Links for Keyword: ADHD

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By Aimee Cunningham The chemical bisphenol A, known as BPA, has become familiar in the past decade, notably to parents searching for BPA-free bottles for their infants. Animal studies have found that BPA, which resembles the sex hormone estrogen, harms health. The growing brain is an especially worrisome target: estrogen is known to be important in fetal brain development in rodents. Now a study suggests that prenatal, but not childhood, exposure to BPA is connected to anxiety, depression and difficulty controlling behaviors in three-year-olds, especially girls. More than 90 percent of Americans have detectable amounts of BPA in their urine; for most people, the major source of exposure is diet. BPA is a component of the resins that line cans of food and the plastics in some food packaging and drink containers, and the chemical leaches into the edible contents. Other sources of BPA exposure include water-supply pipes and some paper receipts. Epidemiologist Joe M. Braun of Harvard University and his colleagues studied 240 women and their children in the Cincinnati area. The researchers collected urine samples from the mothers twice during pregnancy and within 24 hours of birth and from the children at ages one, two and three. BPA was detectable in 97 percent of the samples. They also surveyed parents about their kids’ behavior and executive functions—a term for the mental processes involved in self-control and emotional regulation. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 16525 - Posted: 03.17.2012

By Emily Willingham Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had a star turn in the recent, high-profile murder trial of University of Virginia lacrosse star George Huguely. Lawyers for the defense aren’t using the condition to explain away their client’s presumed violent behavior; rather, they’re saying that the woman he’s accused of killing may have died from her own, personal battle with ADHD. Amidst their exculpatory evidence was the victim’s prescription for Adderall, and they offered that she could have died from a mix of the drug (which is prescribed to treat ADHD) and alcohol. The medical examiner has discounted that notion, calling the very low levels of Adderall in the victim’s blood “within therapeutic range.” The cause of her death rather seems to have been a blunt force trauma to the head. The idea that ADHD drugs might be killing us—and in ways that resemble being bashed in the head—represents just one of several ominous storylines associated with the disorder. In recent years, we’ve also heard speculation about whether ADHD is real, and if it is real, whether it’s being grossly overdiagnosed. And then there are the drugs. A recent opinion piece in the New York Times by psychology professor L. Alan Sroufe argues at great length that attention-deficit drugs do more harm than good over the long term, a conclusion other professionals in his field dispute. The backlash against ADHD—which often targets the drugs used to treat it, the people who have it, and the therapists and parents who make treatment decisions—has again reached a fever pitch. These backlashes against childhood developmental diagnoses seems to rise and fall every few years, but lately it’s burgeoning. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 16432 - Posted: 02.25.2012

By L. ALAN SROUFE THREE million children in this country take drugs for problems in focusing. Toward the end of last year, many of their parents were deeply alarmed because there was a shortage of drugs like Ritalin and Adderall that they considered absolutely essential to their children’s functioning. But are these drugs really helping children? Should we really keep expanding the number of prescriptions filled? In 30 years there has been a twentyfold increase in the consumption of drugs for attention-deficit disorder. As a psychologist who has been studying the development of troubled children for more than 40 years, I believe we should be asking why we rely so heavily on these drugs. Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term, which is why they work so well for college students cramming for exams. But when given to children over long periods of time, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems. The drugs can also have serious side effects, including stunting growth. Sadly, few physicians and parents seem to be aware of what we have been learning about the lack of effectiveness of these drugs. What gets publicized are short-term results and studies on brain differences among children. Indeed, there are a number of incontrovertible facts that seem at first glance to support medication. It is because of this partial foundation in reality that the problem with the current approach to treating children has been so difficult to see. © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 16313 - Posted: 01.30.2012

