Thursday, September 09, 2010
ADHD Medication is no substitute for parental supervision

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

ADHD is not usually diagnosed until after a child starts school. According to the guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, ADHD is not usually addressed before the age of 6. For that reason, many physicians will not treat it in children under that age. Because I specialize in the diagnosis, I see many children younger than that with hyperactivity. We know that hyperactivity is normal behavior during the "terrible twos," so a hyperactive two-year-old does not get formal treatment. The reason is simple. Two-year-olds should not be left unsupervised so they should not be able to do anything to get into trouble. Once a child turns three, most of them slow down while a few remain hyperactive. Since they are not in a learning situation, there is no reason to treat them. However, some of these children tend to be more impulsive than hyperactive which can be dangerous. I have frequently obtained a history of three-year-olds with ADHD leaving the house in the middle of the night. I had one of them climb onto a garage roof through a window. Her brother came home and found her hanging from the gutter. One four-year-old was playing with a cigarette lighter. He burned the house down with him and his sister in it. A five-year-old let his younger sister out in the middle of the night with tragic consequences. For these reasons, I do find it helpful to treat these younger children with medication even though they are not yet in school. That being said, medication does not replace careful supervision. The more dangerous the activities your child engages in, the more supervision they need. That might take the form of extra locks on outside doors or other barriers to keep children away from things they should not get into. It almost always means a need for more one-on-one supervision during the day. Medication at this young age is not a substitute for careful supervision. I have parents who come to the office to ask for medication so they can avoid the supervision that is needed. They are not happy with me when I tell them that the behavior does not warrant medication for their child.

Free Breast Health Forum Beebe Medical Center's Tunnell Cancer is offering a free breast health forum on Friday, Sept. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Salvation Army on Sussex Highway, next to Food Lion in Seaford. Breast health education will be available on-site. For those who qualify, referrals for no-cost mammograms will be offered the same afternoon. Drop-ins are welcome. All women 18 and older should have a clinical breast exam, and all women age 40 and older should have a yearly mammogram. Early detection saves lives. For more information about this free breast health forum, call 645-3100, ext. 2718. This initiative called SOS, Sharing Our Stories, Saving Our Sisters, is funded by a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Philadelphia Affiliate.

Medigap changes to affect seniors For American seniors, their retirement years are supposed to be about relaxing, getting out and enjoying the freedom they've earned. In reality, though, even retirement has its challenges, especially when it comes to health insurance. Linda Nemes, senior insurance research analyst for the Delaware Department of Insurance, will be the featured guest speaker at the September meeting of the Sussex County Advisory Committee for the Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities. Nemes will discuss recent changes to Medicare supplemental insurance, also known as Medigap, sold by private insurers to Medicare recipients. The plans provide gap coverage between the amount paid by Medicare and the total amount billed. Nemes also will discuss this year's national health care legislation, and the anticipated effects the new reforms will have on senior citizens. The Advisory Committee invites the public to attend the committee's next meeting at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 20, at the Roxana CHEER Center, 34314 Pyle Center Rd., Roxana. An open discussion will follow the presentation.

'Expressions of Grief' conference Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will hold a professional conference for professionals dealing with grief, "Expressions of Grief: Exploring grief styles by culture, faith and gender," from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 29, at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. Social workers, mental health counselors, chemical dependency professionals, nurses, funeral home services, chaplains, and anyone interested in learning more about grief are invited to this special conference where expert speakers will explore grief styles by culture, faith and gender. Keynote speaker will be Thomas Golden, LCSW, an international grief educator and published author, who will present, "The Secrets of the Masculine Side of Healing."Golden has taught mental health professionals around the world about men and boys and their unique paths in healing from stress, grief and trauma. Other speakers include Dr. Judith Ramirez, EdD, manager of the Psychological Services & Outreach Department of Tunnel Cancer Center through Beebe Medical Center, and the Rev. David Oppold, BA, MDiv, ordained pastor and Hospice chaplain. Registration fee is $99 per person and $75 per student.Breakfast and catered lunch are included. Continuing Education credits are 6.0hours for social workers (NASW) and 7.5 hours for nurses, professional mental heath counselors, chemical dependence professionals and funeral services staff (Delaware State Board). Deadline for registration is Wednesday, Oct. 27 and early registration is recommended as space is limited to 50 participants. To register, call Vicki Costa at 856-7717, ext. 1129, or

