USPSTF Guidance Misses the Mark on Youth Suicide Risk Screening

by Christine Yu Moutier, MD: For Complete Post, Click Here…

We can all play a role in identifying at-risk kids.

With increasing rates of suicide and mental health issues among U.S. youth, and with suicide as the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34, the state of youth mental health has reached crisis proportions. For this reason, I’m gravely concerned about the impact of the recent draft recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that found insufficient evidence for implementing screening for suicide risk among youth.

The USPSTF’s methodology may be mismatched with the real-world implementation science and the scope of the problem concerning youth suicide. Clinicians and mental health professionals must have a clear understanding of the USPSTF’s guidelines for reviewing evidence and arriving at a recommendation, as their approach is out of touch with recent expert recommendations on screening for youth suicide risk. The USPSTF findings may cast doubt among healthcare providers on the importance of suicide screening and preventive care.

In collaboration with our partner organization on the Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and experts from the National Institute of Mental Health, we have identified three key weaknesses of the USPSTF draft report.

Suicide Screening Can Be Done Safely

The USPSTF calls for screening asymptomatic adolescents ages 12 to 18 years for major depressive disorder, and youth between the ages of 8 and 18 for anxiety, saying there would be a moderate benefit to each. We support this recommendation and believe the benefits would be more than moderate. On suicide risk, the USPSTF concluded there is insufficient evidence to weigh the benefits and harms of screening asymptomatic children and adolescents. However, in regards to the suicide risk, the report excluded or overlooked a number of key research studies that find universal suicide screening in pediatric medical settings validated with high sensitivity (97%) and specificity (91%), and demonstrate feasibility, accessibility by youth, parents, and clinicians, and importantly, demonstrate no evidence of harm.


From ACLU Iowa: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Today the 8th Circuit Court made a decision in our lawsuit to protect Iowa students with disabilities that make them vulnerable to COVID.

It’s important to note that the Court did not vacate as moot our lawsuit as a whole. The lawsuit was filed to protect Iowa students with disabilities who need to be protected by masking from COVID from the way the state was enforcing a new Iowa law. That new state law prohibited schools from requiring masking. 

The Court’s decision today vacates as moot the district court’s preliminary injunction only; the Court’s decision allows for the possibility of further litigation in this case.

It’s also very important to note that the court specifically did NOT rule that schools cannot require masking to protect students with disabilities. Today’s decision interprets the new state law to mean that schools can still require masking for students with disabilities that make them particularly susceptible to COVID, under federal disability rights laws. 

 Bottom line: Iowa schools can still require and Iowa parents can still request masking as a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities under appropriate circumstances. 

Take Action Now to Help Fix the Family Glitch!

From ARC national: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Biden Administration has proposed new rules that would fix the “family glitch,” which has left millions of families—including the families of many people with disabilities—ineligible for financial help through the health care marketplace.
See how you can help!

What Is the Family Glitch?

Right now, people who do not have access to affordable health insurance through their jobs can get financial help to buy coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
But current rules only consider the cost of the insurance for the employee and don’t take into account the cost of insurance for spouses, partners, dependents, or other family members.

This means that families who need insurance but can’t afford the cost for the entire family on the employee’s plan aren’t guaranteed an affordable option.

Because of the “family glitch,” five million people, including adults and children with disabilities, don’t have access to affordable health coverage.

UTSW genetic study confirms sarin nerve gas as cause of Gulf War illness

From UTSouthwestern Medical Center: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd- Sarin is an organophosphate, and a lot of insecticides are organophosphates. If the genes that degrade sarin also degrade organophosphates in general, then I don’t see how the conclusion that sarin is responsible clearly is the case. I had a fair level of experience with malathion when I was in Vietnam and developed symptoms just like gulf-war syndrome, though they faded over time when I left country. I retain a sensitivity to it that triggers when I smell it after mosquito spraying…

For three decades, scientists have debated the underlying cause of Gulf War illness (GWI), a collection of unexplained and chronic symptoms affecting veterans of the Persian Gulf War. Now researchers led by Robert Haley, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Division of Epidemiology at UT Southwestern, have solved the mystery, showing through a detailed genetic study that the nerve gas sarin was largely responsible for the syndrome. The findings were published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, with an accompanying editorial on the paper by leading environmental epidemiologists.

Dr. Haley’s research group not only discovered that veterans with exposure to sarin were more likely to develop GWI, but also found that the risk was modulated by a gene that normally allows some people’s bodies to better break down the nerve gas. Gulf War veterans with a weak variant of the gene who were exposed to sarin were more likely to develop symptoms of GWI than other exposed veterans who had the strong form of the gene.

“Quite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities,” said Dr. Haley, a medical epidemiologist who has been investigating GWI for 28 years. “There are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment.”

