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Neurofeedback for ADHD

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

This review of neurofeedback research was done by very careful scientifically rigorous conventional physicians. The researchers looked carefully at all of the studies about Neurofeedback for ADHD and there conclusion was that it was “probably” efficacious. This is a strongly positive result, especially for a procedure that is somewhat difficult to study, compared to a simple medication.
Now if insurances would only cover this, I think it would be able to help a lot of kids.

The great thing about Neurofeedback is that it is teaching children to modify their own brain function, in order to help themselves concentrate when it is necessary. It seems pretty clear that it is effective, at least in the short run, for most children with ADHD. It would be nice to know how long the effects lasted, given that it is a time consuming and expensive intervention. However, part of why it seems so expensive is that it is usually not covered by insurance. Really, it is not more expensive than about 6 or 8 months of psychotherapy or even occupational or speech therapy. it’s just that insurance often covers the latter, at least partially.

Iron Levels Related to Healthy Brain Functioning

Monday, April 9th, 2012

In the Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences, the following article related the level of circulating iron to optimal brain structure. This is a very complex article but the bottom line is that YOU NEED ADEQUATE IRON FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN, whether or not you have ADHD. Iron is essential for the production of “myelin” in certain brain cells. Myelin allows brain impulses to be carried at at very high  speeds. Without it, our brains do not function normally. This is one more piece of evidence affirming how important it is to check iron levels in children with ADHD, and supplement when they are not adequate.

transferrin levels & brain structure

 

Rate of ADHD Diagnosis has Increased 66% in 10 Years.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

This new study shows a 66% increase in the diagnosis of ADHD over the last 10 years, an even bigger increase in the rise of ADHD than was previously thought. I am appalled that the author’s oversimplified explanation is that this is simply due to an increased awareness of ADHD. This implies, of course, that over-diagnosis is no part of this at all. Clearly he has not read the study posted march 7 showing that simply being born in December rather than January increases the chance of being diagnosed with ADHD by 31% in boys and 70% in girls.

Rate of ADHD Diagnosis up 66%.

Cell phones exposure during pregnancy linked to hyperactivity in mice.

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The study below showed that the pregnant mice exposed to radiation from a cell phone near the cage had offspring that were more likely to have behavioral problems similar to ADHD. Given the level of cell phone use this is a little concerning. Of course it is a long way from one mouse study to proving this will be a problem in humans, but to be safe I would suggest pregnant women not carry their cell phones next to their body on a regular basis.

Youngest Children in Class Misdiagnosed with ADHD

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

A new research study, from Canda, showing that the youngest children in a class are much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and treated with medication. In Canada, where Jan 1 is the cutoff, boys born in December were 30% more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis and 41% more likely to receive a medication than boys born in January!!! For girls it was WORSE, they were 70% more likely to receive a diagnosis and 77% more likely to receive medication. What does this show? To a large extent, WE ARE UNABLE TO DISTINGUISH ADHD FROM SIMPLY BEING YOUNGER AND A LITTLE LESS MATURE. It is frightening to contemplate how many families are told they have impaired children and need a lifetime of medication simply based on what time of year they were born!

this is the second study confirming the same point. In a U.S. study in 2011, the youngest kindergartners were 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest children in the same grade. Overall, that study found that about 20 percent — or 900,000 — of the 4.5 million children currently identified as having ADHD likely have been misdiagnosed. Both of these articles should be shared with anyone working with ADHD children.

Age and ADHD

New Research Confirms Video Games Increase ADHD Symptoms

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Video and ADHD 2012 -Another research study demonstrates that video games contribute to worsening symptoms of ADHD. In this study over 3000 children and teenagers in Singapore were followed for over 3 years. the results clearly show that increased video game time led to worsening ADHD symptoms. It also showed that children with ADHD were more likely to spend more time playing video games, so it is a negative 2-way cycle. Violent video games were worse, but the impact on ADHD was negative whether the games were violent or not.
This is not the first study showing the negative effect of video games on ADHD, but the large numbers of children studied make it a strong one. The size of the effect was not large, but was larger, for example, than that of any gene associated with ADHD.
the authors offer several hypothesis for why video games should worsen ADHD symptoms, the most likely, it seems to me, is the “excitement” hypothesis. This is the idea that video games are so exciting, and have so much dramatic feedback, that school instruction and usual learning tasks (like doing homework) pale by comparison. However the research itself could not determine if this was the actual cause.
BOTTOM LINE: Video game time in children with ADHD should be carefully controlled and violent videos discouraged.

Dr. Newmark Lecture – Do 2.5 Million Children Really Need Ritalin

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=23045

This website contains a video of a lecture i gave recently here at the Osher Center for integrative medicine. This is a good summary of my overall Integrative approach to ADHD, for those of you who are interested.

exercise and ADHD

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Two recent articles have emphasized the importance of physical exercise in children with ADHD. the first is a new study published in the Journal of Attention disorders., which showed that a physical activity program improved cognitive function and behavior in children with ADHD. Children were given a 10 week, 3x/week, 45 minutes session of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise. ADHD symptoms improved, and perhaps more importantly, cognitive skills. “Specifically, it seems that children with ADHD in the experimental group were more efficient in information processing as shown by faster speeds of visual research and better sustained auditory attention.” There was a control group who did not get the exercise program, but parents and teachers were not blinded as to what group their kids were in. So theoretically teacher and parent expectations might have caused better ratings on the ADHD scales, but the children were given standardized testa for cognitive skills and its hard to see how thee would have improved from placebo effect.
In a second article, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine researchers analyzed the existing studies on the relationship of exercise and academic performance. they found “strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance,” this research considered all children, not specifically those with ADHD, but there is no reason to think this would apply less to ADHD children than anyone else. in fact, many parents tellme their ADHD children have much fewer problems with their homework if they get to play outside first.

Bottom Line – do everything you can to give your child a chance for daily physical activity. If there is no daily PE at school, push to create it. it doesn’t have to be organized sports, which some ADHD kids do not like.They can ride their bikes, go on hikes, walk on the beach, or just play outside withtheir friends and receive benefit. martial arts are often helpful and well accepted.

A Physical activity program ADHD

Is Your Child Getting Sufficient Quality Sleep?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Is your ADHD child sleeping well? Sleep apnea and other sleep problems can cause ADHD like symptoms and worsen symptoms for children with ADHD. It is really important to closely monitor your child’s sleep problems. Snoring and very restless sleep, or being overly tired when awakening, are signs that there may be a sleep disorder. also, many children with ADHD have trouble “winding down” and may not get enough sleep when they have to wake up early for school. There are some simple non-pharmaceutical remedies for problems falling asleep, which may make a big difference in your child’s behavior and achievement.

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

A recent small study measured Acrolein-lysine, a marker of oxidative stress, in children with ADHD, autism, and healthy controls. The children with ADHD had significantly higher levels than the controls. 3 of the 11 had very high levels of oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is associated with a number of chronic disease states, and is something we definitely want to avoid.

Oxidative stress occurs when the body cannot successfully get rid of the normal by-products of metabolism. We need antioxidants to accomplish this. Vitamins A,C, and E are the antioxidant vitamins, but there are many other important antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. This study emphasizes the importance of a good diet, with adequate fruits and vegetables, plus a multivitamin when necessary, in children with ADHD.