1. New concerns of suicidal ideation and antidepressants

    Antidepressants can lead to suicide in kids

    It's one of the most irresponsible studies I've ever seen -- because it could convince doctors and parents alike to make a decision with fatal consequences.

    And that's the decision to give antidepressant drugs to a child.

    You know the score with these meds. In many patients, they do nothing at all. But for some, especially kids and teens, the drugs can actually cause suicidal ideation. One drug, fluoxetine (Prozac), can even double the risk of suicidal ideation in children -- and that number comes right from the FDA's own data.

    So you have to question anyone who claims otherwise -- like Dr. Robert Gibbons, a University of Chicago researcher who says, in essence, forget those FDA numbers.

    Trust the numbers from him and his team instead -- because their new look at data on fluoxetine and venlafaxine (Effexor) finds absolutely no evidence the drugs increase the risk of suicide or suicidal ideation.

    But there's a huge problem with his study, and I'm not the only one who spotted it. Researchers from Harvard University noticed that Dr. Gibbons used a form of analysis that's open to bias.

    It's called mediation analysis, and even when it was used the study actually found that the drugs did increase the risk of suicide and suicidal ideation in kids -- but since it didn't reach statistical significance, at first glance it looks like a win for the meds.

    The FDA's numbers show otherwise.

    And that's not the only serious question here, because Dr. Robert Gibbons has served as an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice, and Wyeth in cases related to antidepressants and anticonvulsants and suicide.

    Wyeth is the original maker of Effexor, which is now part of Pfizer.

    I think that's a huge conflict of interest, so I'm not going to start recommending these drugs for kids based on this study. Besides, even if the drugs were safe for kids -- and they're clearly not -- there are much better ways to treat and beat depression.

    I know, because I've not only seen the science that backs these all-natural mood boosters, I also see the results in my own clinic every single day.

    And they work for adults as well as kids.

  2. Autism linked to toxins in the water

    Autism: Is it in the water?

    Your water might run through a filter on your faucet, look clean, taste crisp, and even pass any do-it-yourself tests for contaminants.

    But odds are, it's not clean.

    U.S. drinking water can contain drugs and other contaminants that can't be removed by those little faucet filters and won't show up on home-based tests -- and those contaminants can ruin your family's health.

    Now, new research on fish finds that the trace levels of antidepressants often found in water could play a role in causing autism, especially in kids who might already be genetically susceptible to the disease.

    In experiments on minnows with genes associated with autism, low levels of the antidepressants Prozac and venlafaxine and the anti-seizure drug carbamazepine (levels close to what has been seen in the water supply in some places) triggered genetic activity similar to what we see in autistic humans.

    The study is small. And I'd say it's doubtful that these two drugs in the water alone are causing most cases of autism.

    But they certainly could be playing a role in some cases.

    By the way, do you know what else you'll find in very low doses in the water supply? Mercury -- and despite what you may have read in the mainstream press, exposure to this toxic heavy metal is most certainly a risk factor for autism and developmental problems.

    Depending on where you'll live, your water could also be hiding drugs, hormones, chemical waste such as rocket fuel, and of course fluoride. None of these things are good for humans, and they're even worse for the developing brains of babies and children.

    I don't believe there's one "smoking gun" when it comes to causes of autism -- but it's clear to me that exposure to these and other toxins is one of the leading risk factors.

    As I told you not long ago, autism rates have now reached all-time highs. And if the child or grandchild in your life has been diagnosed with the condition, detoxification can work wonders and in some cases even cure the condition -- especially when combined with dietary approaches.

    And now, one new study finds a simple supplement that can help erase some of the worst behavior in the toughest cases.

    You probably know what I'm talking about -- the autistic kids who act out through hitting, fighting, and screaming. Some of these children become uncontrollable, not to mention unpredictable.

    But in the new study, autistic children with a pattern of these disruptive behaviors showed remarkable improvement when given N-Acetylcysteine, or NAC. After 12 weeks of taking the supplement, their scores on a scale measuring irritability dropped from an average of 13.1 to 7.2.

    Kids who were given a placebo, on the other hand, had only very minor improvements.

    In addition, the kids given NAC also had fewer of the repetitive behaviors that are often seen in cases of autism.

    We'll need to see more research to know for sure if this works. But I recommend NAC for detoxification all the time -- and since, as I mentioned, autism is caused or worsened by toxins, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that NAC can help.

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