Vaccine, influenza in Delaware As community providers have begun making flu vaccine available, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reports two cases of typical seasonal influenza this summer. An individualthat was admitted to a New Castle County hospital on Aug. 25 tested positive for influenza A. A Kent County resident also tested positive for influenza A on Sept. 1, but did not require hospitalization.This brings the total number offlu cases in Delaware for the 2009-2010 season to 2,247. DPH last reported an influenza case April 10, however,sporadic cases of flu are not unusual in summer and will likely continue to occur. "Flu seasons can be unpredictable and immunization is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from infection," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. Routine vaccination of all persons older than 6 months is recommended. Vaccine, in both the nasal mist and flu shot form, is already being offered in area pharmacies and health care provider offices. Delawareans are also encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizers, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu. For more information, call the Division of Public Health at 800-282-8672 or visit

DPH investigates VRSA case Test results received by Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) indicate that a New Castle County female became the secondDelawarean to develop the rare vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) infection. The first was positively identified in April.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this brings the national case number to 12. The CDC is doing further testing of this latest case. VRSA is a type of antimicrobial-resistant staph bacteria. While most staph bacteria are susceptible to the antimicrobial agent vancomycin, VRSA has developed resistance and cannot be successfully treated with this drug. However, to date, other Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs are successful in treating the infection. CDC findings indicate that persons developing VRSA infections are those who have several underlying health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease or have had previous staph infections, been hospitalized, had tubes going into their bodies or recent exposure to vancomycin or other microbial agents. DPH's disease investigations conclude that both Delaware cases were being medically treated for multiple underlying health conditions. While the CDC has not documented VRSA to be communicable, as a precaution DPH investigates close contacts of these individuals and they are advised of VRSA precautions, prevention and resources. For more information about VRSA, visit

Alzheimer's Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Alzheimer's Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at LifeCare at Lofland Park's, first floor Resident Lounge, 715 E. King St., Seaford. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is engaging speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering disease. This group provides support and information about Alzheimer's and dementia to families, caregivers, and anyone who is affected by this disease. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, call LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8302.

First aid classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 6:30-9:30 p.m., at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants age 13 and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days before the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

'Look Good, Feel Better' program Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can now receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of their treatments. LOOK GOOD...FEEL BETTER, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer, conceal loss of hair, skin problems, and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. The next program will be hosted by the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Monday, Sept. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cancer Care Center's 2nd floor conference room.The program is free to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required, and space is limited. To register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 629-6611, ext. 2378 or 2588.

Prostate screenings offered September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and the Cancer Care Center staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will provide prostate screenings on Friday, Sept. 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the lobby of the Miller Building (121 S. Front St., Seaford). There is a $5 screening fee and pre-registration and fasting are not required. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital encourages men over 50 to take advantage of this service. Also 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 or 2378.

Delaware Hospice support group Delaware Hospice's Bereavement Counselor, Paul Ganster, LCSW, will lead an eight-week grief support group on "Grieving the Loss of a Loved One," on Thursdays, from Oct. 14 through Dec. 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. There is no fee for this service which is provided as a community outreach by Delaware Hospice. To register, call Paul Ganster, LCSW, at 357-7147, or email

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones held at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The next meeting takes place on Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. The Wellness Community, an affiliate of the Cancer Support community, is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. Facilitators are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree or more. Call 645-9150 for information or to register for this program. All support groups offered at the Wellness Community are free of charge. This program is made possible by the support of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.

BBQ & Antique Car Show cancelled Methodist Manor House has cancelled the 2nd Annual Chicken BBQ & Antique Car Show which was scheduled to be held on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.