Links for Keyword: ADHD

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Differences associated with learning difficulties are found less in specific areas of the brain and more in the connections between them, experts say. After scanning 479 children's brains, Cambridge University researchers found they were organised in multiple "hubs". Those with no difficulties - or very specific ones, such as poor listening skills - had well connected hubs. But those with widespread and severe difficulties - 14-30% of all children - were found to have poor connections. It was recently suggested schools were failing to spot ADHD and autism, which could be contributing to a rise in exclusions. Dr Duncan Astle told BBC News: "We have spent decades searching for the brain areas for different types of developmental difficulty such as ADHD and dyslexia. "Our findings show that something which is far more important is the way a child's brain is organised. "In particular, the role that highly connected 'hub' regions play. "This has not been shown before and its implications for our scientific understanding of developmental difficulties is big. "How do these hubs emerge over developmental time? "What environmental and genetic factors can influence this emergence?" "Another key finding is that the diagnostic labels children had been given were not closely related to their cognitive difficulties - for example, two children with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] could be very different from each other. "This has been well known in practice for a long time but poorly documented in the scientific literature." Mental-health disorders © 2020 BBC

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 27080 - Posted: 02.28.2020

By Richard Klasco, M.D. A. The theory of the “sugar high” has been debunked, yet the myth persists. The notion that sugar might make children behave badly first appeared in the medical literature in 1922. But the idea did not capture the public’s imagination until Dr. Ben Feingold’s best-selling book, “Why Your Child Is Hyperactive,” was published in 1975. In his book, Dr. Feingold describes the case of a boy who might well be “patient zero” for the putative connection between sugar and hyperactivity: [The mother’s] fair-haired, wiry son loved soft drinks, candy and cake — not exactly abnormal for any healthy child. He also seemed to go completely wild after birthday parties and during family gatherings around holidays. In the mid-’70s, stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and amphetamine were becoming popular for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. For parents who were concerned about drug side effects, the possibility of controlling hyperactivity by eliminating sugar proved to be an enticing, almost irresistible, prospect. Some studies supported the theory. They suggested that high sugar diets caused spikes in insulin secretion, which triggered adrenaline production and hyperactivity. But the data were weak and were soon questioned by other scientists. An extraordinarily rigorous study settled the question in 1994. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of scientists tested normal preschoolers and children whose parents described them as being sensitive to sugar. Neither the parents, the children nor the research staff knew which of the children were getting sugary foods and which were getting a diet sweetened with aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Urine was tested to verify compliance with the diets. Nine different measures of cognitive and behavioral performance were assessed, with measurements taken at five-second intervals. © 2020 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 27060 - Posted: 02.21.2020

Maternal obesity may increase a child’s risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to an analysis by researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health. The researchers found that mothers — but not fathers — who were overweight or obese before pregnancy were more likely to report that their children had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or to have symptoms of hyperactivity, inattentiveness or impulsiveness at ages 7 to 8 years old. Their study appears in The Journal of Pediatrics. The study team analyzed the NICHD Upstate KIDS Study, which recruited mothers of young infants and followed the children through age 8 years. In this analysis of nearly 2,000 children, the study team found that women who were obese before pregnancy were approximately twice as likely to report that their child had ADHD or symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsiveness, compared to children of women of normal weight before pregnancy. The authors suggest that, if their findings are confirmed by additional studies, healthcare providers may want to screen children of obese mothers for ADHD so that they could be offered earlier interventions. The authors also note that healthcare providers could use evidence-based strategies to counsel women considering pregnancy on diet and lifestyle. Resources for plus-size pregnant women and their healthcare providers are available as part of NICHD’s Pregnancy for Every Body initiative.

