Articles, Leading Stories

May 1st, 2014

Study: Neurofeedback helpful for ADHD

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of children aged 4-17 diagnosed with ADHD in the past 10 years has risen dramatically, from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 11 percent by 2011. It is a number that has researchers scrambling to find ways to treat these children in ways that may help them avoid medication and its potential side effects. “The CDC now shows the prevalence at 11 percent. That really is a lot of people,” says Naomi Steiner, M.D., developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. “There has been a gap in non-pharmaceutical [More]

May 1st, 2014

Online tool helps dieters lose weight

By Susan Gonsalves

A Web-based commercial weight loss program that pairs financial incentives with social influence has shown positive results, according to a recent study conducted by Miriam Hospital researchers. The findings were published in the February issue of JMIR Serious Games. Tricia Leahey, Ph.D., assistant professor of research at the hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Program and Brown Medical School, studied nearly 40,000 players of the online game, DietBet over a seven-month period from December 2012 to July 2013. On DietBet.com, players join a game to lose weight while betting on themselves. They have four weeks to lose at least four [More]

May 1st, 2014

Research looks at benefits of online game

By Susan Gonsalves

Age has an impact on the benefits people think they derive from playing the popular online game Bejeweled Blitz. Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., a professor of psychology at UMass Amherst and undergraduate students Stacy Ellenberg and Kyoko Akimoto tracked survey answers from 10,000 adults aged 18 to 80 recruited through the Facebook game’s publisher PopCap games and Whitbourne’s blog. Results were published in the December 2013 issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. Whitbourne notes that five million people play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. It is a three-match game with fast changing visual displays and a time element to it. [More]

May 1st, 2014

New Riverview leader hopes to bring new direction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After a tumultuous few months, the mental health system in Maine will have new life breathed into it in the person of Robert Jay Harper, a former patient advocate with the Disability Rights Center, who was recently named acting superintendent at the Riverview Psychiatric Center, the state-run mental health hospital in Augusta. The hospital lost accreditation in October, losing nearly $20 million dollars in federal funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) after surveyors found issues with safety and patient rights. The system has had a number of concerns raised about procedure and safety over the years, [More]

April 1st, 2014

Extreme weight loss: media’s misplaced message

By Phyllis Hanlon

Thin is in. Or so various media sources would have the general public believe. Magazines, newspapers and now reality shows are promoting the message that excessive dieting and exercise regimens can help achieve unrealistic body images. While some individuals may experience weight loss, what is the ultimate price? Stuart Koman, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Walden Center and Walden Behavioral Care, indicates that television networks have tapped into the major American preoccupation with food and weight. “When you think about what’s going on in our society, it’s a national obsession. You can’t go anywhere without being bombarded with the [More]

April 1st, 2014

Privileges quest fizzles

By Catherine Robertson Souter

At a time when mental health care and health insurance have taken center stage in the American dialogue, it can be shocking to find that patients may find basic access to mental health care increasingly difficult. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that the number of psychiatrists who accept insurance payments has dropped, which could leave greater numbers of less-affluent clients without services. In the five years from 2005 to 2010, private insurance acceptance dropped 17 percent, to 55 percent of total psychiatrists. The acceptance of Medicare is now at 55 [More]

April 1st, 2014

Consumer protection bill filed to restrict use of ‘psychotherapist’

By Pamela Berard

Proposed Massachusetts legislation would restrict use of the terms “psychotherapist” or “psychotherapy” to only those professionals licensed with “psychotherapy” included in their statutory scope of practice. “An Act to Protect Psychotherapy Patients” (Bill H. 3466), submitted by Rep. Ruth B. Balser (D-Newton), states that the division of professional licensure may, after a consent agreement between the parties or after an opportunity for an adjudicatory hearing, assess and collect a civil administrative penalty for people who represent themselves to the public as “psychotherapists” or represent their services as “psychotherapy” unless they are currently licensed by the board of registration in medicine, [More]

April 1st, 2014

Bill to expand veterans’ court is revised

By Rivkela Brodsky

A $1.16 million proposal to expand Maine’s veterans’ court statewide has been revised to a $40,000 plan to cover a grant expiring at the end of June, says Rep. Lori Fowle (D-Vassalboro), who introduced the bill. “The Judiciary was asked to put a physical note on an amount,” she says. “They never consulted with me, so they priced it as if it was going to go statewide…which was not my intent of expansion.” Fowle says she was hoping for a smaller expansion – one or two more veterans’ courts than the one in Kennebec County. “I felt there was a [More]

April 1st, 2014

Study reports adolescent psychotropic drug use

By Rivkela Brodsky

About six percent of teens use psychotropic drugs, mostly antidepressants and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medications, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, released in December by the CDC, shows 6.3 percent of adolescents aged 12-19 saying they have taken any psychotropic medication within the last month, according to data collected using National Health and Nutrition  Examination Survey data from 2005-2010. The study shows 4.5 percent reporting taking one psychotropic medication, while 1.8 percent reporting taking two or more drugs. Of that, the use of antidepressants and ADHD medication was highest, each [More]

April 1st, 2014

Stress in America 2013 focuses on teens

By Phyllis Hanlon

The American Psychological Association recently released the results of Stress in America™ 2013, which for the first time focused on teens. The survey “portrays a picture of high stress and ineffective coping mechanisms that appear to be ingrained in our culture, perpetuating lifestyles and behaviors for future generations.” Specifically, the survey indicates that teens report stress levels during the school year that exceed what they believe to be healthy. Teens are more likely than adults to report a slight impact on their physical or mental health or none at all. However, teens described emotional and physical symptoms of stress that [More]

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