Thursday, September 12, 2013
Be careful what you wish for in medicine

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
I have often written about being careful what you wish for in medical treatment. There are often unexpected consequences. Recently, I have written about CT scans for head trauma with unexpected findings. I have also written about the yet to be explored relationship between labor inducing medications and autism. Now there is a new finding to think about. I treat many children with ADHD. I often have parents ask me to use psychiatric medications in addition to ADHD medications. My feeling is that this is something that only child psychiatrists should do. Therefore, I send them to a child psychiatrist. Now we have a new study looking at prescribing these kinds of medications. Most people are familiar with antidepressants. We prescribe them for depression and bipolar disorder. They are sometimes used for anxiety. However, there is another group of psychiatric medications. They are called antipsychotic medications. They include medications like risperidone (Risperdal). This medication accounts for 37% of all antipsychotic medications prescribed to children. They include quetiapine (Seroquel). This accounts for 20% of antipsychotic medications prescribed to children. They include olanzepine (Zyprexa). This accounts for 20% of antipsychotic medications prescribed to children. These three medications account for 77% of the total prescribed. The new study looked at over 43,000 patients between ages 6 and 24 years. The average age was 14 years. The result was that the group of children taking these medications had three times the risk for developing diabetes. The average age of developing diabetes was 16.7 years. Most were female. The risk was high while taking the medication. It remained high for up to a year after stopping the medication. I sometimes use Risperdal in autistic children with aggression. I know when I do this that I have to check their blood sugar from time to time. Some autistic children will not allow blood tests to be done. I will not prescribe the medication to that group of children. I also check cholesterol levels in these children. They too can be affected. As I have already indicated, it is not unusual for a parent to ask me to prescribe something other than ADHD medications for their children. There are many reasons that I am hesitant to do that. The fact that the child may develop diabetes while taking the medication makes one more reason not to do so.

Prostate screenings offered September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Once again the Cancer Care staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will provide prostate screenings (D.R.E. & blood test) on Friday, Sept. 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year's screening will be held at the Mears Health Campus located at 200 Rawlins Dr., Seaford, across from the post office. There is a $10 screening fee and pre-registration and fasting are not required. Men over the age of 50 are encouraged to take advantage of this service. Men age 40 and at high risk of developing prostate cancer are also encouraged to participate. African-American men and men who have a family history of the disease have a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. For more information, call Melinda Huffman, nurse navigator, at 629-6611, ext. 3765.

Stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The group will also be discussing atrial fibrillation and stroke. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Parkinson support group The Nanticoke Parkinson Education and Support Group will hold its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Sept. 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at the Nanticoke Senior Center, 1001 W. Locust St., Seaford. There will be a presentation by an elder care lawyer. Contact Dennis Leebel at 644-3465 for more information.

HIV Consortium plans meetings The Delaware HIV Consortium and the Delaware Department of Public Health are holding a series of town hall meetings to get community feedback on HIV/AIDS programs and services. Experts in the field of HIV treatment and prevention will be there to answer questions from the public. A meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Camp Rehoboth, 37 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth. For more information, visit

CHF support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will begin hosting a Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) support group with the first group meeting planned for 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24. At the first meeting, George Schwobel, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy services at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will be available to talk about medications. Kim Brasure, RN, acute care case manager, will also be on hand to help with any questions you have. Light refreshments will be served. The support group will be held at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in the Nursing Conference Room. For more information and to register, contact Missy Williamson at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2508.

Diagnosed with West Nile The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) confirmed the state's first human West Nile virus case; a woman in her early 20s living in New Castle County tested positive for West Nile virus on Sept. 4. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes when they bite, generally from spring to fall. Nearly 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will not become ill. The CDC estimates that only 20 percent of those infected will develop West Nile fever, with mild symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands.

