I get a lot of press releases and pitches in one form or another. I’m on a few lists and so I get to see a lot of what’s being sent out. Most of the time, I have to admit, I’m not too impressed. The pitches feel long and wordy and I tend to shake my head and wonder when people are going to learn. Then I read one like the one below. I’ve changed the names of the doctor and hospital and even the smartypants who wrote the release to protect their privacy, but you’ll get the idea. Now, that said, I should make something clear, which I think will bring up an important point that falls into the “you-never-know-category.” My son recently had an appendicitis, so when I read the subject line, “Kids aren’t faking, the pain is real,” I immediately thought of our adventure with blood tests, CT scans, and yep, Mom, nobody’s going anywhere talk. (I was so out of it I asked if we had time to go home to pack . . . ) If we hadn’t gone through that recently, I may not have read the lead, but I did and boy, was I impressed. Here it is and let me know what you think. I’ve bolded the sections that shouted out at me and added short comments in brackets:
“I can’t go to school, my stomach hurts!” [I like quotes from kids, especially when they ring true like this one.] How many times do parents hear that one?
Now that students are settling in for another school year, parents, teachers and school nurses hear an increasing number of complaints about stomach aches. Don’t be so quick to think your kids are faking. For millions of children – it’s not just an excuse. Even for doctors, the cause of the pain isn’t clear, but it is very real. It’s a condition called functional abdominal pain, and it can affect [Hooray! It’s spelled correctly! Don’t we give the big eye roll when we get something that’s misspelled (except for anything in my blog posts . . . )?] everything from kids’ grades to their social lives.
“Parents suffer too, because they are often terribly worried that something very serious may be wrong and they see how the symptoms can interfere with the child’s life,” says Iam Hurting, MD, chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at We Fix ‘Em Right Hospital. [Another great quote and one that resonates with this parent reader]
Now, Dr. Hurting’s team has found a way to treat this chronic pain – with a drug typically used to treat depression.
Here are the details:
– About 1 in 10 children in the U.S. have this condition. [Stats are always good though I might have added the source for a little extra credibility]
– Experts at We Fix ‘Em Fight believe functional abdominal pain is caused by extremely sensitive intestines.
– Nearly all of the body’s serotonin is produced in the intestines, so doctors are testing an anti-depressant as a way to treat the stomach pain.
– Serotonin transmits messages of pain to the brain & the local nervous system in the stomach.
– In preliminary clinical trials, about 8 out of 10 children get relief from their pain.[Again, I like stats, but I would’ve wanted to see a little more about the trial . . . though I’m sure the publicist could give that to a writer with no trouble]
– Functional abdominal pain is more common in girls (especially after puberty), however it affects both boys and girls. It often develops between ages 4 and 6, or later in life during late childhood/early adolescence.