Treating Childhood Depression

There are behavioral components to each psychological disorder like depression and others.

Children that have depression have less enthusiasm and a lack of energy. They can be irritable, withdrawn, and they may sulk. These children also feel restless, anxious, and have sadness. Children may do poorly in school or lose interest in activities that they enjoyed before.

Many parents feel that medication is the answer for a depression-related problem, but this isn’t the case. The FDA hasn’t approved and drugs for the sole treatment of “behavior problems.” When any drug is FDA approved for depression either for adult or children, it’s to treat the actually illness and not the behaviors that may come with it.

Director of FDA’s Division of Psychiatry Products, Mitchell Mathis, M.D., is a psychiatrist and says that there are many parts to mental illness. Drug companies look at the symptoms and this is what parents worry about. The FDA doesn’t look at just one part of the illness.

The Treatment of Depression

A professional diagnosis is the first step to treating and type of depression. Many children that are grouchy, moody, or feel misunderstood don’t have depression and don’t need any type of drug.

There is only about 11% of adolescents that have depression by the age of 18 says the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Before puberty, both boys and girls have the same incidents of depression. Once adolescence is over, girls are twice likely to have depression when compared to boys and it continues to menopause. This is once clue that depression might be hormonal in nature, but scientists don’t know how hormones impact the brain exactly according to Acting Deputy Director of FDA’s Division of Psychiatry Products, Tiffany R. Farchione, M.D.

It’s difficult to tell if the child is just having a difficult time, or is actually depressed. Symptoms and signs of depression change and the child grows and the brain develops. It takes time to get a diagnosis because the doctor can only get a snapshot of what is going on with the child.

When you look at psychiatry, it’s easier to treat adults because you have more history with an adult and you can draw information from the patterns. When you look at children you have less information you can draw from. There’s usually other reasons that are looked at because we don’t want to label the child with some type lifetime disorder. We look at the severity of the issue before any type of medication is given.

The Need for Proper Care

The next step is to work on a treatment for the condition. The severity of the illness will be a factor as to what treatments are going to be used. Medication and psychotherapy are often used and the FDA has approved two drugs which are escitalopram (Lexapro) and fluoxetine (Prozac) to treat depression in young people. Children age 8 and older are approved for Prozac and for children aged 12 and older, Lexapro is approved.

There needs to be more pediatric studies as antidepressants that are approved for adults haven’t been approved for use with children. If there’s a treatment that has bene shown to work on children it leads to optimism because there aren’t a lot of treatments available currently.

Psoriasis Treatments

As scientists learn more about psoriasis, there are more therapeutic treatment options for those that have this skin disease.

FDA dermatologist, Melinda L. McCord, M.D says that as we learn more about this disease, we gain the tools necessary to develop more effective treatments as we learn the factors that cause it.

In the past, the treatment for psoriasis was previously a gradual step-by-step approach. Today, doctors look to treat it at the first visit. There are systemic therapies as well as phototherapy o which are based on the needs of each individual patient.

McCord says that the treatment options offered tomorrow will be more personalized because new drugs in development will target individual areas of the immune system.

Psoriasis and Personalized Medicine

Psoriasis causes inflammation and a rapid overproduction of skin cells so it’s an immune system disorder. It creates pain, swelling, scaling, redness, and heat. There are about 7.5 million Americans that have it. It can also create emotional as well as physical discomfort.

The therapies for psoriasis include:

  • Topical treatment which is medication applied to the skin
  • Phototherapy or light treatment
  • Systemic therapy which is injection or orally taking medications

Psoriasis has no cure so the goals of the treatments are to reduce the inflammation and to keep the skin cells from growing rapidly.

In the past, it was treated using a “step-wise approach.” This that had a mild case of the condition were given topical therapies by doctors and if there was no response to that, they received other treatments like phototherapy or systemic therapy. Those that had medium to severe psoriasis were treated with phototherapy or traditional systemic therapies. Common drugs used were methotrexate and cyclosporine, and then biological therapies were used which work on the immune system.

Over the years the strategy has changed to more of an approach that’s patent specific. Doctors and patients choose a treatment based upon the severity of the disease, the treatments effectiveness, risk factors, lifestyle considerations and associated diseases called co-morbidities.

The FDA has recently approved a biologic product for treating the condition which is called Stelara (ustekinumab). This contains an antibody produced in a laboratory and targets a specific part of the immune system. It blocks the action of two proteins which are interleukin 23, and 12. These contribute to inflammation and the overproduction of skin cells. Since these proteins are targeted, ustekinumab interrupts inflammation pathways.

Future drugs will target different pathways of the immune system which cause inflammation. Researchers are looking at interleukin 17 as well as molecules and proteins that interrupt cellular signaling. This can lead to the spread of inflammation issues.

McCord says that as we learn about immune pathways that leads to the development of psoriasis, we are able to target molecules and mare better therapeutic options available to those that have the condition. By understanding the disease, we can target those specific factors causing it.

There is no cure for psoriasis as it’s a chronic condition. Treatments may have to be used for a long time. The FDA therapies for the condition have bene evaluated and looked at over a long time frame

Diet Without Carbs – How it Works?

Obesity being one of the major health problems today, diet charts and exercise routines have become a part and parcel of everyday life. But are the carbs really responsible for weight gain? There are various controversies regarding carb-free diet often discussed in weight-loss discussion forums but we will reveal the actual truth about reducing carb intake for weight loss.

Importance of the different nutrients to maintain health

We have all learned that our meals should contain balanced amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, iron, calcium and other nutrients so that the body can carry out all its functions properly and also fight against diseases.

Each nutrient has some specific work like body and muscle building, protecting from diseases and the like. Carbohydrates are energy givers and are therefore an essential nutrient that one must consume to get sufficient energy to carry out the daily activities efficiently.

Why do we want to go for diets without carbs then? Do they really increase weight and lead to diseases like obesity, heart attacks, etc.? Let us now examine what types of carbs should be omitted to stay healthy.

Relation between low-carb diet and weight loss

Carbs are available in foods like fruits, vegetables, breads, pastas and dairy products. These also contain certain vitamins and minerals. Hence such carbohydrates are necessary elements.

Actually, what doctors and dieticians advice is to avoid processed carbs and fats. To reduce weight, it is good to eliminate simple sugars like aerated drinks like sodas and colas, candies, cakes, fried foods, snacks, and burgers and salads with cheesy dressings that have extra saturated fats. These types of carbohydrates get stored in most cases and increase weight.

What is the best type of diet without carbs?

A balanced weight loss diet that is low in carbs should contain more of leafy vegetables and fresh fruits with fibers not pastas or burger breads, instead whole wheat breads, corn tortillas, brown rice and other low fat foods like chicken and fish like salmon and tuna.

All these foods contain the right amounts of carbohydrates that are good for health and are necessary to generate energy. If you intend to lose weight, maintain a low-fat diet while including only the necessary nutrients.

Nowadays, carb blockers have been found to be useful as these natural supplements help to block the absorption of sugar and starch thereby controlling weight gain. However, before going for any such natural carb blocker it is important to consult your physician. Exercises and carb-free diet help to reduce weight effectively.