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6D THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY. DECEMBER 7, 1997 F often mask Will cookies, crackers clog arteries? in children Question: I heard on the radio that trans fats are bad for your heart. The experts said to look for the word "hydrogenated" on the label. Symptoms depression By Jane E. Brody New York Times News Service A report last month on the successful use of the drug Prozac to treat depression in children as young as 7 might be viewed not so much as a testimonial to the effectiveness of this popular drug but as an alert to warn parents and teachers that children even very young children can become seriously depressed. J' K n I was shocked to find that many of the foods we have on hand contain hydrogenated oils. Oriental noodle soups, cream cheese, margarine, dinner rolls, whole wheat bread, cake mix, graham crackers, cookies and other crackers all are so la quiet child who kept largely to herself, reading and playing with dolls. She remained a loner in elementary school but got good grades and was well-behaved. Then, without a word or warning to anyone, at age 8 Caroline walked into the middle of a busy four-lane highway, where she was pulled to safety by a policewoman. Asked why, Caroline replied: "I wanted a car to hit me. I wanted to die. I don't want to be alone People's Pharmacy Joe & Dr. Teresa Graedon Getting help A number of organizations can help in finding a specialist in treating emotional disorders in children. They include: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 3615 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20016, (800) 333-7636. Ask for Lisa Doucette, who will refer you to a state delegate who can provide names of local specialists skilled in treating depression. American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, 1133 15th St. N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C., 20005, (202) 452-0109. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope for a listing of local therapists. Children's Rights of America, at 8735 Dunwoody Place, Suite 6, Atlanta, GA 30350, whose telephone number is (770) 998-6698. not contain hydrogenated oils. Q. I have been following a grapefruit diet for ' years to keep my weight under control. I eat half a grapefruit at each meal, which curbs my appetite. When the doctor prescribed Procardia XL, he " -said I should not eat grapefruit within two hours of the medication. I understand that something in 1 grapefruit intensifies the effect of the drug. When I got the prescription filled, I asked the ' pharmacist whether the slow-release means I should avoid grapefruit all day. She checked the label and said there was nothing about grapefruit affecting the medicine. Now I'm confused. A. Grapefruit can affect the metabolism of many medicines. The impact of grapefruit is long-lasting and builds up from day to day. Drug companies and the FDA have not been quick to investigate this interaction or change drug labels. Only recently was a grapefruit warning added to the information on Seldane (terfenadine), although this interaction is potentially fatal. We are sending you our Guide to Food, Drug and Grapefruit Interactions, which lists the medications that are affected by grapefruit. Anyone else who would like a copy may send $2 with a long (No.10) stamped, self-addressed envelope to Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. FJ-798, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist. Teresa Graedon holds a doctorate in medical anthropology and is a nutrition expert. beled. If we eliminate all these foods, there isn't much left. How dangerous is it to eat these trans fats? A nswer: The Nurses Health Study has followed more than 80,000 women for over 14 years. The most recent analysis was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the results confirm that trans fatty acids'dramatically increase the risk of heart disease. When liquid vegetable oil is hydrogenated to make it solid and easier to spread and store, a chemical transformation takes place. The trans fatty acids that are created appear to raise triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol, lower good HDL cholesterol and interfere with the body's handling of fats. While hydrogenated vegetable oils are found in many processed foods, it is possible to find substitutes. Whole grain crackers and fat-free cookies are available. Keep reading labels to find foods that do 1 he National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., estimates that more than 1.5 million American children under 18 are seriously depressed, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry puts the number at more than twice the institute's estimate. No one knows the actual number because, child psychiatrists say, depression in children is missed or misdiagnosed more often than it is accurately detected and properly treated. A depressed child may show few of the hallmarks of adult depression. Dr. David G. Fassler, a child psychiatrist in Burlington, Vt., said: "Very young