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Bipolar disorder rising among children

Bipolar disorder rising among children


By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Your Health

(CNN) -- The cover of this week's TIME magazine profiles the explosion of juvenile bipolar disorder cases. The age for the first onset of bipolar disorder -- once known as manic depression -- has plummeted from 32 to 19.

Bipolar disorder, a ferocious mental illness, seems to be showing up in kids at an increasing rate.

As doctors look deeper into the condition and begin to understand its underlying causes, they are coming to the unsettling conclusion that large numbers of teens, children and even babies might also be suffering from the disease.

Luckily, this comes at a time when the understanding and acceptance of medical illnesses is at an all-time high.

Now here's a look at more health and medical news making headlines this week.

Reassessing the risks of HRT

The government has announced that it's reassessing the risks and benefits of combination hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, for menopausal women in light of the recent findings from a large study.

The study found that women on hormone replacement therapy had a small -- but real -- increased risk of developing heart disease, breast cancer and stroke compared to those not taking hormones.

The results challenged long-held beliefs that HRT protects women against heart disease and stroke. Many menopausal women were left wondering whether to continue taking the drugs.

The federal initiative could change the way popular HRT drugs are advertised, prescribed and used.

Prempro, a hormone replacement therapy drug, is already being re-labeled at the urging of the Food and Drug Administration.

Click here for the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy.

Parental notification vs. health risks

Should parental notification be mandatory when adolescents under age 18 seek prescription birth control?

A survey of 950 girls visiting Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin found that 59 percent would stop using "all" sexual health care services and delay testing for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, if their parents were informed they were seeking birth control.

The researchers concluded that parental notification could potentially increase teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The study comes as the U.S. House of Representatives considers a bill requiring states that receive funds for federal health care to mandate parental consent or notification for minors requesting prescription drugs.

Click here to read the results of the study, including the effects of mandatory parental notification for minors' sexual health care services.

Preventing children's sports injuries

Football season could mean injury season for many of the 1.2 million kids who hit the gridiron every August, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, or NFHS for short.

The NFHS estimates that up to 20 percent of children under the age of 15 are injured every year. Among tackle football players, the injury rate can soar to over 60 percent.

Heat stress and head injuries top the list of potential problems.

Here is a list of recommendations to help prevent children's sports injuries:

  • Get a physical exam before starting the season
  • Wear all required safety gear
  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm up and stretch before practice and games
  • Keep children from playing while in pain
  • Have first aid available at every game and practice
  • Make sure the coach encourages safe and fair play


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