Clinical Report Updates Recommendations for Care of Children With Down Syndrome: American Academy of Pediatrics

From American Academy of Pediatrics: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The American Academy of Pediatrics updates its recommendations for pediatricians and families affected by a diagnosis of Down syndrome within a clinical report, “Health Supervision for Children and Adolescents With Down Syndrome,” published in the May 2022 Pediatrics. Typically, a diagnosis of Down syndrome is confirmed by chromosome analysis or suspected by prenatal screening. The report (published online April 18) observes that Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal cause of intellectual disability, and that improvement in care and quality of life has increased the life expectancy of people with Down syndrome to average age 60. The report, written by the AAP Council on Genetics, covers questions concerning prenatal intervention and breaks down the care and treatment of children with Down syndrome by age. These children may have many co-occurring medical conditions and cognitive impairment, and while the level of social-emotional functioning may vary, these skills may be improved with early intervention and therapy through early adulthood. The authors emphasize that continuing research is critical for directing the care for optimal outcomes of people with Down syndrome.

Obtaining Durable Medical Equipment Survey

From SARTAC: Self Advocacy and Beyond: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The following survey is to inform a project being worked on by Jordan Anderson, a self-advocate from Wisconsin, who was selected as one of only six 2022 Fellows for SARTAC (Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center).  The SARTAC Fellowship is a year-long opportunity for self-advocates to develop and grow their skills as leaders in the self-advocacy movement.  Your participation in the survey is completely voluntary.  

When people with disabilities need durable medical equipment, there can be challenges such as the length of time the process takes, lack of providers, and insurance denials.  This project will examine the process for getting durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device, Hoyer lifts and hospital beds to find ways to streamline the time it takes from needing the equipment to using the equipment.  The project will also look for ways to attract more rehabilitation specialists to the field to better manage the volume of repairs that can leave people with disabilities stuck at home waiting for extended periods of time due to a lack of providers.  

Long-Term Care Residents Have Financial Rights

By Beverley Laubert, National Ombudsman Program Coordinator: For Complete Post, Click Here…

This month we celebrate National Financial Literacy Month and National Financial Capability Month. Financial planning and literacy are critical for people of all ages and abilities, no matter where you live.
Here are some important considerations if you or a family member are living in a long-term care facility such as a nursing homes or assisted living:

  • Residents should be told up front what the monthly rate is and the rate for any additional services. When those rates change, advance notice should be provided. 
  • Residents who are supported by Medicaid have a right to keep a Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for items such as clothing. The federal minimum amount is $30 per month but most states have higher amounts. Residents may ask the long-term care facility to keep the PNA in an account but only the resident or a representative they choose may approve the use of that money. If the money adds up over many months, residents should be reminded about the effect on their Medicaid eligibility.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers two guides that are especially helpful to support financial capability: suggestions when considering a financial caregiver and tips for long-term care facilities to prevent financial abuse
  • Residents of nursing homes who are planning to return to their homes should plan ahead to change their address for all sources of income. If Supplemental Security Income is the income source, additional steps are necessary to restore benefits and the nursing home should help.

Residents of long-term care facilities have an independent advocate in the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. In 2020, Ombudsman programs received over 3,000 complaints about billing and around 3,000 complaints about financial exploitation. To ask a question or make a complaint, find your local Ombudsman program on this map.


BY ANNE BORDEN KING: For Complete Post, Click Here… We’ve noticed that many of our autistic community members dread April, with its onslaught of crappy autism messaging being ignorantly promoted as “hope.” We’re not fans, either. Instead, we’ll be promoting Autism Acceptance by publishing April Accommodations—meaning adjustments that other people can do for  the autistic … Continue reading APRIL AND ACCOMMODATIONS: ACCESSIBLE HEALTH CARE — NOT BY PHONE! →


BY ANNE BORDEN KING: For Complete Post, Click Here…

We’ve noticed that many of our autistic community members dread April, with its onslaught of crappy autism messaging being ignorantly promoted as “hope.” We’re not fans, either.

Instead, we’ll be promoting Autism Acceptance by publishing April Accommodations—meaning adjustments that other people can do for  the autistic people in their lives. (For the flipside, as in things that make life harder for autistics, please see  our Autism Checklist of Doom.)

For our first April and Accommodations post, we have insights by Anne Borden King, who wants health care access options besides using a phone.

Does The Body Repair Itself Once We Quit Drinking Alcohol?

By Gillian May: For Complete Post, Click Here…

I’m a former nurse and recovering alcoholic and I write about alcohol and our health. My goal is to educate people about the health risks of alcohol use because most of us don’t fully understand the effect that alcohol has on our bodies. I recently got a question asking whether our bodies can repair themselves once we quit drinking.

The short answer is yes, absolutely. However, to what extent this repair happens depends on how much we drank and for how long, and whether we have other health conditions. As I explain below, although many organs recover, our nervous system may be more sluggish.

Amount and frequency of alcohol use

The degree to which we can physically recover from alcohol abuse depends on how much we drank and for how long. For example, a younger alcoholic who drank heavily for five years may likely recover faster than an older alcoholic who drank for decades. Simply put, the more damage the body receives from alcohol over time, the less it can recover. But that’s not to say recovery doesn’t happen even for the older alcoholic.

I should say that age itself is not a predictor, rather it’s how long and heavy a person drank over the lifespan. Because even younger alcoholics can get into trouble with their health if they drink extreme amounts very frequently.