Attention deficit in children is linked to exposure to phthalates in medical tubing

Phthalates, plasticising agents banned from children’s toys but still used in medical tubing to add flexibility, have been linked to the later development of attention deficit disorders in children admitted to hospital with serious illness, a study published in Intensive Care Medicine has shown.

The study’s lead researcher, Soren Verstraete, from the University of Leuven, Belgium, presented the results at the US Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, in Boston, Massachusetts, stating, “We found a clear match between previously hospitalised children’s long term neurocognitive test results and their individual exposure to the phthalate …

Taken from bmj.

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ADHD associated with unhealthy diet in pregnancy

New research emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy, after finding children with conduct disorder in early life may be more likely to develop symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder if their mother consumes a high-fat, high-sugar diet while expecting.

Study co-author Dr. Edward Barker, of King’s College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues publish their findings in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

According to Mental Health America, conduct disorder is a “repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in children and adolescents in which the rights of others or basic social rules are violated.”

Behavior may be aggressive, such as threatening or harming other people or animals, or nonaggressive, such as causing deliberate damage to the property of others.

Children or teenagers with conduct disorder may also engage in deceitful behavior – such as lying and theft – and skipping school, staying out past curfew, and other rule violations are common.

Dr. Barker and colleagues note that conduct disorder often co-occurs alongside attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and research has suggested that such co-occurrence arises from a more serious heritable factor than either condition alone.

Previous studies have linked an unhealthy diet in early life with both conduct disorder and ADHD, which researchers speculate is caused by DNA methylation of the insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) gene. DNA methylation is an epigenetic process by which methyl groups are added to DNA, altering gene function.

IGF2 is involved in fetal development, as well as the development of brain areas involved in ADHD. As such, Dr. Barker and colleagues hypothesized that an unhealthy diet during pregnancy might affect this gene in a way that puts offspring at risk for behavioral problems.

Taken from medicalnewstoday.

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Medicating Children With ADHD Keeps Them Safer

New research suggests that medication can reduce risky behavior in teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD

A new article suggests that early medication can significantly cut the odds of bad things happening later.

Affecting nearly 9% of all Americans between 4 and 18 years of age, ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and also one of the most misunderstood. Its symptoms color almost every aspect of a child’s life—from being able to focus in school to making and keeping friends, reining in fleeting impulses and assessing risk and danger.

Indeed, accidents are the most common cause of death in individuals with ADHD, with one 2015 study of over 710,000 Danish children finding that 10- to 12-year-olds with ADHD were far more likely to be injured than other children their age. Drug treatment made a big difference, however, nearly halving the number of emergency room visits by children with ADHD.

Medicating children to address problems with attention and self-control remains controversial. ADHD isn’t visible, like chickenpox, nor immediately life-threatening, like asthma. Its distortion of a child’s ability to meet adults’ expectations creates an atmosphere of frustration and blame. So it’s not often taken for what it really is: a neurodevelopmental disorder with genetic roots.

An enduring myth about ADHD is that children grow out of it in adolescence. We now know that a 5-year-old with a bona fide attentional disorder may well become a dreamy, restless and impulsive teenager and adult.

Adolescents with ADHD think even less about consequences than the average teenager and are especially thrilled by novelty. They’re more likely than their friends to drink too much, drive like maniacs, abuse drugs and have unprotected sex.

It’s a sobering list. But an article published last month by Princeton researchers Anna Chorniy and Leah Kitashima in the journal Labour Economics shows that treating ADHD with medication during childhood can head off later problems. “We have 11 years of data for every child enrolled in South Carolina Medicaid who was diagnosed with ADHD,” Dr. Chorniy told me. The researchers tracked each doctor visit and every prescription, with a sample of over 58,000 children whose health progress they tracked into adulthood.

This long view let the economists compare the behaviors of teens treated with the most common ADHD medications, such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall, to the types of risks taken by other children with ADHD who were not treated. The researchers found fewer and less severe injuries and health problems among the treated children: a 3.6% reduction in sexually transmitted infections; 5.8% fewer children who sought screening for sexually transmitted infections (suggesting they had had an unprotected sexual tryst); and 2% fewer teen pregnancies.

