Working out the genetic risk for ADHD

Genetics play a strong part in the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the path from a gene to risk for the disorder has remained a black box to researchers.

A new study suggests how the risk gene ADGRL3 (LPHN3) might work. ADGRL3 encodes the protein latrophilin 3, which regulates communication between brain cells. According to the study, a common variation of the gene associated with ADHD disrupts its ability to regulate gene transcription – the formation of mRNA from DNA that leads to expression of the gene.

Evidence for ADGRL3 in ADHD risk had already been stacked against it — common variants of the gene predispose people to ADHD and predict severity of the disorder. The study, led by Dr. Maximilian Muenke of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, brings scientists closer to understanding how ADGRL3 contributes to risk by providing functional evidence that implicates a transcription factor in the pathology of the disorder.

According to first author Dr. Ariel Martinez, the study is an effort to address limitations of existing ADHD medications that don’t work for all patients, and develop new medication targeting the protein encoded by the ADGRL3 gene.

“In this new era of genomics and precision medicine, the key to success lies in dissecting genetic contributions and involving some level of patient stratification,” Martinez said.

The researchers analyzed the ADGRL3 genomic region in 838 people, 372 of whom were diagnosed with ADHD. Variants in one particular segment within the gene, the transcriptional enhancer ECR47, showed the highest association with ADHD and with other disorders that commonly occur alongside ADHD, such as disruptive behaviors and substance use disorder.

ECR47 functions as a transcriptional enhancer to boost gene expression in the brain. However, the researchers found that a variation of ECR47 associated with ADHD disrupted ECR47’s ability to bind an important neurodevelopmental transcription factor, YY1 — an indication that the risk variant interferes with gene transcription.

In an analysis of postmortem human brain tissue from 137 control subjects, they also found an association between the ECR47 risk variant and reduced ADGRL3 expression in the thalamus, a key brain region for coordinating sensory processing in the brain. The findings link the gene to a potential mechanism for ADHD pathophysiology.

“The brain is extraordinarily complex. Yet we are starting to pull on the threads of that complex biology that reveal mechanisms through which disorders like ADHD might develop,” said Professor John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “In this case, Martinez and colleagues help us to understand how variation in the ADGRL3 gene might contribute to thalamic dysfunction in ADHD.”

Taken from sciencedaily

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Treating ADHD in Children: It’s Not All About Medication

Dr Hansa Bhargava, a practicing pediatrician and medical editor with Medscape, answers the questions from parents of children with ADHD about the ways to treat ADHD without medication…….

When treating ADHD in children, the more typical practice in the United States is to opt for medication. In fact, even though guidelines recommend behavioral therapy as first-line therapy for the youngest kids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that almost 1 in 2 preschoolers with this diagnosis get no behavioral therapy. It seems that the majority are treated with medications.

There is growing evidence that the first approach in addressing ADHD should be either nonpharmacologic therapy, especially in younger children, or a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Studies suggest that by using some of these other methods when children are young and newly diagnosed, ADHD problems may improve faster and these therapies may have a more lasting impact than medication.

Conjunction treatments that may be beneficial include getting more sleep, staying hydrated, exercising to help focus, playing soothing music, and even teaching the child to meditate. For instance, in the case of sleep, the National Sleep Foundation reported that as many as 80% of teens do not get enough sleep. Parents may not realize the importance of teaching good sleeping habits to their children. Sleep-deprived kids often lack focus and may have symptoms of hyperactivity, which can mistakenly be attributed to ADHD.

Another practice to consider is to look at a child’s hydration status. Recognizing that the brain is 73% water, it makes sense that dehydration may have effects on a child’s ability to control some of their ADHD symptoms. In general, dehydration can affect ability to concentrate, memory, and is associated with mood swings and fatigue. Just as is the case with the overlap between ADHD symptoms and those caused by poor sleep hygiene, symptoms of ADHD also overlap with those seen with dehydration. Keeping hydrated is key.

What about meditation? Although an older Cochrane review published in 2010 was unable to draw any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of meditation therapy for ADHD, some more recent, although small, studies have suggested that children with ADHD who practice meditation may be able to concentrate better. They also seem to have less depression and anxiety. More evidence is needed and will hopefully be provided by an ongoing randomized controlled trial. Meditation is something to consider for kids and families that want to try alternative strategies.

