Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Medicated Child, a Review

I just got through watching this Frontline program on PBS and I wanted to record my thoughts about it while they are still fresh. I have a special interest in this subject since I have an eight-year old grandson who has been diagnosed with ADHD and has been on medication for about a year.

If you have not seen this program and the subject interests you, it is possible to watch it online if you have a high-speed connection. As is typical with these Frontline presentations, the subject is well covered and thoughtfully done. There were some pretty conspicuous errors of admission which were glaringly obvious to me, although you may not have noticed them if you weren’t looking for them. This is one of the reasons I felt moved to write this article.

The statistics of the number of children that are being medicated for psychiatric disorders are alarming. Increasingly, this is the conventional solution of choice for children with behavioral problems. The program barely mentioned alternative approaches which was what was so disturbing to me.

What was talked about in the presentation is that many of the children who were originally diagnosed with ADHD have now been called bipolar. A pediatric psychiatrist wrote an influential paper noting the similarities in the symptoms of both conditions, and ever since then increasing numbers of doctors have been diagnosing kids as bipolar and prescribing medications appropriate for this diagnosis.

One of the big problems in dealing with these medications with children is that they were never tested on children so their effects are largely unknown on this age group. It is like a big experiment that is being done on our children.

Perhaps the most telling fact in this whole presentation came out when it was talking about a piece of legislation that was passed during the Clinton administration. A huge incentive was provided for the pharmaceutical companies if they would do pediatric testing on these psychiatric medications. What was the incentive? The drug companies would get an additional 6 months of exclusivity on their patents, before the drugs were opened up to become generics. This additional 6 months of exclusivity might be worth as much as a Billion dollars in extra profit for the pharmaceutical manufacturer!

This is the real bottom line, in both a literal and figurative sense: Obscene profits for the pharmaceutical companies.

Which brings me around to alternatives. The problem with the whole allopathic medication approach is that it merely treats symptoms; it does not get down to causes. And sometimes finding causes is not such a difficult process.

One thing that an observant person would notice is that most of the parents of these kids were overweight if not obese; in other words typical Americans. In many of the shots the kids were busy downing some kind of sugar; pop, candy, etc. Duh! Think that might have something to do with the problem?

In my own experience with my grandson, my daughter and I saw noticeable improvements in his behavior when she reduced the amount of refined sugar he was consuming. This in addition to a conscious effort to improve his diet by increasing the amounts of organic fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc.

So let’s get over our hypnosis folks! Drugs are not the answer. It was apparent from this presentation that Doctors don’t know much and are really just experimenting on our kids. We need to take responsibility for our own children. If we start making better choices about what foods we are feeding our children, we can see enormous changes in behavior, not to mention other health benefits. There are other lifestyle factors too that can be helpful which are worth exploring. In the one brief clip where it was showing alternatives, one of the kids was doing an exercise like yoga.

These alternative approaches may require some effort and some reeducation on our parts, but if we want to effect real change we need to get down to the real causes. Pharmaceuticals can never do this.

ps. the photos are of my grandson Tystan

America, from Freedom to Fascism, Aaron Russo's Legacy

What if you found out that you could legally not pay income tax? Further, that the 16th amendment to the constitution that mandated the income tax was never ratified by a sufficient number of states? These are just some of the very provocative issues raised in Aaron Russo’s last film, America, from Freedom to Fascism.

Aaron Russo was an award winning filmmaker who had a very successful career. He died of cancer in August of 2007 at the age of 64. I first heard of him back in the 60’s when he opened a concert/dance venue in Chicago called The Kinetic Playground. This was a place you could go to hear the latest bands. Instead of sitting you could dance, bounce around big playground balls, and have a very good time. I heard the band Hiroshima there.

Aaron went on to manage the career of Bette Midler for many years and finally ended up as a film producer in Hollywood. He produced the films Trading Places and The Rose among others.

Russo got involved in politics and ran for the Libertarian nomination for President in 2004 but was defeated. He kept hearing about the illegality of the IRS and when he investigated it himself he was amazed to find that it was true. This led to the making of the final film of his life, America, from Freedom to Fascism.

The picture that is painted in this film is grim and chilling, and it will take courage to face the truth of the message but face it we must! Please examine the evidence and judge for yourself. This film goes way beyond the work of Michael Moore. It is really a call that goes beyond the need for reform. If you care about our freedom we must face the issues that are raised in this film very seriously.

The film itself is close to two hours long and you can see it for free at Google video. In order to do so, a very good high-speed connection is required. I have slow DSL and experienced some glitches trying to watch the video. The film was taken down from You Tube after getting over two million hits.

Because of its length, I would advise starting by watching some of the shorter clips that are available on the website created to promote the movie. The interview with the Conscious Media Network is probably the best place to start. If this doesn’t pique your interest you had better check to see if you are still breathing:)

I noticed that this film has already been reviewed several times on Associated Content, and Russo’s ideas have often been dismissed as fringe conspiracy theories. (I have submitted this same article for publication on AC).I think folks who jump to these conclusions have not done a careful, dispassionate view of the evidence. The conclusions that are reached in this film are disturbing to say the least, and most of us are not that willing to question the status quo. So know going in that many of your assumptions are going to be questioned and be prepared to be open minded about what is presented in order to get some value from the presentation.

Anyone who is paying the least bit of attention knows that we are living in incredible times. It takes courage to face some of the unpleasant and difficult truths that are presented in this film. I am almost 65 years old so I feel like it is going to take the energy of youth to really get the changes done that are called for in this film.

Ron Paul has been getting about 10% of the Republican vote in the nominating process as of this writing. This is a long way from what it needs to be. As much as I like the charismatic Mr. Obama, I am going to vote for or write in Ron Paul in the next election because he is the only candidate who is addressing the issues aired in this very important film. Please find a way to give it your attention.