Fluoride and IQ | Addressing Suicide & Self Harm
From eNewsletter 8/26/2019
DID YOU KNOW that a study published last week in JAMA Pediatrics stated that women who drink fluoridated water during pregnancy may trim the IQs of their male children by a few points?
The study looked at fluoride consumption by pregnant women and the effect on their babies by age 3 or 4. For the typical mother-to-be living in a community that adds fluoride to the drinking water, the decline in IQ was 1.5 points (for boys only) or 2.3 points, depending on how fluoride exposure was measured. The author said the idea of limiting fluoride during pregnancy is "a no brainer" - and a major source is fluoridated water.
When you add up all the other ways of ingesting fluoride (toothpaste is number one), the potential for overconsumption is high.
ADDRESSING SUICIDE AND SELF-HARM
Steve and Bonnie: While this is a very difficult subject that requires much more discussion than a simple newsletter piece, we'd be remiss if we did not acknowledge the growing rates of suicide and self-harm, and not just in the United States.
SuicideSuicide rates in the United States have risen significantly over the past two decades and are now at the highest level since World War II, according to new statistics from the CDC. The key findings are that for both males and females, age-adjusted suicide rates increased significantly between 1999 and 2017 for all race and ethnicity groups except non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islanders. The results are in line with a report published earlier this month in JAMA that showed a significant uptick in suicides among 15- to 24-year-olds between 2000 and 2017. The report also showed a troubling increase in deaths by suicide and drug overdose among persons aged 18 to 34. Between 2007 and 2017, this age group saw a 108% increase in drug-related deaths, a 69% increase in alcohol-related deaths, and a 35% increase in deaths by suicide. The huge increase in the numbers of millennials being lost to substance misuse and suicide is a national tragedy. Self-Harm Rates of nonsuicidal self-harm (NSSH) are rising around the world. In England, prevalence increased across age groups and among both sexes, but the group most affected were women and girls aged 16-24 years. The study was published in Lancet Psychiatry. Around two thirds of participants who reported NSSH had engaged in self-cutting. The prevalence of self-burning in men and boys increased slightly. The proportion of the population who reported that they engaged in NSSH to relieve unpleasant feelings (anger, tension, anxiety, or depression) roughly tripled in prevalence on men and women. Sadly, the proportion of people who engaged in NSSH and who reported receiving no subsequent medical or psychological services did not improve. 62.6% reported having no contact with medical or psychological services after engaging in NSSH. Moreover, social media may be a culprit in normalizing this behavior. Self-harm in young people is often a marker for other risk behaviors that pose considerable hazards for social and emotional development throughout young adulthood and beyond and should never be considered as just a passing phase. What Can We Do About These Troubling Trends? While essential at times, we cannot always to turn to medication as a first line therapy. Trying to get to the crux of the issue and working from the inside out is the best for long-term remission. Installing nutritional and lifestyle measures are also paramount. Gut-Brain Connection As we have mentioned many times before, the gut and the brain are inextricably linked. When gut problems exist, mental problems often follow. The most recent study, published last week in JAMA Pediatrics, found that childhood-onset inflammatory bowel disease was associated with increased risk of any psychiatric disorder and suicide attempt, as well as several specific psychiatric disorders: psychotic, mood, anxiety, eating, personality, and behavioral disorders; substance misuse; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; autism spectrum disorders; and intellectual disability. Analyzing gut function and taking the proper steps to heal the gut should be the first line therapy for any mental disorder. Genetics Screening for genetic predisposition at a young age is extremely helpful, because there is so much we do from a nutritional and preventive perspective if we know certain mutations exist. Analysis of potential risks for serotonin and dopamine deficits is essential to address multiple mood and addiction disorders. Cortisol Elevated concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in hair could predict depressive symptoms in teenagers. New research in Psychoneuroendocrinologylinked cortisol levels to a greater risk for depression. Hair, or saliva, are certainly less invasive ways to test cortisol than by blood. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Adding an antidepressant to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) appears to provide no additional benefit over CBT alone in reducing symptoms in youth with major depression, new research in Lancet Psychiatry suggests. Investigators compared 12 weeks of treatment with a combination of CBT and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine to CBT plus placebo in youth aged 15 to 25 years with moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder. They found no evidence that adding fluoxetine vs placebo to CBT further reduced depressive symptoms. The results of the trial and several others should make clinicians more cautious about rushing to start depressed young people on medication, especially when they haven't given CBT therapy a proper chance. Finally, we reported last week that for treatment resistant depression, vagus nerve stimulation has extreme promise.