I was doing a little research into the new depression screening guidelines issued by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) when I ran across an article about a newer, more expensive antidepressant called Brintellix (vortioxetine).
It costs about $300 for 30 tablets, and is apparently no better at treating depression than the plethora of other cheaper drugs already out there, so it hasn’t been a best seller for its manufacturer, Lundbeck, Inc.
But Lundbeck and its partner Takeda Pharmaceutical hope to change that by convincing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week that Brintellix is better than … Continue reading
I like playing the brain games of Lumosity online and on my phone.
I like puzzles and words games in general, and Lumosity offers a fun and convenient way to play and keep track of my improvement in a variety of challenges.
I’ve never paid the costly $15 a month subscription, because I’ve never bought into the idea that playing these “brain games”—Lumosity calls it “brain training”—by themselves is enough to prevent dementia as I age.
But many people, apparently, were influenced by Lumosity’s advertising.
Two weeks ago, the creators of Lumosity settled a $50 million lawsuit with the Federal … Continue reading
November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
It’s hard to find anyone who isn’t aware of—and scared of—dementia**. Or who hasn’t had a family member or friend stricken by it.
Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that damages not only the individual, but family and friends, as well, especially the primary care giver—most often the spouse.
Adding insult to injury is the incredible cost of getting help. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirms what many already know—Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia cost families way more than almost any other disease.
Why? Cancer is one of … Continue reading
A few weeks ago I posted about some simple ways to deal with stress and panic attacks, and I mentioned that I had received an adult coloring book from a friend and thought it was a great way to focus and relax my mind.
Apparently other people think so, too!
I just read this article in The Atlantic: The Zen of Adult Coloring Books
Several trend pieces about adult coloring books lump them in with other “childish” activities that grown-ups are apparently engaging in to regress back to their simpler youth, like adult preschool and adult summer camp. But
… Continue reading
I know so many people taking antidepressants. And they talk about it quite openly, with me and with each other.
“What are you taking? Zoloft? Oh, I tried that but didn’t like it. Celexa works better for me.”
I’m sure none of these people went to his or her (mostly her) doctor and got a prescription for no reason whatsoever. But it’s pretty hard to deny that antidepressant use in this country has skyrocketed over the last two decades, which begs the question: Is everyone really that depressed?
No. A recent study in The Journal of Clinical Psychology looked at … Continue reading
I read a disturbing bit of news a couple of weeks ago: Antipsychotic use rising among teens and young adults.
A growing number of teens and young adults are being prescribed antipsychotics, a new study suggests.
In particular, it appears they’re being used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – a condition for which the powerful drugs are not approved.
The study mentioned was recently published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Antipsychotics include such heavily-marketed drugs as Abilify (aripiprazole), Risperdal (risperidone), Seroquel (quetiapine) and Zyprexa (olanzapine).
… Continue reading
Earlier this year, I posted about the study out of Harvard that showed headaches are being overtreated in America.
Over a 10-year period, the number of patients being referred to specialists, or sent for special diagnostic tests, has doubled.
With more CT scans and MRIs, and more prescriptions medications, headaches are costly. Also, all the extra tests and drugs don’t necessarily help, and they might just cause more problems with side effects.
Related post: Home remedies for headaches
Luckily, some headache specialists are leaning away from the trend to overtreat, and are prescribing exercise and dietary changes instead of drugs. … Continue reading
There is nothing the major pharmaceutical companies fear more than their best-selling drugs going off patent.
That’s when generic versions of popular (and pricey) drugs become available and the drug companies have to kiss their billions of dollars in sales goodbye.
So it’s no wonder that over the years they have figured out more ways to either extend their patents by tweaking a drug (New and Improved!!) or by stalling the release of a competing generic (companies can get 30-month delays if they show the generic drug might infringe on a later patent).
Patients who take the Alzheimer’s … Continue reading
I’ve posted many times about the problems with the multi-billion-dollar supplement industry, and there was a good Op-Ed piece on Live Science yesterday that supported my own opinion: These 5 Supplements Do Nothing For Alzheimer’s, Despite Claims
The article was co-written by two physicians, both geriatric (aging) specialists.
The Latin axiom “caveat emptor,” let the buyer beware, applies to people of all ages. But in our medical practices, we have witnessed the incredible dependence elderly patients have on herbal supplements to help them (in their minds, at least) prevent and manage chronic illness.
When we see patients, we ask them
… Continue reading
Use it or lose it
There are several pieces of advice for helping prevent or delay age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Don’t smoke
- Eat healthy, heart-friendly foods
- Challenge your brain
Keeping your brain active and fit can be especially fun and rewarding, as it usually involves learning something new. Examples of good brain-stretchers are:
- Learning a foreign language
- Learning to play an instrument
- Learning to dance, especially a complicated dance such as ballroom or folk dancing
- Playing games
I love to play games. Board games, card games, word games or video games. You can play with others, which also … Continue reading