children who don't yet have the verbal skills to put their feelings into words . . . They often act out their upset by behaving in ways that look very unlike what we think of as depres The symptoms of childhood depression vary with age. In an article last year in Contemporary Pediatrics, Dr. Susannah L. Sherry, director of the Cambridge (Mass.) Youth Guidance Center, and Michael S. Jellinek, chief of child psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, wrote that in infants and toddlers, depression might appear as a failure to thrive or gain weight normally or as delays in speech and motor development. Fassler listed a sad or emotionless facial expression, minimal activity, unresponsiveness or withdrawal and excessive or unusually little crying. Preschoolers may wet their pants or fail to control their bowels. The Massachusetts doctors added, "Their play may be reckless, aggressive, destructive or operates a 24-hour youth crisis hot line (800) 442-4673 for children who are Many mothers unaware diarrhea can kill suicidal, being abused or otherwise in serious The Kansas City Star A babv or voung child with What to do know the best way to treat diarrhea-related dehydration in children. Nearly nine out of 10 didn't realize that diarrhea in young children could turn deadly. It doesn't happen that often in this country, according to the Institute of Pediatric Nutrition. Some 25 million cases of diarrhea occur a year in children under 5 in the United States, and most are resolved without complications. But 300 young children die each year from diarrhea-related deaths. Some 200,000 are hospitalized. And because the deaths and illnesses are often due to dehydration, they are preventable, experts say. diarrhea is not a happy camper neither are his mom and dad. But many parents aren't aware that a bout with diarrhea can lead to hospitalization and even death. A recent national survey of mothers showed many didn't Do not assume that your child will outgrow the problem. Although depression typically lifts even without treatment within about nine months, Fassler emphasized that it should not be left to run its course. He noted that untreated depression could result in "severe emotional and developmental setbacks" and that the recurrence rate within three years was as high as 50 percent. He added that "the longer the initial episode goes ignored, the sooner the next will occur," and the more show a preoccupation with morbid, even suicidal, themes." Or they may have frequent accidents. School-age children may lag in social and academic skills that show up as school phobia, social isolation, a poor self-image, poor grades or antisocial behavior Among older children and teenagers, depression may assume more classic forms, like admitting sad, bored, or empty feelings. But other common characteristics can be deceiving. Consider it a red flag for depression if an older child experiences extreme mood swings, engages in dangerous activities, fails academically, runs away from home, sion. In his new book, Help Me, I'm Sad, written with Lynne S. Dumas (Viking, $22.95), Fassler explained: "A child who bullies his baby sister, picks fights at school or suddenly suffers frequent and unexplained aches and pains may be expressing his depression just as surely as the 'child who becomes tearful and withdrawn." In a study of 69 children and adolescents by Dr. Anh Nga Nguyen, an expert in childhood depression at the University of Texas at Galveston, more than 95 percent of the children displayed their anger and depression through improper behavior at school or at home or both. She concluded: "Most of the time, a bad child is really a sad child." For $99, GetThe Best Deal Of The New Year: Good Health. likely it will persist into adulthood. Fassler and other experts insist that treatment for childhood depression is highly effective. "Individual therapy, family therapy, medication and work with a child's school can all help a youngster successfully overcome depression," Fassler wrote, adding that a combination of these approaches is often the most effective. aouses drugs, or steals or lies. Depression in children sometimes occurs in conjunction with other problems, including learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders . Is your child depressed? Fassler recalls the case of Caroline, who, as a 4-year-old pre- schooler, was a smart, serious, I i. ! 4 lnff mr,. mini I M' -jLmm'-mm -imi.nl i ) s-aJ 23W n j ' "Dad has Alzheimer 's; but I'm watching our whole family suffer' You knew when you decided to help take care of your father that it would Ix1 a lot of work. But maybe you didn't realize that it would keep getting harder more physically demanding and more time consuming. And you probably aren't the only one stiffering under the strain. Your spouse and children are probably feeling the effects, too. Because they also need your time and attention. Still, it's hard to ask for help. Especially if you're not sure anyone else can do a better job of caregiving than you can. 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