Links for Keyword: ADHD

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By James Gallagher Babies who cry excessively and have problems feeding and sleeping have a greater risk of serious behavioural problems later in life, say scientists. One in five babies has symptoms that could lead to conditions such as ADHD, according to research published in Archives of Disease in Childhood. The review of previous studies looked at nearly 17,000 children. A child-health expert said it would be wrong for parents to be "overly alarmed" by the results. Crying in babies is normal, but some cry "excessively" after the age of three months for reasons other than colic. An international group of researchers looked at this as well as problems eating and sleeping. By comparing data from 22 studies from 1987 to 2006, they found a link between these issues and problems later in life. There was an increased risk of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), anxiety and depression as well as aggressive behaviour. BBC © 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: 15258 - Posted: 04.23.2011

By Jeremy Laurance One of life's disappointments is the recognition that we have not realised our potential; the realisation that had we tried harder, worked longer, played less, we might have achieved more. It is the foundation of the mid-life crisis. Parents say to their children preparing for an exam: "Just do your best." It is supposed to be encouraging – but is it? It is not easy to do your best. Indeed, it may be impossible. This becomes all too clear as we move into adulthood. The fiercest competition of our lives is the one we have with ourselves. There is much more involved than the small matter of will power. So could we be helped to do our best? The movie Limitless, released recently, deals directly with this conundrum. Its hero, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), is an unkempt, unaccomplished writer who finds a way of bridging the gap between the nobody he is and the somebody he aspires to be – with the drug NZT, rocket fuel for the brain – a cognitive enhancer that turbo-charges memory, cranks up concentration and eliminates fatigue. After swallowing a dose, Eddie completes a hefty chunk of his book in an afternoon, learns the piano in three days, picks up Italian from a Berlitz tape and wins a street fight using moves remembered from Bruce Lee flicks. Women suddenly find him irresistible. So far so good. But NZT has a downside. Soon Eddie is double-dosing, running out of supplies and desperate for more. The movie ends in a confusion of plot twists that has left critics floundering. The strength of Limitless is the credibility of its central idea. It is not so far- fetched to imagine that "smart drugs" like NZT might one day exist. Versions of them already do – and their use is growing. The key chemical substances in this field are Ritalin, an amphetamine substitute, and its stronger relative Adderall. They are prescribed to children with attention deficit disorder but are increasingly illicitly obtained and used to boost concentration. ©independent.co.uk

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15227 - Posted: 04.16.2011

By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times Maraschino cherries, Cheetos, Gatorade and Froot Loops. The rainbow of colors in candies and decorated birthday cakes. The colors of these foods are not from nature — and depending whom you talk to, they are harmless fun or making kids bounce off walls. Late last month, an advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded there was enough evidence to say that foods containing artificial food dyes may trigger hyperactivity in a small percentage of children with behavioral problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but that there was not enough to say that food dyes cause hyperactivity in the general population. Without clear evidence of harm, the panel voted against recommending warning labels for food products containing artificial colors. "There's not any convincing data that it's something we need to remove from the diet," says Dr. Wesley Burks, a pediatric allergist at Duke University in Durham, N.C., who served on the FDA panel. Still, critics of food dyes note that there's no health benefit to having artificial colors in foods, so any risk is unacceptable. "Allowing the use of artificial dyes violates the FDA's mandate to protect consumers from unsafe products," wrote two fierce proponents of an FDA ban — psychiatrist David Schab and consumer advocate Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest — in a Washington Post opinion article in March. Los Angeles Times Copyright 2011

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: 15202 - Posted: 04.11.2011

By Francie Diep One of the top worries for parents of kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the long-term consequences of this condition. "Families want to know, 'So what does this mean?'" says Alice Charach, head of the neuropsychiatry team at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Two recent, large reviews of previous studies reveal one disquieting answer: Getting an ADHD diagnosis in childhood is associated with nicotine and alcohol dependence in adulthood. The two studies' results on marijuana and other drugs, however, were more mixed. One review—a meta-analysis published in the April issue of Clinical Psychology Review by a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, (U.C.L.A.) and the University of South Carolina, Columbia—concluded that children with ADHD also have a strong risk of abusing marijuana, cocaine and other unspecified drugs. In contrast, Charach's team—which published its review in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry—also found an increased risk for marijuana and other drugs, but decided the results of the individual studies examined were too varied to reach a strong conclusion. Overall, however, "the similarities outweigh the differences" between the two meta-analyses, Charach says. Steve Lee, lead researcher on the U.C.L.A. review, agrees, "I think both studies are collectively persuasive." © 2011 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: 15177 - Posted: 04.05.2011

