Is there any link between screen time and ADHD symptoms in children?

Children in the ADHD group spent considerably more time using media than their counterparts, according to the report, with 48% of children in the ADHD group and 35% of children in the control group spending more than 2 hours on average per school day using some form of media.

“The rapidly growing use of screens by children of all ages, from [television] and gaming in older children to use of iPads by infants [aged younger than 1 year], is of increasing concern,” the authors write. A recent meta-analysis confirms a small but reliable
association of screen time with increased symptoms of ADHD, which appears, based on a small number of experimental and prospective studies, to have a causal component. Furthermore, a child having a television in his or her bedroom has been associated with increased overall screen time by approximately 32%, and the presence of a television in the bedroom has been associated with increased sleep problems as well.

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends just 1 to 2 hours of screen time per day and removal of televisions from bedrooms.

There is a correlation between screen time and physical activity as well. Citing data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, the researchers note that children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 years with ADHD were 32% more likely to watch television for an hour or more each day and 20% more likely to participate in sports than their non-ADHD peers.

Physical activity is noted to improve attention and mood—both important factors contributing to ADHD, according to the study findings.
Exercise is also important in the development of executive function, which researchers say is a key driver in the inattention and disorganization that is hallmark to ADHD.

Reading, although not often used as a marker of healthy behavior, was included in the study based on the theory that it might reduce screen time and improve academic success and health literacy. Researchers found that the children with ADHD—a group that often
struggles with reading and spelling—were less likely than the control group to spend an hour or more each day reading. The research team suggests that reading on a daily basis, particularly at bedtime in lieu of screen activities, may be beneficial for learning and
sleep hygiene rituals in children with ADHD.

Researchers also note that the lifestyle factors examined in the study influence one another. For example, increased exercise and increased thirst may lead to more water consumption, which can offset screen time and improve sleep. Reduction in caffeinated
beverages also may prevent their diuretic effect and increase water intake, as well as prevent sleep problems.

Clinical recommendations should focus on integrated healthy behaviors although, practically, too many recommendations can also overwhelm parents, according to the report. The research team therefore recommends that step-by-step changes that could lead to a cascade of other improvements be recommended rather than an overall or complete lifestyle change.

“It is possible that ADHD leads to less healthy behaviors, due, perhaps, to impulsivity, inattention, dysphoric mood, family disorganization, or other factors. It is also possible that poor health behaviors contribute to, or exacerbate, ADHD. As it becomes more clear that the association of ADHD with lifestyle behaviors is robust, the importance of evaluating potential benefits of lifestyle intervention on ADHD continues to grow,” the study notes. “At the same time, ample evidence indicates that there is reason
to hope that lifestyle changes may help children with ADHD to improve.”

Taken from contemporarypediatrics

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The link between less water consumption, poor sleep, lifestyle choices and ADHD symptoms in children

Water consumption, which researchers say is an important and often overlooked aspect of childhood health, was low across all study groups, but children in the ADHD study group were less likely to consume the recommended 3 cups per day compared with the control group (28% vs 38%, respectively).

Children with ADHD also were more likely to consume artificially sweetened drinks that researchers say could contribute to ADHD symptoms. More research is warranted to determine the effects of artificial sweeteners on ADHD, according to the study authors.

Parents of children with ADHD were more likely, however, to provide their children with multivitamin or fish oil supplements, the study notes.

Children with ADHD also had more trouble falling asleep, with 45% of parents reporting sleep problems compared with 9% in the control group.

The observations of poor sleep were made in the ADHD group even when stimulant medication use was mostly ruled out as a cause. Poor sleep in all age groups has been associated with psychological and cognitive impairments, but this critical element could have greater effects in children with ADHD.

Lifestyle choices, such as limited screen time and caffeine intake before bed, and promoting daytime physical activity all are important for promoting sleep hygiene, according to the study findings .

“Benefits of improved sleep hygiene were noted in a recent study where pediatricians taught parents (through handouts) about sleep hygiene issues like using a set bedtime, maintaining bedtime routines, removal of all media from the bedroom, and avoiding caffeine consumption,” the researchers note. “Results from this study showed improvements in ADHD symptoms, sleep, and health-related quality of life. The current recommendation for children aged 6 to 13 years is to aim for 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night.”

Taken from contemporarypediatrics

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Are kids with ADHD more likely to have unhealthy habits?

Healthy lifestyle choices can benefit any child, but they may have increased effects when it comes to battling the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new report.

The new study, published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, sought to examine the effects of various lifestyle behaviors on children with ADHD compared with their peers.

The research team found that children with ADHD have significantly more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor water consumption and sleep and excessive screen time, than their peers.

