Friday, December 16, 2011


No, not the cute furry animals but an acronym for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Strep. I read about this contraversial disorder this week in the science edition of the WSJ.
A child has strep throat and is not immediately treated with antibiotics. The body produces antibodies that kill the strep but for some reason inflame part of the brain releasing excess dopamine. Overnight the child develops OCD. There have been cases of three year olds suddenly wanting to wash their hands repeatedly. Presumably if  this child is then treated with antibiotics, the compulsions will go away. This does not make sense to me as although the antibiotics treat the infection, I can't imagine how this will impact the antibody count. Rheumatic fever, now rare, is thought to be caused by these same antibodies attacking the heart valve. But if the premise that antibiotics do help rid the antibodies, it is certainly an easier fix than giving a child potent psychiatric medications.

Is hearing a medical necessity or some extravagance like extra white teeth or firm large breasts? Trying to get our pitiful insurance to cover a hearing aid or even part of one is a frustrating experience. The claims department is staffed by Peggy clones (the Slavic accented man manning the mythical credit card rewards program from some hut in Siberia in the commercials). They have one hearing aid provider. The price this place quotes is about twice that of Costco. They (crappy insurance company)theoretically will reimburse 50% of the cost only if we use the provider. The provider says they really do not want to deal with our insurance company so why have a contract with them? Argh! Steve gives up and just will go to Costco and not have to spend hours cajoling these Peggys over the phone. He has been mulling it over whether he really wants to hear.

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