Related chapters from BN8e: 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: 27055 - Posted: 02.20.2020

By Perri Klass, M.D. Whenever I write about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — whether I’m writing generally about the struggles facing these children and their families or dealing more specifically with medications — I know that some readers will write in to say that A.D.H.D. is not a real disorder. They say that the rising numbers of children taking stimulant medication to treat attentional problems are all victims, sometimes of modern society and its unfair expectations, sometimes of doctors, and most often of the rapacious pharmaceutical industry. I do believe that A.D.H.D. is a valid diagnosis, though a diagnosis that has to be made with care, and I believe that some children struggle with it mightily. Although medication should be neither the first nor the only treatment used, some children find that the stimulants significantly change their educational experiences, and their lives, for the better. Dr. Mark Bertin, a developmental pediatrician in Pleasantville, N.Y., who is the author of “Mindful Parenting for A.D.H.D.,” said, “On a practical level, we know that correctly diagnosed A.D.H.D. is real, and we know that when they’re used properly, medications can be both safe and effective.” The choice to use medications can be a difficult one for families, he said, and is made even more difficult by “the public perception that they’re not safe, or that they fundamentally change kids.” He worries, he says, that marketing is really effective, and wants to keep it “at arm’s length,” far away from his own clinical decisions, not allowing drug reps in the office, not accepting gifts — but acknowledging, all the same, that it’s probably not possible to avoid the effects of marketing entirely. Still, he said, when it comes to stimulants, “the idea that we’re only using them because of the pharmaceutical industry is totally off base,” and can make it much harder to talk with parents about the potential benefits — and the potential problems — of treating a particular child with a particular medication. “When it comes to A.D.H.D. in particular, it’s a hard enough thing for families to be dealing with without all the fear and judgment added on.” © 2020 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: 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: 27030 - Posted: 02.10.2020

Alex Smith When children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, stimulant medications like Ritalin or Adderall are usually the first line of treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines on Monday that uphold the central role of medication, accompanied by behavioral therapy, in ADHD treatment. However, some parents, doctors and researchers who study kids with ADHD say they are disappointed that the new guidelines don't recommend behavioral treatment first for more children, as some recent research has suggested might lead to better outcomes. When 6-year-old Brody Knapp of Kansas City, Mo., was diagnosed with ADHD last year, his father, Brett, was skeptical. Brett didn't want his son taking pills. "You hear of losing your child's personality, and they become a shell of themselves, and they're not that sparkling little kid that you love," Brett says. "I didn't want to lose that with Brody, because he's an amazing kid." Brody's mother, Ashley, had other ideas. She's a school principal and has ADHD herself. "I was all for stimulants at the very, very beginning," Ashley says, "just because I know what they can do to help a neurological issue such as ADHD." More and more families have been facing the same dilemma. The prevalence of diagnosed ADHD has shot up in the U.S. in the past two decades; 1 in 10 children now has that diagnosis. The updated guidelines from the AAP recommend that children with ADHD should also be screened for other conditions, and monitored closely. But the treatment recommendations regarding medication are essentially unchanged from the previous guidelines, which were published in 2011. © 2019 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 26657 - Posted: 10.01.2019

Patti Neighmond Most children enrolled in Medicaid who get a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder don't get timely or appropriate treatment afterward. That's the conclusion of a report published Thursday by a federal watchdog agency, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General. "Nationwide, there were 500,000 Medicaid-enrolled children newly prescribed an ADHD medication who did not receive any timely follow-up care," says Brian Whitley, a regional inspector general with OIG. The report analyzed Medicaid claims data from 2014 and 2015. Those kids didn't see a health care provider regarding their ADHD within a month of being prescribed the medication, though pediatric guidelines recommend that, he says. And one in five of those children didn't get the two additional check-ins with a doctor they should get within a year. "That's a long time to be on powerful medications without a practitioner checking for side effects or to see how well the medication is working," Whitley says. Additionally, according to the OIG report, "Nearly half of Medicaid-enrolled children who were newly prescribed an ADHD medication did not receive behavioral therapy," though that, too, is recommended by pediatricians. Elizabeth Cavey, who lives with her family in Arlington, Va., knows just how important it is to get a child with ADHD accurately diagnosed and treated. Kindergarten, Cavey says, was a disaster for her daughter. "She was constantly being reprimanded and forced to sit still," Cavey recalls. "And she's a bright child, but she kept falling further and further behind in learning letters and language, because she could not concentrate." © 2019 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: 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: 26500 - Posted: 08.15.2019