by Chelsea Whyte When it comes to selecting mates, hawkfish keep their options open. The flamboyantly coloured reef dwellers start life as females but can transform into males after maturing. Many marine animals do this, but these fickle fish have a rare trick up their fins: they can change back when the situation suits. Tatsuru Kadota and colleagues from Hiroshima University in Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan, have observed reverse sex changes in wild hawkfish for the first time in the subtropical reefs around Kuchino-Erabu Island in southern Japan. Hawkfish live in harems, with one dominant male mating with several females. Kadota's team studied 29 hawkfish and found that when it comes to sex change, the size of the harem matters. If a male hawkfish took on many females, one of the two largest females would change sex and take over half of the harem, mating as a male. Conversely, if that new male hawkfish lost a few females to other harems and was challenged by a larger male, it reverted to mating as a female, instead of wasting precious energy fighting a losing battle. "The ability to undergo bidirectional sex change maximises an individual's reproductive value," Kadota says. "Because of our frame of reference, we think of gender being fated one way or another," says fish ecologist Scott Heppell of Oregon State University in Corvallis. "These animals are a lot more flexible than some species." © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 16222 - Posted: 01.07.2012

By JoNel Aleccia After nearly 10 months, the nationwide shortage of ADHD drugs has taken a toll on Kate Skinn. The 32-year-old Ohio woman had to take a medical leave from college because she can’t focus on her reading. She’s lost income from her job as a waitress because she’s distracted at work. And she’s had to struggle even harder than usual juggling the needs of her boyfriend and their four children, all because she can’t reliably get the Adderall that helps her cope. “It’s impossible to manage all the facets of my life and do my schoolwork,” said Skinn, of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, who was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder three years ago. “When I can’t take my medicine, I can’t concentrate. I’ll start everything I need to do, but never complete any of it.” She’s among millions of Americans struggling to deal with the worst drug shortage in United States history. ADHD drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin, first reported as scarce last spring, are only a fraction of the 251 medications in short supply so far this year, up from 211 in 2010, according to University of Utah Drug Information Service. The issue drew renewed attention Thursday, when the White House issued an interim rule that requires drugmakers that are the only producers of certain critical medications to report to the Food and Drug Administration all manufacturing interruptions that could disrupt supplies. © 2011 msnbc.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 16165 - Posted: 12.19.2011

By Scicurious Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children, and is becoming a big deal in adults as well. ADHD is a pile of related symptoms, most of them dealing with motivation, impulsivity, inattention, and, you know hyperactivity (they call it ADHD for a reason). Right now, we treat ADHD with stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, which in low doses and when they act over a long period of time can increase focus and help people with ADHD function better. But the question remains as to what CAUSES ADHD, what abnormalities are going on in the brain that cause the symptoms. There are several hypotheses as to what’s going on. One of them is the dopamine hypothesis, that dysfunctions in dopamine systems are responsible some of the symptoms. But in order to prove this, we have to find evidence for it in humans. There is some evidence that dopamine dysfunction contributes, and now we have a little bit more. Volkow et al. “Motivation deficit in ADHD is associated with dysfunction of the dopamine reward pathway” Molecular Psychiatry, 2011. (I should note here that Dr. Nora Volkow is the current head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and is also one of the foremost researchers on ADHD in humans). In this case, the authors wanted to look at how dopamine system function was related to scores of motivation in adults with ADHD. The problem with this is how to measure “motivation”. In this case, they looked at people’s ADHD scores (compared to non-ADHD controls), and looked at scores on personality tests, particularly those related to “achivement”. © 2011 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 16145 - Posted: 12.13.2011

By Lindsey Tanner CHICAGO—Ritalin and other drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder are safe for adults' hearts, even though they can increase blood pressure and heart rate, according to the largest study of these medicines in adults. The results echo findings in a study of children with ADHD, by the same researchers, published last month. The review of health records for more than 440,000 adults aged 25 to 64 showed those taking ADHD drugs had about the same number of heart attacks, strokes and sudden heart-related deaths as adults who didn't use those drugs. Although attention deficit disorder is usually thought of as a condition in childhood, many continue to have symptoms as adults, including impulsive, fidgety behavior and difficulty focusing or paying attention. ADHD affects about 4 percent of U.S. adults, roughly 9 million. About 8 percent of U.S. children aged 3 to 17, or 5 million kids, have ever been diagnosed with the disorder, government statistics show. More than 1.5 million U.S. adults were taking stimulants used for ADHD in 2005, and use of ADHD drugs increased more rapidly in adults than in kids over the past decade, the study said. The research will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Dec. 28 print edition, but was released online Monday because of its public health importance, journal editors said. © Copyright 2011 Associated Press.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 16144 - Posted: 12.13.2011

