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Latest News Around the Web

Trump Administration proposes eliminating essential mental health benefits

The New York Times (1/4, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that on Thursday, the Trump Administration unveiled “sweeping new rules that could make it easier for small businesses to band together and create health insurance plans that would be exempt from many of the consumer protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act.” According to the Labor Department, up to 11 million consumers “could find coverage under this proposal,” which would exempt small businesses from providing certain “‘essential health benefits’ like mental health care, emergency services, maternity and newborn care and prescription drugs.” The article says “consumer groups, state officials and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have strenuously opposed similar ideas for years.”

The Washington Post (1/4, Goldstein) reports that this proposal “would carry out the most significant part of an executive order that President Trump signed in October, directing the government to foster more alternative types of insurance.” Advocates maintain “the so-called association health plans would be less expensive, while critics – including the insurance industry – fear that they would promote substandard coverage and weaken the ACA’s already fragile insurance marketplaces.”

The Wall Street Journal (1/4, Armour, Subscription Publication) reports that this proposal is an attempt by the Trump Administration to roll back ACA provisions by using regulations. Critics warn that by excluding some types of coverage, the plans would be able to discriminate against certain groups, such as cancer patients.

Related Links:

— “Trump Proposes New Health Plan Options for Small Businesses,” ROBERT PEAR, New York Times, January 4, 2018.

Prevalence Of Autism Spectrum Disorders In The US May Have Reached A Plateau

In “Science Now,” the Los Angeles Times (1/2, Kaplan) reports investigators “have a new reason to believe that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the US has reached a plateau.” Their “evidence comes from the National Health Interview Survey, which polls American households about a variety of conditions.” In findings published Jan. 2 in a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “the research team found that 2.41% of US kids and teens had a form of autism between 2014 and 2016.” While the “prevalence rose slightly…from 2.24% in 2014 to 2.41% in 2015 and then 2.58% in 2016,” the rise was not “enough to be considered statistically significant.”

TIME (1/2, MacMillan) points out the study took into account “survey responses from a nationally representative sample of more than 30,000 children, ages 3 to 17, and their families.” The study did reveal variation in rates of autism by sub-groups, however. For example, “3.54% of boys were reported to have an autism spectrum disorder, compared to 1.22% of girls.” What’s more, “prevalence was 1.78% in Hispanic children, 2.36% in black children and 2.71% in white children.”

Related Links:

— “Autism spectrum disorders appear to have stabilized among U.S. kids and teens,” Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2018.

Many US Colleges Do Not Track Suicides Among Students

The AP (1/2, Binkley) reports almost half of the US’ largest public universities to do not keep records of suicides among their student populations. The AP says that in a recent inquiry, it found that among the 100 largest public universities in the US, “43 currently track suicides, including 27 that have consistently done so since 2007.” Most others, however, “said they don’t track suicides or could provide police reports for only a few cases known among campus administrators.” The piece adds that most data on suicides comes from the CDC, “which does not specifically track college suicides.”

Related Links:

— “Most big public colleges don’t track suicides, AP finds,” COLLIN BINKLEY, Associated Press, January 2, 2018.

Smoking Cigarettes During Pregnancy Associated With Increased Risk Of AD/HD in Child

Reuters (12/29) reported that women who smoke during pregnancy may increase their children’s risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a review of medical studies published in Pediatrics. The review found that mothers who did smoke while pregnant “had an overall 60 percent higher risk of having a child with AD/HD compared to women who didn’t smoke,” with even higher rates for heavy smokers.

Related Links:

— “Cigarette smoking during pregnancy linked to ADHD risk in offspring,” Cheryl Pleitzman Weinstock, , December 29, 2017.

Teens exposed to traumatic events may have higher risk for headaches, migraines

Reuters (1/2, Crist) reports that according to a study published online in the journal Neurology, “teens exposed to traumatic or terror events may have a higher risk for weekly and daily migraines.” The study followed 213 survivors of a 2011 terrorist attack. The researchers examined “recurrent migraines and tension-type headaches” among the group, ages 13 to 20, and “found the terror attack survivors reported many recurring tension-type headaches and migraines.” Additionally, they noted that “female survivors reported three times more weekly or daily headaches than similar young women in the general population in Norway.”

Related Links:

— “Traumatic events increase headaches and migraines,” Carolyn Crist, Reuters, January 2, 2018.

Foundation News

Foundation’s Oral History Project To Go Online

As reported in the Maryland Psychiatric Society News, the Foundation’s Oral History Project is well on its way. The project is designed to collect fascinating stories about psychiatrists from different backgrounds who entered a career path that brought them to Maryland. There are nineteen interviews already archived at MPS, and the Foundation is seeking more. You can find more information about the project as well as get information on contacting the Foundation here:

Oral History Project

Latest Foundation Radio Ad Discusses Police Training and the Mentally Ill

The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, Inc.’s latest public service announcement on local Maryland radio stations focuses on how police in Baltimore are being trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of a whole range of mental health conditions and hopefully avoid tragedies.

Training helps police help the mentally illTraining helps police help the mentally ill

You can listen to the ad using the player in the upper right of the website’s homepage. All past public service spots are also available for listening or to download on our Radio Advertisements page.

New Foundation PSA Examines College and Drug Use

The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, Inc.’s latest public service announcement on local Maryland radio stations. When does most drug abuse start in college? Right now – finals and summer. According to studies half a million students started drug and alcohol abuse just in the past year. The PSA examines prevention and treatment, especially at this early age.

College and First Use of Drugs and AlcoholCollege and First Use of Drugs and Alcohol, MP3, 2.4MB

You can listen to the ad using the player in the upper right of the website’s homepage. All past public service spots are also available for listening or to download on our Radio Advertisements page.

John Lion, M.D. Wins 2017 Anti-Stigma Advocacy Award

The Board of Directors of the Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry voted in February to present its 2017 Anti-Stigma Advocacy Award to Dr. John Lion for his piece, “Steadfast talking is the only cure for suicide” published December 18, 2016 in the Baltimore Sun. The board felt it reassured readers that even serious mental illness like depression can be overcome, even if there are setbacks along the way that evoke suicidal thoughts.

The award was established to recognize the article that best fulfills the following goals:

Shares with the public their experience with mental illness in themselves, a family member, or simply in the community.
Helps others to overcome their inability to talk about mental illness or their own mental illness.
Imparts particularly insightful observations on the general subject of mental illness.
A Maryland author and/or newspaper is preferred.

The award carries a $500 prize which the foundation plans to award at the April 27 Maryland Psychiatric Society annual meeting. The 2016 winner was Amy Marlow, whose article “My dad killed himself when I was 13. He hid his depression. I won’t hide mine.” was published February 9, 2016 in the Washington Post.

Amazon Smile Celebrates With Extra Donations For Organizations

Amazon celebrated its #1 ranking in customer satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) On March 16th, 2017. The ACSI surveyed over 10,000 customers to measure perceptions of quality and value across retailers nationwide. March 16th only, Amazon donated 5% (10 times the usual donation rate) of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Maryland Foundation For Psychiatry Inc.

While the amount is lower now, you can still make your purchases count at smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1701356.