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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


9/22/04 News Release


STANFORD, Calif. – Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine are reporting promising early results in a study of a medication to treat kleptomania. More volunteers are needed for the confidential 24-week trial that, the researchers say, has curbed the urge to steal in the majority of patients who have entered the study so far.

"The preliminary results from the first patients to go through the study are even better than we expected," said Elias Aboujaoude, MD, a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and one of the study investigators. "What we have seen so far is very impressive, with 78 percent of the patients responding to the drug in the open-label phase." The open-label phase is when trial participants are aware that they are taking a particular drug and not a placebo.

Kleptomania, the guilt-ridden, impulsive stealing of inexpensive and unneeded items, often goes untreated as many who suffer from the disorder hesitate to seek help out of fear of being turned in for their illegal activities. More than 1.2 million people in the United States are thought to suffer from kleptomania. The condition differs from shoplifting, in which the action is usually planned, guilt-free and motivated by need or monetary gain. Kleptomania appears to affect more women than men, and the age of onset often dates back to childhood or adolescence.

Although the cause of kleptomania remains unknown, some researchers believe it involves disruptions of the brain neurotransmitter, serotonin. Earlier studies have suggested that a class of medications known as selective          serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can be effective in treating disorders with similar aspects, such as compulsive skin picking or compulsive shopping.

Lorrin Koran, MD, the professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences who is leading the study, said it is the first double-blind, placebo-controlled test of a medication to treat kleptomania: in this instance, the study is researching the effect of the SSRI escitalopram, which is marketed as Lexapro and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating major depressive disorder.

The study is funded by Forest Laboratories, the company that makes Lexapro. Koran and Aboujaoude have both served as paid speakers for Forest Laboratories.

For the first seven weeks of the study, all participants receive Lexapro. Those who respond favorably to the drug, as defined by a decrease of at least 50 percent in thefts, and who tolerate it well are then randomly assigned to either continue with the active drug or switch to a placebo for the next 17 weeks. Neither the patients nor the clinicians know who is taking what after randomization.

Participants who suffer a relapse, as defined by an increase in thefts to more than 50 percent of the starting level, are taken out of the study and have the option to resume drug treatment.

Volunteers age 20 or older who think they may have kleptomania are encouraged to call the Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Research Program at (650) 725-5180 for a confidential assessment for possible participation in the study. At least 12 in-office interviews will be required over the 24 weeks of the study.

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Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of MedicineStanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at


Mary Nash Stoddard

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Lobbying Hard For FDA Recall of Aspartame - Based on Latest Scientific Studies Showing Proof of: Obesity, Seizures, Blindness, Plus: Kidney, Uterine, Brain, Pancreas, Liver, & Lung Cancers 

Dallas -- The safety of the artificial sweetener aspartame is questioned again following the release of a report connecting diet drinks to heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. 

Aspartame Consumer Safety Network founder, Mary Nash Stoddard said, "The new Framingham study follows on the heels of an eight year study on experimental rats." Author of Italy's Ramazzini Cancer Research Institute's study, Dr. Morando Soffritti found Aspartame (aka: NutraSweet; Equal; Canderel; Advantame; AminoSweet; Neotame) causes lymphoma, leukemia and breast cancer.

Authors of a major study published July 23rd 2007, in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found that one or more sodas per day increases risk of new-onset metabolic syndrome (a cluster of factors that boosts the chance of having a heart attack or stroke and developing diabetes) by about 45 per cent. "It did not seem to matter if the soda was regular or diet," Dr. Ramachandran Vasan, senior investigator for the Framingham Heart Study, said Monday from Boston. 

"In the 1970s, Food and Drug Administration toxicologist, Dr. Jerome Bressler discovered unreported heart and other life threatening problems in the laboratory animals, showing how the original drug company tests could have been manipulated to gain approval for the sweetener," said Stoddard.

American Heart Association scientists said in the study, 6,039 middle-aged participants without "metabolic syndrome," an umbrella term for excess waist circumference (obesity), hypertension and glucose intolerance (pre-diabetes) who daily drank one soft drink of any kind, in a 4-year follow-up, had a 50% higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome than those who didn't drink 1 soda (12-ounces) a day. 

The link to diet soda found in the study was "striking" says Dr. Vasan, because it shows artificially sweetened diet sodas could be harmful. "That association was evident even when the researchers accounted for other factors, such as levels of saturated fat, calorie intake, smoking and physical activity."

While authors of the study are still somewhat mystified about why there seemed to be no difference between the adverse effects of drinking regular or diet sodas sweetened with the artificial sweetener, Aspartame, Stoddard proposes: "part of the answer lies in the Cephalic [Pavlovian] response that may be elicited by both high fructose corn sweeteners and artificial sweeteners." 

In the study, it is stated, "The high sweetness of diet or regular soft drinks may lead to conditioning for a greater preference for intake of sweetened items." This speculation is based on a study by T.L. Davidson, S.E. Swithers titled A Pavlovian approach to the problem of obesity, in the Internal Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders, published in 2004.

By way of further explanation, author Dennis Remington, M.D. said in the book, The Bitter Truth About Artificial Sweeteners, "Another problem arises from using highly sweetened products of any type, whether used by themselves with few calories, as in a diet drink, or whether used to sweeten real food. Frequent ingestion of highly sweetened products forces the senses to become used to the extremely sweet taste. The sweetness causes a number of changes to occur, including release of insulin and release of endorphins and contributes to the sense of satiety caused by eating." A scientific study done by Dr. T.L. Powley titled The ventromedial hypothalamic syndrome, satiety, and a cephalic phase hypothesis, published in Psychology Review in 1977 explains this response in more detail. Dr. Remington also cites the study by J.E. Blundell and A.J. Hill in Lancet, May 10, 1986 titled: Paradoxical effects of an intense sweetener [Aspartame] on appetite to show how subjects in a study gained weight while using Aspartame.

"Foods that are not as sweet may no longer cause adequate insulin and endorphin release and may no longer be satisfying to the consumer. Also, foods that are not as sweet may no longer taste good. Using highly sweetened foods on a frequent basis will thus rob one of the pleasure normally derived from eating good wholesome food." Obesity expert, Dr. Remington also points out that there seems to be a clear cut relationship between weight gain and the use of artificial sweeteners, which should be further investigated.  

The report is titled: Soft Drink Consumption and Risk of Developing Cardiometabolic Risk Factors and the Metabolic Syndrome in Middle-Aged Adults in the Community - Ravi Dhingra, Lisa Sullivan, Paul F. Jacques, Thomas J. Wang, Caroline S. Fox, James B. Meigs, Ralph B. DAgostino, J. Michael Gaziano and Ramachandran S. Vasan

Circulation published online July 23, 2007; published by the American Heart Association. 
** Message **
Diet Food Research

** Diet food 'may fuel obesity risk' **
Diet foods and drinks for children may inadvertently lead to overeating
and obesity, say researchers. > 

Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline
[Promoting FDA Recall of Aspartame - since 1987]

Stoddard Media Services


Mary Nash Stoddard