Links for Keyword: ADHD

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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

Fitting in at school can be tough for children with attention problems.(Phil Marino for The New York Times)What does it feel like to have attention deficit disorder? The answer to that question can be found in a fascinating new report from the Journal of Pediatric Nursing called “I Have Always Felt Different.'’ The article gives a glimpse into the experience of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D., from a child’s perspective. Assistant professors Robin Bartlett and Mona M. Shattell, from the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, interviewed 16 college students who had been diagnosed with A.D.H.D. as children. The investigators talked to them about how the disorder affected life at home, school and friendships. Like most kids, the students described a life of both conflict with and support from their parents. But in their case, fighting with parents was often triggered by attention-related problems like failing to complete laundry chores or cleaning their rooms. Doing things for my parents and being aware of what needs to be done around the house, that’s the only time it really gets to me or hurts me. Despite the conflict, many students viewed their parents as supportive. One student noted that support from parents often felt like “nagging,'’ but they had little choice. Copyright 2007 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: 11276 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By BENEDICT CAREY BUFFALO — In school he was as floppy and good-natured as a puppy, a boy who bear-hugged his friends, who was always in motion, who could fall off his chair repeatedly, as if he had no idea how to use one. This is the last in a series of articles about the increasing number of children whose problems are diagnosed as serious mental disorders. The earlier articles examined one family’s experience, the uncertainty of diagnosis, the use of combinations of psychiatric drugs and the transition to adulthood. "I don’t want him to look back and think the successes he’s had are all due to a drug," said Dawn Van De Wal, a mother of a child with attention deficit diagnosis. But at home, after run-ins with his parents, his exuberance could turn feral. From the exile of his room, Peter Popczynski would throw anything that could be launched — books, pencils, lamps, clothes, toys — scarring the walls of the family’s brick bungalow, and leaving some items to rattle down the hallway, like flotsam from a storm. The Popczynskis soon received a diagnosis for their son, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D., and were told that they could turn to a stimulant medication like Ritalin. Doctors have ample evidence that stimulants not only calm children physically but may also improve their school performance, at least for as long as they are on medication. Copyright 2006 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: 9786 - Posted: 06.24.2010

New York – Are you easily forgetful, distracted, impulsive or fidgety? Do you find that smoking helps you alleviate these symptoms? Columbia University Medical Center researchers are investigating whether these most common symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) could be causing people to smoke. If that is the case, will treatment for ADHD combined with the standard treatment to help people quit smoking – the patch with counseling – increase the quit rates for smokers trying to quit? Covey and her colleagues are recruiting smokers who have been diagnosed with ADHD or who may have symptoms of ADHD but have not yet been diagnosed, to be part of a study that will help them quit smoking. Approximately 7-8 million adults in the U.S. have ADHD. Smoking is twice as common in this population as in the general population. Research has shown that most smoking in the U.S. occurs among people who have psychiatric conditions, such as alcohol or drug abuse, major depression, anxiety and ADHD. One line of research has shown that smokers with these conditions “self-medicate” their symptoms with nicotine, the primary addictive substance in tobacco. Participants in the study will receive the nicotine patch, behavioral counseling, and a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of ADHD called methylphenidate (brand name CONCERTA). Because methylphenidate and nicotine act on the brain in a similar way, the premise is that treatment with methylphenidate when trying to quit smoking may reduce symptoms of ADHD while also reducing tobacco withdrawal symptoms.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 9626 - Posted: 06.24.2010

The unfolding story of how a common version of a gene shapes the efficiency of the brain’s prefrontal cortex — hub of “executive” functions like reasoning, planning and impulse control — and increases risk for mental illness will be told by Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., at this year’s G. Burroughs Mider Lecture, “Complex Genetics in the Human Brain: Lessons from COMT.” Weinberger will explain why such psychiatric genetics has proven to be a daunting challenge, using as an example the gene that codes for catecho-O-methyltransferase (COMT), the enzyme that breaks down the chemical messenger dopamine. A tiny variation in its sequence results in different versions of the gene. One leads to more efficient functioning of the prefrontal cortex, the other to less efficient prefrontal functioning and slightly increased risk for schizophrenia. New studies are revealing complex interactions between the tiny glitch and other variations within the gene, and with environmental events, such as teenage marijuana use, that may bias the brain toward psychosis. Weinberger is Director of the Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program at the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health. The program uses brain imaging, post-mortem analysis and molecular approaches to understand how genes work in the brain to produce schizophrenia. See: http://calendar.nih.gov/app/MCalInfoView.aspx?EvtID=11488

