On More Letters

“Monday Musings” for Monday August 17, 2015

Volume V. No. 34/24


Letters Printed Elsewhere

(Editor’s Note: Letters printed elsewhere, Part II)

Letter to the Editor:

N&O Executive Editor John Drescher’s column, August 8, 2015, perhaps unintentionally served a magnificent purpose unrelated to the subject. While writing about the genius of film producer Brian Grazer, Drescher in passing, tangentially mentioned that Grazer “was failing third grade. He was clearly dyslexic at the time when there wasn’t much thinking about dyslexia…” Not being able to read and learn from books, Grazer developed a keen sense of curiosity and skills in engaging people and learning from his conversations with them.

If the dyslexic Grazer were in the third grade today he would be put on psychostimulants (PS) such as Ritalin, Adderall or other drugs. The use of PS have increased enormously in recent years. According to the academic pediatric literature, PS prescriptions show an increase in prevalence from 4.2% to nearly 10% in the last eight years. The general pediatric prescription rates of PS drugs in all communities increased by 85%. This increase is along the line of race, gender and even religion. Jewish children are four times more likely to be prescribed PS. Boys are diagnosed four times more than girls. Many children with social issues dealing with anger, lack of love and adequate support at home or school problems, like Grazer, are quickly diagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and treated with PS magical pills.

Drescher rendered an invaluable service by citing the outcome of one dyslexic child who went untreated with drugs, and who is now exhibiting his genius as a grown man. We must be very careful in throwing around the diagnosis of ADHD and even more careful in giving out prescriptions for psychostimulant drugs.

Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA
Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry UNC School of Medicine at Chapel Hill


Letter to the EditorThe News & Observer

News story, March 27, 2015, N&O, “Bill filed to sell Dix to highest bidder” cites three state senators who are trying to block the agreement between Governor McCrory and the city of Raleigh to purchase the 303 acres of Dix property to be turned into a destination park. Dix property should be turned into a destination park, like NY’s Central Park. Fredrick Law Olmstead built the Central Park in NY in the 1860s. Many historians and architects including Robert A. M. Stern, Yale Dean of Department pf Architecture, suggest were it not for Central Park there would be no New York as we know it today. Here in Raleigh, we have a once in not only a life time, but in a millennium opportunity, to create a Central Park for the benefit of not only Raleigh but the entire state of North Carolina. Yet it seems that after 11 years of talking, studying, politically pontificating and maneuvering, and reaching an agreement between the city of Raleigh and two governors, Purdue and McCrory, additional stumbling blocks are being introduced.

Like people, governments can choose to be self-centered, profiteering and narcissistic; or selfless, generous and altruistic.   Giving a destination park to Raleigh is not only for Raleigh, but it will benefit the entire state of NC.  Let’s do it.

Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA


Reflections on CIA Report

The media is flooded with hype, exaggeration and politicized partisan opinions about the use of torture by CIA.  Some reflections:

There is no question that America is a blessed nation, and America’s exceptionalism is globally recognized, if not accepted. If the gates are opened to all seven billion earth inhabitants, US and Germany would be the destinations of choice for most. Yet we constantly put down the decency and goodness of our beloved nation. Surely, America has flaws. But the goodness of our Republic gives us the opportunity to correct those flaws. We ended slavery with the sacrifices of fellow Americans who fought  the bloody Civil War. We corrected Jim Crow laws by passing the civil right legislation signed by the late President Lyndon B Johnson, a son of the South. We even purged the system from proven criminal activities and thinking of people like Richard Nixon, without missing a beat. Yes, America has flaws and from time to time engages in activities that stain the purity of our flag. But the stains can be cleansed and the pride of patriotism restored.

Those old enough recall one of the historic stains was the ill-conceived activities, in 1953, in Iran, of Richard Helms, the then CIA Director. CIA overthrew the democratically elected government formed by the late Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, returned the late Shah to power, established the much feared SAVAK and taught SAVAK agents how to torture Iranian dissidents in Tehran’s Evin Prison. That action was the seed that led to 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and the imprisonment of the American Embassy officials for 444 days. Yes, America has a way of shooting herself in the foot. But we recover…

The recovery is through honest, transparent, and inclusive examination of our flaws and applying the correct remedies. America’s sovereignty is not only through excellence in technology, economic prosperity; but it is through our character, our humanity, and our moral leadership.

Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA


Letter to the Editor, Fayetteville Observer

Some 50 years ago, when I was practicing in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, NC, there was a barber who had the duties of the coroner. They found a body which the coroner had signed off as suicide. The prosecutor asked me for a consult since I had some forensic training. I did. In my brief report, I stated that I found three bullets entering the body, including one in the skull. “It was the worst case of suicide I have ever seen”, I wrote. Reading the commendable and thorough five part series about NC Medical Examiner system in N&O, I see that after 50 years things have not changed much!

Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA


Letter to the Editor:

In the past 50 years, rivers of ink have been spilled producing books, articles, and untold number of doctoral dissertations about improving American education with very few results, until today. N&O, Tuesday July 8, 2014 story reports Obama and his Education Secretary Arne Duncan suggest to improve education we must put better teachers in poor schools. This is the first time elevating education takes precedence over dumbing down and “main streaming”. How good it is to use resources in the earliest stages of a child’s education. Better yet, how good it is to not bring children to this world unless parents are financially, emotionally and psychologically ready to be mamas and daddies, and not mere reproductive machines.

Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA


Letter to the Editor:

Re: front page story, N&O, Wed June 3, 2015, “Appeals court backs teachers”, while I deeply respect and support the profession of teaching, I disagree with the slogan in the article’s accompanying picture stating “A child’s future begins in the classroom.” It does not. A word of explanation: in the past 50 years scientific research clearly has demonstrated that the future of a child begins in utero. The nine months of fetal life, between conception and birth, are most important in proper development of organ-systems especially the delicate stem cells that become the baby’s future brain and other organs. Swedish researchers in Karolinska Institute have established that fetus’ exposure to excess maternal circulating catecholamine, that is adrenalin-like chemicals, produced by mother’s anxiety, insecurity and worries, damages the formation of the fetal brain. This leads to the birth of a baby who is already compromised. This is most likely the reason for notable increase in children with Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism and other childhood brain related disorders. Bringing babies to this world is a very important responsibility. Babies need love and rich environmental resources to intellectually thrive and meet their maximum potential. We offer thanks to the teaching profession and to the dedicated teachers, important agents of that holy mission, who give and sacrifice. But to be more accurate, with respect and love, allow me to modify the slogan, “The child’s future begins in mother’s uterus.”

Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA


*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association; Life Member, American Medical Association; Life Member, Southern Medical Association; and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012).

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