The Editor's Desk

Teenagers are moody. They like to keep their bedroom doors shut. They often don't want to talk at the family dinner table. They can take temporary setbacks very hard. And all that's normal--even healthy. After all, they're learning emotional independence, all while wrestling with the pressures of schoolwork, friends and sexual development. So how are kids, and their parents, to know when the expected ups and downs of adolescence give way to the chronic lows of depression?

As Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert report in this week's cover story, until recently they often didn't. But now everything from research on the teenage brain to increased sensitivity to mental-health issues is helping identify the some 3 million American kids who suffer from symptoms of depression. They also have more options for treatment than ever, from antidepression drugs to cognitive-behavior therapy. That's the good news. But we also explore some hard, unanswered questions. What effect do antidepressants have on growing brains? And can high schools and colleges always give kids the help they need while respecting their privacy?

With the midterm elections just a month away, Howard Fineman traveled to Texas to look at a Senate race that could help determine the balance of power on Capitol Hill for the next two years. Will the Republicans succeed in using the Iraq issue to keep Democratic candidates from focusing pivotal races on the wobbly economy and worries about education and health care? Meanwhile, Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman report on a new link between Iraq and Al Qaeda that the administration believes could help rally support for going to war.

Besides Saddam Hussein, newsrooms around the country have been buzzing about another rogue: Bob Greene, the acclaimed Chicago Tribune reporter who resigned after admitting he had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl he wrote about in a column more than a decade ago. At first the gossip centered on Greene: did his offense warrant losing his job? But on our Web site last week, Seth Mnookin reported that Tribune colleagues have long suspected Greene's wandering eye, including use of his old "beauty contest" column to identify potential conquests. As Seth points out this week, a profession that has spent so much time exposing sexual hypocrisy is now getting a taste of its own medicine.

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