That adds up to a lot fewer teenagers in trouble.

The economists did their study based on existing data, but randomized, controlled studies—experiments carefully designed to establish cause-and-effect relationships—have reached the same conclusion: that medication to control ADHD can reduce the high price in psychic pain, loss of educational opportunity and riven relationships. A child whose disorder is diagnosed and treated early by a trained clinician stands a better chance of growing into a healthy and thoughtful adult.

Taken from wsj.


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There May Be Lead in Your Chocolate. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out

A consumer advocacy group released an updated survey which revealed many popular chocolate brands contain levels of lead that exceed the safety threshold established by California law.

The group, called As You Sow, had an independent lab test 50 samples of cocoa products. They found that 35 contained lead and/or cadmium, another toxic metal that’s been linked to fertility problems and increased risk of breast cancer and liver disease.

As You Sow has filed notices with 18 manufacturers—including company’s like Hershey’s, Whole Foods, Godiva, Ghiradelli, and Trader Joe’s—for failing to provide a warning to consumers required by the state of California.

“Lead and cadmium accumulate in the body, so avoiding exposure is important, especially for children,” As You Sow president Danielle Fugere said in a news release. “Our goal is to work with chocolate manufacturers to find ways to avoid these metals in their products.”

Taken from

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ADHD Treatment Trends Explored in Pediatric Study

More Medicaid-covered children are receiving treatments that conform to practice standards for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including the use of combined medication and psychotherapy, according to a study published in the July issue of Health Affairs.

Kimberly E. Hoagwood, PhD, from New York University in New York City, and colleagues analyzed trends over 10 years (2001 to 2010) from Medicaid claims data describing changes over time in medication, psychotherapy, and combined treatment services for children diagnosed with ADHD.

The researchers found that over the study period more children received treatments that conformed to practice standards, including the use of combination treatments of medication and psychotherapy, which increased by 74%. Rates of psychotherapy alone more than doubled, while rates of medication alone decreased by 18%. Rates of diagnoses without any reimbursed treatment decreased by 39%.

“These trends suggest increasing adherence to clinical practice standards by providers serving children with ADHD in the Medicaid population, although the quality of those services is unknown,” the authors write.

Taken from empr

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New hope for families raising children with ADHD

Raising a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be difficult. Some days feel long and the respite of a peaceful night, so rejuvenating for many, may not come at all. Parents often struggle to get their child to sleep, and once they do, they can’t be sure that they won’t wake up repeatedly during the night. But there’s good news for children with ADHD and their parents. In a recent study, we found that most cases of childhood ADHD resolve over time, and when that happens, sleep quality is no worse than in the rest of the population.

ADHD is a disorder that is widely considered to start in childhood and is characterised by symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. Although many children seem to have endless energy, ADHD is different in that it gets in the way of a child’s development and functioning.

Parents of children with ADHD sometimes feel that they have a lot to worry about, including school performance and friendships. However, one particular issue that comes up time and time again is sleep. It seems that children with ADHD are more likely than others to have sleep problems such as sleeplessness.

So, what does the future hold for children with ADHD? Do they grow up to become adults who sleep poorly, with all of the possible knock-on negative effects? This was not clear from previous literature, so we investigated this question in a study of 2,232 twin children from England and Wales. We followed them from age five to 18. Of these children, 12% had ADHD during childhood.

Good news

Findings indicate that people with ADHD as children as compared to those without, slept significantly more poorly at the age of 18. However, 78% of the children in our sample who had ADHD as a child, no longer had the disorder when they were 18. Their ADHD had resolved over time. What’s more, the sleep quality of those participants who no longer had ADHD was no worse than those who have never had it.

We think that this provides a positive message for families struggling to cope with sleep problems in children with ADHD. This disorder may resolve over time and, if it does, it is likely that the associated poor sleep will also be a thing of the past. Yes, by 18, they may be too old to spare their parents the wakeful nights, but parents want the best for their children and it will give many some welcome solace to know that things could improve in future.