By Ryan D'Agostino If you have a son, you have a one-in-seven chance that he has been diagnosed with ADHD. If you have a son who has been diagnosed, it's more than likely that he has been prescribed a stimulant—the most famous brand names are Ritalin and Adderall; newer ones include Vyvanse and Concerta—to deal with the symptoms of that psychiatric condition. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies stimulants as Schedule II drugs, defined as having a "high potential for abuse" and "with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence." (According to a University of Michigan study, Adderall is the most abused brand-name drug among high school seniors.) In addition to stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, and Concerta, Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, Demerol, and OxyContin. According to manufacturers of ADHD stimulants, they are associated with sudden death in children who have heart problems, whether those heart problems have been previously detected or not. They can bring on a bipolar condition in a child who didn't exhibit any symptoms of such a disorder before taking stimulants. They are associated with "new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility." They can cause "new psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices and believing things that are not true) or new manic symptoms." They commonly cause noticeable weight loss and trouble sleeping. In some children, some stimulants can cause the paranoid feeling that bugs are crawling on them. Facial tics. They can cause children's eyes to glaze over, their spirits to dampen. One study reported fears of being harmed by other children and thoughts of suicide. ©2019 Hearst Magazine Media, Inc.

Related chapters from BN8e: 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: 26420 - Posted: 07.15.2019

By Caterina Gawrilow, Sara Goudarzi Those affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are clinically thought of as inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive. However, people with ADHD are also perceived as being very spontaneous, curious, inquisitive, enthusiastic, lively and witty, a perception that creates an impression they are more creative than those without ADHD. But is there truth to this idea? Creativity is generally the ability to generate something original and unprecedented. The ideas must not only be new and surprising, but also useful and relevant. Among other things, creativity comes through intensive knowledge and great motivation in a particular field, be it painting, music or mathematics. For years, both laypersons and scientists have been fascinated by the proverbial proximity of genius and madness. According to psychologist Dean Keith Simonton from the University of California, Davis, unusual and unexpected experiences, such as psychological difficulties and psychiatric stays, are an important characteristic of people who create masterpieces. Advertisement Two core symptoms, inattention and impulsiveness, suggest a connection between creativity and ADHD. Inattention, which occurs more frequently in those affected with the disorder, likely leads to mind wandering, or the drifting of thoughts from an activity or environment. Such drifting can lead to new, useful and creative ideas. © 2019 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: 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: 26324 - Posted: 06.12.2019

By Dhruti Shah BBC News When Dani Donovan wanted to show her colleagues what life was like for her as someone diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), she never thought her sketches would lead to a series of web comics with a celebrity fan base. The 28-year-old, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, was diagnosed about a decade ago with ADHD and now hopes her comics will help others to understand the challenges for those with the condition. She told the BBC: "I'd just started a new job working in data visualisation, and it was the first time I was able to be really open about having ADHD and talk to my colleagues about what it's like. "We were telling stories and joking about how I always get off track while I'm telling stories, and I said that it's very much like having a sleepy train conductor running my train of thought. I had the idea for a flowchart, I posted it on Twitter and it took off immediately." Her graphic shows that when she hears non-ADHD storytelling, it involves a straight move from the start of a story to the end. Her storytelling, however, involves a pre-story prologue before moving to the start of the story, and then wandering through 'too many details', a side-story and losing her train of thought before reaching the end of the tale - and then apologising. However, as with all things that hit the internet - once it's let loose, be careful of memes and amendments. Dani's diagram was re-versioned by an unknown person who split the flowcharts and created a meme with 'How a normal person tells a story' taking the place of the 'Non-ADHD Storytelling' heading Dani had given her first flowchart, and 'How I tell a story' replacing the 'ADHD Storytelling' heading for the meandering flowchart. © 2019 BBC

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 26246 - Posted: 05.18.2019

Aimee Cunningham Children who turn 5 just before starting kindergarten are much more likely to be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder than their oldest classmates. The finding bolsters concerns that the common neurodevelopmental disorder may be overdiagnosed. “We think ... it’s the relative age and the relative immaturity of the August-born children in any given class that increases the likelihood that they’re diagnosed as having ADHD,” says Anupam Jena, a physician and economist at Harvard Medical School. Jena and his colleagues analyzed insurance claims data for more than 407,000 children born from 2007 through 2009. In states that require kids be 5 years old by September 1 to begin kindergarten, children born in August were 34 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those born nearly a year earlier in September — just after the cutoff date. For August kids, 85.1 per 10,000 children were diagnosed with ADHD, compared with 63.6 per 10,000 for the September kids, the researchers report in the Nov. 29 New England Journal of Medicine. People with ADHD typically have symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness that are severe or frequent enough to interfere with their daily lives. In 2011, 11 percent of U.S. children aged 4 to 17 were reported to have an ADHD diagnosis, a rate higher than most other countries. Differences between states also suggest overdiagnosis, says Jena, “unless there’s something so different about kids across different states.” For example, while nearly 19 percent of 4- to 17-year-olds reportedly were diagnosed in Kentucky, the rate was about 12 percent in neighboring West Virginia. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 25728 - Posted: 11.29.2018