The dyes used to colour foods such as cereal, ketchup and snacks may contribute to hyperactivity in some children, a U.S. advisory committee has heard. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration started a two-day meeting Wednesday to weigh data on the link between dyes and the disorder. On Thursday, the panel will recommend whether the regulator should change labelling for food additives, request more study, or do nothing. The FDA has long said the dyes are safe. The U.S. consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest requested the meeting to review research on the effects of additives with the aim of banning Yellow 5, Red 40 and six other dyes. "Dyes are often used to make junk food more attractive to young children or to simulate the presence of a healthful fruit or other natural ingredient," said Michael Jacobson, the group’s director. "Dyes would not be missed in the food supply except by the dye manufacturers." The advocacy group is urging the FDA to put warning labels, noting a full ban would be difficult. Concern about food dyes became prominent in the 1970s when pediatrician Dr. Ben Feingold claimed the colours were linked to hyperactive behaviour and proposed a diet eliminating them. © CBC 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: 15154 - Posted: 03.31.2011

By THE NEW YORK TIMES Dr. Russell Barkley, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, responds. Perhaps most frustrating to me is that some days I am completely “on” and “in the zone,” whereas other days, I can’t even buy my own attention, let alone anyone else’s. Are such drastic fluctuations common in A.D.D/A.D.H.D. patients? TK, Atlanta Dr. Barkley responds: A.D.H.D. symptoms do vary in different situations, as well as from day to day. The daily fluctuations may be related to the various activities one is doing on any given day. If the tasks required on a specific day demand lots of self-control and organization as well as time management and persistence, then those with A.D.H.D. will generally report that their symptoms are worse that day. If, on the other hand, it is a vacation or weekend day and they could do more of the things they enjoyed, they often report that their symptoms were less pronounced that day. People with A.D.H.D. tend to report less difficulty with their symptoms when they are in novel situations, are engaged in one-on-one interactions, are doing something they enjoy, are able to move about more while doing the activity, and do not have to do a lot of planning and preparation for the situation at hand. Of course, in the opposite circumstances, those with A.D.H.D. tend to report considerable trouble, especially in situations that demand self-restraint, time management, preparation and organization, and controlling their emotions more than usual. © 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: 15041 - Posted: 02.24.2011

Dr. Russell A. Barkley First, it is important to note that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder does not present all that much differently in women from the way it does in men. Most research on this issue has confirmed this. While symptoms may vary somewhat among children, they are virtually the same by adulthood. In childhood, boys are three times as likely as girls to have A.D.H.D. Boys with the disorder tend to be more hyperactive and impulsive and are more likely to develop oppositional behavior, conduct problems and later delinquency than girls, though girls, too, can develop these problems. Girls, on the other hand, may be more prone to develop anxiety, depression and eating disorders — bulimia, in particular. By adulthood, the proportion of men to women with the disorder is nearly even, and there are few differences in the symptoms. Both men and women have significant problems with executive functioning, which involves skills like time management, self-organization and problem-solving, as well as self-restraint, self-motivation and self-regulation of emotions. All of these problems can have a major effect on daily life activities, like family relations, child-rearing, managing money, functioning at work or driving. Where men and women may differ is in the amount of time they engage in these activities – and the subsequent impact on daily life. A woman who works full time outside the home, for instance, would have more work-related difficulties, whereas a stay-at-home mother might have more problems related to home life. To the extent that women may opt for certain roles, those roles will be more greatly affected by the disorder, and vice versa for men. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 14996 - Posted: 02.12.2011

By Janet Raloff On his third consecutive evening of air combat, a military pilot closes in on the night’s quarry, a suspected Taliban fuel depot in Afghanistan. Fatigued, his alertness flagging, the pilot throws some chewing gum into his mouth. Laced with caffeine, it’s the cockpit alternative to a cup of coffee. This pilot would probably suspect that the gum is just a perk-me-up. But several caffeinated military rations — including this relatively new one — do more than stave off sleepiness. Emerging data indicate that these rations boost not only attention but also cognitive performance, features that do not necessarily climb in lockstep. The U.S. Department of Defense has been investigating such supplements to improve the ability of U.S. armed forces to maintain sustained periods of intense vigilance and focus, explains Harris Lieberman, a psychologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. Another hope, he notes: These dietary aids might minimize the risk of “friendly fire.” Army researchers at the institute, including Lieberman, are at the forefront of a small but growing cadre of investigators exploring how to boost what they call mental energy. This rather fuzzy phrase embraces wakefulness, but also includes mood, motivation and the capacity to perform key mental tasks. Increasing mental energy is important for those enervated because of a lack of sleep or for those whose jobs, like those of fighter pilots, require vigilance even in the face of sleep deprivation. Compounds that keep you awake, it turns out, can also boost other aspects of mental performance. Improved cognition is emerging as a quantifiable side benefit of many of these substances — in some cases, even for those folks who aren’t sleepy to begin with. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 14993 - Posted: 02.12.2011

