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Bipolar News

May 24, 2006

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Study Identifies Predictors Of Bipolar Disorder Risk
Medical News Today
A new study presented today at the159th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in Toronto, Canada identified five predictors for bipolar disorder risk in patients who have been unsuccessfully treated with antidepressants.

When More Medicine Is Less
A Dartmouth study finds a greater risk of death among patients treated in high-cost hospitals and clinics -- and highlights conflicts of interest

Treating Both Poles of Bipolar Disorder: Pivotal Study Confirms Potential of Quetiapine as First Aty
Antara News
The results of a pivotal study confirm the potential of quetiapine fumarate (SEROQUEL) as a monotherapy (treatment with a single antipsychotic medicine) for acute bipolar depression.

New tool identifies those at risk of of bipolar disorder
According to a new study researchers have identified five predictors for bipolar disorder risk in patients who have been unsuccessfully treated with antidepressants.

Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder: Coping with a crippling mental divide
La Crosse Tribune
Pam Maus has tried to commit suicide many times, mostly by an overdose of pills. The 41-year-old La Crosse woman has been in and out of state hospitals.

Prosecutors back air marshals in shooting
USA Today
Two federal air marshals were justified in fatally shooting an airline passenger at Miami International Airport in December and will not be charged with any crime, authorities have concluded.

AstraZeneca: Seroquel again shown to cut depressive symptoms
India Daily
AstraZeneca Plc. said Tuesday results from a study have shown that patients with bipolar I and II disorders who took Seroquel showed significant improvement in measures of depressive symptoms, confirming results of an earlier study.

No Charges for Marshals in Airport Shooting
Los Angeles Times
Two federal air marshals were justified in killing an airline passenger at Miami International Airport in December and will not be charged with any crime, authorities concluded.

Valley struggles with severe, chronic shortage of child psychiatrists: Region has barely one-quarter of the recommended number.

Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA); 5/22/2006

Byline: Barbara Anderson

May 22--Waiting months for a 15-minute visit with a child psychiatrist is a fact of life for mentally ill children in the central San Joaquin Valley. With less than four doctors for every 100,000 youths, the lucky get appointments. For many parents, the choice either is to take their children out of town for the specialized care they need or hope pediatricians and family doctors who don't have intensive psychiatric training can help. Before she found a child psychiatrist in Fresno, Kristen Martinez took her daughter, Makenna Martinez, 10, to Stanford University Medical Center two or three times a month to see psychiatrists who could treat her bipolar disorder. Martinez, co-director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Fresno, said: "If there are any doctors, the waiting list is so long and you have to have private insurance." The problem finding doctors trained to treat children with severe mental illness isn't expected to get better any time soon.

Nationwide shortages of child psychiatrists mean doctors can choose where they practice. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists estimates the country has only about 7,000 child psychiatrists but needs about 30,000. The shortage is acute in the Valley, where only 19 child psychiatrists practice. To meet a national goal of 14.8 doctors for every 100,000 children, the Valley would need 75 doctors.

