Choosing A Pediatrician For Your Special-Needs Child

When looking for a pediatrician for a special-needs child, you want someone who knows their stuff—but there are more factors to consider when choosing a doctor. Special-needs children tend to visit the doctor more than other children, and their medical histories are often more involved, so they need parental advocacy more than non-special-needs children. Incorporate these criteria into your search for a pediatrician with these five factors. Proximity A doctor with a ton of references may seem like they’d be worth the drive, but if your child needs to visit the pediatrician frequently due to an acute illness, those long trips may become a problem. Doctors who are far away may ask you to go to an even more distant hospital or specialist. Location shouldn’t be the sole criteria by which you judge a doctor, but it’s important to consider. Practice Size Large practices usually offer the greatest degree of expertise and experience. However, they can also deliver impersonal service, long wait times and frequent doctor changes. Your child’s needs will largely determine whether it’s worthwhile to visit a large practice, but if you want to see the same doctor each time (and not wait hours to do it), you may want to consider a smaller practice with just one or two on-staff physicians. Experience Finding a pediatrician who has handled cases like your child’s can be helpful, because it ensures that they know what to look for and that your child will be tested adequately. However, it might also mean that the doctor may not be as willing to listen to new ideas or to consider non-mainstream treatments since they will rely on their tried expertise. If you are wanting to do your own research and ask a lot of questions about non-mainstream treatments, a less-experienced or more collaborative doctor can be a viable option. Physician Availability Does the pediatrician you’ve chosen divide his or her time between more than one practice? Will a crisis outside normal office hours put your child in the hands of the on-call physician who may not know your child’s history? The more complex your child’s case, the more important the answers to the above questions are. Be sure that you’re comfortable with your pediatrician’s level of availability when times get tough. The Doctor’s Personality Odds are, you will be spending significant time with the pediatrician—so you may as well choose a doctor you like. Schedule an interview before making a decision, and if the doctor is reluctant to meet face to face, take your child elsewhere. Whether you want a doctor who’s wise and grandfatherly, or you want one who’s strictly business, a brief chat should be sufficient to tell you whether you can work with a particular pediatrician. For special-needs children, people skills are just as important as medical...

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Foods To Eat And Avoid When You Have An Underactive Thyroid Gland

If you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), chances are good that your doctor prescribed replacement hormones for you to take on a daily basis. These hormone supplements should go a long way towards restoring your health and relieving your thyroid hormone deficiency symptoms. However, there are other things you can do in addition to taking your medication, to help keep your body healthy in spite of your thyroid disorder. One of these things is watching what you eat. Here’s a look at two foods to eat regularly and two to avoid during thyroid treatment. Foods to Avoid Tofu and Other Soy Products Soy products contain phytoestrogens, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. An excess of estrogen can interfere with the way your body utilizes thyroid hormone, thus making your prescription thyroxine supplements less effective than they should be. Since there are no studies to indicate how much soy is safe for sufferers of hypothyroidism, it’s best to just steer clear of soy-based foods all together. Cruciferous Vegetables Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and turnips. Some of the compounds in these vegetables, when processed in your body, yield a compound called goitin that may interfere with your thyroid gland’s ability to make hormones. The dose of synthetic hormones that your doctor has prescribed is based, in part, on the amount of thyroid hormone your thyroid is still making. If you reduce that amount by eating a lot of cruciferous veggies, your dose may no longer be effective. Foods to Eat Often Cranberries Your thyroid gland needs plenty of iodine to function, and upping your intake of iodine might help it make just a little more thyroid hormone, thus easing your symptoms. Cranberries are high in iodine, so including them in your regular diet is a very healthy idea. These berries are a bit tart, so consider baking them into muffins or blending them into smoothies to make them more enjoyable. If you prefer to enjoy your cranberries in the form of juice, make sure you’re buying 100% cranberry juice, not a blend that’s mostly apple juice with a hint of cranberry tossed in. Potatoes Finally, you have a reason to enjoy those mashed potatoes with dinner. Potatoes are another great source of iodine. Make sure you leave the skins on to get as much of it as possible. Purchase organic potatoes only, as conventional ones may contain pesticides that may interfere with your metabolism and overall health. Your doctor can give you additional advice on adopting a thyroid-friendly...

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Hope On The Horizon: Party Drug May Heal Depression

Depression can profoundly impact one’s sense of joy and purpose. Some people are so crushed by depression that they find it difficult to eat, work, or leave the house. Statistics reveal that only 20% of those who are depressed receive treatment, and of those, 30-40% will not find relief by using traditional antidepressant medications. However, a new use for a party drug is finding remarkable success in the treatment of depression, producing dramatic results very quickly. While still in the experimental phase of development, ketamine’s future as an antidepressant is bright. Ketamine 101 Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, in the same family as phencyclidine (PCP), propofol, and nitrous oxide. It is used in both people and animals for general anesthesia and pain relief, producing a trance-like state of consciousness. Side effects include “out of body” sensations, anxiety, and hallucinations. Ketamine (often stolen from veterinary hospitals or pharmacies) is also used in party circles, where it goes by the names “Special K” or “Vitamin K.” Along with drugs such as MDMA (“Ecstasy”), it is often used by people attending raves or dance clubs. The attraction is that its dissociative effects are heightened by the loud music and bright colors at these venues. Ketamine’s role in depression treatment How can an anesthetic alleviate depression? Although it may sound strange at first thought, researchers are finding that ketamine not only helps reduce depression, it does so almost immediately. Here’s why this drug has the attention of depression professionals: It often acts in a few hours, with patients reporting nearly complete lifting of depressed feelings. Effects last several days to a few weeks, allowing mental health professionals to put other treatment methods (such as counseling and support groups) into place while patients are energized to participate. Because antidepressants usually take a few weeks to reach therapeutic levels in the bloodstream, ketamine also offers a window of improved mood while those medications kick in. Most notably, ketamine seems to remove suicidal feelings immediately, even if they stem from anxiety or post-traumatic stress rather than depression. Ketamine could save lives. Current ketamine status While clinical trials are encouraging, ketamine is not yet approved by the FDA. The administration considers one drug, esketamine, “a potential breakthrough” as it enters Phase 3 trials. Johnson and Johnson plan to file for its approval in 2018. Another variant of ketamine, rapastinel, is in Phase 2 of its trials by another pharmaceutical company. If you are suffering from depression, it’s critical that you seek psychotherapy services. A combination of psychotherapy (which may include both individual and family counseling) and antidepressant medication seems to offer the most successful treatment, especially if you have been depressed for less than two years. Though you won’t yet have access to ketamine, pursuing help with traditional methods is the best thing you can do for yourself right now. While ketamine is not likely to be...

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