Jon Hamilton Kids with ADHD are easily distracted. Barn owls are not. So a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is studying these highly focused predatory birds in an effort to understand the brain circuits that control attention. The team's long-term goal is to figure out what goes wrong in the brains of people with attention problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. "We think we have the beginnings of an answer," says Shreesh Mysore, an assistant professor who oversees the owl lab at Hopkins. The answer, he says, appears to involve an ancient brain area with special cells that tell us what to ignore. Mysore explains his hypothesis from one of the owl rooms in his basement lab. He has a distraught bird perched on his forearm. And as he talks, he tries to soothe the animal. The owl screeches, flaps and digs its talons into the elbow-length leather glove that Mysore wears for protection. He covers the bird's eyes with his free hand and hugs the animal to his chest. The owl, no longer able to focus on the movements of his human visitors, goes quiet. When it comes to paying attention, barn owls have a lot in common with people, Mysore says. "Essentially, a brain decides at any instant: What is the most important piece of information for behavior or survival?" he says. "And that is the piece of information that gets attended to, that drives behavior." © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 25441 - Posted: 09.12.2018

By Rachel Bluth The number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyper­activity disorder (ADHD) has reached more than 10 percent, a significant increase during the past 20 years, according to a new study. The rise was most pronounced in minority groups, suggesting that better access to health insurance and mental-health treatment through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have played some role in the increase. The rate of diagnosis doubled in girls, although it was still much lower than in boys. But the researchers say they found no evidence confirming frequent complaints that the condition is overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The United States has significantly more instances of ADHD than other developed countries, which researchers said has led some to think Americans are overdiagnosing children. Wei Bao, the lead author of the study, said in an interview that a review of studies around the world doesn’t support that. “I don’t think overdiagnosis is the main issue,” he said. Nonetheless, those doubts persist. Stephen Hinshaw, who co-authored a 2014 book called “The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance,” compared ADHD to depression. He said in an interview that neither condition has unequivocal biological markers, which makes it hard to determine whether a person has the condition. Symptoms of ADHD can include inattention, fidgety behavior and impulsivity. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: 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: 25434 - Posted: 09.11.2018

Ann Robinson Imagine a neurological condition that affects one in 20 under-18s. It starts early, causes significant distress and pain to the child, damages families and limits the chances of leading a fulfilled life as an adult. One in 20 children are affected but only half of these will get a diagnosis and a fifth will receive treatment. If those stats related to a familiar and well-understood illness, such as asthma, there would be little debate about the need to improve intervention rates. But this is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the outcry is muted. If anything, we hear warnings that too many children are being labelled this way, and too many given prescriptions. In the United States, ADHD is diagnosed at more than twice the incidence in Britain. The true prevalence is likely to be the same on both sides of the Atlantic. So what’s the story? Is the US too gung-ho, or is the UK dragging its heels? Are American doctors too quick to medicate children, or British doctors too slow? Emily Simonoff, co-author of a new meta-analysis in the journal the Lancet Psychiatry, says the problem in the UK is “predominantly about undermedication and underdiagnosis”. Her study examined a range of drug treatments compared to placebo, and it shows that methylphenidate (better known by under the brand name Ritalin) works best for children and amphetamines for adults. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25321 - Posted: 08.13.2018

Sarah Boseley Health editor Ritalin and other drugs of the same class are the most effective and safest medications to prescribe for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a major scientific review. The review of ADHD drugs shows that they work, and work well, in spite of concerns among the public and some doctors that children in the UK are being overmedicated. Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, has likened the drugs to a “chemical cosh” and claimed they were being overprescribed, disguising bad behaviour among children that could be better dealt with. The authors of a major study in the Lancet Psychiatry journal say that methylphenidate, of which Ritalin is the best-known brand, is the most effective and best-tolerated treatment for children while amphetamines work best for adults. While the number of children on medication has risen as ADHD has become better understood, many do not get the treatment they need to cope in life and get through school, they said. The Guardian has revealed that getting help in the UK can take as long as two years. Emily Simonoff, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at King’s College London, one of the authors, said the perception that children were overmedicated was not accurate. “Clinicians are very cautious about using medication in this country,” she said. “The problem in the UK is predominantly about undermedication and underdiagnosis.” © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 25305 - Posted: 08.08.2018