Finally, another practice that has been proven to help increase focus is good old-fashioned exercise. Exercise is well established as important for overall physical fitness, growth, mood, and possible prevention of overweight, but it turns out that it may be particularly helpful in kids with ADHD. A recently published systematic review concluded that exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise like running and cycling, had beneficial effects on executive functioning, response inhibition, cognitive control, and behavior.[8] A number of studies that were reviewed provided good evidence for the effects of cardiovascular exercise based on parent or teacher ratings and a broad range of socioemotional outcomes. Bottom line: Keeping a child with ADHD active is a strategy for all ages.

Children are being diagnosed with ADHD at younger and younger ages. Instilling good behavior and lifestyle habits as they grow will help them control their ADHD better as they move into adolescence and adulthood.

Medication should not be ruled out and is clearly an important therapy for many kids, but it may not be the best first therapy, nor should it be the only therapy for the majority of children.

Taken from medscape

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Why Parents and Doctors Should Think About A.D.H.D. in Preschool

Preschool children are supposed to run around a lot and jump from one activity to the next. Trying to decide whether a 4-year-old’s activity level or attention span is truly problematic can raise a challenging mix of questions and concerns about children being medicated for behaving, well, like children.

In 2011, when the American Academy of Pediatrics began including preschoolers in its guidelines for diagnosing and treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, some media reports blasted the idea. Were we planning to medicate toddlers? Would A.D.H.D. diagnoses surge once pediatricians started looking for it in preschoolers?

On the other hand, thinking about attention deficit problems at a very young age can help those children who are really struggling academically and socially. And notably, the recommendation for first line treatment for an A.D.H.D. diagnosis in a preschooler is behavioral therapy, not drugs.

A study published recently in the journal Pediatrics found that including preschoolers in the guidelines for how pediatricians manage A.D.H.D. — which covered only school-age children before 2011 — did not increase diagnoses and prescriptions of stimulant medications; in fact, the diagnoses, which had been on the rise, leveled off.

When the guidelines were released, “we got criticized in the popular press that we were now drugging children,” recalled Dr. Mark Wolraich, the section chief of developmental behavioral pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, who was the first author on the 2011 guidelines.

In fact, he said, before the guidelines appeared, many preschool children were being treated with medication for their short attention spans and their high activity levels; what the guidelines actually did was recommend that instead, behavioral therapy should be the initial recourse for children in this age group.

In the new study, researchers looked at electronic health records of children from 63 different pediatric practices. Before the guidelines, the rate of A.D.H.D. diagnosis in preschoolers was increasing, said Dr. Alexander G. Fiks, a pediatrician who is a faculty member at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the lead author of the study.

But after the guidelines were issued, the rate of diagnosis stopped increasing, while prescriptions for stimulant medications stayed the same — suggesting that including a category for preschool A.D.H.D. had not led pediatricians to lower their thresholds for medicating young children.

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

When very young children have symptoms of A.D.H.D., they may be expelled from preschool and rejected by their peers, said Dr. Nathan Blum, the chief of the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“The kids are starting to feel that they’re not liked, that they’re bad, other kids are being turned off by them because they can’t pay attention or because they’re impulsive, can’t wait their turn,” he said.

Sometimes the child is in the wrong setting, in a preschool that is too rigidly programmed or just a bad fit. And the child also needs to be carefully evaluated for other problems that may look a lot like inattention, ranging from autism spectrum disorder to sleep problems to stress and trauma.

“Parents of preschoolers who are struggling with behavior problems should talk to their pediatricians,” Dr. Fiks said. “Many of these kids will have variations of normal behavior.” Some children will have A.D.H.D. and others will have other social, medical, developmental or psychological problems.

That’s another good argument for first-line behavioral therapy, which helps parents deal more effectively with the problematic behavior, whether or not there’s a formal diagnosis of A.D.H.D.; the same techniques can be applied in preschool training. The troubling news about these children is that many of them are not actually getting that recommended behavioral therapy, and some of the families who think they are getting it may not be getting the kind of therapy that has actually been shown to be effective.

The evidence suggests that what works is not therapy that focuses on the child — such as play therapy — but coaching and training for the parents. That does not mean that the parents were the problem in the first place, it means that the parents have been dealt a particularly difficult assignment, and the standard strategies that the rest of us use with our children are not going to be sufficient.

But many parents feel blamed and judged for their children’s problem behavior, Dr. Blum said, and they may interpret being sent to parenting classes as still another accusation. “I think it’s really important for parents to understand they’re struggling because of their child’s behavior, but they’re still the agent of change and so we have to work with them.”

Behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective in this age group, and the medications are comparatively less effective than they are in older children, and somewhat more likely to cause side effects. So there’s a general sense that even though A.D.H.D. is a chronic condition and some children will need medication later on, it’s better, when possible, to delay starting it and use the behavioral therapy first.

In one study that looked at the use of Ritalin in preschool children with a diagnosis of A.D.H.D., Dr. Wolraich said, all the families were required to go through parent training before any were given medication. A third of the children required no further therapy, and thus were not enrolled in the medication study.

“If your child does have A.D.H.D., then you have to be a lot more consistent than most parents need to be in managing your child,” Dr. Wolraich said. “Having a coach is really helping to empower the parents to be more effective.”

Taken from nytimes

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Focus-MD is a growing network of pediatricians working with ADHD patients across the United States, with offices in Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and now, New Jersey.

The practice’s goal is to provide families with up-to-date, evidence-based treatment for children, all of which is approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Focus-MD’s setup is reminiscent of any doctor’s office, with weight scales and blood pressure monitors found in the preliminary rooms. However, one unique piece of equipment in Burstiner’s office, is one of the more innovative ADHD-diagnosis tools in the industry: the FDA-cleared QbTest.

“It measures the person’s activity level, it measures the person’s ability to pay attention, it measures the person’s impulsivity, which are really the three core features of ADHD,” Burstiner said. “At its very essence, people with ADHD have significant troubles in their activity level, their attention level, and their impulsivity level.”

Seated in front of a computer, patients follow instructions on the screen to either click, or refrain from clicking, a handheld device when an “O” and an “X” is flashed before them.

While tracking reaction times between that clicker and the interactive pop-ups on the computer, a camera attached on the wall a few feet above is also hard at work, following along and recording the child’s movement.

Once the 15- to 20-minute test concludes, the results are compiled and compared with a control group, consisting of children in the same age bracket and gender as the patient.

“By educating kids early on, and giving them the tools they need to succeed, they become contributing members of society,” said Cathy Balto, a coordinator for the Two River Friends of Different Learners.

The professionals also stress the need for parents to ensure that children who suffer from ADHD are not stigmatized.

Taken from tworivertimes

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Is It ADHD or Something Else? It Could Be Both!

People with ADHD don’t always know how to do things in moderation. May be that explains why so many ADHDers aren’t content with just one mental health condition and have other “comorbid” conditions such as depression or anxiety on top of ADHD.

It is common for people with ADHD to have other disorders, too.

This fact is especially important to keep in mind for diagnosis and treatment. Having anxiety or depression doesn’t mean you don’t also have ADHD. In many cases, comorbid conditions that are “easier” to diagnose will be diagnosed before ADHD.

At the same time, treating ADHD can be an essential part of treating the comorbid conditions. That’s why you’ll commonly hear stories of people who were unsuccessfully treated for anxiety or depression for years before their ADHD was recognized, which finally allowed them to make progress on both the ADHD and the comorbid condition.

People with ADHD can have any other psychiatric condition. Some of the more common comorbid conditions with ADHD seem to be:

Anxiety: Having ADHD can make anxiety worse because ADHD adds stress to people’s lives and makes it harder for them to regulate their emotions.

Depression: As with anxiety, there can be a chicken-and-egg problem with diagnosing comorbid ADHD and depression. On first glance, the inability to concentrate, problems with motivation, etc. might be mistaken for depressive symptoms when in fact the effects of living with undiagnosed ADHD are contributing to the depression.

Alcohol and drug abuse: ADHD can lead people to self-medicate. People with ADHD also have brains that are hungry for stimulation and reward, which predisposes them to addictive behaviors. Because stimulants are the gold standard of ADHD medication, this can complicate treatment. However, effective ADHD treatment is key because it makes people with ADHD less prone to self-medication and less driven to impulsively pursue rewards and stimulation.

Bipolar disorder: Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder and ADHD, like impulsivity and hyperactivity, can appear similar. Once again, this is a case where it’s good to be aware of the danger that the more “obvious” diagnosis of bipolar disorder might overshadow accompanying ADHD.

What all these comorbid conditions (and others not listed here) have in common is that diagnosing and treating ADHD will have a positive effect on both the ADHD itself and the comorbid condition.