Many cases likely go unreported. One in 150 people infected develop severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) with headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness. Severe symptoms may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death. To report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes or other concerns, contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Mosquito Control Section Milford office, serving Sussex County and southern Kent County at 302-422-1512.

Parkinson's Support Group The Nanticoke Parkinson Education and Support Group will hold its regularly scheduled meeting from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 16, at the Nanticoke Senior Center, Seaford. There will be a presentation by an Elder Care lawyer. The public is invited to attend. Contact Dennis Leebel, 302-644-3465, for more information.

2013 Aids Walk Delaware Registration is open for the 2013 AIDS Walk Delaware which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Rehoboth and Wilmington. To register a group or an individual, visit Sign up today and begin collecting pledges for people infected and affected by HIV disease throughout the state. For detail, contact the Delaware HIV Consortium at 302-654-5471 or

Depression Screening Day Do you know the symptoms of depression and anxiety? On Thursday, Oct. 10, the Mental Health Association in Delaware will be collaborating statewide to bring National Depression Screening Day to sites throughout the state. National Depression Screening Day is designed to increase mental health literacy by calling to attention the illness of depression on a national level. It is also designed to educate the public about symptoms and effective treatment, to offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for depression; and to connect those in need to the mental health care system in Delaware. More than 80% of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated. For more information about National Depression Screening Day, including times and locations, or MHA in Delaware visit or call 800-287-6423 in Sussex County.

Go Red for Women Luncheon Beebe Medical Center will sponsor the 7th Annual Go Red for Women Luncheon and Fashion Show on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Clubhouse at Baywood Greens in Long Neck. Doors open at 11 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon. Cost is $30 a person. Keynote speaker will be electrophysiologist Firas El-Sabbagh, MD., a cardiologist specialized in treating patients for arrhythmias and other electrical disorders of the heart. For tickets, contact Pat Sandy at 226-7732 or Muriel Pfeiffer at 947-2640.

Behavioral Consultants sought A recruitment effort is underway to fill 30 positions for behavioral health consultants (BHCs) in middle schools statewide. The Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) through its Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services (PBHS), has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to fill these positions in response to budget initiatives to expand access to mental health services for children. While many Delaware elementary schools have family crisis therapists and high schools have Wellness Centers where children can access help, middle schools have lacked similar supports. BHCs are highly trained and licensed mental health professionals. As part of the RFP, PBHS is also looking for a contract manager to oversee the program along with three county coordinators. Applications are due by Sept. 12. The RFP and application instructions can be found on the DSCYF website at, or the state bid website at under the title of Behavioral Health Services. Questions should be directed to H. Ryan Bolles, DSCYF procurement administrator, at or 302-633-2701.

Bike to the Bay for MS More than 1,800 cyclists will pedal their way from Dover to Dewey Beach, on Sept. 21-22, for the annual Bike MS: Bike to the Bay event. If you are planning a visit to Delaware Seashore State Park that weekend, consider an alternate location such as South Inlet Day Area, just south of the Indian River Inlet Bridge, or Fenwick Island State Park, which is just far enough south to miss the event congestion. For more information, call 302-655-5610 or visit

Free flu vaccination clinics Beebe Medical Center will offer free flu clinics. Vaccinations will be provided to adults only (age 18 and over) at the clinics. Parents should contact their children's physician or the Division of Public Health for information about pediatric vaccinations. Every Monday, from Sept. 16 to Nov. 18, free flu vaccinations will be given from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of Beebe Medical Center on Savannah Road in Lewes. For a full listing of flu clinics which will be held in Rehoboth, Millville, Milton, Lewes, Ocean View and Georgetown, visit

Hospice Golf Outing The Delaware Hospice Sussex County Golf Outing will be held on Monday, Oct. 7, at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club in Dagsboro. The fee is $125 per person, which includes green fees, cart, lunch, refreshment cart, and an awards reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer. For more information about the event or Delaware Hospice, visit or contact Peggy Dolby, associate director of development at 302-746-4666 or