Catherine de Lange, reporter Jessica Hamzelou, reporter Kate Northstone at the University of Bristol reckons a toddler left to snack on sweets and crisps could be left with a lower IQ later in life. Northstone's team collected data on the eating habits and IQ of almost 4000 children over six years. After accounting for other known influences on IQ, the team found that three-year-old children on a diet high in fat and sugar had lower IQ scores five years later than those fed healthier diets. Eight-year-olds with fruit- and vegetable-laden diets also scored more highly on IQ tests than those on less healthy diets. The results were published today in the Journal of Epidemiological Community Health. The research isn't the first to suggest ways to boost a child's IQ. Children with older dads have also been found to score lower on IQ tests, along with those who are smacked or exposed to cigarette smoke or lead. Last week, a separate study published in The Lancet said that diet could also make a key contribution to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The authors recommend that children with the condition should eliminate certain foods from their diet before beginning drug treatment. Previous research suggests that some cases of ADHD result from allergic reactions to food. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 14975 - Posted: 02.10.2011

By Bruce Bower Young kids lacking self-management skills are way more than annoying. They’re more likely to be big-time losers in the game of life, a new study finds. Low levels of conscientiousness, perseverance and other elements of self-control in youngsters as young as age 3 herald high rates of physical health problems, substance abuse, financial woes, criminal arrests and single parenthood by age 32, says an international team led by psychologists Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi of Duke University in Durham, N.C. Increasing self-control difficulties among children herald progressively greater numbers and seriousness of these adult troubles, the scientists report online January 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, has long held sway as the prime mental influence on health and achievement. But self-control’s close link to adult health and accomplishment remained after researchers accounted for children’s IQ scores and family income. “Self-control and intelligence are both valuable for life success, but after years of effort, IQ has proven difficult to change through interventions,” Moffitt says. For as-yet-unknown reasons, 7 percent of youngsters in the long-term study developed notably better self-control as they got older. Members of this group displayed better health, made more money and had fewer criminal run-ins as adults than would have been predicted by their self-control levels as young children. © 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: 14911 - Posted: 01.25.2011

A multinational research team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health has found that a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule may contribute to violently impulsive behavior when people who carry it are under the influence of alcohol. A report of the findings, which include human genetic analyses and gene knockout studies in animals, appears in the Dec. 23 issue of Nature. "Impulsivity, or action without foresight, is a factor in many pathological behaviors including suicide, aggression, and addiction," explains senior author David Goldman, M.D., chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). "But it is also a trait that can be of value if a quick decision must be made or in situations where risk-taking is favored." In collaboration with researchers in Finland and France, Dr. Goldman and colleagues studied a sample of violent criminal offenders in Finland. The hallmark of the violent crimes committed by individuals in the study sample was that they were spontaneous and purposeless. "We conducted this study in Finland because of its unique population history and medical genetics," says Dr. Goldman. "Modern Finns are descended from a relatively small number of original settlers, which has reduced the genetic complexity of diseases in that country. Studying the genetics of violent criminal offenders within Finland increased our chances of finding genes that influence impulsive behavior."

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: 14829 - Posted: 12.29.2010

By PERRI KLASS, M.D. As recently as 2002, an international group of leading neuroscientists found it necessary to publish a statement arguing passionately that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was a real condition. In the face of “overwhelming” scientific evidence, they complained, A.D.H.D. was regularly portrayed in the media as “myth, fraud or benign condition” — an artifact of too-strict teachers, perhaps, or too much television. In recent years, it has been rarer to hear serious doubt that the disorder really exists, and the evidence explaining its neurocircuitry and genetics has become more convincing and more complex. Even so, I’ve lately read a number of articles and essays that use attention (or its lack) as a marker and a metaphor for something larger in society — for the multitasking, the electronic distractions, the sense that the nature of concentration may be changing, that people feel nibbled at, overscheduled, distracted, irritable. But A.D.H.D. is not a metaphor. It is not the restlessness and rambunctiousness that happen when grade-schoolers are deprived of recess, or the distraction of socially minded teenagers in the smartphone era. Nor is it the reason your colleagues check their e-mail in meetings and even (spare me!) conversations. Copyright 2010 The New York Times 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: 14779 - Posted: 12.14.2010

