School of nursing

School Notes: School of Nursing
September/October 2009

Nursing professor finds popular autism treatment ineffective

A study by Yale University School of Nursing and Yale Child Study Center professor Lawrence Scahill ’89MSN, ’89MPH, ’97PhD, and colleagues is the first to show that children with autism do not benefit from the popularly prescribed antidepressant citalopram. The medication has the same outcome as the placebo, the study indicated, but with higher risk of side effects. Results were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, commonly prescribed to treat the repetitive behaviors or inflexible routines exhibited by children with autism. "Despite the limited evidence supporting their use in children with autism," Scahill said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, "SSRIs are among the most frequently used medications in this population. This is due in part because of their perceived safety." But Scahill warns clinicians that, while these medicines may be useful in treating depression or anxiety in kids without autism, "if you're targeting for repetitive behaviors, this medication does not appear to be effective."

Professor named associate editor of cardiovascular nursing journal

Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care, has named Nancy Redeker, YSN professor and associate dean for scholarly affairs, as associate editor. The publication is the official journal of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses.

As an accomplished speaker and writer in cardiovascular nursing, critical care, and adult health, Redeker is devoted to promoting evidence-based nursing practice through research and education. Her research focuses on sleep, sleep disorders, and circadian rhythms of activity-rest in persons who have heart disease, and she has conducted studies dealing with heart failure patients at home and in community settings.

YSN professor joins nursing research advisory board

The secretary of Health and Human Services has appointed Barbara J. Guthrie, associate dean and associate professor, to a five-year term on the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research (NACNR), the principal advisory board of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). Guthrie, a nationally recognized expert in culturally responsive health-related policies and programs, specializes in health promotion and risk-reduction programs for adolescent girls from diverse ethnic, social, and environmental backgrounds. The NINR, an arm of the National Institutes of Health, supports clinical and basic research to establish a scientific basis for the care of individuals across the lifespan. The NACNR meets three times a year to provide recommendations on the direction and support of the nursing, biomedical, social, and behavioral research that forms the evidence base for nursing practice.

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