Untreated, ADHD can wreak stress and chaos on everyday life, which will only make it harder to cope with any other mental health condition. So keep in mind that just because you have one condition doesn’t mean you don’t also have ADHD, and just because you have ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t also have something else!

Taken from psychcentral

Know about various other conditions which can cause ADHD or look like ADHD or which may coexist along with ADHD @

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Allergies during pregnancy linked with autism, ADHD

Despite a wealth of research, how and why autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders appear is still unknown. The search is on for any factors that might contribute to these psychological conditions. A recent study focuses on maternal allergies.

According to the research, recently presented at Neuroscience 2016 – the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, CA -.
Autism is three or four times more common in males than females; Lenz and colleagues set out to investigate this gender difference in rats.

The study was led by Kathryn Lenz, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

To this end, the team first sensitized female rats to an egg white protein, ovalbumin, prior to them becoming pregnant. Fifteen days into the pregnancy, the rats were presented with the allergen to trigger an immune response.

Immune-mediated changes in rat pups
Once they had been sensitized, the team designed experiments to gauge whether the mother’s immune response made measurable changes in the pups. Firstly, the levels and types of immune cells in the rat’s developing brains were measured.

Secondly, behavioral differences in the rat pups were measured once they were born, such as their ability to learn, anxiety-like behavior, and their overall levels of activity.

Finally, Lenz and her team examined the density of dendritic spines in the pup’s brains – points of synaptic connection between nerve cells in the rat’s frontal cortex. Dendritic spines are important in cellular-level communication within the brain; a number of cognitive disorders show abnormalities in the numbers of dendritic spines and their maturity level.

The team found that the rats whose mothers had been exposed to an allergen had an increase in certain immune cells in the brain – called mast cells. They also showed a reduction in another type of immune cell – microglia. These differences were the same in both sexes.

Another marked change was seen in their behavior. Allergic mothers’ offspring were hyperactive and demonstrated less anxiety-like behavior. Lenz says: “Young rats engage in social play and males are more rough and tumble and usually play much more than females.” However, the males in the allergy group were found to roughhouse with their peers significantly less.

As Lenz explains: “The males born to the allergen-exposed mothers looked more like females. They were more socially reserved. They were really hyperactive but socially disengaged. That looks a bit like ADHD.”

Mental flexibility altered by immune challenge
Differences were also seen when looking at the mental flexibility of the rats; those born to allergic mothers struggled more when challenged.

The team tested the rats by hiding Cheerios in terra-cotta pots. To find the treat, they had to follow rules and, each time, the researchers would tweak the rules, testing the pup’s mental flexibility. Sometimes the pots would be covered in sandpaper, other times in velvet. The rats needed to be adaptable to uncover the prize.

All of the rats in the allergen group, regardless of gender, struggled to adjust to the differing trials. However, the males in the allergen group were found to struggle more than the females.

Further differences were unearthed when data from the dendritic spines was analyzed. The male rats born from allergen-exposed mothers had a reduction in number, whereas the females from the allergen group had an increase in number.

“This is evidence that prenatal exposure to allergens alters brain development and function and that could be an under-appreciated factor in the development of neurodevelopmental disorders.”

Kathryn Lenz

Further studies will, of course, be necessary to flesh out these findings. However, they are an interesting addition to current knowledge. The connection between immune system and cognitive deficits seems solid; the next challenge will be converting this knowledge into treatments and preventions.

Taken from medicalnewstoday

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ADHD Drug Amphetamine Can Improve Endurance, New Study Says

Amphetamine, a potent brain-stimulating drug, commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, may slow down the rise of your body temperature and disguise signs of fatigue or exhaustion –- but it comes with ramifications.

According to Dr. Yaroslav Molkov, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Georgia State, previously of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, rats injected with amphetamine spent as much energy to run and processed oxygen the same as those that were not injected, Eureka Alert reports.

“But what was significantly different was their body temperature. In rats that received amphetamine, their body temperature was lower. When normal rats start running, their temperature starts rising and at some point when it hits a certain level, they stop. There’s a very strong signal from the brain to not overheat. However, if the temperature increases more slowly, it hits the same level later and that’s why rats treated with amphetamine are able to run longer,” he said.

Explaining the details of their research, Dr. Molkov said in a press release of Georgia State University, “Using mathematical modeling, we were able to prove that what happens is they increase their heat exchange with the environment. Basically, they increase their heat dissipation. But while heat dissipates quicker from the core body, it’s not the same for muscles. Your body is tuned to know that if the core temperature, and hence, the muscle temperature reach certain levels, you should stop.”