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: 8021 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Parent survey connects snoring and sleepiness with attention and hyperactivity issues ANN ARBOR, MI – Children who snore often are nearly twice as likely as other children to have attention and hyperactivity problems, and the link is strong for other sleep problems, a new University of Michigan Health System study finds. The results, published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, provide some of the most solid evidence ever of a link between sleep problems and behavior. The link is strongest in boys under 8 years of age; habitual snorers in this group were more than three times more likely than non-snorers to be hyperactive. The study, based on a survey of the parents of 866 children that was conducted in the waiting rooms of U-M pediatrics clinics, is among the largest ever to explore the connection between sleep and inattention/hyperactivity. While the study does not provide any clues as to whether and how sleep problems might contribute to behavior issues, or vice versa, the evidence of a link between the two is strong enough to warrant further and thorough investigation, says lead author Ronald Chervin, M.D., M.S., director of the Michael S. Aldrich Sleep Disorders Laboratory and associate professor of neurology at the U-M Medical School.

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: 1624 - Posted: 06.24.2010

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Theories about what causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are many and varied, with experts speculating on a wide range of probable causes – genetics, environmental pollutants, food allergies and challenging home environments. In his new book, “What Causes ADHD? Understanding What Goes Wrong and Why,” Michigan State University psychologist Joel Nigg brings together the most recent neuropsychological research in an attempt to answer this challenging question. “Essentially there are multiple causes,” said Nigg. “Some we already know of, others have been suggested and disproved, still others deserve more study.” Nigg, an associate professor of psychology, said that while his book was written mainly for professionals and is a bit technical in places, parents longing for more ADHD information may find it useful, too. “It’s the kind of book that if you want to look something up, it has a specific section on those topics that we know about, such as television watching, diet and so on,” he said. © 2006 Michigan State University Division of University Relations

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: 8999 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Kelly Hearn, AlterNet. For Gene Haislip, a former official of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the perennial debate over Ritalin, the stimulant commonly prescribed for children with "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)," is an aching reminder of a moral battle he fought – and lost – to big drug companies. For 17 years, the now retired director of the DEAs Office of Diversion Control set production quotas for controlled substances like methylphenidate (MPH), the federally restricted stimulant commonly known as Ritalin. During that time, he fought hard to raise public awareness about over-prescribing of stimulants to children, about the drug's high rate of street diversion, and about its long-term health impact on young patients. "This affects the most sensitive part of our population," says Haislip, now a consultant for drug companies on issues of compliance to federal law. "When I was at the DEA, we created awareness about this issue. But the bottom line is we didn't succeed in changing the situation because this – prescribing methylphenidate, for example – is spiraling. "A few individuals in government expressing concern can't equal the marketing power of large companies," he adds. "I have doubts that the truth is driving this issue. It seems that market forces and money is behind it." © 2004 Independent Media Institute.

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: 6588 - Posted: 06.24.2010

San Juan, Puerto Rico, – A new study conducted in rats by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School suggests that the misdiagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) combined with prescription drug use in children may lead to a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms in adulthood. This work, released at the annual American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) conference in Puerto Rico, is among the first to examine the effects of early Ritalin exposure in rats on behavior and brain function during the later periods of life. "Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can be a serious medical problem for children and their parents," says lead researcher William Carlezon, Ph.D., director of McLean Hospital's Behavioral Genetics Laboratory and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "While Ritalin is an effective medication that improves the quality of life for many children with ADHD, accurately diagnosing and identifying the correct treatment regimen for the disorder is essential, especially when considering health effects that can last through adulthood." Ritalin is a generic medication prescribed for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that consists of a persistent pattern of abnormally high level of activity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. Usually diagnosed in children of preschool or elementary school age, ADHD has been estimated to affect 3 to 12 percent of children and is twice as common among boys. Children with ADHD are also likely to have other disorders, such as a learning disability, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, depression, or anxiety.