Efforts to encourage people to go into child psychiatry are under way nationwide, including legislation for loan forgiveness. The Valley has made some inroads in attracting psychiatrists, but recruiting and retaining them remains a problem. The average child psychiatrist changes jobs every two years in the Valley, which disrupts children's care, says Dr. Karen Kraus, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and coordinator of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education Program. Obstacles to attracting child psychiatrists: The Valley has no hospital for doctors to send children who are severely ill and in need of around-the-clock care. Work loads are heavy, there is no well-organized system for treating children, and the area is professionally isolating. Efforts to build a psychiatric hospital for children in Visalia are moving along, but not as fast as some would hope. A hospital would be a recruiting tool to attract child psychiatrists and would allow the Valley to train new doctors who might choose to stay in the Valley. Lindsay Mann, chief executive officer at Kaweah Delta District Hospital, said this month that a planned 16-bed psychiatric hospital for adolescents could open in early winter "if things move forward expeditiously." But last week, Mann was less optimistic after a meeting was canceled to discuss contracts between the hospital and Valley counties. "I'm not sure if there's enough energy or interest to make this project happen. We almost pulled the plug a year ago," he said. Health directors from Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties would refer children to the hospital. Mann said he had hoped to discuss contract terms, admission criteria and other financial issues with the counties at the May 12 meeting. Besides providing doctors with a hospital where children could be treated for severe mental health disorders, a children's psychiatric hospital would offer a place for child psychiatrists to train in the Valley. To become a board-certified child psychiatrist, a doctor must complete a two-year residency in child psychiatry in addition to the required three-year training in adult psychiatry. Residency training for child psychiatrists includes a rotation at a child psychiatric hospital, said Dr. Scott Ahles, chief of psychiatry at UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program. Currently, UCSF has an adult psychiatry training program in Fresno. But a children's psychiatric hospital would not solve the child psychiatry shortage in the Valley, Ahles said. "It's not just that there's no inpatient unit, there's not a large infrastructure for taking care of kids and adolescents," he said. "You don't have an inpatient unit, but you don't have a well-defined system of care that would include things like day-treatment programs and after-care programs." Brenda Leue of Fresno takes her 9-year-old daughter to the University of California at Los Angeles to see a child psychiatrist once a month. By the time her daughter was 3, she was throwing uncontrollable temper tantrums. Nothing seemed to help. At age 7, her daughter began taking medications, but her condition worsened and she needed to be in a hospital for her own safety. There was no place for her in the Valley. UCLA had an opening, Leue said. The UCLA psychiatrist agreed to continue seeing her daughter after discharging her from the hospital. If she lived in Los Angeles, Leue said her daughter could receive more services to help her deal with anxiety and other emotions. "There are programs down there that I could have her in once a week that would be very helpful. If there were a hospital here, those programs would be available to us," she said. Ahles said UCSF-Fresno hopes to create a behavioral science center as a training site not only for child psychiatrists, but also for psychologists, social workers and psychiatric nurse practitioners, among other medical professionals who work with children. The Valley needs a comprehensive system for treating children, said Dr. Fred Kinnicutt, a child psychiatrist who worked at Children's Hospital Central California from 2000 to 2002.

Kinnicutt left Fresno for a job in the small town of Roseburg, Ore., where there are two psychiatrists in the town of about 20,000.

Doctors burn out without help, Kinnicutt said. "It's a very rewarding profession, but it can be draining unless you have support -- unless you have collegial support -- it's going to be difficult for someone to maintain in a community." The reporter can be reached at or (559) 441-6310.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Fresno Bee, Calif.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.),

(213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail

COPYRIGHT 2006 The Fresno Bee

This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group.

Mental health crisis claims another life.

The News & Record (Piedmont Triad, NC); 5/21/2006

Byline: Lorraine Ahearn


CORRECTION: In a Sunday column by Lorraine Ahearn on mental illness, a statement by Mike Weaver may have been unclear. Weaver meant that it is difficult for some people to understand fibromyalgia if they do not suffer from it, in the same way others have trouble understanding bi-polar because they have not experienced it themselves.


After spending last weekend calling his group leaders to deliver the news -- a member of their bipolar support group had jumped to his death from a downtown parking deck -- Mike Weaver woke up last Monday morning and remembered. He had to give a speech that day.

And of all the civic groups he could have been addressing as head of support services for the local Mental Health Association, he was speaking to the Optimists, the club with the sunny creed. Smile, and the world smiles back.

But for people like Weaver (no relation to the local developer) and those in the trenches of the mental health system, it's lately been one black cloud after another, and the lining is even blacker. All, naturally, in the name of "mental health reform."

The statewide system is being dismantled and "privatized," farmed out to HMO-type providers. Locally, that means the 16,000-client Guilford Center, the one-stop treatment center for counseling, casework and medication, must slash its staff by December, this at a time when the N.C. Psychiatric Association estimates that as it is, 31,000 people in the state can't get needed psychiatric care.

But you know, nothing really puts the statistics, the focus groups and all the words, words, words in perspective like just one death. His name was Paul Corsentino. He graduated from Piedmont Bible College. Friends call him engaging, handsome. He was 31.

Three days before witnesses told police they saw him jump from the Bellemeade parking deck, Paul had been to a Tuesday night depression and bi polar support meeting at the agency. Afterward, as they often do, about 10 of the participants went to Barnes & Noble for coffee, pulling a few tables together, not ready for the conversation to end, or to say good night.

Paul, who lived in High Point and had joined the group six weeks ago, had in previous meetings told group leaders that he was having trouble getting therapy appointments.