By Perri Klass, M.D. Whenever I write about children getting medications for anxiety, for depression, or especially for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a certain number of readers respond with anger and suspicion, accusing me of being part of a conspiracy to medicate children for behaviors that are either part of the normal range of childhood or else the direct result of bad schools, bad environments or bad parenting. Others suggest that doctors who prescribe such medications are in the corrupt grip of the drug companies. And there are parents with stories of unexpected side effects and doctors who didn’t listen. (Of course, there are also parents who write to say that the right medication at the right moment really helped, or adults regretting that no one offered them something that might have helped back when they were struggling.) Putting children, especially young children, on psychotropic medications is scary for parents, sometimes scary for children and also, often, scary for the doctors who do the prescribing. As a pediatrician, I have often had occasion to be grateful to colleagues with more experience and training who could help a family figure out the right medication, dosing and follow-up. It is a big deal, and there are side effects to worry about and doctors should listen to families’ concerns. But when a child is suffering and struggling, families need help, and medications are often part of the discussion. And so, without presuming to judge what should be done for any specific child, I want to talk about the discussion that needs to take place around medicating a child in distress, and how the doctor and the family should monitor medications when they are prescribed. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25267 - Posted: 07.30.2018

Rhitu Chatterjee Most teens today own a smartphone and go online every day, and about a quarter of them use the internet "almost constantly," according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center. Now a study published Tuesday in JAMA suggests that such frequent use of digital media by adolescents might increase their odds of developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. "It's one of the first studies to look at modern digital media and ADHD risk," says psychologist Adam Leventhal, an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California and an author of the study. When considered with previous research showing that greater social media use is associated with depression in teens, the new study suggests that "excessive digital media use doesn't seem to be great for [their] mental health," he adds. Previous research has shown that watching television or playing video games on a console put teenagers at a slightly higher risk of developing ADHD behaviors. But less is known about the impact of computers, tablets and smartphones. Because these tools have evolved very rapidly, there's been little research into the impact of these new technologies on us, says Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, who wrote an editorial about the new study for JAMA. Each new platform reaches millions of people worldwide in a matter of days or weeks, she says. "Angry Birds reached 50 million users within 35 days. Pokémon Go reached the same number in 19 days." © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 25220 - Posted: 07.18.2018

By Denise Gellene Dr. Arvid Carlsson, a Swedish scientist whose discoveries about the brain led to the development of drugs for Parkinson’s disease and earned him a Nobel Prize, died on Friday. He was 95. His death was announced by the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, where he had been a professor of pharmacology. It did not say where he died. When Dr. Carlsson started his research in the 1950s, dopamine, a chemical in the brain, was thought to have little significance. Dr. Carlsson discovered that it was, in fact, an important neurotransmitter — a brain chemical that passes signals from one neuron to the next. He then found that dopamine was concentrated in the basal ganglia, the portion of the brain that controls movement. He showed that rabbits lost their ability to move after they were given a drug that lowered their dopamine stores; their mobility was restored after they received L-dopa, a drug that is converted into dopamine in the brain. Noting that the movement difficulties of his rabbits were similar to those of people with Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Carlsson proposed that the illness was related to a loss of dopamine. Other scientists confirmed that dopamine is depleted in people with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative condition that causes tremors and rigidity, and L-dopa soon became the standard treatment for the illness. Dr. Carlsson shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two American researchers, Dr. Eric Kandel and Paul Greengard, who made their own discoveries about the transmission of chemical signals in the brain. In awarding the Nobel, the Karolinska Institute of Sweden said the contributions of the three scientists were “crucial for an understanding of the normal function of the brain” and for how signal disturbances could “give rise to neurological and psychiatric disorders.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 25162 - Posted: 07.02.2018

