Links for Keyword: ADHD

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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

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