Mental Health

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Mental Health

Reversible Dementia in the Elderly

The New Old Age blog at the NYTimes — hadn’t read it before, but I like it — has a post about reversible causes of cognitive decline in the elderly. I think they make a really good point: there are reversible causes to senility. Not all mental decline in the elderly is “normal” and certainly…

Did you catch this story? A man in Illinois walks into a church and shoots the pastor. After killing the pastor, his gun jams, he grabs a knife and starts stabbing himself. At which point, he is tackled by two guys and remanded into custody. Now his lawyer is claiming that his mental status was…

Sedating the Demented

There was a very sad article in the NYTimes about the regular practice in some long-term care facilities of treating demented patients with anti-psychotic medications like Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa: The use of antipsychotic drugs to tamp down the agitation, combative behavior and outbursts of dementia patients has soared, especially in the elderly. Sales of…

Science and Shakespeare

I had the privilege of seeing Hamlet last night at Shakespeare in the Park. I say the privilege because the production was as usual excellent. For those of you who don’t know, it is a New York tradition for the Public Theater to host plays by Shakespeare — usually two — over the summer free…

Internet addiction?

Mind Hacks discusses an editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry that argues that the DSM-IV — the diagnostic manual that psychiatrists use to diagnose mental disorders — should include internet addiction. Vaughan is quite legitimately skeptical: Rather curiously, the editorial mentions the figure that 86% of people with ‘internet addiction’ have another mental illness.…

I was distressed to wake up this morning to coverage of another shooting, this time in a mall in Omaha. A teenager named Robert Hawkins went into the mall and shot 12 people, killing 8 thus far, and then shot himself. The scene resembled the Virginia Tech shooting in several regards, particularly because there is…

A great article in the NYTimes about the debate over a sensory integration disorder: The problem, these therapists say, is in the brain, which is not properly integrating the onslaught of information coming through the senses, often causing anxiety, tantrums and problems in the classroom. Such difficulties, while common in children with developmental disorders like…

The murders at Virginia Tech are horrible and tragic, but they have also spawned a lot of hysterical claims. I think that is why I haven’t talked about them. I have no desire to get swept up in that hysteria. Last night on NPR, they interviewed Dr. Russ Federman, director of counseling at the University…

Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder, in spite of what you might think from the ridiculous ads on television. RLS is a syndrome where the individual has weird sensations in their legs while they are trying to relax. These sensations can be just unpleasant, or they can be quite painful. The result is that…

Trushina et al from the Mayo Clinic have made a big advance in understanding the etiology of Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is a progressive and ultimately fatal disease that is characterized by uncontrollable limb movements and progressive dementia and psychosis. It is 100% penetrant and shows autosomal dominant inheritance in the causative gene called Huntingtin.…