Thursday, July 12, 2018
Doctor’s Perspective
Children separated from their families results in Anaclitic depression

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Most of us have never heard of Rene Spitz. Most of us have also never heard of anaclitic depression but will find out about both of them in the coming months. Rene Spitz was a researcher in developmental pediatrics who did most of his work in the 1940s using the direct childhood observation method. He was one of the first researchers to use this method. Most of his work was done with hospitalized children. We often forget that children were hospitalized for extended time periods in the 1940s. Spitz found a pattern. Infants who spent more than three to five months away from their parents developed abnormally. They exhibited signs of what Spitz called anaclitic depression. The children became weepy. This was in comparison to their previous happy and outgoing behavior. They then progressed to withdrawal which was characterized by a disinterest in their environment. These children would lie in their beds and refuse to make eye contact. They ignored caregivers. If the caregivers tried to involve them, the children would become weepy or start screaming. They then proceeded to lose weight. We see similar behavior in children whose caretakers give them little attention. They fail to gain weight. We call it non-organic failure to thrive. Thus, the result is the same whether it is an emotional or a physical detachment of caregiver. In addition to the psychiatric changes, Spitz also found physical changes. These children were more likely to get viral infections like colds and they were also more likely to suffer from eczema. Both of these conditions involve our immune systems so their immunity was affected as well. In the final phase, the infant started to deteriorate mentally. Their developmental quotient dropped. We have come a long way since the 1940s. We do not usually have to keep children in the hospital for extended periods of time. However, we are now intentionally separating children from their families which leads to the question as to when we will see an epidemic of anaclitic depression in that group.

Look Good Feel Better program Look Good Feel Better, a program designed to help women overcome the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment, will hold its next session at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 16, at the Cancer Support Community-DE. Classes are taught by professional cosmetologists and are open to all women undergoing cancer treatment. Programs are free of charge but you must register by calling the Cancer Support Community at 645-9150. The Sussex facility is located at 18947 John J. Williams Hwy., Medical Arts Building, Beebe Health Campus, Ste. 312, Rehoboth. More information about the Cancer Support Community is available online at

Heart failure support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a heart failure support group from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, in the Nursing Conference Room. This free support group is designed for individuals with heart failure, as well as their families and caregivers to share stories, tips and tricks with others with this disease. Nanticoke is engaging with speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have heart failure. This month's meeting will feature a presentation by Dr. Richard Simons, cardiologist at Nanticoke Cardiology Associates. Attendees are encouraged to bring their medications to receive a free pharmacy consultation. For more information or to register for this event, call 302-629-6611, ext. 2428.

Nanticoke welcomes new staff The Nanticoke Physician Network is proud to welcome Dana Baker, APRN, and Rachael Daniel, APRN, to its Nanticoke Immediate Care staff.

Baker received her bachelor of science in nursing from Wilmington University in Newark, and her master of science in nursing from the University of Delaware in Newark. She is a certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and has prior professional experience as an APRN and nurse in several medical facilities and a hospice facility. Her professional affiliations include the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and Sigma Theta Tau International. Daniel received her bachelor of science in nursing from Salisbury University in Salisbury, and her master of science in nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing in Downers Grove, Ill. She is a certified family nurse practitioner and has prior professional experience as a family nurse practitioner at a primary care facility, and ER and PACU nursing experience at various hospitals. Her professional affiliations include the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the International Nurses Association.

Diabetes prevention class Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a two-session Diabetes Prevention Class on Monday, July 30 and Monday, Aug. 27 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 1. This course is designed for individuals age 18 and over who have been diagnosed with prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Utilizing resources developed by the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), this course provides individuals with basic tools to help them make appropriate lifestyle changes and reduce their risk for developing diabetes. Cost is $20 per person and a physician referral is required for registration. For more information or to register, contact Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department at 302-629-6611, ext. 2288. To learn more about diabetes services at Nanticoke, visit

Lymphedema Support Group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services hosts lymphedema support groups on the third Thursday of each month from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center. This month's meeting is Thursday, July 19. This free support group is open to anyone affected by lymphedema including patients, caregivers, and relatives. Meetings will consist of a lecture by health care professionals and medical equipment providers followed by refreshments and an open question and answer session or discussion among participants. Registration is not required. For more information about this support group or to learn more about services provided by Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services, call 302-629-6224 or visit

Parkinson's support group Nanticoke Health Services, in conjunction with CHEER and Care DE and the Manor House, will hold a Parkinson's education and support group on Thursday, July 19 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Manor House in Seaford. This support group is free and open to the public. Participating in support groups is essential for coping with an illness such as PD or other disorders that impair bodily movement. This support group is not only helpful for the individual diagnosed with PD, but also for caregivers, friends and family. Group members welcome guest speakers on a variety of subjects related to PD and provide support to each other through other small group discussions. Studies show that the information, training, and counseling that participants receive at support groups enhances the quality of life, help to alleviate stress, and may even boost the immune system. Tara Trout, LPN at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, co-facilitates the group with Kathy Landis, caregiver resource coordinator at CHEER in Sussex County. For more information, contact Tara at 302-629-6611, ext. 3838.