By Erica L. Green A “brain-performance” business backed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has agreed to stop advertising success rates for children and adults suffering from maladies such as attention deficit disorder, depression and autism after a review found the company could not support the outcomes it was promoting. The company, Neurocore, which has received more than $5 million from Ms. DeVos and her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., to run “brain performance centers” in Michigan and Florida, lost an appeal before an advertising-industry review board, which found that the company’s claims of curbing and curing a range of afflictions without medication were based on mixed research and unscientific internal studies. The National Advertising Review Board, an oversight arm of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, announced its decision last week. Neurocore came under scrutiny during Ms. DeVos’s confirmation process, when she valued her stake in it at $5 million to $25 million. Ms. DeVos and her husband were chief investors, and she served on the company’s board of directors for seven years, until her nomination. The New York Times found that the company’s claims of treating disorders for more than 10,000 adults through “proven neurofeedback therapy” had been challenged by medical experts and insurance companies. After being nominated for education secretary, Ms. DeVos resigned from the board, but in an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics, retained her financial interest in Neurocore. The investment raised ethical concerns for Ms. DeVos after the company expressed hope that it could expand and help improve performance for students in schools. Ms. DeVos said she would “not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter” concerning the company. But her family has continued to invest. Among the representatives of the company before the National Advertising Review Board was Jason Mahar, the in-house counsel for Windquest Group, the investment management firm of Ms. DeVos’s husband. Windquest also continues to promote the company on its website as part of its “corporate family.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25151 - Posted: 06.28.2018

Chris Benderev Stephanie and Natalie enrolled their older son in sessions at a Brain Balance Achievement Center in the hope that it would help him make friends. Hokyoung Kim for NPR Some parents see it coming. Natalie was not that kind of parent. Even after the director and a teacher at her older son's day care sat her down one afternoon in 2011 to detail the 3-year-old's difficulty socializing and his tendency to chatter endlessly about topics his peers showed no interest in, she still didn't get the message. Her son, the two educators eventually spelled out, might be on the autism spectrum. "I was in tears at the end," she says. "When I got home, I was just devastated." Natalie broke the news to her wife, Stephanie, whose mind fast-forwarded to a distressing future. Would her son — a squat, cheerful boy who, despite his affectionate nature, didn't have any playmates — ever be able to make friends? When a doctor eventually confirmed he had an autism spectrum disorder, the diagnosis came with a suggestion: Perhaps the boy would benefit from Prozac when he turned 7. "That was when both of us fell apart in that meeting," Natalie says. For both parents, medication wasn't an option. Article continues after sponsorship "Prozac is a very powerful drug for adults. Why would you give it to a 7-year-old?" Stephanie wondered after the doctor's visit. "I welled up with all of this emotion. And I said I will not let that happen." (To protect their privacy, we are only using Natalie's and Stephanie's first names. We are not naming their children.) The fear of psychotropic drugs led the family to pursue alternative treatments for autism. To start, they dropped gluten. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: 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: 25104 - Posted: 06.19.2018

By Aaron E. Carroll The medical research grant system in the United States, run through the National Institutes of Health, is intended to fund work that spurs innovation and fosters research careers. In many ways, it may be failing. It has been getting harder for researchers to obtain grant support. A study published in 2015 in JAMA showed that from 2004 to 2012, research funding in the United States increased only 0.8 percent year to year. It hasn’t kept up with the rate of inflation; officials say the N.I.H. has lost about 23 percent of its purchasing power in a recent 12-year span. Because the money available for research doesn’t go as far as it used to, it now takes longer for scientists to get funding. The average researcher with an M.D. is 45 years old (for a Ph.D. it’s 42 years old) before she or he obtains that first R01 (think “big” grant). Given that R01-level funding is necessary to obtain promotion and tenure (not to mention its role in the science itself), this means that more promising researchers are washing out than ever before. Only about 20 percent of postdoctoral candidates who aim to earn a tenured position in a university achieve that goal. This new reality can be justified only if those who are weeded out really aren’t as good as those who remain. Are we sure that those who make it are better than those who don’t? A recent study suggests the grant-making system may be unreliable in distinguishing between grants that are funded versus those that get nothing — its very purpose. When a health researcher (like me) believes he has a good idea for a research study, he most often submits a proposal to the N.I.H. It’s not easy to do so. Grants are hard to write, take a lot of time, and require a lot of experience to obtain. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25097 - Posted: 06.18.2018