Medication Misuse a Rising Problem in Seniors: Experts

Medication misuse is an increasing problem in seniors as Baby Boomers age, according to experts. Many older patients develop addictions to prescription drugs, says David Oslin, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Older patients often misuse drugs because they continue to take them long after the medications stop being effective, Dr. Oslin told The Wall Street Journal. “Unfortunately, it’s much easier to take a pill than to exercise or routinely train health-care workers to properly treat the pain, anxiety, and insomnia often experienced by older adults,” he said.

Full story of  Senior medication abuse at drugfree.org

CDC: 6% of teens take psychotropic drugs

The debate around adolescents and psychotropic drug use may be quieted – ever so slightly – by new data.

More than 6% of adolescents reported using psychotropic medications during the past month, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Six percent is pretty much what I would expect for the prescription of psychotropic medications based on what we know about new disorders and how prevalent they would be among adolescents,” said Bruce Jonas, a mental health epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC, who compiled the data.

Psychotropic medications are used to alter the mood, behavior or overall functioning of persons with certain mental health conditions.

According to the survey, which accounts for medication use between 2005-2010, adolescents were evenly split between taking antidepressants (3.2%) and drugs to address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (3.2%), with relatively smaller numbers reporting taking drugs to treat conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

About 8% of 12-17 year olds in the United States have major depression, while about 11% of 4-17 year olds are diagnosed with ADHD, according to federal data.

Full story of teens on psychotropic drugs at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Can brain scientists read your mind?

What are you thinking about? You wouldn’t always want the answer to that question available to others, but science may be heading in that direction.

For now, researchers are far from being able to tap into your thoughts. But a new study shows how, just by looking at brain activity, it may be possible to see whether or not you’re thinking about numbers.

“The patient doesn’t need to talk to you. They can think about numbers and you can see that red mark (corresponding with activity in a particular brain region) go up,” said Dr. Josef Parvizi, associate professor of neurology at the Stanford University Medical Center and senior author of the study. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
Take note, this study was done on only three people with uncontrolled seizures – that’s a tiny sliver of humanity. But Parvizi said most studies on patients with intracranial electrodes only involve two to five participants, since recruitment is so difficult.

These patients had electrodes implanted in their brains to locate the source of their seizures. Surgeons perform this procedure to isolate or remove the area where seizures begin.

The researchers used these electrodes that had been implanted for locating seizures to investigate brain activity in relation to thinking about numbers, particularly in the parietal lobe. In previous studies, this brain area has been shown to be important to a person’s ability to do numerical calculations.

Full story of scientists reading the mind at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education