Children with ADHD are known to go off medications like Ritalin because of side-effects, but researchers suggest that doctors stress the importance of treatment to reduce the risk of traffic crashes.Children with ADHD are known to go off medications like Ritalin because of side-effects, but researchers suggest that doctors stress the importance of treatment to reduce the risk of traffic crashes. Teenage boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are twice as likely to be involved in a serious car collision compared with the general population, an Ontario study suggests. The study in Tuesday's issue of the online journal PLoS Medicine looked at 3,421 males between the ages of 16 and 19 who were involved in serious road trauma between 2002 and 2009, compared with a control group of teens admitted for appendicitis. The researchers suggested listing ADHD the same way as other medical disorders like epilepsy, which require drivers to show they are road worthy to keep their driver's license. Study author Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, estimated if the crash risk for teenagers with ADHD could be reduced to that of teens without the disorder then it would prevent about 700 crashes a year in Ontario. Teenaged girls with ADHD also showed an increased risk of crashes, but the study focused on teenaged male drivers because they have the highest incidence of road crashes, at twice the population average. © CBC 2010

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: 14680 - Posted: 11.16.2010

By KATHERINE ELLISON You sit in a chair, facing a computer screen, while a clinician sticks electrodes to your scalp with a viscous goop that takes days to wash out of your hair. Wires from the sensors connect to a computer programmed to respond to your brain’s activity. Try to relax and focus. If your brain behaves as desired, you’ll be encouraged with soothing sounds and visual treats, like images of exploding stars or a flowering field. If not, you’ll get silence, a darkening screen and wilting flora. This is neurofeedback, a kind of biofeedback for the brain, which practitioners say can address a host of neurological ills — among them attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, depression and anxiety — by allowing patients to alter their own brain waves through practice and repetition. The procedure is controversial, expensive and time-consuming. An average course of treatment, with at least 30 sessions, can cost $3,000 or more, and few health insurers will pay for it. Still, it appears to be growing in popularity. Cynthia Kerson, executive director of the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research, an advocacy group for practitioners, estimates that 7,500 mental health professionals in the United States now offer neurofeedback and that more than 100,000 Americans have tried it over the past decade. Copyright 2010 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: 14524 - Posted: 10.05.2010

by Andy Coghlan For the first time, evidence has emerged of genetic mutations linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But how strong is the link, and how far does the finding undermine claims that children with the condition are simply naughty kids, victims of bad parenting or driven to hyperactivity by dietary additives? What did the researchers do? A research team in the UK screened DNA across the entire genome from 366 children with ADHD and 1047 children without the condition for rare but massive regions of DNA that were either missing from where they should be or duplicated. They looked for these abnormalities, called copy-number variants or CNVs, because some had been linked previously with other psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and autism. And what was the result? They found that 16 per cent of the children with ADHD had abnormally high numbers of CNVs, double the 8 per cent of normal children who had them: the ADHD children had double the risk of carrying these genetic abnormalities. Is that a big deal? "We have the first scientific evidence of a direct genetic link," said their leader, Anita Thapar of Cardiff University, at a press conference in London. © 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: 14512 - Posted: 10.02.2010

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor Parents of children who cannot concentrate, are prone to fidget and act impulsively may for the first time be able to escape criticism of their child-rearing skills, after scientists announced that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a genetic condition. One in 50 children are affected by the disorder, which attracts disapproving looks and frequent scolding from people convinced that the bad behaviour is due to poor parenting, too much sugar or too many additives in the child's diet. Children with ADHD are impulsive and have an inability to focus, which causes difficulties at home and school, placing immense strain on their families. The burden has been aggravated by the stigma attached to the disorder which attributes responsibility to the parents. Now scientists from Cardiff University say the origin of the behaviour is in the genes. They compared the DNA of two groups of children with and without ADHD and have discovered differences between them which provide the first direct evidence of a genetic cause. Anita Thapar, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Cardiff University, said: "We are really excited by these findings. We have known ADHD runs in families but this is the first evidence of a direct genetic link. We hope these findings will help overcome the stigma associated with ADHD. ©independent.co.uk

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: 14506 - Posted: 09.30.2010

