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Archive for the ‘ADHD’ Category

According to a study published November 22nd in the New England Journal of Medicine by Paul Lichtenstein, Ph.D et al, “The use of medication to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [AD/HD] is linked to a lower likelihood of crime,” “Using Swedish national registers, researchers studied about 16,000 men and 10,000 women ages 15 and older who had been diagnosed with AD/HD.” Next, “court and prison records were used to track convictions from 2006 through 2009 and see whether patients were taking AD/HD drugs when their crimes were committed.”  The results showed that as compared with nonmedication periods, among patients receiving ADHD medication, there was a significant reduction of 32% in the criminality rate for men ) and 41% for women.

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The Houston Chronicle (5/20, Morgan, http://tinyurl.com/ADD-Women) reported that Deborah A. Pearson, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston said there are least 4 million American women with ADD/ADHD, but research focuses heavily on children, so it’s hard to pinpoint how many women are affected.  But at least one-third of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD will continue to have significant symptoms into adulthood, Pearson said.  On top of that, little girls aren’t always diagnosed at as early an age as boys, since they display different symptoms.  “That little whirling dervish of a boy is being diagnosed in kindergarten or first grade,” Pearson said. “But a little girl, she’s daydreaming. She’s not causing trouble for the teacher, she’s not causing trouble at home. She carries on, until her academic achievement is affected.”  In adulthood, men with ADD/ADHD tend to have more problems related to hyperactivity, whereas women tend to have more problems related to attention deficit — which is why Pearson often diagnoses women of college age.  “Families structure teenagers all the way through high school,” Pearson said. “Then they get to college, they lose the structure their parents provided, and they’re at loose ends.”  “They’re in for an evaluation of their child, and they’re sitting there saying ‘that sounds just like me,’” Pearson said.  “There’s a very strong genetic component in ADHD.  It does run in families.  Dianne W. Appolito, LCSW and director of Stone Creek Psychotherapy and Wellness Center in Katy, said women can be successfully treated for ADD/ADHD with medication and counseling.  Accepting the diagnosis and “reframing the awareness of how their brain works” is the first step, Appolito said. 

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HealthDay (4/19, Preidt, http://tinyurl.com/Adhd-Cause) reported that an interaction of genetics and environmental factors may be the cause of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.  A study of 304 youths found that ADHD symptoms were more common in children and teens with high or low activity levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin and who blame themselves for conflict between their parents.  “To date, studies have mostly focused on the effects of genetic and environmental influences on ADHD separately,” wrote Molly Nikolas, of Michigan State University, and colleagues.  “Our work examines the interaction between a specific gene variant and a family environmental risk factor in order to determine their roles in the development of ADHD via behavioral and emotional dysregulation in children.”  The genetic region examined by the researchers is 5HTTLPR, which is responsible for regulating the production of a protein that transports serotonin.  Previous studies have linked this area to a number of personality traits and neuropsychiatric disorders.  “Overall, these results complement growing evidence suggesting that 5HTTLPR variants confer a liability for ADHD that is activated in particular environments, rather than conferring risk for ADHD directly,” the researchers concluded.  The study was published April 15 in the journal Behavioral and Brain Functions.

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AmphetamineMedWire (3/9, Grasm, http://tinyurl.com/bipolar-ADD) reports that, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry researchers found that adults with bipolar disorder often present with co-morbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).   “We suggest that in clinical practice, adult patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder [BD] should be assessed for possible underlying or comorbid ADHD, and vice versa,” say Anne Halmøy (University of Bergen, Norway) and colleagues.  A significant linear relationship between current symptoms of ADHD as measured by the ASRS and lifetime symptoms of Bipolar Disorder was observed. The researchers say that this finding may “support the hypothesis that mood symptoms are an inherent part of a syndrome shared a by a subgroup of adult ADHD patients.”  As mood instability appears to be an important clinical feature of ADHD in adults, diagnostic criteria may need to be revised to account for bipolar-like symptoms,” concludes the team in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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HealthDay (2/2, http://tinyurl.com/lead-ADHD) reported lead may play a role in the development of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).   Genes are believed to account for as much as 70 percent of ADHD in children.  Researchers consider lead a prime suspect, among possible environmental causes, contributing to the other 30 percent .  Lead, a neurotoxin, is present in trace amounts in such things as soil, drinking water, children’s costume jewelry and imported candies.   In one of two recent studies examining the possible link between lead and ADHD, the researchers found that children with ADHD had slightly higher levels of lead in their blood than did children without ADHD.  The second study showed an association between elevated levels of lead in children’s blood and parent/teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms, including both hyperactivity and attention problems.  The findings strongly suggest that lead may be a cause of ADHD, according to Joel Nigg, a psychological scientist at Oregon Health & Science University.  He said that lead might disrupt brain activity in a way that leads to hyperactivity and attention problems. 

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The UK’s Telegraph (1/25, Devlin http://tinyurl.com/ambi-ADD) reports that ambidextrous children are twice as likely to be hyperactive as their classmates.  They are also twice as likely to suffer from language problems, such as dyslexia.  Scientists believe that differences in how the children’s brains work compared to others could link the problems, but admit they do not yet understand how.  Dr Alina Rodriguez, from Imperial College London, who led the study, said: “Our results should not be taken to mean that all children who are mixed-handed will have problems at school or develop ADHD.  “We found that mixed-handed children and adolescents were at a higher risk of having certain problems, but we’d like to stress that most of the mixed-handed children we followed didn’t have any of these difficulties.”  The study looked at almost 8,000 children, 87 of whom used both hands to write.  The researchers found that by the ages of seven or eight those children were twice as likely as their right-handed peers to have difficulties with language and to perform badly in school.  By the time they reached the age of 15 or 16 the teenagers were also as likely to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Studies suggest that people who write with their right hand have a more dominant left half of their brain.  Some researchers believe that the chances of developing ADHD could be influenced by having a weaker functioning right hemisphere of the brain. 

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HealthDay (http://tinyurl.com/aspirin-in-pregnancy 12/22, Thomas) reported the children of women who take low-dose aspirin during pregnancy because they are at high risk for delivering prematurely might have fewer behavioral problems at age 5.  In the study, French researchers used data on 656 children born before 33 weeks of gestation to 584 women from nine regions in France.  About 21 percent of the women took low-dose aspirin during pregnancy.  At age 5, children whose mothers had taken aspirin were slightly less likely to have behavioral difficulties or hyperactivity, though the results were not statistically significant, according to the study.   Still, much remains unknown about the role of aspirin in pregnancy, including exactly how well or why aspirin works.  One theory is that fetal growth restriction might be caused by tiny blood clots in the placenta, and aspirin helps blood flow between the placenta and the fetus. 

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