Kathleen Holton, PhD, MPH, lead study author and assistant professor in the department of health sciences at the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at American University in Washington, DC, says she believes the study’s findings are valuable to clinical practice.
“Healthy behavior change could be an important topic of conversation between pediatricians and parents during appointments,” says Holton. “My hope is that pediatricians will inquire about these healthy lifestyle behaviors and encourage parents to implement changes over time. Most pediatricians are already discussing some lifestyle behaviors (such as reducing screen time) with parents; however, greater benefit may be realized from looking at all these lifestyle behaviors together.”

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is increasingly linked to poor health outcomes, and researchers believe ADHD may be exacerbated by unhealthy behaviors that contribute to those poor health outcomes.

The study examined children aged 7 to 11 years with well-characterized ADHD. The children were recruited from the community through advertisements and mass mailings, and potential participants were screened with lifestyle questionnaires targeting healthy lifestyle behaviors such as water versus sweetened beverage consumption, multivitamin use, screen time, physical activity, and sleep.

Researchers then identified the association between ADHD status and total healthy lifestyle behaviors based on multivariable ordered logistic regression.

The research team found a “robust association” of ADHD with a less healthy lifestyle than children in the control group: Children with ADHD were almost twice as likely to have fewer healthy lifestyle behaviors, even after adjustment for age, sex, intelligence quotient,
ADHD medication use, household income, and comorbid psychiatric disorders.

“These results underscore the importance of considering unhealthy lifestyle behaviors as a feature of ADHD that may be an important target for preventive or secondary intervention,” according to the report.”

In terms of physical health, children in the ADHD study group consumed less water, more sweetened beverages, and exercised less than their peers.

Taken from contemporarypediatrics

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Exercise Helps Adults Manage ADHD

New research finds that even a small amount of exercise can help adults manage symptoms associated with ADHD.

University of Georgia researchers found a single bout of exercise has psychological benefits for adults with these elevated ADHD symptoms.

Health providers have discovered that about six percent of American adults report symptoms consistent with ADHD. Common characteristics may include anxiety, depression, low energy, and suppressed motivation — factors that may lead to poor performance at work or school and also increased traffic accidents.

The study appears in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

“Exercise is already known as a stress reducer and mood booster, so it really has the potential to help those suffering with ADHD symptoms,” said the study’s senior author Patrick O’Connor, professor in the University of Georgia College of Education’s kinesiology department.

“And while prescription drugs can be used to treat these symptoms, there’s an increased risk of abuse or dependence and negative side effects. Those risks don’t exist with exercise.”

The study tested 32 young men with elevated ADHD symptoms who cycled at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes on one day, and on another day sat and rested for 20 minutes as a control condition.

The participants were asked to perform a task requiring focus both before and after the different conditions, and researchers noted leg movement, mood, attention, and self-reported motivation to perform the task.

Researchers discovered that after the exercise, participants felt motivated to do the task; they also felt less confused and fatigued and instead felt more energetic.

Interestingly, leg movements and performance on the task did not change after the exercise — rather, the exercise helped the young men feel better about doing the task.

These findings are consistent with prior research that shows a single bout of exercise helps people feel more energetic, said O’Connor.

The results suggest that young men who have symptoms of ADHD can benefit psychologically from the short workouts, similar to the benefits enjoyed by typical adults who work out.

“The reduced feelings of confusion and increased motivation to perform a cognitive task suggest that other types of acute exercise also may benefit cognitive performance,” added study co-author Kathryn Fritz, a University of Georgia doctoral student who completed the study as part of her master’s thesis.

“We speculate that a different mode or duration or intensity of exercise, other than a boring cycle ride in a sterile lab, may show larger cognitive effects for those suffering from ADHD symptoms.”

Taken from psychcentral

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Study highlights multiple factors of ADHD medication use

Youth who take Ritalin, Adderall or other stimulant medications for ADHD over an extended period of time early in life are no more at risk for substance abuse in later adolescence than teens without ADHD, according to a University of Michigan study.

The findings also show that teens who start using stimulant medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for a short time later in adolescence — during middle or high school — are at high risk of substance use..

The U-M research is believed to be the first national study to compare early-use and longer- duration stimulant medication therapy with nonstimulant therapy for ADHD.

A large sample size of high school seniors also meant researchers could separate doctor-
prescribed ADHD medication use by gender. The results show no gender differences in the
overall associations between stimulant medication therapy for ADHD and risk of substance use, said Sean Esteban McCabe, a research professor at the U-M Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

More than 40,000 individuals from 10 cohorts nationwide between 2005 to 2014, answered questions about ADHD medication use and recent substance use as part of the Monitoring the Future study.