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: 6569 - Posted: 06.24.2010

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Research in monkeys suggests that long-term use of estrogen therapy may reduce levels of androgens – hormones involved in maintaining bone density, muscle mass, sexual function, memory, and psychological wellbeing in postmenopausal women. "Our findings suggest that it might be important for women taking estrogen after menopause to also take androgen supplements – which can include testosterone," said Charles E. Wood, D.V.M., lead researcher, from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. The research is reported in the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The adrenal glands are the primary source of androgen hormones in women. While aging is associated with a marked decline in androgens, others factors involved in adrenal androgen production are not well-known. Regulation of androgen levels may be particularly important in postmenopausal women because observational studies have shown that older women who have higher levels tend to be healthier.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 5468 - Posted: 06.24.2010

According to new research from Northeastern University pharmacy professor Richard Deth and colleagues from the University of Nebraska, Tufts, and Johns Hopkins University, there is an apparent link between exposure to certain neurodevelopmental toxins and an increased possibility of developing neurological disorders including autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The research – the first to offer an explanation for possible causes of two increasingly common childhood neurological disorders – will be published in the April 2004 issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry, and earlier as advance online publication. Though some speculation exists regarding this link, Deth and his colleagues found that exposure to toxins, such as ethanol and heavy metals (including lead, aluminum and the ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal) potently interrupt growth factor signaling, causing adverse effects on methylation reactions (i.e. the transfer of carbon atoms). Methylation, in turn, plays a significant role in regulating normal DNA function and gene expression, and is critical to proper neurological development in infants and children. Scientists and practitioners have identified an increase in diagnoses of autism and ADHD in particular, though the reasons why are largely unknown.

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: 4918 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Marianne Szegedy-Maszak In the darkened office of Lexicor Health Systems in Boulder, Colo., 11-year-old Shannon closes her dark brown eyes and sits quietly in her chair. She is wearing a multicolored electrode-studded cap, which transmits the electrical impulses of her brain to an electroencephalogram, or EEG. Behind her on a computer screen scrawl 19 wild lines that represent the activity in several regions of her brain. One would never surmise from Shannon's Zen-like demeanor what the brain scan is detecting inside her head: that she is one of the more than 2 million children in America who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The result of Shannon's session will be a QEEG–a "quantified EEG" that will allow diagnosticians to statistically compare her brain with thousands of others. What they are interested in, specifically, is the proportion of low-frequency theta brain waves to much faster beta waves in a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. Studies have suggested abnormalities in both these rhythms associated with attention–or lack of it. Children produce a lot of low-frequency theta brain rhythms when they struggle to concentrate, and when their concentration is overwhelmed by too much stimulation they produce the speedier beta waves. By comparing what Shannon's brain does with both "normal" brains and those of others who have been diagnosed with ADHD, researchers at Lexicor are hoping for the first time to provide a quantitative tool to help identify this vexing disorder. Genetic mystery. The QEEG may never become the "gold standard" in diagnosing ADHD. But it illustrates how increasingly sophisticated understanding of brain activity may offer clinicians greater confidence in their diagnosis. It may also hold out promise for the 20 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD who do not respond to the usual stimulant treatment–by identifying a pool of symptoms that they all might share. Clearly, genes play a role in ADHD, because it runs strongly in families, but no ADHD gene has yet been identified. Lacking that kind of definitive diagnostic tool, a deeper understanding of the neurology underlying the disorder could help clinicians untangle true ADHD from accompanying disorders and disorders that resemble it. Indeed, QEEG is one of several brain-scanning technologies now being deployed to home in on the unique properties of the distracted mind. © 2002 U.S.News & World Report Inc. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 1971 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By KATHERINE ELLISON WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — I’m sitting in front of a gray plastic console that resembles an airplane cockpit. Each time I move, a small reflector on a makeshift tiara resting on my forehead alerts an infrared tracking device pointing down at me from above a computer monitor. Watching the screen, I’m supposed to click a mouse each time I see a star with five or eight points, but not for stars with only four points. It’s a truly simple task, and I’m a college-educated professional. So why do I keep getting it wrong? Halfway into the 20-minute session, I find myself clicking at a lot of four-point stars, while sighing and cursing with each new mistake and stamping my feet, sending further unflattering information to the contraption via tracking straps taped to my legs. Dr. Martin H. Teicher, the Harvard psychiatrist who invented the test, has an explanation for my predicament. “You have some objective evidence for an impairment in attention,” he said — in other words, a “very subtle” case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (Indeed, I had already received a diagnosis three years earlier.) Not only did I click too many times when I shouldn’t have, and occasionally vice versa, but subtle shifts in my head movements, tracked by the device’s motion detector, suggested that I tended to shift attention states, from on-task to impulsive to distracted and back. 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: 14132 - Posted: 06.24.2010