Medication and Children

29preschool-t_CA1-articleLarge Sunday's New York Times' magazine had an article about depression in small children and the usage of medication to treat the depression. I'm not ready to talk about medicating children, because my views are too fickle at the moment. There are also some privacy issues at stake.

Helaine Olin at XX Factor weighs in. She points out the New York Times failed to mention that one of the therapists that was highlighted in the article, Joan Luby, a professor of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, "has a long-documented history of receiving money from the pharmaceutical industry."

Credibility gone. Is it so hard to find a source for an article that isn't receive money from Big Pharma?

9 thoughts on “Medication and Children

  1. Is it so hard to find a source for an article that isn’t receive money from Big Pharma?
    Yes. Disclosure is the problem in this case.

  2. Impossible, really, ’cause those pharma guys actually love their pharmaceuticals. They’re kind of like foodies, except about drugs. Many of them really believe in the ability to tweak the human brain with drugs making the world a better place for everyone.

  3. It’s impossible, partly because Pharma gives money to everyone, partly because they have grant money, and labs can’t run without copious grants.

  4. Margaret Soltan at University Diaries has been following the scandals associated with big-pharma payoffs to researchers, ghostwritten research papers, and sham medical journals run by marketing divisions of medical device companies. Her postings filed under “conflict of interest” are a must-read.
    Biederman claims he publishes 30 papers a year. Think any of those might be ghost-written?

  5. When I was a (relatively happy) teenager, I took a prescription medicine completely unrelated to any mood disorder issues, and as a side effect ended up deeply, clinically depressed. It took a while to figure out what was going on, and when we figured it out and stopped the prescription, it only took a few weeks before the depression ended.
    When I think about those horrible several months, I just can’t help but think that if anyone felt the way that I did should get any service available to help them — even if they are 4 years old.
    The problem, I understand, is that these things are particularly hard to diagnose, and you don’t want to make mistakes and mis-diagnose a kid, but that problem seems at least equal to the problem of not helping a kid who could otherwise be helped.

  6. Biederman claims he publishes 30 papers a year. Possible without ghost-writing–in the sciences, being an author doesn’t mean you wrote the thing. Just being the head of the lab means you get an author credit. So almost all professors are authors on their grad students’ papers, and postdocs too. (The order of authors’ names tells you something of the hierarchy and credit information that the authors are trying to convey.)

  7. The order of authors’ names tells you something of the hierarchy and credit information that the authors are trying to convey.
    Until journals switch to electronic editions only. Then it will all be font size and color.

  8. The New York Times printed an article on the use of anti-psychotics to treat young children: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/business/02kids.html?src=me&ref=homepage
    The title? “Child’s Ordeal Shows Dangers of Antipsychotic Drugs.” It reminded me of a Frontline report on medicating children a few years ago, in that poor children were the most likely to be put on antipsychotics.
    I think the worst mis-medication (if that’s a word) seems to happen when parents don’t have the sophistication to question a doctor’s judgement. I know parents whose children do much better on medication, but it’s been a long process of successive diagnoses from specialists and child psychiatrists, not a country GP handing out a trial prescription, saying “see if he’s better on these.”

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