Last weekend I attended the annual conference of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America / ADAA and am pleased to share some of the highlights.
- The keynote was presented by Dr. James Fowler and was fascinating! He shared how we are all connected and how your friends’ friends’ friends affect everything you feel, think and do! Check out his site and book Connected, The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks
- Gluten does have such a big impact on mood for so many people and I had many interested and curious visitors at my poster presentation (see the above picture) “Evidence-based Research On The Serious Effects Of Gluten On Mental Health, With An In-depth Look At Testing And The Gluten-free Diet.” A number of people shared how gluten removal had eliminated their anxiety and/or depression too: a mom whose daughter quit gluten and found that this eliminated her panic attacks, a Canadian MD who didn’t know about gluten intolerance and infertility and the director of an anxiety clinic in Argentina. I was also honored to have Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum, MD, ADAA Past President, Chief of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, stop by. He said “interesting… everyone where I live is going gluten-free.” I asked him “and what kind of feedback are you getting?” Dr. Rosenbaum: “They’re all feeling better!”
- I attended a great presentation by Dr. Teri Pearlstein: “Treatment of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders”. Dr. Pearlstein shared studies that show that babies born to depressed moms may have similar health problems as those born to moms taking anti-depressant medications i.e. lower birth weight and smaller head circumference. However, I also learned this: in a JAMA Psychiatry study of more than 1800 children, investigators found an adjusted 2-fold increased risk for ASD (autism spectrum disorder) among mothers who used an SSRI during the year before delivery and a 3-fold increased risk when SSRIs were ingested during the first trimester. The study was done in 2011 so it’s not new but it’s still an important finding. To me, this provides a very big incentive for using drug-free solutions for pregnancy – which is why the amino acids, fish oils and other nutrients that I cover in The Antianxiety Food Solution are worth investigating as a better option. We really need some research in this area!
I’ll be sharing some other interesting posters (like “Mindful-based stress reduction for stress and cognition in older adults”) and presentations (like Benzodiazapine side-effects and tolerance) in my next post on the ADAA.