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Latest News Around the Web

New York City Public Defender Describes Personal Experience Of His Psychotic Break

In an opinion piece in the New York Times (9/20, McDermott, Subscription Publication), attorney Zack McDermott, a 26-year old public defender in New York City, describes his personal experience of his psychotic break while he was working at the Legal Aid Society of New York. He discusses his behaviors, feelings, and support system as he returned to work after embarrassing himself at a happy hour event.

McDermott, who was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, points out that 40 percent of inmates at Rikers Island suffer from mental illness, and says that “jails have become our de facto mental health facilities.”

Related Links:

— “The ‘Madman’ Is Back in the Building,” Zack Mcdermott, New York Times, September 20, 2017.

FDA Issues Warning On Dangers Of Mixing Opioid Addiction Medications, Other Treatments

The AP (9/20, Johnson) reports the FDA on Wednesday issued a new set of warnings on the dangers of combining prescription treatments for opioid addiction with anti-anxiety medicines and other medications. According to the FDA, mixing the drugs leads to slowed or difficulties with breathing and impaired cognitive function. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in a statement accompanying the warning, “Careful management of the patient and coordination of care is recommended” over denying opioid addicts the use of treatment with methadone or buprenorphine.

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Football Participation Before Age 12 Linked With Future Mood And Behavior Problems

The Washington Post (9/19, Maese) reports that “children who play football before age 12” later experience “mood and behavior problems” at “significantly higher” rates than those who begin playing football when older, according to a new studypublished in Nature’s Translational Psychiatry. Those who began their football participation before turning 12 had twice the rate of “problems with behavior regulation, apathy, and executive functioning” and “were three times more likely…to experience symptoms of depression,” the Post says the study found.

The New York Times (9/19, Belson, Subscription Publication) says the research is likely to contribute “to the debate over when, or even if, children should be allowed to begin playing tackle football.” The Times adds that the study “was based on a sample of 214 former players” averaging 51 years of age, and 68 of the athletes played in the NFL.

USA Today (9/19, Perez) reports that the study’s lead author, postdoctoral fellow Michael Alosco of the Boston University School of Medicine, said in a statement, “This study adds to growing research suggesting that incurring repeated head impacts through tackle football before the age of 12 can lead to a greater risk for short- and long-term neurological consequences.”

The New York Daily News (9/19, Red) says the study concluded, “Youth exposure to football may have long-term neurobehavioral consequences. Additional research studies, especially large cohort longitudinal studies, are needed to better understand the potential long-term clinical implications of youth American football to inform policy and safety decision-making.”

STAT (9/19, Tedeschi) quotes one of the study’s co-authors, Robert Stern, as saying the research has “tons of limitations” and lacks sufficient evidence to prove football was the cause of the athletes’ behavioral problems. Nonetheless, Stern said the research was enough to raise the question, “Does it make sense for my kid to be hitting his head several hundred times per season?”

TIME (9/19, Gregory) says the study’s release comes amid nationwide reports of declining youth football participation due to safety concerns.

Related Links:

— “Study shows playing football before age 12 can lead to mood and behavior issues,” Rick Maese, Washington Post, September 19, 2017.

Attorneys General Announce Plan To Request Insurers Prioritize Non-Opioid Pain Medications, Treatment

The AP (9/18, Mulvihill, Raby) reports a 37-state coalition of attorneys general “asked health insurers Monday to encourage pain treatment through means other than prescriptions for opioid” pain medications, an effort they are conducting by sending letters to companies to request they prioritize alternative treatments.

Related Links:

— “States ask insurers to prioritize non-opioid pain treatment,” GEOFF MULVIHILL and JOHN RABY, AP via Washington Times, September 18, 2017.

Folic Acid Supplements During Pregnancy Makes It Less Likely To Have Autisitic Children

Reuters (9/18, Cohen) reports women who took folic acid supplements during their pregnancies were less likely to have children with autism even when the mothers were exposed to pesticides that have been linked to the disorder, according to a 510-child study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study suggests that “folic acid might reduce, though not eliminate, an increased risk of autism associated with maternal pesticide exposure.”

Related Links:

— “Pregnant moms who take folic acid cut autism risk from pesticides,” Ronnie Cohen, Reuters, September 18, 2017.

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