“But when you inject yourself with amphetamine, you don’t know that anymore because your temperature control system is tricked and you think that it’s not time to stop yet because your core temperature is not that high, even though your muscle temperature can already be dangerously high. I think this is one of the most important conclusions of this paper, that a seemingly innocent mechanism that accounts for better performance and durability actually turns out to be really dangerous as far as muscle overheating is concerned,” he added, Science Daily writes.

While this feature of amphetamine could allow athletes to run longer without getting tired, they also risk overheating their muscles, which could be unsafe, the study concludes.

Taken from natureworldnews

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Anti-GMO activists take page out of anti-chemical and anti-BPA lobby

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy environmentalist organization known for its influence on Capitol Hill and its opposition to GMOs and pesticides, reported that:

Evidence shows that BPA exposure may be associated with altered brain development and function, potentially leading to inattention and hyperactive behavior in children.

The EWG adds that “While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, some professionals suggest it is a combination of genes, environmental and other non-genetic factors.” Other EWG reports have not been as careful in assessing BPA. The EWG article ends with ways to avoid BPA and points out the prevalence of the chemical in various products. What it does not point out is that federal government agencies in the US have found no evidence of health risks from BPA. The FDA:
FDA’s current perspective, based on its most recent safety assessment, is that BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods. Based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.

NGOs ‘link’ BPA to ADHD

And now, ADHD. A recent study analyzed data from the National Institute of Health’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database, which is an enormous collection of data from decades of research projects. The study, published in Environmental Research, showed a higher prevalence of ADHD among children with urinary BPA concentrations above the median, which was 3.9 μg/L (11.2 percent vs. 2.9 percent). Data extrapolation showed that children with urinary BPA concentrations at or above the median were more than five times more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis than children with levels below the median. These differences were marked in boys more than in girls.

So, BPA causes ADHD, especially in boys? Not so fast.

This was a statistical study, and any scientist can tell you correlation does not equal causation. No mechanism between BPA and ADHD is known, and even the causes of ADHD are not at all clear.

Know more @ geneticliteracyproject

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Every School Should Have Pedal Desks For Kids With ADHD

Students in a grade 3-4 split class there are involved in a pilot project this year whereby traditional desks are being replaced with bicycle desks, bean bag chairs and wiggle stools. They also get regular yoga and dance breaks.

The most remarkable aspect of that classroom to me, are the bicycle desks or pedal desks as they’ve come to be known in a handful of schools who are trying them out in Canada and the U.S. Remarkable because I’ve seen the bean bag chairs and the wiggle stools and yoga and dance breaks.

Pedal desks are the next frontier and with at least 1-3 students with ADHD in each classroom and a move towards bringing more movement into the classroom for all students, pedal desks in the classroom is an idea worth embracing.

“I think this approach can be a very effective and practical strategy for a child with ADHD,” says University of Toronto professor, scientist and author John Cairney. “What I really like about it is that the child can be physically active without having to leave the class.”

While a lack of physical activity doesn’t cause ADHD, nor can any amount of physical activity ever cure a child with ADHD, (a neurological often genetic disorder of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain), studies show it can help.

“It causes children to be less impulsive and more receptive to learning,” says Michael Quinn, a special education teacher and researcher in Dublin, Ireland currently working on a doctoral thesis on physical activity and children with ADHD.

Michael explains that physical activity contributes to increased levels of dopamine in the brain, having a similar effect of ADHD stimulant medication.

“While medication is widely used in the treatment and management of ADHD,” says Michael, “there is a growing body of evidence supporting physical activity as a potential treatment strategy for ADHD.”

Michael points to a Canadian study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders in 2012 which shows that “participation in a physical activity program improves muscular capacities, motor skills, behavior reports by parents and teachers, and the level of information processing” in children with ADHD.

Another Canadian study published in the same journal this year found that stimulant medication and aerobic exercise both act on catecholamine pathways, concluding that “aerobic exercise may be a useful non-medication adjunct therapy for ADHD”, and that it warrants further study.

Cairney explains that often children with ADHD are given permission to move when they feel they need to, but have to leave the class to do so.

I can attest to that. My daughter has to leave the classroom three times a day with an Educational Assistant to go to a sensory room for a break. I wonder if she had a pedal desk, if she would be able to stay in the classroom and not miss any instruction time.

