Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hyping Genes

7/31/13. Jerome Kagan, emeritus professor of psychology at Harvard University, discusses the media and sometimes scientists exaggeration of the role of genes in human behavior.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Does ADHD Medication Boost School Grades?


My response:

To use a Motown analogy, stimulant medications to treat ADHD helps the driver clean off his windshield, and adjust his brakes and steering wheel. The medicated ADHD driver is able to filter out external distractions, stay on the road without impulsively taking wrong exits, and organize his travel to match his goals.

Shirley S. Wang (“ADHD Drugs Don’t Boost Kids Grades, Studies Find) gives an honest rendering of these studies and helps to answer the questions this article raises.

Ms. Wang states “…these findings suggest that medication alone isn’t enough to improve academic performance. The medicine may help with focus, but it doesn’t help with deciding what to focus on….Rather, it needs to be coupled with skill training, such as learning how to organize or prioritize.”

 ADHD, like other disorders of mental life, is not an isolated set of problems but is deeply woven into the developmental course of the patient.

ADHD is a disorder the patient has (a disorder in the “hard drive”--- the triad of distractibility, restlessness, and impulsivity, sometimes requiring medicine). ADHD is a disorder the patient is (may reflect genetic temperamental predispositions to emotional reactivity, and requiring help for the patient to gain insight into his personality and sensitivities --- to learn his psychological “trick knees)”. ADHD is a disorder that a patient does (may be associated with substance abuse, requiring counseling, and family support to stop excess drinking or taking illegal drugs). ADHD is a disorder of what the patient encounters --- such as a disorganized ADHD parent, or a family trauma, requiring the ADHD patient to seek psychological therapy to fix his software, to reroute faulty directions, revise faulty attitudes and emotions and learn how to enjoy being alive.

No wonder not all kids get a boost to their grades from ADHD drugs. A comprehensive treatment plan – more than only medication –  tailored to the unique child, family, predicaments and life-stories sets the foundation for improved academic work to follow, among other important, sometimes life-saving, developmental achievements.


Existential Psychopharmacology

7/10/13. Psychiatrist Nassir Ghaemi writes a tribute to his remarkable teacher.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Change Your Steps in the Stepfamily Dance

The Empty Nest and Marriage


When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?
--- The Beatles

Evidence, Not Consensus, is What Really Counts

7/7/13. Matt Ridley's last article after a three-year run in the WSJ. His insights will be missed.,-but-not-because-it's-a-crowd.aspx

The Joy of Old Age (No Kidding)

7/7/13. Oliver Sacks, Professor of Neurology, turns four score.