Among the findings:

Nearly one in eight high school seniors in the U.S. have used stimulant or nonstimulant
medication therapy for ADHD.

Males are more likely to use stimulant medication therapy for ADHD, while no gender
differences were found for nonstimulant medication therapy.

Given that higher substance-use behaviors are associated with later initiation of stimulant
medications for ADHD during adolescence, the researchers recommend monitoring this later initiation subgroup carefully for pre-existing risk factors or the onset of substance use
behaviors.

Taken from sciencedaily.

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Can there be a link between Workaholism and ADHD?

According to a new study from Norway, “People who work too much may be more likely to have ADHD or depression”.

Researchers found that, among the workaholics in the study, nearly 33 percent had symptoms of ADHD, compared with about 13 percent of non-workaholics. For the study, workaholics were defined as those who met seven criteria, including whether they work so much that it has negatively influenced their health, or they feel stressed when they are prohibited from working.

“Workaholics scored higher on all the psychiatric symptoms than non-workaholics,” Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a clinical psychologist at the University of Bergen in Norway, said in a statement.

For example, nearly 26 percent of workaholics had symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), compared with about 9 percent among non-workaholics.

Moreover, about 34 percent of workaholics had symptoms of anxiety, compared with 12 percent of non-workaholics.

And nearly 9 percent of workaholics had symptoms of depression, compared with 2.6 percent of non-workaholics, according to the study, published May 18 in the journal PLOS ONE.

The results show that “taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or
emotional issues,” Schou Andreassen said. But the study looked at people at just one point in time, so it cannot say whether working too much may lead to mental health problems, or whether having mental health problems may lead to working too much, or whether some other factor could lead to both.

When the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that workaholism was linked to certain personal characteristics. People who were younger, single, highly educated and of a higher economic status showed greater levels of workaholism than people without these characteristics, the researchers found.

Workaholism was also more common among women, managers, self-employed people and people working in the private sector, the researchers found.

It should not be assumed that people who are successful at work do not have mental health
problems, the researchers said.

Taken from livescience

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Study says “ADHD drug could cause heart problems in kids”

The ADHD drug Ritalin (known by the generic name methylphenidate) is among the most commonly prescribed ADHD drug for children. Now, new research indicates that the drug might cause heart problems in the kids it’s supposed to be treating.

According to a Health report, the ADHD drug may increase the risk of an arrhythmia in healthy young people shortly after they begin treatment, per data from a new study. The risk of heart issues in ADHD kids taking the drug is also reportedly fairly substantial when compared to kids not taking the drug. Children taking the drug (which is also sold under the brand names Daytrana, and Concerta) had a 61 percent increased risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms, according to the study.

Despite the increased risk, most of the children who take the common ADHD drug will not
experience heart problems, according to the study’s senior author, Nicole Pratt at the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Center at the University of South Australia.

The study also did not definitively prove that the ADHD drug is the direct cause of the
irregular heartbeat sometimes seen in child patients who take it. However, the relation to
heart problems and taking the drug definitely appeared pronounced.

The study’s authors also stress that the children most at risk from the amphetamine-like ADHD drug are those who already have a congenital heart disease. In those children, the risk of additional heart problems while taking the ADHD drug jumps up threefold.

“Children on these medicines should have [their] blood pressure and heart rate monitored to help mitigate potential risk. Health professionals also need to consider the risk/benefit
balance in children with a prior history of heart disease or children on medicines that can
affect [heart rhythm], particularly where symptoms of ADHD are mild.”

Doctors are being encouraged to consider these new findings when they prescribe the ADHD drug to children, says Pratt.

Taken from inquisitr .

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Can ADHD Appear for the First Time in Adulthood?

Two recent studies suggest that Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), usually diagnosed in children, may show up for the first time in adulthood.

And not only can ADHD appear for the first time after childhood, but the symptoms for adult-onset ADHD may be different from symptoms experienced by kids, the researchers found.

“Although the nature of symptoms differs somewhat between children and adults, all age groups show impairments in multiple domains – school, family and friendships for kids and school, occupation, marriage and driving for adults,” said Stephen Faraone, a psychiatry researcher at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York and author of an editorial accompanying the two studies in JAMA Psychiatry.

Faraone cautions, however, that some newly diagnosed adults might have had undetected ADHD as children. Support from parents and teachers or high intelligence, for example, might prevent ADHD symptoms from emerging earlier in life.

One of the studies, from Brazil, tracked more than 5,200 people born in 1993 until they were 18 or 19 years old.

At age 11, 393 kids, or 8.9 percent, had childhood ADHD. By the end of the study, 492 participants, or 12.2 percent, met all the criteria for young adult ADHD except the age of diagnosis.

