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Archive for the ‘ADHD’ Category

The Washington Post (9/22, Ellison) reports that, according to a study published Sept. 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there may be “a striking difference in the brain’s motivational machinery in people with” attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) symptoms. The study included “a group of healthy subjects” and “53 adults with AD/HD.” Researchers compared “detailed images of participants’ brains with positron emission tomography, or PET, scans after injecting them with a radioactive chemical that binds to dopamine receptors and transporters.” They found that “in people with AD/HD, the receptors and transporters aradhde significantly less abundant in mid-brain structures composing the so-called reward pathway, which is involved in associating stimuli with pleasurable expectations.” Researchers “speculated that people with AD/HD may even have a net deficit of dopamine.”

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Dopamine HealthDay (9/8, Dotinga) reported that, according to a study published Sept. 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the “the trouble concentrating that affects people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) might be related to motivation.” Specifically, “the motivational problems seen with” AD/HD “appear to stem from a reduction in” the neurotransmitter dopamine. For the study, researchers from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Brookhaven National Laboratory recruited “53 adults with AD/HD” who “underwent positron emission tomography (PET) scans for dopamine markers.” Next, the team “compared the results with PET scans of 44 adults without the condition.” In participants with AD/HD, the investigators found “disruptions in the two dopamine pathways associated with reward and motivation.”   WebMD (9/8, Warner) pointed out that “the results offer new insight into AD/HD, as well as help explain why people with AD/HD may be more likely to abuse drugs or become obese.” Lead study author Nora D. Volkow, MD, stated, “Our results also support the continued use of stimulant medications — the most common pharmacological treatment for AD/HD — which have been shown to increase attention to cognitive tasks by elevating brain dopamine.”   CBC News (9/9), BBC News (9/8), the UK’s Daily Mail (9/9, Hope), and the UK’s Telegraph (9/8, Smith) also covered the story.

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intunivThe Philadelphia Business Journal (9/3, George) reported, “The Food and Drug Administration granted marketing approval Thursday to Shire for Intuniv [guanfacine], a nonstimulant treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents aged six to 17.” Shire “already has three other AD/HD treatments in the United States and two AD/HD medicines outside the United States.”  HealthDay (9/3, Roberts) reported that Shire said its “once-daily” medication, “to be available in one-to-four mg strengths, is expected on pharmacy shelves in November.” Reuters (9/4) also covers the story.

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dnaHealthDay (6/25, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published online June 23 in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA, have identified “hundreds of gene variations that may be associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).” For the study, the team “analyzed genomes from 335 AD/HD patients and their families, and compared them to more than 2,000 children without AD/HD. The hundreds of gene variations were found to occur more often in children with AD/HD than in normal children.” In a news release, psychiatrist and AD/HD expert Josephine Elia, MD, stated, “Because the gene alterations we found are involved in the development of the nervous system, they may eventually guide researchers to better targets in designing early intervention for children with AD/HD.” HealthDay noted, “The cause of AD/HD isn’t known, but studies have shown that it’s strongly influenced by genetics.”

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bpMedWire (6/17, Cowen) reported that, according to a study published in the journal Bipolar Disorders, “elevated mood and decreased sleep can distinguish bipolar disorder from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) in very young children.” For the study, researchers from the Pennsylvania State University Medical School “examined the course of individual symptoms over the first 10 years of life in 27 children with bipolar disorder, who were diagnosed before nine years of age, and 22 children with” AD/HD. Next, “the children were rated by a parent for the presence and severity of 37 symptoms.” While “the team found the symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and decreased attention span were very common and showed a similar course in both groups,” they also discovered that “extended periods of mood elevation and decreased sleep were significantly more common in the bipolar children than in those with” AD/HD, and “were strong differentiators between the two disorders from as young as three years of age.” These differences “increased in magnitude over the first 10 years of life.”

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crashMedscape (5/22, Cassels) reported that, according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting, “older adults with” attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) may “be more prone to more auto accidents than people of similar age without” AD/HD. For the study, researchers from the University of Virginia “posted a survey of drivers with AD/HD on five websites, including one run by Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, for six months.” Next, the team analyzed the data from surveys completed by 156 males and 283 females “who had been diagnosed with AD/HD.” The group found that “middle-aged adult male drivers reported 1.1 automobile collisions in the previous year — a number higher than that in the general population.” The authors “concluded that long-acting stimulant medication is needed for AD/HD drivers; it has been shown that these treatments improve driving ability.”

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Kids%20Playing%20Video%20GamesMedscape (5/21, Boughton) reported that, according to a study presented May 18 at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting by researchers from Sullivan University, “playing video games may help improve concentration in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).” For the study, 10 children playing an automobile-racing video game “were treated for 10 to 15 sessions every two weeks for six months.” The youngsters “wore a virtual helmet” containing electroencephalograph (EEG) sensors while playing the video game. Next, “EEG data were plotted and quantified for 15 minutes per session and analyzed statistically,” with the results showing that “theta waves decreased and beta waves increased during the gaming sessions,” indicative of improved concentration. But, “experts at the” APA meeting said the study results “should be interpreted with caution,” not just because of the “study’s small sample size,” but also because “video gaming is known to lead to addiction.” APA fellow Michael Brody, MD, said, “It can be like any other behavioral addiction or obsessive activity.”

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MedWire (5/13, Cowen) reports that, according to a study published online May 7 in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, “a childhood history of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) has a significant impact on the course of bipolar disorder.” For the study, researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute examined “60 men and 99 women with bipolar disorder.” The study “participants underwent comprehensive evaluations to assess affective symptoms, childhood AD/HD, and current AD/HD symptoms.” The team also conducted “an interview with a parent…to obtain objective information about a history of childhood AD/HD.” The investigators found that participants “with childhood only AD/HD and those with childhood plus adult AD/HD had a significantly earlier age at onset of their first psychotic symptom, at a combined average age of 14.2 years, than those with pure bipolar disorder, at an average age of 21.9 years.” In addition, “both AD/HD groups had a significantly earlier combined average age (16.7 years) at first affective episode than those with pure bipolar disorder (22.7 years).”

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The New York Times (4/19, ED12, Parker-Pope) reported that “although some children appear to outgrow” attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AH/HD) “as they age, doctors say that as many as two-thirds have symptoms that persist into adulthood.” Now, “studies suggest that college students with AD/HD are at greater risk for academic and psychological difficulties, and have lower grade-point averages, than peers without the problem.” According to Mark H. Thomas, MD, of the University of Alabama, “We have found that there are a lot of significant barriers these students face.” Dr. Thomas explained, “When they come to college without the external supports of parents and teachers to keep them organized and on task, oftentimes they struggle mightily to get everything done that they need to get done.” Students may also face difficulties with their medications because of their schedules. Dr. Thomas says “the solution may be taking longer-acting treatments twice a day, or a combination of an extended-release and short-acting treatment.”

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WebMD (4/13, Doheny) reported that, according to research published online Apr. 13 in PLoS-Biology and in March in Environmental and Health Perspectives, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) appear to “adversely affect the development of brain cells and also make brain circuits ‘overexcited,’ which has been linked in previous research to developmental problems.” In their studies, researchers from the University of California-Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health believe they “have identified the way in which a broad class of environmental contaminants influences the developing nervous system and may contribute to neuro-developmental impairments, such as hyperactivity, seizure disorders, and autism.” Working with rats, the team found that “exposures to low doses of PCBs…hampered their ability to learn to swim a maze,” and “adversely affected the plasticity of the animals’ dendrites,” which is “important for learning and memory.” Interestingly, exposure to lower doses appeared to be more damaging than exposure to higher doses of PCBs.

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