ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out

TUESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- Mental health spending in the United States increased 65 percent in the past decade, and many more Americans are using mental health services, but there's still a big difference between access to care and quality of mental health care received, new research shows.

In a special edition of the May/June issue of Health Affairs focusing on mental health care in the United States, one study found that about half of Americans suffering from mental illness in a given year don't receive treatment, and another 25 percent receive treatment that's not consistent with evidence-based guidelines.

Some patients may receive inappropriate treatments, simply because doctors lack the evidence to make an informed decision about appropriate care, noted Philip Wang, acting deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and colleagues.

Another study suggested that even when doctors have information about best practices, patients don't always receive the correct treatments. That's because financial incentives, regulations, the quality of the mental health workforce, and drug company marketing strategies have a major impact on doctors' treatment decisions, said Marcela Horvitz-Lennon, of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, and colleagues.

They said underuse of effective treatments and overuse of ineffective treatments undermine the quality of care and lead to poor patient outcomes. For people with severe mental illness, that can result in increasing isolation, repeated hospitalizations, inability to get or hold a job, and even suicide.

Another study found that the number of seniors receiving psychotropic drugs to treat Alzheimer's and other mental health disorders doubled between 1996 and 2006, and the number of adults and children using the drugs increased by 73 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

The use of psychotropic drugs has increased, because primary-care doctors have become more familiar with these types of drugs and lower-cost drugs have become more available, said Sherry Glied, chair of health policy and management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and colleague Richard Frank.

The researchers also found that access to mental health care has improved for many Americans, but challenges persist for many groups of people. Between 1996 and 2006, treatment declined for elderly people with mental limitations that make it difficult for them to do daily living tasks such as dressing, eating and bathing without assistance.

Glied and Frank also found that more people with serious mental illnesses are being imprisoned or incarcerated. About 7 percent of people with persistent mental illnesses are put in jail or prison every year.

Another study found that many members of the military and veterans get inadequate treatment or no care at all for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The Rand Corp. researchers said more needs to be done to better prepare community health providers to help veterans with mental health problems when they return home.

In addition, the Department of Defense needs to reduce institutional and cultural barriers to seeking mental health care, especially for active-duty military personnel.

A study by Robert Drake, a psychiatry professor at Dartmouth Medical School, and colleagues concluded that a national program to help mentally ill people on Social Security disability programs find jobs could save the federal government $368 million a year.

The researchers noted that about 27 percent of people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are mentally ill, and that up to 70 percent of people with mental illnesses want to work.

"Giving people with mental disabilities the power to build financial security will help improve their quality of life significantly by encouraging self-sufficiency and building self-esteem, which can ultimately help move their treatment forward as well," Drake said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about mental health.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Health Affairs, news release, May 5, 2009

Last Updated: May 05, 2009

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