ADHD: Can immaturity be a factor?

The youngest children in a school class are more likely to be prescribed medication to control symptoms ofattention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than older children of their peer group, a new study suggests.

Children with ADHD typically have trouble staying focused, are easily distracted and have difficulty paying attention and following instructions. It is thought to affect around 3% to 7% of school age children.

Diagnosing ADHD can be challenging and time-consuming because there is no simple test to determine whether someone has it or not.

Symptoms must be seen in 2 different areas of life, such as home and school, before a healthcare professional can made an ADHD diagnosis.

It can also co-exist with other conditions, including Asperger syndrome, dyspraxia, language difficulties and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which can mask symptoms.

Previous research

Researchers in Australia claim their findings add to previous international research from North America and Taiwan which suggests that immaturity could be misdiagnosed as a psychiatric disorder.

The Australian study found that children aged between 6 and 10 born in June – the cut-off for school admissions in Australia – were almost twice as likely to receive ADHD medication as those around 11 months older who were eligible for the same year group.

They found the differences were still significant, although less marked, for children aged 11 to 15.

The research team, led by Curtin University, speculates that some of the children may have been misdiagnosed and may not have ADHD.

Is ADHD being misdiagnosed?

Martin Whitely, who led the study, says in a statement: “The most plausible explanation is that teachers provide the evidence for the diagnosis of ADHD, they assess the behaviour of these kids against their peers and they are mistaking age-related immaturity for a psychiatric disorder.”

The researchers looked at data involving 311,384 children in Western Australia. A higher proportion of boys were taking medication for ADHD than girls – 2.9%, compared with 0.8%.

The brief report has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Martin Whitely says the results mirror those in some studies overseas. “The two US studies, the one in Canada and the one in Taiwan all came up with very similar patterns,” he says.

“It’s interesting because the diagnosis and prescribing rates in The US and Canada are much higher than they are in Taiwan and Australia and yet the relative effect seems to be as strong.

“So this indicates that there’s significant misdiagnosis.”

‘Rechurned research’

ADHD campaigners say studies linking immaturity to ADHD are unhelpful because they undermine what is a very real condition to some children and their parents. One ADHD charity declined to comment to us specifically on the latest research, saying it was a ‘rechurning’ of pervious findings.

Last year, Sinead Rhodes, who blogs on ADHD issues for the website The Research Headlines, commented on the Taiwanese research into ADHD and immaturity. She wrote: “What families really don’t need is to read headlines that suggest their children are just immature, based on a study conducted in a very different country, where diagnosis cannot readily or easily be compared to the UK.”

An analysis by the NHS says none of the studies to date have included UK children. “It would be a big assumption to say ADHD is being overdiagnosed and overtreated on the grounds of this study alone,” it says.

It adds: “It’s possible the youngest children in a school year may find it harder to keep up with lessons than children almost a year older than them, and so could be more likely to be distracted – though this is clearly a big generalisation and is not always going to be the case.”

Taken from webmd

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Spotting early signs of ADHD in young children

The first day of school marks the beginning of a new phase in a child’s life and the start of a future full of possibilities. It’s for this reason both parents and teachers should be acutely aware of the symptoms of ADHD to ensure they don’t go unnoticed – and untreated.
Spotting early signs of ADHD in young children

First-timer frustration

Child psychiatrist and author Dr Brendan Belsham says grade one is a time when children with ADHD display the symptoms of ADHD more obviously than in previous years.

“There’s a quantum leap in what’s required from the child from pre-school or grade 0 to grade one, as they’re suddenly required to sit at a desk for longer periods of time, use their fine motor skills and remain focused on one task,” explains Belsham. “The three clusters of ADHD symptoms – inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity – become more apparent when greater demands are placed on the child’s capacity to self-regulate.”

Beyond the classroom

ADHD symptoms teachers will recognise quickly in the classroom are: the child being easily distracted and forgetful, prone to blurting out answers and not following instructions fully. There are, however, other consequences of undiagnosed ADHD for first-time school-goers, outside the classroom.

“Children with ADHD often unintentionally antagonise their peers because they battle to take turns and adhere to rules, which are both basic functions of child’s play,” describes Belsham. “They’re alienated by their peers as a result and act out in a desperate attempt for attention, which further pushes their peers to exclude them even more. This makes it difficult for them to form friendships in their new class.”