Of course, there’s an element of what comes first: ADHD or sleeplessness? The story can be complex, and it is possible that the ADHD is driving the poor sleep. However, equally, poor sleep and exhaustion in children may be expressed by restlessness, and other symptoms typical of ADHD. Also, once a sleep problem, such as sleep apnoea (where breathing may stop for alarming seconds during sleep), is resolved there can be an incredibly positive knock-on effect on behaviour and concentration during the day.

We also wanted to understand the association between ADHD and poor sleep by testing another possibility: that these associations are due to influences that run in the family. So we also investigated this. We used our twin design (comparing identical and non-identical twins) to work out the extent to which genetic and environmental factors played a role in the association between ADHD and poor sleep.
Twins showed what was nature and what was nurture. JGA/Shutterstock

Our analysis showed that the magnitude of genetic (55%) and environmental (45%) influences on the association were roughly the same. This suggests that to fully understand this association we need to consider both influences.

Despite spending a third of our lives asleep, historically, sleep has been somewhat neglected by scientists. We now know that sleep matters for many aspects of our mental health and well-being. Once we understand better the genetic and environmental influences – and use this information to predict who are vulnerable to these difficulties and how best to prevent and resolve them – we will be well placed to help families who are struggling to cope with ADHD, allowing restful nights to follow restful days.

Taken from theconversation.

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Could ADHD symptoms have another explanation?

According to Lou Lloyd-Zannini an associate professor of educational leadership and supervision in the University of Houston-Victoria School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development – There is a high probability that most parents either have a kid with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or know of one.

ADHD is one of the fastest-growing juvenile diagnoses in the U.S. today, and that, frankly, is more than a little frightening.

Usually, it starts with a call from school. The child can’t focus or settle down, or he is impulsive or daydreams a lot. The caller sometimes recommends having the child checked for ADHD.

You mention the school’s concern to your pediatrician, who typically suggests that you try one of the many stimulants or antidepressants that address the symptoms to see if it helps. Often it does for a while. Sometimes, although not often enough, the doctor recommends a full screening for ADHD, which, when done right, is far better for both the child and the family.

But here’s the problem: Often what appears to be ADHD isn’t. In fact, what is often interpreted as ADHD are signs of high creativity and/or giftedness. That’s right: the presumed “disability” could actually indicate high ability or great creativity.

The work of researchers like Bonnie Cramond and Deidre Lovecky consistently has pointed to the connection between ADHD-like symptoms and high creativity and talent.

Linda Silverman and Richard Olenchak both write decisively about the connection between high ability, great creativity and the energy and expressiveness of kids with ADHD.

So what’s a parent to do? Start with the positive. If a teacher suggests that your child might have ADHD, start by looking for high ability or creativity. Remember that we tend to find what we’re looking for, and since talent and creative expression can be misunderstood, we tend to think about the negative possibilities before the positive opportunities. But your son or daughter deserves better.

Is it easy to advocate for your potentially gifted or creative child? No. Is it imperative that you do? Yes; ask the question.

If ADHD is confirmed after looking at the alternatives, then push for behavioral training and accommodations to deal with the disorder. But if tests come back positive for giftedness or high creativity, you’ll know that you’ve helped your child start on a life track that could be beneficial not only to him but to all of us.

Taken from victoriaadvocate

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Combining medications could offer better results for ADHD patients

Three studies to be published in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) report that combining two standard medications could lead to greater clinical improvements for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than either ADHD therapy alone.

At present, studies show that the use of several ADHD medications result in significant reductions in ADHD symptoms. However, so far there is no conclusive evidence that these standard drug treatments also improve long-term academic, social, and clinical outcomes.

Research suggests that both the severity of ADHD symptoms and the degree of cognitive dysfunction that remain despite treatment contribute to poorer outcomes. As a result, more effective treatments need to be identified. One method for identifying more effective treatments is by including objective measures of the effect of ADHD treatments on brain function, which most clinical studies do not do. Using objective biological markers (or biomarkers) of patients’ response to ADHD treatments could substantially advance knowledge of the neural mechanisms underlying treatment effects, helping researchers understand why there are differences in individual response.