by Susan Watts Yet another survey has revealed surprisingly large numbers of people using drugs to boost their mental powers. What should be done? MOST of us want to reach our full potential. We might drink a cup of coffee to stay alert, or go for a run to feel on top of the job. So where's the harm in taking a pill that can do the same thing? So-called cognitive-enhancing drugs are usually prescribed to treat medical conditions, but they are also known for their ability to improve memory or focus. Many people buy them over the internet, which is risky because they don't know what they are getting. We also know next to nothing about their long-term effects on the brains of healthy people, particularly the young. But some scientists believe they could have a beneficial role to play in society, if properly regulated. So who's taking what? The BBC's flagship current affairs show Newsnight and New Scientist ran an anonymous online questionnaire to find out. I also decided to try a cognitive enhancer for myself. The questionnaire was completed by 761 people, with 38 per cent saying they had taken a cognitive-enhancing drug at least once. Of these, nearly 40 per cent said they had bought the drug online and 92 per cent said they would try it again. Though not representative of society, the survey is an interesting, anecdotal snapshot of a world for which there is little data. The drugs people said they had taken included modafinil, normally prescribed for sleep disorders, and Ritalin and Adderall, taken for ADHD. The range of experiences is striking. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 16026 - Posted: 11.12.2011

by Peter Aldhous An announcement for children being treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: the drugs used do not seem to increase the risk of stroke, heart attack or sudden death from heart failure. Fears about cardiovascular side effects surfaced in 2006, when the US Food and Drug Administration was looking into 25 reports of sudden deaths among people taking the stimulants, 19 of them children. A team led by William Cooper of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, has now studied more than 1.2 million children and young adults, following each for more than two years on average. They recorded just 81 serious cardiovascular events, and these were no more likely to have occurred in the minority taking stimulant drugs. Long-term question However, questions about the drugs' safety will remain. Given that they can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Almut Winterstein at the University of Florida in Gainesville is concerned about the effects of long-term use. She has found that more than 15 per cent of children in Florida who are prescribed stimulants carry on taking them for at least five years. In addition to 2.7 million or more American children, it is thought that at least 1.5 million adults in the US are currently taking stimulants for ADHD. Older adults may be at some risk, given that cardiovascular disease is more common with advancing age. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15973 - Posted: 11.03.2011

By RONI CARYN RABIN Ruth Grau was first told her son had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when he was 3. The idea of medicating him was anathema to her, so she and her husband tried an alternative approach: exercise, occupational therapy and a diet free of junk food — no sweets, no dairy, no processed food. When the boy was 4, they started a behavior modification program with the help of a psychiatrist. But when their son started kindergarten, he still “wouldn’t sit down, would fidget, wouldn’t be on task, wouldn’t stop talking, wanted to go outside and play,” said Ms. Grau, 46, who with her husband owns Springboard Vacations, a travel company in Redondo Beach, Calif. “He had a wonderful teacher, but he was falling further and further behind.” When the child was 5, the psychiatrist started him on medication, and though Ms. Grau had not shared that information with his teacher, the teacher sensed a difference right away. “She rang us the same day and said, ‘I don’t know what you’ve done, but he was so much better in class today,’ ” Ms. Grau said. Of the decision to put her son on medication, she said, “I don’t regret it for a minute.” Although methylphenidate, a stimulant used to treat A.D.H.D. and sold under brand names like Concerta and Ritalin, is not approved for use in children under age 6, physicians may prescribe it to them. And they may be doing so more often. Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its A.D.H.D. treatment guidelines, giving doctors a green light to prescribe drugs even to preschoolers with A.D.H.D. if behavioral efforts fail. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 15943 - Posted: 10.25.2011