Long-term impact

The social fallout of undiagnosed ADHD isn’t always recognisable at first because teachers aren’t privy to everything that happens on the playground. But the downstream impact on the child’s self-esteem and their attitude towards school is something of which parents should be aware.

“If your child is constantly making excuses not to go to school – like complaining of a sore tummy – or gets tearful at the prospect of going to school, a parent should take heed. The early years of school should be exciting and fun. If a child is actively fighting attending school, there’s a chance it’s because they have undiagnosed ADHD and, as a result, know they’re not coping academically,” says Belsham.

“They start to notice when they take longer to finish their work and have to stay in at break-time, or produce scruffier drawings than their peers. These knocks to their confidence, along with exclusion from class mates, could lead to negative feelings towards school.”

Parents and teachers should both be on the lookout for symptoms of ADHD in the early grades of school, to avoid damage to the academic foundation and self-esteem of the child. If teachers pick up symptoms of undiagnosed ADHD, they should immediately consult with the child’s parents and give information at an observational level – but avoid trying to diagnose the child themselves, says Belsham.

“It’s much more common for teachers to detect symptoms of ADHD, as they’re exposed to behaviours that exacerbate these symptoms. Parents, on the other hand, don’t always witness their child’s struggles with concentration, as the child isn’t under pressure to focus for extended periods of time at home,” says Belsham.

Firm feedback

Teachers should be sensitive, respectful and firm in their approach to relaying their concerns to parents. Parents often have the misconception that having ADHD is a ‘life sentence’ for the child, which, according to Belsham, is wholly untrue.

“Parents of newly diagnosed ADHD children need to know it’s not a reflection of bad parenting or a condition that has to fundamentally interfere with the functioning of the child. ADHD is highly treatable and, with the right treatment from the early school years, children with ADHD can thrive throughout their school careers,” concludes Belsham.

Know more @ bizcommunity 

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Too many children with ADHD are taking anti-psychotic drugs: Canadian study

ADHD is diagnosed in about one in 20 kids, according to new Canadian research, but how many are prescribed anti-psychotics that come with lifelong side effects?

Scientists behind a new study out of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) worry that many young Canadians with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are taking anti-psychotic drugs despite not having other mental health diagnoses.

One in 10 Canadian youth with ADHD are prescribed anti-psychotics that are typically meant to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other severe mental health concerns.

“We found that, not surprisingly, a majority of kids with ADHD are being treated with stimulants – it’s the first line of defence. But a substantial proportion are also treated with drugs used to treat anxiety and depression,” Dr. Paul Kurdyak, the study’s senior author, told Global News.

Kurdyak is a psychiatrist at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. He’s also a mental health services researcher at ICES.

“While we don’t have a benchmark, it does appear to be high. Very few of the children with ADHD who were prescribed anti-psychotics had other diagnoses where you’d expect [this medication]…very often the situation the drug is being used for, in U.S. studies, is disruptive behaviour,” he said.

Kurdyak calls the trend “worrisome.” In general, doctors try to limit a child’s exposure to anti-psychotics because of the side effects: weight gain is common, while blood test results indicate early warning signs for diabetes.

“In the long term, exposing a child to weight gain and diabetes could hurt the child relative to the benefits of taking an anti-psychotic for off-label use,” he warned.

Typically kids with ADHD are prescribed a stimulant, like Ritalin or Adderall.

Kurdyak looked at a random sample of 10,000 Ontario youths’ medical records. The group was between one and 24 years old. His team also considered their ADHD diagnoses, medications and health service use.

ADHD was more common in boys than girls — across the board, 5.4 per cent of kids were diagnosed with the condition. Twelve per cent of that group ended up with an anti-psychotic prescription even though “very few” had other psychiatric diagnoses that would be treated with anti-psychotics.

One in five kids even ended up with an anti-depressant prescription.

The study had a limitation, though: while the researchers had access to prescriptions that were doled out, they couldn’t tell how many of these prescriptions were filled and what the duration was for the drug therapy.

Still, Kurdyak suggests doctors, parents and patients should take a look at their prescriptions to make sure they’re addressing their needs.

“Physicians and mental health professionals should be advocating for non-pharmacological treatment for kids with conditions like ADHD. There are alternatives,” he said.

“For children and parents, they really need to understand the risks associated with anti-psychotics so they can make good, rational choices,” he said.

Kurdyak’s full findings were published Wednesday in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Taken from globalnews

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‘Stuck on media’: Increased digital media usage could lead to ADHD, less creativity in children

How much screen time is too much?

As high-tech gadgets grow in popularity, more children are increasing their daily screen time, or the amount of time spent on electronic devices such as tablets or smartphones. And one local pediatrician says this is negatively impacting the child’s health.

Today’s children and adolescents have grown up surrounded by media, whether they are video-chatting, playing video games or using social apps. And according to Jesse Barondeau, a pediatrician with Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell, all of this technology could increase children’s risk of other medical ailments such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

While technology might make it easier for children to access more “educational and positive learning experiences,” Barondeau said a lot of screen time is not good for a child’s developing mind.

“There’s evidence that age just can’t handle it,” Barondaeu said. “Even 2- and 3-year-olds, if they’re watching more than hour of TV per day, there’s a lot of not appropriate content and there’s a lot of evidence that children could have difficulty with impulse control or temper control when they’re older and they might also be less creative.”

These types of behaviors — impulse control, temper control and creativity — are typically learned while playing with toys, going outside and socializing with other children, he said.

In late 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced new recommendations for children’s media use, which included cutting screen media in children younger than 18 months. For parents who wanted to introduce digital media to 18 to 24-months-of-age, the AAP recommended watching high-quality programming with their children, to ensure they understand what they are watching.

The AAP also recommends for children 2 to 5 years old, media usage should be approximately one hour per day, with parents watching alongside.

And Barondeau agrees.

Barondeau recommends, for children 3 to 5 years old, an appropriate amount of media would be about one hour per day, while children older than that could use up to two hours each day.

“Their minds would be healthier and it will help their bodies if they’re playing outside or coloring, writing and playing with toys,” Barondeau said. “They can use their imagination and be more creative and build social abilities as well.”

Obesity, lack of sleep and the media

As children get older, Barondeau said technology and increased screen time has different effects.

Middle school through high school children who watch more than two hours per day could face problems related to obesity, Barondeau said. The children will tend to be on the computer or TV for hours on end, which can be linked to obesity and a more sedentary lifestyle, he said.

On top of obesity, the children could see impacts on their sleep patterns. When they watch a lot of TV, sleep can become more difficult.

Barondeau references the “blue light” that children will find, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep. This “blue light,” Barondeau said, is a natural mechanism for releasing melatonin into the body.

Finding a solution

Barondeau started as a pediatrician in Mitchell last August, moving from Tacoma, Washington.

While Barondeau said it’s not any different in Mitchell, he has noticed similar trends. This includes seeing a rise in media usage during the winter months, while in the summer usage drops, as kids tend to do more outdoor activities.

Barondeau said he also noticed that if children aren’t involved in any extracurricular activities in school, such as band or sports, they tend to spend more time playing video games or watching TV.

To fight the issue of growing media usage in children, Barondeau said he tries to put out his own recommendations for a health lifestyle during yearly check-ups. And he’s noticed that parents are starting to get concerned as well.

“They’ll have concerns if they believe their kids are spending too much time on the computer,” Barondeau said. “The one thing that is important factor, a lot of it reflects on what the parents do.”

To avoid this problem, Barondeau said parents should stick to the daily recommendation for one or two hours each day, depending on the child’s age. But he also recommends that any apps that children use, parents do some research about whether they are age-appropriate as well as educational. One app that Barondeau recommends is the Sesame Workshop, which is proven to provide high-quality programming and educational material, he said.

“Just be careful of what types of apps you find, “Barondeau said. “There are a lot of educational apps that appear to be good for kids, but they haven’t been assessed if they are good or not.”

Barondeau also recommends finding coloring books, blocks or other toys similar to help with a child’s development growth and avoid using electronic devices when possible. This will also help children pay better attention in school, Barondeau said.

The AAP also suggests parents utilize digital content provided by Sesame Workshop, along with PBS, as it has proven educational value, according to a recent press release.

The AAP also recommends placing consistent limits on the time spent using media and the types of media. This includes designating media-free times together, according to the AAP, such as during dinner or driving. The organization also recommends designating media-free locations in the home, such as a bedroom.

“There are so many different avenues for media now,” Barondeau said. “It’s ever increasing ways to get to it and it’s easier. It’s everywhere. Its very easy to be stuck on media if you want to.”

Taken from mitchellrepublic

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Dow Chemical Wants Farmers to Keep Using a Pesticide Linked to Autism and ADHD

On Mondays, Magda and Amilcar Galindo take their daughter Eva to self-defense class. Eva is 12 but her trusting smile and arching pigtails make her look younger. Diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, Eva doesn’t learn or behave like the typical 12-year-old. She struggles to make change, and she needs help with reading and social situations. Eva’s classmates are sometimes unkind to her, and Magda worries for her daughter’s feelings and her safety. So once a week, after they drive her from her middle school in Modesto, California, to her tutor in nearby Riverbank, the Galindos rush off to the gym where they cheer Eva on as she wrestles with a heavy bag and punches the air with her skinny arms.

The Galindos wish they could have protected their daughter from whatever originally caused her troubles, which began in infancy, when she screamed incessantly. As she got older, Eva was slow to talk and make friends. Nine years ago, when her pediatrician diagnosed her with autism, he told the Galindos that nobody really knew why children developed such problems. And in some ways, that is still true; both the causes of these neurodevelopmental conditions and their increase among American children remain mysterious.

But a study the family participated in when Eva was 3 has pointed to one possible culprit: chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide that was sprayed near their home when Magda was pregnant. At the time, the family was living in Salida, a small town in central California surrounded by fields of almonds, corn, and peaches. The Galindos could see the planted fields just down the street from their stucco house. And Magda could smell them from the patio where she spent much of her pregnancy. Sometimes the distinct essence of cow manure filled the air. At other times she sniffed the must of fertilizer. And there was a third odor, too — “the smell of the chemical,” said Galindo. “You can tell, it’s different from mulch and manure. When they sprayed, the smell was different.”

In 2014, the first and most comprehensive look at the environmental causes of autism and developmental delay, known as the CHARGE study, found that the nearby application of agricultural pesticides greatly increases the risk of autism. Women who lived less than a mile from fields where chlorpyrifos was sprayed during their second trimesters of pregnancy, as Magda did, had their chances of giving birth to an autistic child more than triple. And it was just one of dozens of recent studies that have linked even small amounts of fetal chlorpyrifos exposure to neurodevelopmental problems, including ADHD, intelligence deficits, and learning difficulties.

On November 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a groundbreaking report laying out the serious dangers of chlorpyrifos. The “Chlorpyrifos Revised Human Health Risk Assessment,” as it was called, laid out the evidence that the pesticide can cause intelligence deficits and attention, memory, and motor problems in children. According to the report, 1- and 2-year-old children risk exposures from food alone that are 14,000 percent above the level the agency now thinks is safe.

Dow, the giant chemical company that patented chlorpyrifos and still makes most of the products containing it, has consistently disputed the mounting scientific evidence that its blockbuster chemical harms children. But the government report made it clear that the EPA now accepts the independent science showing that the pesticide used to grow so much of our food is unsafe. The “pre-publication copy” of the report stated that “residues of chlorpyrifos on most individual food crops exceed the ‘reasonable certainty of no harm’ safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,” which means, in simple terms, that any given sample of food may contain harmful levels of chlorpyrifos. In addition, estimated drinking water and non-drinking water exposures to the chemical also exceed safety standards. The next step was to finalize a chlorpyrifos ban.

Public health advocates have been calling on the EPA to ban the pesticide for years. Four months before the report came out, a group of 47 scientists and doctors with expertise in children’s brain development, including the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, issued a grave warning that toxic chemicals in the environment were increasing children’s risks of developing behavioral, cognitive, and social disorders and contributing to the rise in cases of autism and ADHD. The TENDR statement, as it was called, included a list of the worst neurotoxins and amounted to a desperate plea for immediate action. Organophosphate pesticides, the class of chemical to which chlorpyrifos belongs, was at the top of the list.

Yet when the EPA’s report was published indicating that the agency was finally taking action on chlorpyrifos, there was little rejoicing among the scientists and environmental advocates, because two days earlier, Donald Trump had won the presidential election.

Although the new risk assessment was the missing puzzle piece necessary to get chlorpyrifos out of the food chain and water supply, the law requires a 60-day comment period before such a decision can be finalized. Trump will be inaugurated three days after the comment period ends on January 17. The final deadline to incorporate the comments on the report is March 31, 2017, giving the new administration almost two months to derail the long-awaited regulation.

Know more @ theintercept.

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Malfunctioning part of ‘ADHD gene’ identified, clearing way for specialized medications

ADHD is highly genetic, and [the ADGRL3 gene] in particular has long been implicated it its development…Now, a new study goes even further, finding a specific malfunction on the gene that is highly associated with [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] and related disorders — clearing the way for specialized medications and greater understanding of the neural pathways behind ADHD.

Researchers identified one specific section of the gene…that worked differently in the brains of those with ADHD. They found that a malfunction in ECR47 caused the ADGRL3 gene to be expressed less in the thalamus…and was linked to decreased sensory processing abilities, as well as to classic ADHD symptoms like impulsivity and inattention.

The results provide just a small piece of the puzzle of the genetic components that control ADHD, the researchers said, but the progress is promising — particularly when it comes to the development of new medications.

This means that medications could be created that specifically target the ADGRL3 gene — or even the ECR47 mutation — to benefit patients for whom traditional stimulants don’t work.

Taken from geneticliteracyproject

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In The Year Of ‘Clean Sleep’, Parents Need To Question A Diagnosis Of ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complicated condition characterised by a short attention span, an inability to listen, fidgeting and excessive chatter.

In the UK, children are diagnosed only after the corroboration of several parties, including family doctors, parents and the child’s school. The most up-to-date statistics show that between three to seven percent of British children are affected (some 400,000).

But there is a worrying trend toward misdiagnosis. Dr Gurjinda Dahel, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says there are more diagnoses of ADHD in UK children than there should be, and that often, ‘it’s something desperate parents push for, believing it will enable them to help their child and address problem behaviour.’ It’s a pattern that’s familiar in the US – the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that five percent of American children truly have ADHD but misdiagnosis means that 15 per cent of children are put on medication to control their ‘symptoms’ – medication which may have nasty side effects, including liver toxicity, mental problems and growth repression.

But what if disruptive behaviour has nothing to do with ADHD and everything to do with chronic sleep deprivation? A 2012 study in the journal Pediatrics that followed 11,000 British children for six years suggested there was a strong link between inadequate sleep and ADHD-type symptoms, with those children whose sleep was affected by common breathing problems like snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) being 40 percent to 100 percent more likely than those who breathed normally to develop behavioral problems. Quality sleep is essential for young minds and growing bodies, yet many parents aren’t aware of how much sleep their child needs or even that their child is sleep-deprived. Mandy Gurney, a former midwife, health visitor and nurse who advises the NHS on child sleep issues and is part of our expert team at Essential Parent makes the following observation: ‘Symptoms of sleep deprivation in children are not the same as in adults. Whereas we get lethargic and slow, children become manic.’

Respected American writer Alan Schwarz, author of ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma and the Making of an American Epidemic, argues too that ‘just because a child has a difficult time paying attention or sitting still in school does not mean they have a potentially lifelong brain disorder’. Indeed, research from the Journal of Pediatrics that was reported on recently suggests that the time of year a child is born can make them more at risk of an ADHD diagnosis – just 2.8 percent of boys born in September are diagnosed with the condition compared with 4.5 percent of boys born in August. The researchers believe this points to the fact the August-born children are more at risk of misdiagnosis when they start school simply because they are labelled ‘immature’ when in fact they are a year younger than their September-born schoolmates and are, in all likelihood, behaving appropriately.

Last week’s headlines decreed that if 2016 was the year of clean eating, 2017 is the year of clean sleep – a concept endorsed by doyenne of all things healthy, Gywneth Paltrow, who says good quality sleep should be your first health priority, even before diet. Do a quick inventory of your child’s sleep habits and consider how ‘clean’ they are. Are they exposed to screens and before bedtime? Are they allowed tech in the bedroom? We know now that the blue light emitted by screens confuses the brain into thinking its daytime, which in turn stimulates the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that keeps us lively and alert. Sleep experts advise parents to reduce screen time a full two hours before bedtime, especially for children who really have trouble sleeping. A snack such as porridge, which contains an amino acid called tryptophan, can help produce the sleep hormone melatonin, as will a warm (not hot) bath followed by downtime in a cool, dimly lit bedroom. And as one in 10 children snores, it’s worth listening out to make sure there’s no gasping, or long pauses in-between snores, which can indicate that breathing has stopped, briefly, and is a symptom of a more serious problem called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), in which breathing is significantly obstructed. This results in frequent wakings, called microarousals, during which the child repeatedly wakes to take a breath.

Microarousals affect sleep significantly and result in a lack of oxygen to the pre-frontal cortex in the brain, which affects the planning, processing of and acting on information. A child with OSA may snore severely or gasp and choke in their sleep, so it’s unsurprising, then, that children with OSA are rarely well-rested, display poor concentration, hyperactive or disruptive behaviour and general irritability.

If you suspect OSA, see your doctor, who will refer you to an ENT specialist. Treatment includes use of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which keeps the airways open and involves wearing a nasal mask that’s attached to a small compressor. Surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids is usually also very successful.

Taken from huffingtonpost

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How Controversial AAP Guidelines on ADHD Diagnosis Proved its Critics Wrong

Kids in schools and pre-schools need to be extremely agile and transition from one activity to another.

However, this doesn’t seem to be so easy when the child in question is diagnosed with autism or ADHD, and sometimes parents may wonder if the activity level of their little 4 year old is enough or not.

Practitioners tend to resort to ADHD medications for children even for children who have been diagnosed at early in their lives. It raises many questions and concerns among parents and teachers about the children undergoing medication to behave like children.

In early 2011, when American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) included toddlers in its guidelines for diagnosing ADHD and treating the same, the move was largely criticized and some media houses castigated the idea of including school going children.

The media houses questioned the idea to medicate toddlers as well as wondered if ADHD diagnoses would surge once experts started including the youngsters.

However, observing minute behavioral traits in your child could help detect ADHD symptoms at a young age and it also helps children who struggle socially and academically.

It should be noted that the guidelines recommend behavioral therapy to the young kids and not any drugs to treat the disorders if any.

A recent study that was carried out notes that guidelines were published in Paediatrics Journal on how to manage ADHD, covered preschoolers even before the year 2011.

However, the guidelines didn’t seem to have a direct impact on the increased rate of diagnosis, neither was it the cause of increase in script medicines. Interestingly the diagnosis, which was seen to be on the rise, in reality, leveled off.

Dr. Mark Wolraich recalled the instance when the guidelines were released, and quoted,

“We got criticized in the popular press that we were now drugging children.”

Dr. Wolraich is the Section Chief of Developmental Behavioral Paediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and he is also attributed to be the first author for 2011 guidelines.

The doctor further insisted that before the guidelines were introduced, preschool children who were diagnosed were treated with medication for their short ADHD attention spans and their activity levels were monitored.

The guidelines acted as a medium of communication and recommended a behavioral therapy course rather than administering drugs to young preschooling kids.

A new study is being carried out in which researchers are looking at E-health records of the children from as many as 63 different paediatric practices.

“Interestingly, before the guidelines were introduced ADHD diagnosis was seen to be increasing steadily in school going children.”

said Dr Alexander G. Fiks, a paediatrician who is a faculty member at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the lead author of the study.

It must be noted that after the guidelines were introduced, researchers were successfully able to stem the growth rate of diagnosis, while prescriptions for stimulant medications stayed the same.

These reports suggest that paediatricians have not lowered their thresholds for medicating young children.

“There was no difference seen for stimulant medication prescribing before and after; it was absolutely flat” – said Fiks, director of the Paediatric Research in Office Settings Network at the American Academy of Paediatrics, which coordinated the study.

Thus careful observations help to detect early signs and also assists in early diagnosis which is crucial for leading a stress less life.

Taken from dealwithautism

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Improved Academic Performance and Medication Rebound in Patients with ADHD Following the Use of Vayarin®, a Multi-Year, Real-World Retrospective Study

Up to 75 percent of individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) experience emotional dysregulation, according to Research in Developmental Disabilities. Emotional dysregulation is characterized by rapid, poorly controlled shifts in emotion, mood swings and behavioral outbursts. Studies have shown that individuals with ADHD and emotional dysregulation have significantly more impaired peer relationships, family life and academic performance than those diagnosed with ADHD alone. A new multi-year retrospective study initiated by Robert Chudnow, M.D. at Texas Child Neurology looked at patients’ reports on long-term impact of Vayarin® PS-Omega-3 medical food on patients with ADHD along with indicators for emotional dysregulation, academic performance and medication rebound. A poster presentation about the study will be featured at the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD) annual meeting January 13-15, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Results at a Glance

The lead investigators found that 68 percent of children with ADHD who added Vayarin® to their ADHD management routine reported general improvements following a short and long-term administration period (an average of six and 36 months, respectively) of the medical food. For example, patients reported improvements in their academic performance (58 percent) and emotional regulation (51 percent). Emotional dysregulation is a component of ADHD that has been shown to predict poor long-term clinical and educational outcomes in early-adulthood, such as academic performance. Additionally, 38 percent of patients who suffer from medication rebound reported improvement in the rebounding effect. Medication rebound is characterized by the re-emergence of ADHD symptoms after prescription medications – including stimulants – wear off.

“The results of this retrospective study are extremely promising for patients with ADHD who also suffer from emotional dysregulation and have other challenges that impact their well-being,” said Dr. Gali Artzi, director of medical affairs, VAYA Pharma. “The results are also exciting because the population included patients with real-world experiences – patients who are taking different medications, have different co-morbidities and have struggled day-to-day with the impact of ADHD on many parts of their lives. The improvements shown by the participants in this study further support the benefit of Vayarin® in patients with ADHD. We are thrilled to have this research featured at the 2017 APSARD annual meeting.”

The investigator-initiated retrospective study analyzed 518 patients with ADHD. The effects of Vayarin® based on patients’ reports were evaluated by a clinician using the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC) scale, as well as a self-rated outcome tool. The study was funded by a grant from VAYA Pharma and the use of VAYA Pharma’s Vayarin® medical food was analyzed in the results.

Taken from econotimes

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Using Stimulants to Get Hired, Not High

The ‘Adderall Generation’ is making its way from school to the workplace.

The use of Adderall, the amphetamine salt used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as other ADHD medication, is on the rise among young adults.

This might not sound surprising, as the combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine has gained popularity on college campuses as a “study drug,” an easy fix for helping students write papers and cram for tests. However, the use of Adderall isn’t stopping after students don a cap and gown; instead, the use of stimulants is continuing into the workplace.

Wanting a Competitive Edge

Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and other ADHD medications are increasingly being used in a manner similar to how athletes use steroids. Young adults are taking it to succeed in post-graduate degree programs or to work harder in their new jobs.

Tech companies and Wall Street have gained notoriety for their employees’ use of the drugs — not just to enhance work performance but to keep up with other colleagues. Lawyers use the drug to bill more hours to clients in the race to make partner; reporters use it to make deadlines. For many, their doctor is their drug dealer.

In 2013, former college baseball player and class president Richard Fee took his own life at age 25 after battling an addiction to Adderall. His story gained national attention — not just because it told of an aspiring medical student who developed a dependence on the drug rather than the stereotype of someone with a substance use disorder, but because it showed how the prescription pill industry can fail those who develop a dependence on their medications.

Richard Fee, like several of his college-age peers, first took the drug to gain a competitive edge at school. When he decided to obtain his own prescription, he was able to tell doctors exactly what they were looking for. He selected all the right answers on the Conners Scale, an ADHD questionnaire often used by doctors as a shortcut to a diagnosis.

His parents, concerned their son had never shown any symptoms of ADHD growing up and had developed odd behaviors, pleaded with his doctor to stop prescribing the drug. However, two different doctors continued to ignore the signs of dependence and his parents’ pleas. They wrote scripts — often within the span of a few weeks from each other and in higher dosages — for fast-acting Adderall, which has a higher potential for abuse than the extended-release version. A few months later, likely after abruptly stopping his use of the amphetamine salt, Fee took his own life.

For many, Adderall can appear to be the golden ticket to getting ahead in both professional and personal life. Adderall can also suppress appetite and lead to weight loss. For the “Adderall generation,” this drug has become the new coffee, used to enhance cognitive performance. However, according to a 2013 study published in Neuropharmacology, there is no evidence of reliable enhancement across 13 different measures of cognitive performance.

Taken from lifezette

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