Archive for January, 2011

Why Daily Video and Internet Gaming Can Be Harmful….

January 20, 2011

I am planning to publish this article for my son to read in FB ( which he is allowed to do in my room only during weekends) and for the other parents to reconsider the practice of allowing kids to play video and internet games at their leisure. It is easy to use these gadgets as surrogate nannies because they make our kids stay put and have their own world.  Part of the compromise for busy parents is to buy their kids the best gadgets because kids wont complain their absence as long as they have the gadgets to enjoy.

Now comes a study published in Pediatrics regarding the long term dangers of allowing our kids to enjoy these gadgets on a daily basis:

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 Objectives : We aimed to measure the prevalence and length of the problem of pathological video gaming or Internet use, to identify risk and protective factors, to determine whether pathological gaming is a primary or secondary problem, and to identify outcomes for individuals who become or stop being pathological gamers.

Methods : A 2-year, longitudinal, panel study was performed with a general elementary and secondary school population in Singapore, including 3034 children in grades 3 (N = 743), 4 (N = 711), 7 (N = 916), and 8 (N = 664). Several hypothesized risk and protective factors for developing or overcoming pathological gaming were measured, including weekly amount of game play, impulsivity, social competence, depression, social phobia, anxiety, and school performance.

Results:  The prevalence of pathological gaming was similar to that in other countries (9%). Greater amounts of gaming, lower social competence, and greater impulsivity seemed to act as risk factors for becoming pathological gamers, whereas depression, anxiety, social phobias, and lower school performance seemed to act as outcomes of pathological gaming.

Conclusion:  This study adds important information to the discussion about whether video game “addiction” is similar to other addictive behaviors, demonstrating that it can last for years and is not solely a symptom of comorbid disorders.

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According to the opinion of Medpage Today… two important things that we learned from the study: 

  • That spending hours with a PlayStation or an Xbox including Internet Games every day can lead to serious psychiatric problems in children.
  • That increases in pathological gaming symptoms were predictive of depression, anxiety, social phobia, and school performance at follow-up.

That’s a WAKE-UP call…

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Why I Dont Recommend Supplements…

January 5, 2011

I have always been against supplements.  As a physician where safety to patients is of utmost importance, giving drugs that are marketed as natural, herbal and safe without any research background and no published studies in REPUTABLE journals is not acceptable.  This also holds true to Chinese medications. Anybody can just print out a magazine touting the benefits and health effects of certain hebral prepartations and present these to clients as proofs that these natural supplements work!  Not only are they unsafe, they may also have interactions with the drugs we give that really can help our patients.

Here’s one reason why I refuse to recommend supplements to my patients…this is a recent experience published in Medpage Today, January issue  on an over the counter ” natural” supplements to help patients lose weight….

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The marketer of two dietary weight-loss supplements sold as “100% all natural” issued a voluntary recall of the products after FDA testing confirmed they contained the banned weight-loss drug sibutramine.

The FDA has received a number of adverse event reports related to Fruta Planta and Reduce Weight Fruta Planta, including multiple cardiac events and one death.

Sibutramine, withdrawn from the U.S. market in October 2010 due to an increased risk of stroke and myocardial infarction, may also cause patients to experience elevated blood pressure or pulse rate; may increase risk to patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke; and may have negative and life-threatening interactions with some drugs.

The agency recommended consumers stop using the product and throw any remaining samples away in a sealed container or return the product to the marketer, PRock Marketing of Kissimmee, Fla. Patients who experience any negative side effects from the product should consult a healthcare professional immediately.

The product was sold online in 30-capsule boxes.

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The risk is enormous because these products may contain true drugs that are already banned but are not included in the product label.  As a result these supplements will really work because they contain active drug ingredients. The risk involves doctors not knowing what to expect in terms of side effects. The patients also take them lightly without regard to the effects on their body becuase they are “Herbal”, ” Natural” and apparently without side effects!

So please take note.  The above story is just one of the many horror stories we have encountered as medical practitioners.