of personal study he became convinced that natural products are safer, more effective, and less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. This research led to the publication of his book A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work. Information about these products and his book can be obtained from amazon.com and at www.naturalhealthteam.com and phone 1-800-416-2806 U.S. Dr. Howenstine can be reached at jimhow@racsa.co.cr and by mail at Dr. James Howenstine, C/O Remarsa USA SB 37, P.O. Box 25292, Miami, Fl. 33102-5292.

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