BOSTON — Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can now be diagnosed in children as young as 4 and as old as 18, according to the nation's largest organization of pediatricians. The new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) expand the age range over which doctors can diagnose and manage ADHD in children, and are based on recent research; previous guidelines released in 2000 and 2001 covered children ages 6 to 12. "Treating children at a young age is important, because when we can identify them earlier and provide appropriate treatment, we can increase their chances of succeeding in school," said Dr. Mark Wolraich, a pediatrician at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and lead author of the report. The guidelines were released today in Boston at the pediatricians' annual conference. But with ADHD now the most common neurobehavioral disorder in children, some experts worry about changes that could lead to even more kids being diagnosed -- and medicated. A text-message survey of 100 U.S. pediatricians conducted by Truth On Call for msnbc.com found that 60 of them think ADHD is overdiagnosed in kids, 35 feel it’s diagnosed appropriately and 5 think it might be underdiagnosed. As of 2007, 9.5 percent of U.S. children had been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And cases of ADHD are already on the rise; between 2003 and 2007, rates of ADHD diagnoses increased 5.5 percent per year, the CDC says. © 2011 msnbc.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 15918 - Posted: 10.17.2011

By Rob Stein Nearly one in 10 U.S. children is being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new analysis of federal data released Thursday. The percentage of U.S. children between ages 5 to 17 who were diagnosed with ADHD increased from about 7 percent to 9 percent between 1998 and 2009, according to the analysis by the National Center for Health Statistics. As expected, the condition was more common among boys than girls, according to the analysis. The prevalence of ADHD increased from 9.9 percent to 12.3 percent among boys and from 3.6 percent to 5.5 percent among girls. The condition, which is marked by difficulty paying attention, impulsive behavior and hyperactivity, varies by race and ethnicity, according to the report. But the gap between whites and blacks narrowed during that time period, according to the report. The prevalence of the condition increased from 8.2 percent to 10.6 percent among whites compared to an increase from 5.1 percent to 9.5 percent among blacks. Puerto Rican children had about the same rate as blacks, while the rate among Mexican Americans remained lower, according to the analysis. The prevalence also varied by region of the country, with the rates being higher in the South and Midwest than the Northeast and West. © 2011 The Washington Post Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15691 - Posted: 08.20.2011

By Laura Beil When it comes to the safety of dyeing food, the one true shade is gray. Artificial colorings have been around for decades, and for just about as long, people have questioned whether tinted food is a good idea. In the 1800s, when merchants colored their products with outright poisons, critics had a pretty good case. Today’s safety questions, though, aren’t nearly so black and white — and neither are the answers. Take the conclusions reached by a recent government inquiry: Depending on your point of view, an official food advisory panel either affirmed that food dyes were safe, questioned whether they were safe enough or offered a conclusion that somehow merged the two. It was a glass of cherry Kool-Aid half full or half empty. About the only thing all sides agree on is that there would be no discussion if shoppers didn’t feast with their eyes. Left alone, margarine would be colorless, cola wouldn’t be dark, peas and pickles might not be so vibrantly green, and kids cereals would rarely end up with the neon hues of candy. But as the 1990s flop of Crystal Pepsi showed, consumers expect their food to look a certain way. Some of the earliest attempts to dye food used substances such as chalk or copper — or lead, once a favorite for candy — that turned out to be clearly harmful. Most of the added colors in use today were originally extracted from coal tar but now are mostly derived from petroleum. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 15673 - Posted: 08.13.2011

