Can children really have bipolar disorder?

by James Baker, MD

Using the diagnosis “bipolar disorder” for children with problems in mood has been controversial ever since a surge in its use in the mid-1990’s.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times gives the pros and cons on the use of “bipolar disorder” in children through the opinions of two psychiatrists on opposite sides of the controversy.

The problem with using “bipolar” is that it requires a too-loose interpretation …

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Virtual colonoscopy access may not reduce lower endoscopy rates

by John Gever

Easy access to CT colonoscopy may not reduce the number of conventional colonoscopies performed.

After the University of Wisconsin’s (UW) health system persuaded local insurers to cover the imaging-based screens in 2004, there was little sign that patients preferred them to standard endoscopic exams, according to Patrick Pfau, MD, the university’s director of clinical gastroenterology.

Mean quarterly counts of optical colonoscopies performed at UW rose from 1,104 in 2003 to …

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Medical imaging is increasing in cancer patients

by Kristina Fiore

Medical imaging for cancer patients and resulting costs have increased over the last decade, particularly in positron emission tomography (PET), researchers have found.

Annually, use of the diagnostic screen rose significantly between 1999 and 2006 — ranging from 36% in lung cancer to 54% in breast cancer, Kevin A. Schulman, MD, of Duke University, and colleagues reported in the April 29 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Imaging costs also …

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Female genital cutting complications

by Todd Neale

Clinicians should actively persuade families not to participate in the ritual cutting of female genitalia, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged.

However, the organization suggested that legislatures and doctors might ultimately consider legalizing ritual “nicks” to satisfy cultural or religious demands without more serious and problematic cutting.

The centuries-old practice, which is illegal in the U.S. and several other developed countries, carries with it a host of physical and psychological …

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Body mass index (BMI) may not measure obesity accurately

by Kristina Fiore

The scale of the obesity epidemic may be much worse than currently believed, because the usual measure, body mass index (BMI), is a very insensitive measure of excess body fat, researchers said.

In a single-center study, 66% of patients classified as obese on the basis of DEXA scanning had BMI values in the nonobese range, according to Eric Braverman, MD, of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Among more …

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