“This disrupts learning and can be stigmatizing,” says Cairney. “Cycling is active and the child can still participate in the learning block”

Unfortunately, the bikes cost an average of $1650 each and I haven’t heard of any plans by the Ontario government to bring them in to all schools anytime soon.

A teacher in North Carolina installed bike pedals under her students’ desks.

“The cycle desks helps get the energy out of their systems and stops the fidgeting,” says Bethany Lambeth, “and it helps them to concentrate.’

“We had students who almost did no work and they started working,” said Mario Leroux, a teacher in Laval, Quebec who brought the bicycle desks into his classroom. “We had students who had trouble understanding the teachers’ instructions and when we put them on the bike they were able to listen.”

Taken from huffingtonpost

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Proper nutrition keeps you stress free: Study

Good nutrition not only benefits your physical health, but also works as a cornerstone for mental health, says a study published in the Clinical Psychological Science journal.

A study highlights the different approaches that psychology researchers are taking to understand the many ways in which nutrition and mental health intersect.

Decades of research have shown the importance of proper nutrition in preventing and treating the ill effects of inflammation and stress, physiological processes that are intimately linked with mental health. Despite this clear connection, diet and metabolism typically do not feature in studies that examine aspects of psychological well-being.

“Nutrition is not mainstream within the sciences that study mental health and illness,” psychological scientist Alan Kazdin (Yale University), former editor of Clinical Psychological Science, notes in his introduction. “Standard coursework in training and exposure to the scientific literature in the traditional mental health professions omit even a morsel. A single series of papers cannot redress that. Yet we can make salient key questions and convey there are answers.”

The aim of this collection of articles is to “showcase the diversity of studies being conducted in a new, rapidly emerging field of nutrition and mental health”.

The five articles included in the special section investigate the intersection of nutrition and mental health from varying levels and perspectives.

Previous research shows the beneficial effects of a Mediterranean-style diet – rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, and fish – Almudena Sanchez-Villegas and colleagues examine outcomes associated with a broader Mediterranean lifestyle that includes diet, physical activity, and social activity. Looking at data from 11,800 individuals participating in a university-based longitudinal study, the researchers found that all of these variables independently predicted a lower risk of depression. The article highlights the importance of examining the combined effects of nutritional and other lifestyle factors on mental health outcomes.

Jane Pei-Chen Chang and colleagues focus their research on another mental disorder: ADHD. Examining data from 21 children with ADHD and 21 children without ADHD, the researchers find complex relations between children’s food consumption, physical symptoms, and cognitive performance. Although children with ADHD showed no difference in essential fatty acid (EFA) intake compared with their non-ADHD peers, they did show signs of EFA deficiency. At the same time, children who had lower EFA intake and symptoms of EFA deficiency were likely to show greater ADHD symptoms. These findings raise the question of whether children with ADHD process nutrients in ways that differ from those of other children.

Focusing on potential nutritional interventions for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Jerome Sarris and colleagues examined effects of treatment with an amino acid agent called N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) in a randomized controlled trial with 44 participants. The data showed no overall difference between NAC and placebo in reducing OCD symptoms, but subgroup comparisons indicated that younger participants and those who had been diagnosed for a shorter period of time were more likely to show improvement in response to NAC. The researchers suggest that further studies with larger samples are necessary to determine the utility of NAC as an adjunct to OCD treatment.

Joanna Lothian, Neville M. Blampied, and Julia J. Rucklidge explore broad-spectrum micronutrients (i.e., vitamins and minerals) as treatment for insomnia, a condition that is associated with a variety of mental health problems. In an 8-week trial, the researchers investigated outcomes associated with the use of a commercial micronutrient supplement in a group of 14 adults who reported symptoms of insomnia. Participants reported improvements with insomnia symptoms, mood, stress, and anxiety over the course of the trial. The researchers note several limitations – including the fact that participants were aware of the treatment and the study lacked a control group – that should be addressed in future research.

Investigating the relationship between inflammation and depression, Tasnime N. Akbaraly and colleagues examine data on diet and depressive symptoms collected from 4,246 adults over a period of 5 years. The researchers found that diets that rated high on the “dietary inflammatory index” were associated with increased risk of depressive symptoms, but only among women. Specific biomarkers of inflammation did not explain this association, despite their association with dietary inflammatory index scores at baseline. (ANI)
Taken from siasat

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