Psychiatric Times Vol 27 No 3

The Genetics of Temperament-An Update

March 10, 2010

There are a lot of temperamental Jerome Kagan moments in my friend’s household-an observation that will require this entire column to explain. What exactly is a temperamental moment? And who exactly is Jerome Kagan?

Neuropsychiatric Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

March 09, 2010

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects approximately 2 of every 1000 persons per year. Persons vulnerable to mental illness (eg, persons with alcohol abuse or antisocial personality disorder) are particularly at risk.

Questions About Expanded Mental Health Parity Law

March 09, 2010

Six months after the deadline for a final rule, 3 federal departments published an interim final rule that leaves a number of questions open about the application of the expanded mental health parity law passed by Congress in October 2008. But the penultimate version of the implementing regulations won mostly praise from psychiatrists and psychiatric hospitals.

Psychiatric Symptoms Associated With Parkinson Disease

March 07, 2010

Parkinson disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative illness in the United States, affecting more than 1 million persons. Disease onset is usually after age 50. In persons older than 70 years, the prevalence is 1.5% to 2.5%.1 While the primary pathology involves degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, circuits important in emotion and cognition-such as the serotonergic, adrenergic, cholinergic, and frontal dopaminergic pathways-are also variably disrupted.

Pharmaceutical Philanthropic Shell Games

March 06, 2010

In response to increasing public distrust and congressional concerns regarding pharmaceutical company influence on medical research and education, professional organizations have taken steps to phase out or regulate industry-sponsored educational support. A related problem is industry funding of philanthropic organizations, such as patient advocacy groups. Thus, when the office of Sen Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recently reported that the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill received substantial pharmaceutical funding, there was concern among the membership’s psychiatric patients and their families.

“Paranoia Strikes Deep”*: MMR Vaccine and Autism

March 05, 2010

On February 12, 2009, the US Court of Federal Claims issued a trio of long-awaited decisions in its Omnibus Autism Proceeding.1 The 3 were representative cases chosen from more than 5500 pending MMR/autism cases by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. Each presented the theory that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in combination with thimerosal, a mercury-based ingredient contained in some diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), diphtheria-tetanus–acellular pertussis (DTaP), hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccines, causes autism. In nearly 700 combined pages that reviewed the scientific and epidemiological evidence, all 3 opinions determined that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated a link between these vaccines and autism.

The Lost Birds of Wounded Knee

March 05, 2010

I remember as a child gathering wild greens with my Cherokee grandmothers, 2 generations of them, and hearing the lilt of spoken Cherokee. I can still see myself listening quietly in the corner of the room while others came to visit my great-grandmother, a respected traditional healer. We were poor. There is no other way to say it. My mother carried water from a well in the middle of the field, and I remember before going outside to play in the snow that we wrapped bread sacks around our feet to keep them dry. But as a child, while life was hard and even harsh at times, it felt safe and constant.