Childhood ADHD was more prevalent among males, while adult ADHD was more prevalent among females, the study also found.

Just 60 of the nearly 400 kids with ADHD still had symptoms at the end of the study, and only 60 of the nearly 500 adults with ADHD had been diagnosed as children.

“The main take-home message is that adult patients experiencing significant and lasting symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity that cause impairment should seek evaluation, even if they began recently by their perception or if family members deny
their existence in childhood,” senior study author Dr. Luis Augusto Rohde, a psychiatry researcher at Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul in Brazil said by email.

The second study focused on 2,040 twins born in England and Wales in 1994 and 1995. During childhood, 247 of them met the diagnosis criteria for ADHD. Of those, 54 still met the diagnosis criteria for the disease at age 18.

Among 166 individuals with adult ADHD, roughly one third didn’t meet the criteria for ADHD at any of four evaluations during childhood, the study also found.

It’s possible some of these adults had undiagnosed ADHD as kids, but symptoms may also look different in older people than they do in children, said senior study author Louise Arseneault of King’s College in London.

People with adult ADHD may have more inattentive symptoms like being forgetful or having difficulty concentrating, whereas children with ADHD may have more hyperactive symptoms, Arseneault said by email. “And if adults do experience hyperactive symptoms, these symptoms may manifest more as feelings of internal restlessness rather than obvious hyperactive behavior like running or climbing around in inappropriate situations,” she said.

Taken from scientificamerican.

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ADHD risk alleles associated with opiate addiction

Polymorphisms in genes such as DAT1, 5HTTLPR, D4DR4 and MAO-A have been linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and susceptibility for opiate addiction. A study about opiate addicted parents and their children the rate of ADHD and genetic markers that could predict susceptibility to ADHD and/or opiate addiction concluded that children of opiate dependent mothers had a higher rate of ADHD compared to those of the opiate dependent fathers. Opiate dependent parents have a high risk of being carriers of most risk alleles examined except DRD4EX3 (allele7). There was no difference whether the addicted parents had or did not have ADHD.

Study was conductd on 64 heroin-addicted, methadone maintained parents and their 94 children who had or had not been exposed prenatally to opiates. DNA extracted from mouthwash was assessed for genetic polymorphism for 6 polymorphic sites of 4 different
genes. Study subjects also filled a variety of questionnaires assessing the rate of ADHD in the parents and children and the children’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

Serotonergic and dopaminergic risk alleles seem to be mainly related to opiate dependence with no effect on the occurrence of ADHD. People carrying those polymorphisms are susceptible to opioid addiction and not to ADHD.

Taken from nature

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Is Leaky Thalamus to Blame for ADHD?

A possible connection between Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a genetic malfunction in the thalamus may explain the distractibility and physical restlessness that plague children and adults with ADHD, a group of New York University, MIT and Duke University scientists have reported.

The genetic defect they’ve detected may be particularly relevant to the approximately 30 percent of the ADHD cases that are not responsive to treatment with stimulants, their study said. Stimulants are the medications most commonly prescribed to treat ADHD, a disorder that affects as many as 11 percent of the nation’s children and adolescents, according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

This new understanding of the mechanisms in the thalamus that generate attention, sensory motor processing, and sleep rhythms may help pave the way for new drug interventions for ADHD, the study added.

The co-authors also suggested that their findings could eventually lead to a new disease category that includes the autism spectrum and intellectual disability as well as ADHD. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to detail the biology behind thalamic dysfunction in cognitive disorders…,” said senior investigator Michael M. Halassa MD, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience at NY Langone. “We believe that this work defines a new disease category based on common biological signatures….”

In their research on what they called a “leaky thalamus,” the scientists looked at what happens when a specific gene, Ptchd1, is deleted to genetically alter mice. The scientists found that Ptchd1 plays a role in modulating the amount of SK (small conductance calcium-dependent potassium currents) that help the thalamus communicate with other parts of the brain and inhibit inattention and hyperactivity

Mice without Ptchd1 made three times as many concentration errors in concentration tests as unaltered mice and had difficulties screening out distractions, the study said. These mice also were insensitive to treatment with stimulants, the study added, which suggested that the ADHD in the people who don’t respond to stimulants may have a disorder with a different origin. The authors noted that “ADHD symptoms are frequently observed in patients with Ptchd1 mutations.”

The researchers did have success in improving the thalamus signaling in the genetically altered mice with the drug 1-ethyl-benzimidazolinone, but said it’s not useable humans. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of that drug suggested that scientists should look for a medication that has the same effect on humans, the authors added.

The study was published online March 23rd by the journal Nature.

Taken from hcplive

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