By Tina Hesman Saey Rare genetic factors that lead to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder appear to be some of the same ones that cause autism, schizophrenia and other brain disorders. Previous studies have attempted – and mostly failed – to link common genetic variants to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD. A new study bolsters the idea that many different rare variants, some found only in single families or individuals, are responsible for the condition. What’s more, variants of the same genes associated with ADHD have also been linked to autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and intellectual disability. “This really gives substance to the argument that there are shared genetic links between neuropsychiatric disorders,” says child psychiatrist Russell Schachar of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, who led the study with Stephen Scherer, a geneticist at the hospital. ADHD is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders, affecting about 7 percent of school-age children in the United States. It persists throughout life. People with the disorder may have trouble concentrating, act impulsively and be overly active. Symptoms fall on a continuum of severity, much like high blood pressure, says Josephine Elia, medical codirector of the Center for Management of ADHD at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Up to 75 percent of people with autism spectrum disorders also have symptoms of ADHD, but researchers did not know if the genetic causes were the same as in people who have ADHD alone. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15668 - Posted: 08.11.2011

By Stephanie Pappas Ever since the second day her son went to kindergarten, Penny Williams has worried about him. That's the day Williams, a real estate broker in Asheville, N.C., got her first call from her child's teacher. Luke wasn't ready for school, the teacher told Williams. He couldn't sit still and didn't want to participate. The insinuation, Williams said, was that she had failed as a parent. Luke, now 8, would later be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurological disorder marked by distraction, disorganization, impulsivity and, as the name suggests, hyperactivity. About 3 percent to 5 percent of school-age children in the U.S. have ADHD. Since the diagnosis, Williams has immersed herself in those children's worlds. She edits a group blog of parents with ADHD kids at adhdmomma.blogspot.comand devours books about ADHD, trying to understand her child's mind. "He has a really high IQ and he's really gifted, and he comes home from school and says how stupid he is," Williams told LiveScience, referring to Luke. "It's hard to watch your kid struggle … It adds stress and anxiety." A new study finds that Williams is far from alone in her sensitivity to her son's moods and needs. Parents of children with ADHD are more in tune to their child's behaviorthan parents with neurotypical children, according to research published in June in the Journal of Family Psychology. All parents' moods ebb and flow based on how their children are behaving, said study researcher Candice Odgers, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine. But the link between a mother's mood and her child's behavior is stronger when the kid has ADHD. © 2011 LiveScience.com.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 15592 - Posted: 07.25.2011

NEW YORK — Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home may be more likely than their peers to have learning and behavioral problems, according to a new study. Researchers found that of more than 55,000 U.S. children younger than 12 years, six percent lived with a smoker. And those kids were more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a learning disability or "conduct disorder" than children in smoke-free homes. Even after accounting for a number of possible explanations -- like parents' incomes and education levels -- secondhand smoke was still tied to a higher risk of behavioral problems, said Hillel R. Alpert of the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the researchers on the work. Still, the findings don't prove a smoke-filled home is to blame, said Alpert, because other factors the study didn't look at could be at play. For instance, children exposed to secondhand smoke are often exposed to smoke while they are still in the womb. And mothers' smoking during pregnancy has been linked to increased risks of learning and behavioral problems. Alpert's team, whose results appear in the journal Pediatrics, had no information on mothers' smoking during pregnancy. It's also possible that parents who smoke have, themselves, a greater history of learning or behavior problems compared with non-smoking parents. Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 15551 - Posted: 07.14.2011

By Molly Zametkin, Afew weeks ago, after completing my last class of college, I Googled my name. I knew I wouldn’t like what I saw, but I did it anyway. Eight hundred forty-five Google hits later, I was having a panic attack about what prospective employers and graduate schools would find: my tainted online reputation. Rewind five years. It’s my senior year of high school. I’ve been accepted to several colleges, and I’ve just come to terms with the fact that I grew up with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and finally begun to embrace the diagnosis as part of who I am. Accepting that I had attention issues was a breakthrough for me. I had spent my entire academic career struggling with shame and stigma. I hated being labeled ADHD; it made me feel as if people would think I was hyper, lazy, unmotivated and unfocused, which simply wasn’t the case. I remember finding it hard to resist chatting with my classmates when we were supposed to be doing assignments, and I was always doing my homework at the very last minute, but I also remember my teachers telling me I was a “bright” little girl. I was creative, I liked to work hard and I got good grades. Yet even when people told me I was bright, it felt as if they were saying, “You’re bright . . . for someone who has an attention problem.” I truly hated having my teachers and my parents think I was abnormal or flawed. During my senior year of high school, however, I learned that a family friend with whom I was close had ADHD and wasn’t ashamed of it at all. She was beautiful, popular and smart, and she freely broadcast the fact that she was living with ADHD and taking stimulant medications to treat it. Somehow, her open attitude relieved me. I began to think, “Hey, if she has ADHD and people still think she’s cool, no one’s opinion of me will change if I ‘come out’ with the fact that I have it, too.” © 1996-2011 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15499 - Posted: 06.28.2011

