Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Depression In Preschoolers?

Preschooler depressionThe New York Times Magazine recently featured an article on preschooler depression. Pamela Paul wrote:

Diagnosis of any mental disorder at this young age is subject to debate. No one wants to pathologize a typical preschooler’s tantrums, mood swings and torrent of developmental stages. Grandparents are highly suspicious; parents often don’t want to know. “How many times have you heard, ‘They’ll grow out of it’ or ‘That’s just how he is’?” says Melissa Nishawala, a child psychiatrist at the New York University Child Study Center.

And some in the field have reservations, too. Classifying preschool depression as a medical disorder carries a risk of disease-mongering. “Given the influence of Big Pharma, we have to be sure that every time a child’s ice cream falls off the cone and he cries, we don’t label him depressed,” cautions Rahil Briggs, an infant-toddler psychologist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York. Though research does not support the use of antidepressants in children this young, medication of preschoolers, often off label, is on the rise. One child psychologist told me about a conference he attended where he met frustrated drug-industry representatives. “They want to give these kids medicines, but we can’t figure out the diagnoses.” As Daniel Klein warns, “Right now the problem may be underdiagnosis, but these things can flip completely.”

Reference: “Can Preschoolers Be Depressed?” (The New York Times Magazine, August 25, 2010).

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Do Low Carb Diets Make People Angry?

As if we haven’t seen enough bad press for low carb diets, check this out: a study just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that dieters who followed a low carb diet for a year were more depressed, angry, and confused than people following a higher carb diet.

The researchers studied two groups of people for one year. Both were on a reduced calorie diet and both lost an average of 30 pounds. However, the group on the low carb diet had detrimental effects on their mood.

I know I am pretty angry when I don’t have chocolate for a long time! ;-) Seriously, other smaller studies have not shown changes in mood with low carb diets, but we will have to see if future studies show a similar affect. It makes sense…we know that carbs cause release of serotonin, the feel good hormone. There is a reason people say they are “addicted” to carbs. One is because they are our body’s preferred source of energy, so we need them for energy and we can “crave” them. The other is that they literally make us feel good (and they taste great!) Read more »

This post, Do Low Carb Diets Make People Angry?, was originally published on by Brian Westphal.

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »