100 years ago doctors had little credibility. A education reformer's report remarkably reformed medical education and physicians' professionalism. In the last thirty years this credibility has been eroded by financial ties between doctors and the drug companies. Is it time for another Flexner Report.
The decision by the Massachusett's Board of Registration in Medicine to allow the psychiatrist in the Rebecca Riley murder case to practice again without any restrictions makes no sense in light of the specific facts that emerged in testimony during the trials. However, punishing the doctor would have also challenged Harvard's Pediatric Psychopharmacology Clinic which promotes the bipolar diagnosis and aggressive use of psychiatric medication in children.
Apparently, the closer you are to Harvard the more legitimate Pediatric Bipolar Disorder becomes. Carolyn Riley, the mother of Rebecca Riley who was killed, four years ago was convicted on February 9th of second degree murder. The doctor who prescribed the girl three psychiatric drugs was granted immunity from prosecution and continues to practice.
This past December the prestigious British journal, Nature, published a commentary entitled "Cognitive Enhancers," in which the authors proposed reevaluating the ethics of using drugs that ostensibly improve the brain's performance.
Are there no heroes? Can you count on anyone these days without the distinct possibility that they will let you down in the future? The twin revelations this past week of John Edwards' acknowledgement of his affair and the frontpage New York Times story on child sexual abuse charges against America's preemminent pediatrician, Melvin Levine, devastated me.
Most parents have never heard of him but Joseph Biederman, head of Harvard's Massachusetts General Child Psychopharmacology Clinic, may be the most influential doctor when it comes to determining whether or not children are normal or mentally ill in America.
I only read Newsweek’s cover story from last week (May 26, 2008), “Growing Up Bipolar: Max’s World,” yesterday. The piece by Mary Carmichael relates in great detail the travails of a boy named Max who was diagnosed “bipolar” at age eighteen months by a Tufts University child psychiatrist. He is now ten and a half and by his parents’ reckoning he has been on 28 different psychiatric drugs. The article left me feeling profoundly depressed about my profession and what we are offering as help to children and their families today.
On April 21st, the American Heart Association (AHA) shocked families and professionals alike when it recommended that all kids that take or may take Ritalin should have an electrocardiogram (ECG). Stimulant drugs like Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall have been used in children for ADHD for 70 years. Why this recommendation now—and should you get one for your child if he/she takes one of these drugs?
In today's New York Times Education Life section, Charles Mcgrath's review, "Growing Up for Dummies" reviews two books, The Dumbest Generation and 20 Something Manifesto. Both implicate the boomer generation's failure to raise competent children.
The AACAP has formally requested that the NIMH reconvene another "consensus conference" on ADHD which will likely represent a formal coronation of the reigning pharmarchy currently ruling American culture.