By LESLEY ALDERMAN WHEN Liz Goldberg, 53, was growing up, she always felt “a little off.” She received good grades and even completed a master’s degree in health administration, but it was always a struggle. In school, she would procrastinate and then pull desperate all-nighters to study for an exam. She’d become hyperfocused on a project and let everything else fall by the wayside. Maintaining relationships was tricky. “I would concentrate intensely on a friend and then move on,” she said. She commuted to college one year simply because she had missed the deadline to apply for housing. “I managed to achieve a lot, but it was difficult,” said Ms. Goldberg, a mother of three who lives near Philadelphia. “I sensed something was wrong, but others would always talk me out of it.” Finally, in her late 40s, Ms. Goldberg was given a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition caused by signaling problems in the brain. The primary symptoms are impulsiveness, inattention, restlessness and poor self-regulation. Children with the condition tend to be hyperactive, but adults who have it often just seem distracted and disorganized. Undiagnosed, A.D.H.D. can wreak havoc on relationships, finances and one’s self-esteem. Adults with the disorder are twice as likely as those without it to be divorced, for instance, and four times as likely to have car accidents. It’s no surprise that they also tend to have poor credit ratings. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15328 - Posted: 05.14.2011

By PERRI KLASS, M.D. The mother had brought in a note from her son’s elementary school teacher: Dear doctor, I think this child needs to be tested for attention deficit disorder. “She’s worried about how he can’t sit still in school and do his work,” the mother said. “He’s always getting into trouble.” But then she brightened. “But he can’t have attention deficit, I know that.” Why? Her son could sit for hours concentrating on video games, it turned out, so she was certain there was nothing wrong with his attention span. It’s an assertion I’ve heard many times when a child has attention problems. Sometimes parents make the same point about television: My child can sit and watch for hours — he can’t have A.D.H.D. In fact, a child’s ability to stay focused on a screen, though not anywhere else, is actually characteristic of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are complex behavioral and neurological connections linking screens and attention, and many experts believe that these children do spend more time playing video games and watching television than their peers. But is a child’s fascination with the screen a cause or an effect of attention problems — or both? It’s a complicated question that researchers are still struggling to tease out. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 15314 - Posted: 05.10.2011

by Jessica Hamzelou Those who are easily distracted from the task in hand may have "too much brain". So says Ryota Kanai and his colleagues at University College London, who found larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in those whose attention is readily diverted. To investigate distractibility, the team compared the brains of easy and difficult-to-distract individuals. They assessed each person's distractibility by quizzing them about how often they fail to notice road signs, or go into a supermarket and become sidetracked to the point that they forget what they came in to buy. The most distractible individuals received the highest score. The team then imaged the volunteers' brains using a structural MRI scanner. The most obvious difference between those who had the highest questionnaire scores – the most easily distracted – and those with low scores was the volume of grey matter in a region of the brain known as the left superior parietal lobe (SPL). Specifically, the easily distracted tended to have more grey matter here. To find out whether activity in the left SPL plays a role in distractibility, the team turned to transcranial magnetic stimulation. This hand-held magnet dampens the activity of the part of the brain beneath it for around half an hour. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 15298 - Posted: 05.07.2011