Recently, he had vanished for several days and gone on a 60-mile hike in the mountains, an episode he had trouble remembering. He was twice hospitalized in the past two months, each time discharged after five days -- a typical stay under managed care.

And when news of his death a week ago Friday began circulating, people in the group began to ask themselves: Did they miss something? Was there something they could have said? What if they had taken him to lunch?

Group facilitator Ted Hunter had sat next to Paul at the coffee shop and they'd talked for 45 minutes that Tuesday night -- about things they had been through, living with depression, the need to have someone to call in an emergency. Sitting with his arms folded on the table, interested in the conversation, Paul seemed fine.

"When it was time to go, I gave him a side hug, and he went away smiling," Hunter recalled. "The way he left was a good feeling."

And nobody ever really knows why with a suicide. Paul didn't leave a note, and apparently gave no warning to his family. But as Mike Weaver sat at the funeral, listening to one more sermon avoid any mention of mental illness, he was reminded.

"This is a life-threatening illness, as much as cancer or anything else," Weaver said. "People think this is some made-up thing, like 'fibromyalgia.' Or they'll say, 'I don't understand how someone can be a Christian and commit suicide.' Well, then you don't understand how a chemical, genetic disorder can affect your life."

Weaver, a former teacher, has himself struggled with depression since his mid-20s. For him, Paul's suicide was a reminder of how despair can grip someone's life. And multiplied many times over, of how much is at stake in the coming months, unless the state legislature can turn this ship from the same disastrous course we followed, all over the country, in the 1960s, and again, in the 1980s.

That is, "deinstitutionalization." Close the mental hospitals and state programs with the promise of some phantom "community-based" treatment or "private providers," then watch as we fill the prison and the homeless shelter, and in the worst cases, the graveyard.

The saddest part is, all this misery can be averted. People can live with depression just as they live with diabetes -- through medicine, therapy, peer groups, probably some exercise.

And last Monday morning, Mike Weaver's exercise was to get out of bed, get himself ready and go give a speech to the Optimists.

"He really struck a note with all of us," said the club president, Dotty Mauer. "He focused on what makes optimism, and what makes pessimism. There's nothing like getting out of the morass to know what it's like to be in it."

Contact Lorraine Ahearn at 373-7334 or lahearn

COPYRIGHT 2006 News & Record

This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group.

Man held in woman's plunge at CHA faces assault charges: Parolee allegedly says he watched her jump.

Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL); 5/20/2006

Byline: Jeff Coen

May 20--The last man seen with a California woman who plunged from the seventh floor of a CHA high-rise early last week was charged Friday with attacking and restraining her. Marvin Powell, 23, a reputed gang member and a parolee, faces charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, attempted criminal sexual assault and unlawful restraint, said John Gorman, a spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office. Powell, who had turned himself in for questioning Wednesday, was expected in Bond Court Saturday. The 21-year-old woman who fell about 11 p.m. May 8 remains unconscious and in critical condition at Stroger Hospital. Police have been trying to determine what happened even though they haven't been able to talk to her. Sources said Powell was interviewed extensively while in custody and did not make any statements implicating himself in the woman's fall. Witnesses had placed the two together, including alone in the Robert Taylor Homes apartment from which the woman fell, the sources said. Powell allegedly said he saw her jump. She was found badly injured outside the Chicago Housing Authority building at 5135 S. Federal St. wearing only her underwear. Investigators tested a condom recovered from the scene for DNA evidence, but sources said results from the Illinois State Police crime lab show DNA from another man and woman. Powell, of the 8300 block of South Saginaw Avenue, was paroled in June from Graham Correctional Center after a 2002 conviction for aggravated discharge of a firearm, records show. A woman who answered the phone at his home Friday declined to identify herself but said Powell is innocent and was only in the wrong place at the wrong time. "I'm sorry about what happened to her, but Marvin didn't do it," she said. "The truth will reveal itself."

The case has called into question actions of Chicago police officers who dealt with the woman before she was injured. After being arrested at Midway Airport on May 7 for causing a disturbance, she was held overnight in police custody. Police are looking into the claim that the woman's family called while she was in the lockup to warn them that she suffers from bipolar disorder. She was released into the rough and unfamiliar neighborhood around the Wentworth District women's lockup. An internal affairs investigation into whether proper procedures were followed is progressing, said police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

Copyright (c) 2006, Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.),

(213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail

COPYRIGHT 2006 Chicago Tribune

This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group.

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