Combined treatment was hypothesized to be superior to the two standard medications, d-methylphenidate and guanfacine, on both clinical and cognitive outcomes, and was expected to show a distinct profile of effects on brain wave activity (EEG). Participants with ADHD were randomly assigned to eight weeks of double-blinded treatment with either d-methylphenidate, guanfacine, or a combination of the two.

Clinical results showed consistent added benefits for the combined therapy over the two single treatments, especially for symptoms of inattention, and more global response indices. The rate of good clinical response went up from 62-63% in the single drug therapy to 75% in the combined therapy.

Taken from sciencedaily.

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When to buy organic

Buying organic peaches, apples, and other produce at the grocery store can rack up your bill.

“For most of us, we don’t have the money to buy everything organically,” said Dr. Pete Slack, America’s Leading Stress Expert. “I have four boys. It’s expensive to go to the grocery store.”

According to Dr. Pete, organic foods are free of pesticides and sometimes those pesticides can be toxic.

“They have a link to cancer, ADHD, even infertility,” said Dr. Pete.

Dr. Pete had good news. He said you don’t have to buy everything organic.

Scientists and researchers with the Environmental Working Group put out a study this year that showed a list of what you should buy organic and other foods where the price is not worth it.

The first set is called the Clean 15. These are fruits and vegetables that use the least amount of pesticides.

The next set is called the Dirty Dozen. Dr. Pete said this list of produce has so many chemicals that you should try to always buy them organically.

“Even if you wash them very well, they have pesticides in the nature of that fruit,” said Dr. Pete.

He added most organic produce will cost you about a dollar extra.

“You’re going to actually save so much money later on in life because you’re going to be so much healthier for it,” said Dr. Pete.

If your budget only allowed you to buy one organic food, Dr. Pete suggested that you make it strawberries this year.

The Clean 15:
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
Honeydew Melon

The Dirty Dozen:
Sweet Bell Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes

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Common brain changes found in children with autism, ADHD and OCD

Autism, ADHD and OCD have common symptoms and are linked by some of the same genes. Yet historically they have been studied as separate disorders. MRI study shows shared brain biology is linked to the symptoms that occur across different conditions.

A team of scientists has found similarities in brain impairments in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. The study involved brain imaging of white matter in 200 children. White matter is made up of bundles of nerve fibers that connect cell bodies across the brain, and enable communication between different brain regions.

“We found impairments in white matter in the main tract connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain in children with either autism, ADHD or OCD, when compared to healthy children in the control group,” says Dr. Stephanie Ameis, first author on the study and clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH’s) Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute. This particular white matter tract, the corpus callosum, is the largest in the brain and among the first to develop.

The research team, from CAMH, the Hospital for Sick Children and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, also found children with autism and ADHD showed more severe impairments affecting more of the brain’s white matter than those with OCD. This finding may reflect the fact that both autism and ADHD typically have an onset at a much younger age than OCD, and at a time when a number of different white matter tracts are going through rapid development, says Dr. Ameis.

Autism, ADHD and OCD have common symptoms and are linked by some of the same genes. Yet historically they have been studied as separate disorders. Together, these three neurodevelopmental disorders affect roughly 15 per cent of children and youth.

The study is part of a major Ontario initiative, the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network (POND) that is examining various childhood brain-related disorders collectively, to better understand their similarities and differences, and develop more effective and targeted therapies.

Brain-behavior link

Many of the behaviours that contribute to impairment in autism, ADHD, and OCD, such as attention problems or social difficulties, occur across these conditions, and differ in severity from person to person. The researchers found that the brain’s white matter structure was associated with a spectrum of behavioral symptoms present across these diagnoses. Children with greater brain impairment also had higher impairments in functioning in daily life, regardless of their diagnosis, said Dr. Ameis, who is also appointed at the Hospital for Sick Children.

This finding has implications for our understanding of the nature of brain-related disorders, notes senior author Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou of Holland Bloorview Rehabilitation Hospital and head of the POND Network. By providing biological evidence that brain structure relates to a spectrum of behavioural symptoms that cut across different developmental conditions, it highlights the shared biology among such conditions. And it points to the potential that treatments targeting a spectrum of behaviours may be relevant for all three conditions.

Taken from sciencedaily

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