By Emily Sohn Chemicals on our produce may contribute to behavior problems in our kids, suggest three new studies. The studies, which looked at a class of pesticides called organophosphates (OP), linked exposure to the chemicals with attention disorders in children, with perhaps the most dramatic impacts to kids who are exposed in the womb and those who are genetically most susceptible. Because pesticide residues linger on fruits and vegetables, the findings suggest that people either buy organic or take the time to wash their produce well. "We don't want women to not eat fruits and vegetables because it's very important to eat them during pregnancy," said Brenda Eskenazi, an epidemiologist and neuropsychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. "I just let water run really thoroughly over fruits, and I rub them so they're clean." Organophosphates are a set of common pesticides that work by attacking the nervous systems of insects. When people are exposed to high levels of the chemicals, they can develop anxiety, confusion impaired concentration, and other serious symptoms. More recently, scientists have started to wonder how chronic exposure at low levels might be affecting people, especially kids, whose nervous systems are still developing. To find out, Eskenazi and colleagues followed up on a long-term study that has tracked more than 300 Mexican-American women in an agriculturally intensive region of California since they first became pregnant in 1999 or 2000. When the women were pregnant, the researchers measured levels of pesticide breakdown products in their urine. More recently, they collected urine samples from the kids and evaluated measures of attention. © 2010 Discovery Communications, LLC.

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: 14384 - Posted: 08.23.2010

By Emily Anthes One of the first things that anatomy students learn is that the brain is divided down the center. In most people, one half, or hemisphere, plays a dominant role. Handedness has long been a crude measure of hemispheric dominance, because each side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. Right-handers, for instance, are likely to have dominant left hemispheres. Today researchers are realizing that studying ambidextrous children (who have no dominant hand) could yield insights into the consequences of an unusually symmetrical brain. A team of European researchers recently assessed nearly 8,000 Finnish children and showed that mixed-handed children are at increased risk for linguistic, scholastic and attention-related difficulties. At age eight, mixed-handed kids were about twice as likely to have language and academic difficulties as their peers. By the time the children were 16, they also were twice as likely to have symptoms of ADHD—and their symptoms were more severe than those of right- or left-handed students. Ambidexterity is not causing these problems. Rather “handedness is really a very crude measure of how the brain is working,” says Alina Rodriguez, a clinical psychologist at King’s College London and the study’s lead author. In typical brains, language is rooted in the left hemisphere, and net­works that control attention are anchored in the right—but brains without a dominant hemisphere may be working and communicating differently. © 2010 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 14331 - Posted: 08.07.2010

By TARA PARKER-POPE Does your husband or wife constantly forget chores and lose track of the calendar? Do you sometimes feel that instead of living with a spouse, you’re raising another child? Your marriage may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. An A.D.H.D. marriage? It may sound like a punch line, but the idea that attention problems can take a toll on adult relationships is getting more attention from mental health experts. In a marriage, the common symptoms of the disorder — distraction, disorganization, forgetfulness — can easily be misinterpreted as laziness, selfishness and a lack of love and concern. Experts suggest that at least 4 percent of adults suffer from the disorder; that as many as half of all children with A.D.H.D. do not fully outgrow it and continue to struggle with symptoms as adults; and that many adults with the disorder never got the diagnosis as children. Adults with attention disorders often learn coping skills to help them stay organized and focused at work, but experts say many of them struggle at home, where their tendency to become distracted is a constant source of conflict. Some research suggests that these adults are twice as likely to be divorced; another study found high levels of distress in 60 percent of marriages where one spouse has the disorder. “Typically people don’t realize the A.D.H.D. is impacting their marriage because there’s been no talk about this at all,” said Melissa Orlov, author of the new book “The A.D.H.D. Effect on Marriage,” to be published in September. Copyright 2010 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: 14276 - Posted: 07.20.2010

By ABIGAIL ZUGER, M.D. Picture a cupped hand. A capsule and a pill lie in the palm. The hand is extended toward a small child. The caption reads, “Take your vitamins.” It’s better than a Rorschach test, that image: most people will erupt with a passionate visceral reaction, especially if they deduce that the proffered medications are not vitamins at all, but strong psychoactive drugs like Ritalin and Prozac. For some, the picture symbolizes the best kind of parenting, proactive and nurturing. For others, it is an evocative summary of everything that is wrong with our culture, as pushy parents blithely dose hapless children with unnecessary medication in the name of conformity and achievement. The journalist Judith Warner was a die-hard member of the second camp, and wanted to spread the word. Six years ago, she happily landed a book contract to explore and document the overmedication of American youth. Readers of Domestic Disturbances, the online column Ms. Warner wrote for The New York Times until December, will be familiar with what happened next. She sallied forth to interview all the pushy parents, irresponsible doctors and overmedicated children she could find — and lo, she could barely find any. After several years of dead ends, missed deadlines and worried soul-searching, she was forced to reconsider her premise and start all over again. Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 13805 - Posted: 06.24.2010